The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was established in 1961 and has grown into one of the US government’s largest intelligence organizations. It employs 17,000 people, including thousands stationed overseas, and its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. On November 20, the National Security Archive posted a new sourcebook of over 50 declassified documents that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history. [more inside]
"More than sixty years have passed since Israel started its nuclear venture and almost half a century has elapsed since it crossed the nuclear weapons threshold. Yet Israel's nuclear history still lacks a voice of its own: Israel has never issued an authorized and official nuclear history; no insiders have ever been authorized to tell the story from within. Unlike all seven other nuclear weapons states, Israel's nuclear policy is essentially one of non-acknowledgement. Israel believes that nuclear silence is golden, referring to its nuclear code of conduct as the policy of amimut ("opacity" in Hebrew)." A special collection of declassified documents was published by the National Security Archive this Wednesday, that sheds some light on How Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program.
Her encampment is 'an old patio umbrella draped in a white plastic sheet secured with binder clips. It is flanked by two large boards with messages in capital letters: BAN ALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS OR HAVE A NICE DOOMSDAY and LIVE BY THE BOMB, DIE BY THE BOMB. This rudimentary shelter has been positioned outside the White House for more than three decades. It is a monument itself now, widely considered the longest-running act of political protest in the United States, and this woman, Concepcion Picciotto — Connie, as she’s known to many — is its longest-running caretaker.' [more inside]
Around midnight local time (UTC +9) on 12 February the Democratic People's Republic of Korea detonated a 6-10 kiloton nuclear device at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility. [more inside]
The nuclear-disarmament group Global Zero just released a report proposing a ten-year plan for the United States and Russia to reduce their arsenals below 900 warheads each, well below the New START treaty limits of 1,550 deployed warheads each by 2018. Implementation is unlikely in an election year. [more inside]
AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [more inside]
While not being an outright example of a clash of civilizations in the Huntingtonian sense, elements of cultural misunderstanding and fears about the system-challenging tendencies of Iran do aﬀect Western perceptions and inﬂuence Western behavior toward Iran. Furthermore, these kinds of reciprocal identity-based fears and projections of the other side’s presumed malevolent intentions tend to be mutually reinforcing. The risk is that they eventually become self-fulﬁlling prophecies.Iran and the West - Regional Interests and Global Controversies [PDF]. [more inside]
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
Ground Zero. This Google Maps mashup shows the thermal damage caused by various nuclear weapons or an asteroid on the city of your choice.
The man who knew too much. "He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
Last March, the White House put numerous Iraqi government documents online, hoping to "leverage the internet" to find evidence of Saddam's nuclear potential. After questioning from the New York Times this week, the site has now been shut down, as it has been revealed that the Bush administration, by publishing the information, may have publicly published detailed information on how to build atomic weapons. Right-wing bloggers, many of whom have been discussing the documents all year, have seen the sunny side of the news, claiming the real issue of the potential distribution of nuclear plans (which were dated pre-1991) is the "proof Saddam had a nuclear program."
Last Best Chance is a docudrama that shows the threat posed by vulnerable nuclear weapons and materials around the world and underscores what the stakes are. The plot: al Qaeda terrorists steal nuclear material to make bombs, and then sneak them into the US. The 47 minute film airs tonight on HBO, and is also available as a free DVD. More interesting are the powerful figures behind the film. It was produced by The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to reduce the global threats from WMDs. NTI's board is co-chaired by Ted Turner and Sam Nunn (D-GA). The hope is that appealing directly to the public will force politicians to act. The film and its creators were profiled yesterday on CBS News Sunday Morning.
(And to help our discussion here, they've even provided a discussion guide.)
(And to help our discussion here, they've even provided a discussion guide.)
"Weapons of Mass Destruction", you say? Question: If Iraq is the vicious rat and North Korea the furious pygmy of WMD threats, where is the 800 pound gorilla? Answer - "...law enforcement officials worldwide have seized 40 kilograms of Russian-origin uranium and plutonium since 1991. Stanford researchers have also estimated that only 30 to 40 percent of the nuclear material stolen from facilities in Russia and other territories in the former Soviet Union are ever recovered by authorities." the collapse of the Soviet Union left vast stores of Nuclear weapons and weapons grade plutonium and uranium, and stocks of chemical and biological warfare agents lying about at dangerously underfunded facillities scattered through the vast expanse of the ex-Soviet realm. "Russian stockpiles of weapons and materials are the most likely source for terrorists attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction", said US Senator Richard Lugar, Republican chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. An international effort to destroy these stores of ex-Soviet WMD's is currently funded at a tiny fraction of the estimated cost of a possible US invasion and occupation of Iraq. (more inside)
North Korea is working on a nuclear weapon?? Maybe that whole Axis Of Evil thing wasn't too far fetched.
You Call That Evidence? Op-Ed from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists about the so-called evidence for the administration's claim that Iraq is "moving very near a nuclear weapon capability." Too bad something that at least seems to be approaching the truth will have nothing to do with whether we go to war or not.
Bush prepares nuclear weapons for use. A classified Pentagon report directs the Defense Department to prepare "smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations," such as "targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack." Potential targets listed include China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. Is the U.S. merely bluffing, or should we begin stocking our fallout shelters?
"I had no idea we had so many weapons," he said. "What do we need them for?" "The U.S. nuclear arsenal today includes 5,400 warheads loaded on intercontinental ballistic missiles at land and sea; an additional 1,750 nuclear bombs and cruise missiles ready to be launched from B-2 and B-52 bombers; a further 1,670 nuclear weapons classified as “tactical.” And just in case, an additional 10,000 or so nuclear warheads held in bunkers around the United States as a “hedge” against future surprises."