Here we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I’m wondering if we’ve come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world’s only country to use atomic weapons to slaughter human beings. Will an American president ever offer a formal apology? Will our country ever regret the dropping of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” those two bombs that burned hotter than the sun? Will it absorb the way they instantly vaporized thousands of victims, incinerated tens of thousands more, and created unimaginably powerful shockwaves and firestorms that ravaged everything for miles beyond ground zero? Will it finally come to grips with the “black rain” that spread radiation and killed even more people — slowly and painfully — leading in the end to a death toll for the two cities conservatively estimated at more than 250,000?
SEATTLE – Dan Springer’s latest test launch over the weekend has raised concerns among U.S. officials. The Pentagon says the ballistic missile flew 1,000 miles higher than NASA’s International Space Station. It was then able to re-enter earth’s atmosphere and splash down just 60 miles from Russia. One official told Fox News it was a “big step forward” in North Korea’s nuclear missile program.
Emergency planners in Hawaii, the closest state to North Korea, have taken notice and are evaluating existing nuclear attack response plans. Meanwhile, another possible target on the West Coast is barred from taking any steps to plan for a nuclear attack.
Washington State allows evacuation plans for every disaster scenario except a nuclear bomb. Former state Rep. Dick Nelson remembers the prevailing thinking in the legislature at the time concerning response plans in the event of nuclear war.
“You are really sending a message that you’re getting ready to do something maybe yourself,” Nelson said.
The law passed in 1984, seven years before the end of the Cold War. It was the opposite approach taken by President Ronald Reagan, whose peace through strength doctrine helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A current Washington state senator says the current law is irresponsible and naïve.
“I think it’s ridiculous and silly,” says state Sen. Mark Miloscia, “And sort of the head-in-the-sand mentality. If it has a probability of happening, prepare for it.”
Seattle could be in the crosshairs if North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung Un, ever did the unthinkable. Naval Base Kitsap reportedly has roughly 1,300 nuclear warheads — almost one-quarter of the U.S. arsenal — making it the largest stockpile of nukes in the world. The Puget Sound is also home to Joint Base Lewis McChord, home to the important Stryker Brigade. With the headquarters of Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon, the region is a high-tech hub. Read the rest of this entry »
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
“If this occurs, if the North Koreans test an intercontinental ballistic missile, that means they could wipe out Los Angeles tomorrow, if they can mount a warhead on it. That would be the single most important and threatening action that one can imagine for 2017. When Trump says “It’s not going to happen,” I don’t know what he quite means. But if he means a preemptive attack by the United States or something of that sort, we are looking at a crisis of the ultimate proportions.”
“…he’s aware of the fact that we are looking at what could be a strategic hinge point in history. That would be really serious. This is an insane regime with the ability to push a button and wipe out a U.S. city. That has never happened. We have had the Chinese, the Russians, but they are not insane. That’s quite different. I think he is recognizing we have an issue. I think he ought to be asked in the next press conference, ‘What exactly do you mean by ‘It ain’t gonna happen’?”
Source: National Review
As cost overruns and delays plague the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, fusion startups are raising more capital.
Richard Martin reports: The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project reached a critical phase last week, as a panel of experts convened to review the latest revised budget and time line to build the proposed fusion reactor delivered its findings. Launched in 2006, ITER has been plagued with delays and cost overruns as the challenge of bringing six countries—the United States, China, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea—together with the European Union to build an experimental reactor has proved nearly insurmountable.
The latest schedule put forth by the project’s director, French nuclear physicist Bernard Bigot, calls for the machine to be switched on by 2025 and to actually achieve fusion only in 2035—a dozen years later than originally planned. The panel found that timing plausible but said that the latest budget, which would add another €4.6 billion ($5.3 billion) in cost overruns to the project, was unlikely to become available. Read the rest of this entry »
First of all, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were legitimate military targets; important industrial and port cities- the heart of Japan’s war machine. And even after Hiroshima, they still were unwilling to surrender.
There’s also the fact that the conventional firebombing of Tokyo by 330 B-29 Superfortresses killed the same number of people as the Hiroshima bomb with plain old firebombs. Is this somehow morally superior to Hiroshima? 100,000 people dying in one bombing s perfectly acceptable as long as uranium and plutonium aren’t bombed, eh, @salon??? How about millions, @salon???
If you can’t tell me which of the below cities is Hiroshima and which one is Tokyo, you really should stop talking.
Look at this. Look at it. We did this without any fucking atom bombs and they still didn’t surrender.
But that’s not important.
Do you have any fucking clue what the alternative was, @salon???
It’s blood chilling.
Put simply, that above is the alternative, but no mere map can drive home the horror that would have been the aptly named Operation Downfall. D-Day would have been PEANUTS in comparison
It would have consisted of two phases: Operation Coronet and Operation Olympic. Olympic was scheduled for November 1st, 1945, with the goal of invading the southernmost Japanese home island of Kyushu. It would have been spearheaded by forty two aircraft carriers, twenty four battleships and over four hundred assorted cruisers, destroyers and destroyer escorts. By comparison, today’s US Navy only has 271 deployable combat ships.
Fourteen Army and Marine Corps divisions would have fought and bled and died on those beaches, with the Fifth, Seventh and Thirteenth Air Forces providing tactical close air support. The Twentieth Air Force would have continued the job of strategic bombing, pummeling Japanese infrastructure in the hopes of slowing down the inevitable Japanese main counterattack. Thirty-five landing beaches would have been concentrated around the cities of Miyazaki, Ariake and Kushikino, most of which were as heavily defended if not more so than Omaha Beach in Normandy. For the record, as can be clearly seen on the maps below, we weren’t even planning on taking the whole island, just the southern third of it because casualty rates would have been that FUCKING high.
Here’s a close-up map of Olympic:
Operation Coronet was scheduled for March 1, 1946- no, that date is not wrong; this would have extended World War II into the fifties- and was supposed to march on Tokyo, the heart and soul of the Japanese empire. Twenty five Army and Marine divisions would have landed that day on two opposing beaches with the plan being to take the city in the largest pincer movement since Operation Barbarossa. For comparison, the entirety of all American, Canadian and British forces landing on D-Day amounted to twelve divisions.
It wasn’t hard at all for the Japanese to figure out where we’d be landing and they had some plans of their own. Operation Ketsu-Go aim was not to win Japan the war; they knew that was impossible at this point in the game. No, their entire goal was to kill as many Allied troops as possible before going down.
They had five thousand aircraft, just for use as kamikazes. During the Battle of Okinawa just months prior, they had launched fifteen hundred kamikazes, causing more than 10,000 casualties; with more favorable terrain on Kyushu their kill rates would only have risen. They also planned to target troop carriers as they ferried men to the beaches; this alone could have destroyed one third of the invasion force before it even arrived.
They also had a little over a thousand suicide submarines and suicide boats- literally motorboats filled with explosives- to ram Allied shipping. They also planned on using “human mines”- just men in diving gear who would swim out and detonate bombs as the American transports passed overhead.
On the beaches, the Japanese moved one million soldiers to Kyushu. They also forced civilians into the fight, training women, schoolchildren and old men to kill Americans with goddamn muskets, longbows and bamboo spears! Anything they had they were told to kill Americans with. They were strapping explosives to schoolchildren as suicide bombers- eerily similar to what US soldiers are facing right now in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
But that’s barely scratching the surface. What’s truly chilling is the predicted casualty rates. The very best estimate for Allied forces was in the hundreds of thousands, more likely in the millions; up to that point the US had lost “only” 240,000 men in combat; we would have doubled and then tripled that in the first week of the invasion alone. The Japanese, on the other hand, were facing upwards of nine million to ALL OF THEM. Civilians would be dying left and right from starvation, the bombings, the blockade; even the atrocities their own military would have committed against them. This is the same military that forced parents on Okinawa to kill their children and then themselves, this is the same military that in Nanking raped and killed upwards of three hundred thousand people; this is the same military that did shit that puts your worst nightmares to shame.
Of course, the truest irony of it all is that even if we had gone with Operation Downfall, wasting another fifteen million innocent lives in a war that had already cost us eighty million, is that some plans for Downfall called for the usage of atomic bombs anyway! Numbers vary from seven to twenty; seven is most likely. So even if we had invaded, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been destroyed anyway!
We were also planning on nuking the beaches to soften up Japanese defenses too. But think about that. Nobody knew about radiation at the time. We would have been marching our troops through the still glowing impact zone. We were this close to killing EVERYONE in BOTH armies. Compared to the 250,000 dead at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this seems like a blessing!
However, for me, the most thought-provoking reminder of how many people almost died is the fact that in the leadup to the invasion that ultimately never was, the USA manufactured over 500,000 Purple Hearts. These have been used in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever else brave men have been injured or died defending our freedom…. and we still to this day have one hundred thousand of them left.
North Korea Ominously Warns Manhattan Residents of Impending Threat Even More Harmful than Salt and Oversized Soft DrinksPosted: March 13, 2016
The website is a strange choice for making such a claim, given that it also carries reports about such topics as rabbit farming and domestically made school backpacks.
SEOUL — North Korea claimed Sunday that it could wipe out Manhattan by sending a hydrogen bomb on a ballistic missile to the heart of New York City, the latest in a string of brazen threats.
“Our hydrogen bomb is much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union.”
Although there are many reasons to believe that Kim Jong Un’s regime is exaggerating its technical capabilities, the near-daily drumbeat of boasts and warnings from North Korea underlines its anger at efforts to thwart its ambitions.
“Our hydrogen bomb is much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union,” DPRK Today, a state-run outlet, reported Sunday. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.
“If this H-bomb were to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile and fall on Manhattan in New York City, all the people there would be killed immediately and the city would burn down to ashes,” the report said, citing a nuclear scientist named Cho Hyong Il.
“The H-bomb developed by the Soviet Union in the past was able to smash windows of buildings 1,000 kms away and the heat was strong enough to cause third-degree burns 100 kms away.”
The website is a strange choice for making such a claim, given that it also carries reports about such topics as rabbit farming and domestically made school backpacks.
North Korea’s newly developed hydrogen bomb “surpasses our imagination,” Cho is quoted as saying.
“The H-bomb developed by the Soviet Union in the past was able to smash windows of buildings 1,000 kms away and the heat was strong enough to cause third-degree burns 100 kms away,” the report continued. (A thousand kilometers is about 625 miles; 100 kilometers, about 62.5 miles.)
Kim in January ordered North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and claimed that it was a hydrogen bomb, not a simple atomic one. But most experts are skeptical of the claim, saying the seismic waves caused by the blast were similar to those produced by the North’s three previous tests.
Then in February, Kim oversaw the launch of what North Korea said was a rocket that put a satellite into orbit, a move widely considered part of a long-range-ballistic-missile program. Read the rest of this entry »
Dozens of countries amass cyberweapons, reconfigure militaries to meet threat.
“The acronym was MAD—mutually assured destruction—which kept everything nice and tidy. Here you have the same acronym, but it’s ‘mutually assured doubt,’ because you can never be sure what the attack will be.”
Getting into the cyberweapon club is easier, cheaper and available to almost anyone with cash and a computer.
A series of successful computer attacks carried out by the U.S. and others has kicked off a frantic and destabilizing digital arms race, with dozens of countries amassing stockpiles of malicious code. The programs range from the most elementary, such as typo-ridden emails asking for a password, to software that takes orders from a rotating list of Twitter handles.
The proliferation of these weapons has spread so widely that the U.S. and China—longtime cyber adversaries—brokered a limited agreement last month not to conduct certain types of cyberattacks against each other, such as intrusions that steal corporate information and then pass it along to domestic companies. Cyberattacks that steal government secrets, however, remain fair game.
This comes after other countries have begun to amass cyberweaponry on an unprecedented scale. Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed rivals, regularly hack each other’s companies and governments, security researchers said. Estonia and Belarus are racing to build defensive shields to counter Russia. Denmark and the Netherlands have begun programs to develop offensive computer weapons, as have Argentina and France.
In total, at least 29 countries have formal military or intelligence units dedicated to offensive hacking efforts, according to a Wall Street Journal compilation of government records and interviews with U.S. and foreign officials. Some 50 countries have bought off-the-shelf hacking software that can be used for domestic and international surveillance. The U.S. has among the most-advanced operations.
In the nuclear arms race, “the acronym was MAD—mutually assured destruction—which kept everything nice and tidy,” said Matthijs Veenendaal, a researcher at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, a research group in Estonia. “Here you have the same acronym, but it’s ‘mutually assured doubt,’ because you can never be sure what the attack will be.”
Governments have used computer attacks to mine and steal information, erase computers, disable bank networks and—in one extreme case—destroy nuclear centrifuges.
Nation states have also looked into using cyberweapons to knock out electrical grids, disable domestic airline networks, jam Internet connectivity, erase money from bank accounts and confuse radar systems, experts believe.
Large conventional militaries and nuclear forces are ill-suited to this new kind of warfare, which evens the playing field between big and small countries. Cyberattacks are hard to stop and sometimes impossible to trace. The West, as a result, has been forced to start reconfiguring its militaries to better meet the threat.
“With some countries, we’re comfortable with knowing what their capabilities are, but with other countries we’re still lost. We don’t have the visibility into their toolset.”
— Andre McGregor, a former cyber special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and now the director of security at Tanium Inc.
Access to cyberweapons, according to U.S. and foreign officials and security researchers, is far more widespread than access to nuclear weapons was at the height of the nuclear arms race, a result of inexpensive technology and the power of distributed computing.
“It’s not like developing an air force…You don’t need to have your own cyberforce to have a very robust and very scary offensive capability.”
— Michael Schmitt, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and part of an international group studying how international law relates to cyberwarfare.
More than two dozen countries have accumulated advanced cyberweapons in the past decade. Some Defense Department officials compare the current moment to the lull between the World Wars when militaries realized the potential of armed planes. Read the rest of this entry »
North Korea Celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Ruling Worker’s Party with a Massive Military Parade in the Streets of Pyongyang
Israel will not survive the next 25 years, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, making a series of threatening remarks published online.
“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.”
In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account, Khamenei addresses Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and adds that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed.
The quote comes against a backdrop of a photograph apparently showing the Iranian leader walking on an Israeli flag painted on a sidewalk.
“Khamenei’s statements also reaffirmed his view that the US is a “Great Satan” and that there would be no detente with Washington beyond the nuclear talks.”
“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the quote from Iran’s top leader reads in broken English.
The quote was apparently taken from a speech given earlier in the day.
The remarks came as US lawmakers began to debate supporting a recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers. Critics of the deal have pointed to fiery anti-US and anti-Zionist rhetoric as proof that the regime should not be trusted. Read the rest of this entry »
Congress to take up Iran nuke deal disapproval resolution
Paul Alster writes: Even as President Obama was securing the Senate support necessary to assure passage of the nuclear deal with Iran, Tehran’s top defense officials were scoffing at U.S. claims the pact will restrict the Islamic Republic’s military ambitions.
The president has been twisting arms and Secretary of State John Kerry reassuring lawmakers that the deal between Iran and the P5 +1 – members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – will ensure international inspections and bar Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons. This week, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., became the 34th member of the Senate to back the controversial and unpopular deal, meaning that if it is defeated in a vote as expected, Obama will have enough support to sustain his certain veto. But Iran’s military brass has answered the U.S. nose-counting by thumbing their nose at America.
“Iran does not plan to issue permission for the [International Atomic Energy Agency] to inspect every site,” Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan told Al Mayadeen News Wednesday. “U.S. officials make boastful remarks and imagine that they can impose anything on the Iranian nation because they lack a proper knowledge of the Iranian nation.”
“U.S. officials make boastful remarks and imagine that they can impose anything on the Iranian nation because they lack a proper knowledge of the Iranian nation.”
– Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan
Iran’s official FARS news agency added that “Dehqan had earlier underlined that Tehran would not allow any foreigner to discover Iran’s defensive and missile capabilities by inspecting the country’s military sites.”
On the same day, a top Iranian general told troops preparing for a massive military drill involving up to 250,000 men that “the U.S. and the Zionists should know that the Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine.”
The bluster from Iran is in sharp contrast to the message Obama and Kerry conveyed to lawmakers to line up support for the deal, which lifts international sanctions and frees up $150 billion in Iranian funds frozen when the Islamic Republic took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days beginning in 1979. Over the following three decades, Iran has, according to U.S. officials, been the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism while constantly calling for war with Israel and America. In return, Iran agreed to allow international inspectors to monitor its facilities and ensure that it did not build nuclear weapons. But troubling conditions have emerged, including that Iran will not allow Americans to take part in the inspections and will conduct its own monitoring of the key Parchin military site and turn over findings to international inspectors. Read the rest of this entry »
Blake Seitz reports: A group of nearly 200 retired U.S. generals and flag officers sent a letter to Congressional leadership on Tuesday urging them to reject the Iran nuclear deal.
The letter says that the deal creates a decade-long path to nuclear weapons for Iran, while rewarding the Islamic Republic with cash it can use to rebuild its military and fund terrorism in the short-term.
“The agreement as constructed does not ‘cut off every pathway’ for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” it says. “To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal….(read more)
[VIDEO] John Kerry: Iran Deal Not A Treaty Because Getting Senate Consent Has ‘Become Physically Impossible’Posted: August 3, 2015
The White House did not pursue the nuclear agreement with Iran as an international treaty, because getting U.S. Senate advise and consent for a treaty has “become physically impossible,” Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Tehran (AFP) – Iran hit out Friday against US Secretary of State John Kerry, accusing him of threatening military action against Tehran if it fails to respect a historic nuclear deal sealed on July 14.
“Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force’,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a statement.
Zarif decried what he called the “uselessness of such empty threats against the nation of Iran and the resistance of the nation of Iran”, and said such remarks should be consigned “to the last century”.
“Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force’.”
Despite the agreement reached with Iran on putting the nuclear bomb out of Tehran’s reach, several US officials, including Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, have signalled that military force remains on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Read the rest of this entry »
The Iran deal in 26 seconds pic.twitter.com/sZRRgrHKTa
— Elliott Schwartz (@elliosch) July 15, 2015
Sean Davis writes:
“Obama’s deal to lift sanctions on Iran and allow it to continue the purchase and production of enriched uranium is so bad that his own staff can’t even figure out how to spin for it. It’s so bad that Obama’s opponents don’t even need to craft their own arguments against it — they can just recycle the Obama administration’s arguments against the deal…”
Frederick Kagan writes: The nuclear agreement with Iran announced Tuesday is an astoundingly good deal, far surpassing the hopes of anyone . . . in Tehran. It requires Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges enriching uranium by about half, to sell most of its current uranium stockpile or “downblend” it to lower levels of enrichment, and to accept inspections (whose precise nature is yet to be specified) by the International Atomic Energy Agency, something that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had wanted to avoid.
“The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation.”
But the agreement also permits Iran to phase out the first-generation centrifuges on which it now relies and focus its research and development by exclusively using a number of advanced centrifuge models many times more efficient, which has been Tehran’s plan all along. The deal will also entirely end the United Nations’ involvement in Iran’s nuclear program in 10 years, and in 15 years will lift most restrictions on the program.
“Experts will debate the value of the concessions Iran has made on the nuclear front, but the value to Iran of the concessions the U.S. has made on nonnuclear issues is immeasurable.”
Even that, though, is not Tehran’s biggest win. The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation. Most of the sanctions are likely to end in a few months. Thus the agreement ensures that after a short delay Iran will be able to lay the groundwork for a large nuclear arsenal and, in the interim, expand its conventional military capabilities as much as the regime pleases. The supreme leader should be very proud of his team.
“The Obama administration seems to be betting that lifting sanctions will cause Iran to moderate its behavior in both nuclear and nonnuclear matters. The rhetoric and actions of the regime’s leaders provide little evidence to support this notion and much evidence to the contrary.”
The agreement consists of 159 pages of opaque prose, and key sections are referred to but are not clearly marked. Even figuring out the timeline embodied in the deal is hard, but it appears to run about as follows:
“Finalization Day” was July 14. The agreement stipulates that a resolution will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council “promptly after the conclusion of the negotiations . . . for adoption without delay” that will “terminate” all preceding U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran. The document doesn’t mention the 60-day window for review by the U.S. Congress, and the language in this section suggests that action in the U.N. will not await any congressional vote. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Dr. Charles Krauthammer: Obama Administration ‘Will Not Let the Facts Stand in the Way’ of a Deal with IranPosted: April 21, 2015
From The Corner,
On Tuesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said the Obama administration misled the American people about the estimated time the administration thought Iran would need to obtain nuclear weapons.
“This is an administration that is determined to get a deal and will not let the facts stand in the way.”
“The only explanation, the best explanation surely, is they were deliberately deceiving the American people—and the Congress, of course—because they [the Obama administration] knew they [Iran] were only few months a way and pretended otherwise,” Krauthammer said…(read more)
Mixing shrewd diplomacy with defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has turned the negotiation on its head
“In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another.”
Debate regarding technical details of the deal has thus far inhibited the soul-searching necessary regarding its deeper implications. For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years.
Mixing shrewd diplomacy with open defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today. The threat of war now constrains the West more than Iran. While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon. Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.
Inspections and Enforcement
The president deserves respect for the commitment with which he has pursued the objective of reducing nuclear peril, as does Secretary of State John Kerry for the persistence, patience and ingenuity with which he has striven to impose significant constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.
[Also see – Clouds of Grey Fuzz Hang Over Iran Deal]
Progress has been made on shrinking the size of Iran’s enriched stockpile, confining the enrichment of uranium to one facility, and limiting aspects of the enrichment process. Still, the ultimate significance of the framework will depend on its verifiability and enforceability.
“Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints…”
Negotiating the final agreement will be extremely challenging. For one thing, no official text has yet been published. The so-called framework represents a unilateral American interpretation. Some of its clauses have been dismissed by the principal Iranian negotiator as “spin.” A joint EU-Iran statement differs in important respects, especially with regard to the lifting of sanctions and permitted research and development.
“…It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites. The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting.”
Comparable ambiguities apply to the one-year window for a presumed Iranian breakout. Emerging at a relatively late stage in the negotiation, this concept replaced the previous baseline—that Iran might be permitted a technical capacity compatible with a plausible civilian nuclear program. The new approach complicates verification and makes it more political because of the vagueness of the criteria.
“Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment?”
Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. Read the rest of this entry »
John Kerry emerges from the Iran negotiations victorious pic.twitter.com/KCiPQrQOa3
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 4, 2015
Seth Mandel writes:
…Obama’s press conference this afternoon was notable for its tone. Though he was ostensibly announcing what he considers something of a diplomatic victory, he was agitated and defensive. But it was not just the tone. Here is what Obama said about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
It’s no secret that the Israeli prime minister and I don’t agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue. If in fact Prime Minister Netanyahu is looking for the most effective way to ensure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, this is the best option.
It is a remarkably spiteful comment. What the president is saying is not that he and Netanyahu disagree about how to achieve a peaceful resolution. He says they disagree on “whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution” (emphasis added). In other words, Obama is saying publicly that Netanyahu wants war with Iran, and he wants the United States to fight it.
This is significant not just because of what it says about the president’s opinion of Netanyahu. It’s also important because Netanyahu is not just speaking for Israel. As we’ve seen throughout this process, Netanyahu has of late become the public spokesman for a coalition consisting of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other regional allies. And he’s voicing concerns that the French clearly possess as well, but won’t risk their seat at the table to say publicly….(read more)
Michael Crowley writes:
…Likely to be most problematic of all is Iran’s response to questions about its past research into nuclear weapons production, including bomb designs and detonators. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has stonewalled on all but one of a dozen questions the agency has posed. Iran has denied the IAEA access to its Parchin military base, where the United Nations nuclear watchdog group suspects it tested explosives that could be used to detonate a bomb.
Iran denies that it has ever pursued a military application to its nuclear program. But U.S. intelligence officials say they are confident Iran aggressively researched bomb-making until 2003, when that aspect of its program was halted.
Thursday’s agreement is vague on this score. The fact sheet says only that Iran “will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns,” but those measures aren’t detailed…(read more)
‘Hey Bitches, There’s No Need to Spin Using ‘Fact Sheets’ So Early On’: Iran Smacks Down U.S. with Accusations of LyingPosted: April 2, 2015
Following the signing of an interim agreement with Iran aimed at scaling back its nuclear work, Iran accused the United States of lying about details of the agreement
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Adam Kredo reports: Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.
Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.
Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.
“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”
Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion—and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.
— Peggy Noonan (@Peggynoonannyc) April 3, 2015
Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.
“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” he wrote on Twitter.
The pushback from Iran’s chief diplomat follows a pattern of similar accusations by senior Iranian political figures after the announcement of previous agreements. Read the rest of this entry »
Terrorists You Can Trust
“Far scarier than Khamenei’s words are Iran’s actions. Its long record of support for Islamic terrorism demonstrates why it cannot be trusted to comply with anything its leaders endorse.”
With U.S.-Iranian atomic-bomb talks in full swing, Khamenei’s crack was not exactly what diplomats call a confidence-building measure. Of course, Khamenei offered no olive branch. Realizing that Obama is desperate for any deal to burnish his leaden legacy — even one so flimsy that White House chief of staff Dennis McDonough admits it’s “a non-binding agreement” — Khamenei can say whatever he wants.
Obama will keep begging the mullahs to sign a piece of paper that he will probably slip past Congress and send to the United Nations for approval — the Constitution be damned.
Far scarier than Khamenei’s words are Iran’s actions. Its long record of support for Islamic terrorism demonstrates why it cannot be trusted to comply with anything its leaders endorse. Read the rest of this entry »
Laurence H. Silberman: The Dangerous Lie That ‘Bush Lied’: ‘Some Journalists Still Peddle This Canard As If It Were Fact’Posted: February 8, 2015
Mr. Silberman, a senior federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Laurence H. Silberman writes: In recent weeks, I have heard former Associate Press reporter Ron Fournier on Fox News twice asserting, quite offhandedly, that President George W. Bush“lied us into war in Iraq.”
“It is astonishing to see the ‘Bush lied’ allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.”
I found this shocking. I took a leave of absence from the bench in 2004-05 to serve as co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction—a bipartisan body, sometimes referred to as the Robb-Silberman Commission. It was directed in 2004 to evaluate the intelligence community’s determination that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD—I am, therefore, keenly aware of both the intelligence provided to President Bush and his reliance on that intelligence as his primary casus belli. It is astonishing to see the “Bush lied” allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.
The intelligence community’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated, in a formal presentation to President Bush and to Congress, its view that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction—a belief in which the NIE said it held a 90% level of confidence. That is about as certain as the intelligence community gets on any subject.
Recall that the head of the intelligence community, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, famously told the president that the proposition that Iraq possessed WMD was “a slam dunk.”
“The Right believes, not without some reason, that the main reason we ended up with a disastrous Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate government — the brief years of which imposed damage that will take much longer to undo — had to do with the foreign policy of George W. Bush and the fiscal incontinence of congressional Republicans during the Bush years.”
Our WMD commission carefully examined the interrelationships between the Bush administration and the intelligence community and found no indication that anyone in the administration sought to pressure the intelligence community into its findings.
“As I recall, no one in Washington political circles offered significant disagreement with the intelligence community before the invasion. The National Intelligence Estimate was persuasive—to the president, to Congress and to the media.”
— Laurence H. Silberman
As our commission reported, presidential daily briefs from the CIA dating back to the Clinton administration were, if anything, more alarmist about Iraq’s WMD than the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. Read the rest of this entry »
By 1957 the effects of radioactivity on the soldiers and the surrounding population led the government to begin testing bombs underground, and by 1962, all atmospheric testing had ceased
Forcefully marking the continued importance of the West in the development of nuclear weaponry, the government detonates the first of a series of nuclear bombs at its new Nevada test site.
Although much of the West had long lagged behind the rest of the nation in technological and industrial development, the massive World War II project to build the first atomic bomb single-handedly pushed the region into the 20th century. Code named the Manhattan Project, this ambitious research and development program pumped millions of dollars of federal funds into new western research centers like the bomb building lab at Los Alamos, New Mexicoand the fissionable material production center at Hanford, Washington. Ironically, the very conditions that had once impeded western technological development became benefits: lots of wide-open unpopulated federal land where dangerous experiments could be conducted in secret.
After the war ended, the West continued to be the ideal region for Cold War-era nuclear experimentation for the same reasons. In December 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission designated a large swath of unpopulated desert land 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas as the Nevada Proving Ground for atmospheric atomic testing. On January 27, 1951, the government detonated its first atomic device on the site, resulting in a tremendous explosion, the flash from which was seen as far away as San Francisco.
The government continued to conduct atmospheric tests for six more years at the Nevada site. They studied the effects on humans by stationing ground troops as close as 2,500 yards from ground zero and moving them even closer shortly after the detonation. Read the rest of this entry »
VIENNA— Adam Kredo reports: The U.S. Senate is warning the Obama administration that it is poised to veto a final nuclear deal with the Iranians and impose harsher sanctions on Tehran, according to a letter sent late Wednesday to President Obama.
Nearly half of the Senate has signed onto a letter promising to reject a “weak and dangerous deal” with Iran as final negotiations in Vienna approach their Nov. 24 deadline.
“Your negotiators appear to have disregarded clear expressions from the Senate emphasizing the need for a multi-decade agreements requiring Iran to fully suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities, to dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure, and completely disclose its past work on nuclear weaponization.”
The senators warn that the Obama administration is close to inking a deal that will permit Iran to continue the most controversial aspects of its nuclear program and enable Tehran to build a nuclear weapon in the near future, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and signed by all 43 Republican senators who backed the Mendendez-Kirk sanctions legislation killed earlier this year by the White House.
“We will continue to seek to impose additional pressure on Iran in the months ahead unless Tehran abandons its nuclear ambitions and pursues a genuinely constructive path in its relations with the world.”
The letter was sent to the White House on the heels of forceful comments Wednesday by Iranian leaders insisting that the United States must bow to the country’s “inalienable nuclear rights.”
The senators lash out at Obama for completely ignoring congressional efforts to provide oversight of the deal. Read the rest of this entry »
The incident occurred at the Parchin military compound, not far from the Iranian capital, according to the Iranian Students News Agency
Two people died in an explosion that ripped through an explosive material production unit at a nuclear facility near Tehran, according to Iranian press reports on Monday.
“The glare from the blast could also be seen from a great distance.”
The incident occurred at the Parchin military compound, not far from the Iranian capital, according to the Iranian Students News Agency.
The BBC said on Monday that a pro-opposition website was also reporting an explosion at the site.
The BBC cited the pro-reform website Sahamnews as saying that the explosion on Sunday evening was “so intense that windows of buildings 15 km (nine miles) away were shattered.”
— SCMP News (@SCMP_News) August 16, 2014
I saw this press conference, early this morning. A few things stood out. One, the Dutch press was blunt and direct, asking the U.S. President uncomfortable questions. More than we see here. No softballs. Two, Obama talked too much, long, meandering, answers. And three, he was on the defensive, for the entire press conference.
“With respect to Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges…”
He goes in circles for a long time, barely making sense.
“So my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is: Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.”
If an A-Bomb Falls (1951)
At least 26 members of the Senate want to warn the regime against negotiating in bad faith.
Clifford D. May writes: Just before Congress recessed for the holidays, 26 senators — 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans, led by Senators Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) — introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013. Its purpose: to ready new sanctions that would be triggered only if Iran’s rulers either fail to meet the obligations they have undertaken under a “Joint Plan of Action” or foot-drag on talks meant to lead to a “comprehensive agreement.” That agreement is to offer thetheocrats a simple deal: relief from increasing economic isolation and pressure in exchange for the verifiable dismantling of their nuclear-weapons program — an illegal program condemned by six U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The bill has displeased Iran’s rulers and infuriated many on the American left. “Saboteur Sen. Launching War Push,” ran the histrionic headline aboveMenendez’s photo in the Huffington Post last week.
President Obama also opposes the legislation. At his final press conference of the year, he said “there’s no reason to do it now” and he accused the bill’s congressional sponsors of “trying to look tough on Iran” for political reasons. He has threatened a veto should the measure reach his desk. His veto could be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house — a high but not insurmountable hurdle.
Members of Congress sitting on the fence might want to ponder a few questions over the holidays: Are you confident that Iran’s rulers are negotiating in good faith? Do you think American diplomats will be helped or harmed if you give them additional leverage? Does it trouble you that Iran’s rulers have yet even to acknowledge that they have a nuclear-weapons program — insisting that, despite the vast petroleum reserves they control, they are building nuclear facilities under mountains strictly for “peaceful purposes”? Are you convinced that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are moderates? Or do you suspect that they might be trying to play American diplomats like a Guadagnini?
Hostile countries with nuclear capabilities have the upper hand on the global police
The United States has given billions of dollars in foreign aid to Pakistan, whose Islamist gangs have spearheaded radical anti-American terrorism. Ever since a corrupt Pakistan went nuclear in 1998, it has been able to extort such foreign-aid payouts — on fears that one of its nukes might end up in the hands of terrorists.
By any measure of economic success or political stability, without nuclear weapons Pakistan would not warrant either the cash or the attention it wins.
An observant Iran appreciates three laws of current nuclear gangbanging:
1. Nuclear weapons earn a reputation.
2. The more loco a nuclear nation sounds, the more likely it is that civilized states will fear that it is not subject to nuclear deterrence, and so the more likely that they will pay bribes for it to behave. Gangbangers always claim they have nothing to lose; their more responsible intended targets have everything to lose.
3. As of yet there are no 100 percent effective nuclear-defense systems that can guarantee non-nuclear powers absolute safety from a sudden attack. The nuclear gangbanger, not the global police, currently has the upper hand.
Again, the actual bombs are not the problem. We do not worry about a nuclear but democratic Israel or France. We are not even bothered by a hostile but non-nuclear Cuba or Venezuela. The combination of a bomb with a rap sheet is what changes all diplomatic and strategic considerations.
James Jay Carafano writes: No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.
The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear.
The saddest part of this negotiated fiasco is that everyone agrees why Iran came to the bargaining table. The sanctions worked; the mullahs had run out of cash, and Tehran determined that the easiest way to get the funds flowing was to get the West to back off.
This is where the realists and the idealists part company. Realists knew that the sanctions were good for only one purpose: to weaken the regime to the point where it would collapse or be overthrown. They crossed their fingers, hoping that would happen before Tehran got a nuke it could turn on the West. Regime change remains the only realistic option to bombing or bearing the danger of living with a nuclear-armed Iran.