Tag Archives: nuclear weapons

The US warship Aegis successfully intercepted a mock ICBM in the first test of its kind | Instant News

In a move likely to be closely watched by nuclear-armed North Korea, the US Navy’s Aegis-equipped destroyer managed to intercept a mock intercontinental ballistic missile in its first test on Tuesday.

The US destroyer took part in the test off the coast of Hawaii, firing the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile jointly developed with Japan to destroy targets launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, about 4,000 kilometers from Hawaii.

“This is an extraordinary achievement and an important milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Blok IIA program,” said Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), in a statement.

Hill said the interception showed that Aegis warships equipped with missiles “can defeat ICBM-class targets”, calling the breakthrough a “step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of the architecture for multiple defense at home.”

The results were also hailed in Tokyo on Wednesday, with the government’s main spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, telling a press conference that the success “demonstrates the high reliability and capability of the missile, which is the embodiment of excellent Japanese-US technology. .. “

Kato said Japan would “make an all-out effort to deal with the ballistic missile threat,” adding that the Block IIA SM-3 missiles would be deployed in Japan in fiscal 2021 or later.

The latest tests could provide the next US government with a powerful new weapon to defend against North Korean long-range missiles targeting the continental United States.

Equipping US-based Japanese warships and Maritime Self-Defense Forces ships with weapons could allow them to intercept North Korean missiles shortly after launch.

Asked whether the mock missiles in Tuesday’s test were intended to simulate missiles developed by North Korea, an MDA spokesman told The Japan Times they were “designed to simulate threat missiles from a rogue state.”

North Korea has carried out three ICBM tests, including the Hwasong-15 missile, which it claims can hit the entire continental United States with a nuclear warhead. Analysts, however, are divided as to whether the country has perfected the technology necessary to protect warheads during re-entry into the atmosphere and accurately deliver weapons to their intended targets.

Last month, Pyongyang also revealed a massive new ICBM during a military parade. Experts say it is likely designed to carry multiple warheads in independent re-entry vehicles – a sight echoed by Tokyo.

The “hit-to-kill” interceptor used in Tuesday’s test, developed by Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has improved maneuverability and offers a wider range of defense compared to previous missiles carried by the destroyer Aegis, according to MSDF.

The missiles will be launched and deployed on US and Japanese Aegis ships, including MSDF’s newest destroyer, Maya, weighing 8,200 tonnes, 170 meters. Japan currently has a fleet of seven Aegis ships, which will increase to eight by 2021.

Last August, the US State Department approved the sale of up to 73 Block IIA SM-3 missiles to Japan for an estimated $ 3.30 billion.



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‘Poisoning the Pacific’: New book detailing US military contamination of islands and seas | World News | Instant News

In 1968, Leroy Foster was a principal sergeant in the US Air Force, assigned to Anderson Air Force Base at Thrush, an island region of the United States in the Pacific. The day after he arrived on the island, he recalls being ordered to mix “diesel fuel with Agent Orange”, then spraying “by truck all over the base to kill any overgrowth in the forest”.

Before long, Foster developed serious skin complaints and eventually fell ill with Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease. Later, her daughter developed cancer as a teenager, and her grandson was born with 12 fingers, 12 toes, and a heart whisper. Foster died in 2018.

A new book, Poisoning the Pacific, due for release Monday, tells of decades of US military contamination of indigenous lands in the Pacific as well as the oceans themselves, endangering lives and ecosystems across the vast Pacific Ocean.

Written by British journalist Jon Mitchell, Poisoning the Pacific is based on more than 12,000 pages of documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and through interviews with local residents, military veterans and researchers.

The book argues that for decades, the US has been treating it territory in the Pacific with neglect, allowing its military to violate customary rights, seize land, and destroy fragile ecosystems.

US military aircraft park at the Andersen Air Force base on the island of Guam, US Pacific Territory. Photo: Erik de Castro / Reuters

Alongside Foster’s case – after years of campaigning the aviator is finally compensated for his exposure on the island – Mitchell’s book details decades of US military operations that polluted the Pacific with toxic substances including radioactive waste, nerve agents, and dioxin-tainted Agent Orange. .

“US authorities have repeatedly tried to cover up the contamination through lies, disinformation and attacks on journalists,” Mitchell told The Guardian. “I have experienced this pressure firsthand.”

Mitchell’s books document several attempts by the US state and defense department to block his work. One FOIA file shows that Mitchell is being watched by the US Marine Corps’ Criminal Investigation Division. The documents include his photo, his biography, and a lecture he gave in Okinawa on military contamination.

“Colleagues warned me not to continue with my investigations. What particularly motivates me to continue filing for FOIA and extracting evidence is the very real impact my research has had on veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Okinawa, ”he said.

“My report has helped these sick men and women receive compensation from the US government. Investigative journalism is ultimately a job that is supposed to help people who have experienced persecution receive the justice they deserve. “

Poisoning the Pacific details the ongoing environmental damage and risks to human health.

The ‘dome’ on the island of Runit in the Marshall Islands – a compact sovereign nation in free relations with the US – is a large concrete grave where the US has stored more than 70,000 m3 radioactive debris, including plutonium-239, left over from US post-war atomic tests. Irradiated land from Nevada was also transported to the island and dumped.

The dome leaks radioactive material into the sea, USA energy department admitted, although it was said the numbers were not dangerous. Successive US governments have said the dome is the responsibility of the Marshall Islands, saying the US has paid more than $ 600 million in radiation-related resettlement, rehabilitation and health care costs to affected communities.

The book documents “the US Army dumped 29 million kilograms of mustard agents and neuroprotective agents, and 454 tonnes of radioactive waste” into the Pacific Ocean, as well as the US military’s use of neuroprotective agents, including sarin, which US government documents confirmation leaked to the neighborhood while scheduled for destruction at Johnston Atoll near Hawaii.

At nine locations stretching from Johnston Atoll in the Pacific to Edgewood, Maryland, the US Army stores 31,280 tonnes of mustard and the nerve agents sarin and VX.

At nine locations stretching from Johnston Atoll in the Pacific to Edgewood, Maryland, the US Army stores 31,280 tonnes of mustard and the nerve agents sarin and VX. Photo: Ronen Zilberman / AP

The debate over the use of a potentially lethal herbicide has been hotly debated.

After the second world war, some five thousand barrels of Agent Purple – the herbicide pioneer Agent Orange – were transported and stored on Guam.

Although the US defense department consistently claims herbicide stockpiles are never used on the island, service members stationed there at the time claim they sprayed and dumped military waste, including damaged herbicide barrels, on the cliffs of Guam.

Researchers, including Guam’s department of public health and social services, reported in 2015 that villages where the herbicide is believed to have been sprayed experienced a higher incidence of infant mortality from birth defects.

In 2017, investigating claims of herbicide use on Guam, the US government itself came into conflict: the the defense department reported that the soil test contained no herbicides, the environmental protection agency reported otherwise.

The health and environmental impacts on Guam reflect what has happened to local residents and US soldiers based in Okinawa, Japan, where the US has maintained a base for decades, and where Mitchell began reporting.

In 2005, the US struck a deal with Japan to transfer thousands of US marines from Okinawa to Guam. Okinawans consistently oppose the US military presence on the island citing harm to their health and environment.

There has been some progress, although limited. Guam senators have backed a bill to include the territory on the list of veterans’ places where Agent Orange is used. In March 2019, a bill that was named after Lonnie Kilpatrick, a service member who fell ill on Guam and died, agreed to compensation for 52,000 veterans who were exposed to herbicides in three US Pacific regions – Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll.

But even in 2020, the voices of indigenous peoples are consistently muted, Mitchell said. In July, the time when military excavations on Guam were revealed dozens of sites containing human remains and cultural artifacts, local residents – especially the indigenous Chamorro – were shocked. But despite concerns fueling a growing movement to demilitarize the Pacific, the US’s newest marine corps base – the first new base in nearly 70 years – officially opened the door earlier this month.


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Trump wants to restart nuclear testing for the first time in 28 years, and we all have to worry | Instant News

Before Donald Trump Even as president, he called for a new arms race. On December 22, 2016, he tweeted: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capabilities until the world is aware of nuclear. “

With the world disrupted by Covid-19 and approaching the 2020 presidential election, Trump now threatens to conduct the first nuclear weapons test in America since 1992, the idea was reportedly discussed by Trump senor officials at a meeting at the White House regarding May 15th. These tests can start a new multilateral Cold War and have provoked North Korea.

So how does this happen – and what does world history tell us about the dangerous regulations of Trump’s arms control?

During The cold War, prospective superpowers see nuclear weapons testing as a way to regain geopolitical control after the Second World War – even though their national economy went bankrupt and the kingdom was reduced. This offers an unfortunate allegory for Trump’s contemporary aspirations, because he reflects the isolationist state he has created, and strives to distract from the danger he is causing.

While historic nuclear weapons test carried out by the US, Britain, China, Russia and France bringing power, they are also detrimental army who do the tests, and destroy the surroundings local society. As an example, Runit Island became uninhabitable because of radioactive waste from nuclear tests in the US Marshall Island. Marshall people will never be able to go home, and Runit Dome, a tomb-like structure that holds thousands of tons of radioactive waste, poses a climate threat sea ​​level rises. We know that destruction nuclear weapons can cause, but progress is slow. 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Agreement has been ratified by 154 countries, but not yet valid.

Now 50 years since Non-Proliferation Agreement (NPT) becomes international law. This is the first agreement that aspires to non-proliferation and disarmament. While the US remains a member, it has neglected its duties and could hamper renewal by 2021. Trump has rejected several other important agreements in the past three years. This includes The new beginning, the last US-Russian agreement; that Iran Agreement; that Mid-term Nuclear Forces Agreement (INF); and recently, Open Sky Agreement. When asked about Open Skies, Trump said, “I think what will happen is that we will retreat, and they will come back, and want to make a deal.“Even Russia is concerned about Trump’s actions.

What Trump misunderstood is that gun control is not just business exchange. Nuclear agreements must be managed with subtlety and sensitivity. They are designed to maintain global geopolitical stability through cooperation and consensus. One does not just “withdraw”. Cassandras lamented we are Democrats, shouted at by the majority of the Republicans when they tried to introduce “Limiting the First Use of Nuclear Weapons” in 2017. This is when nuclear taboo begin to unravel.

While Trump claims to admire his Republican predecessor Ronald Reagan, it is clear to everyone that they are very different people. While Reagan also became president as a long-term critic of weapons control, at the end of his term of service, he had been a supporter of disarmament and reportedly said, “Why wait until the end of this century for a world free of nuclear weapons? “ It makes no sense to imagine these words spoken by Trump.

Johnson talks about ‘replacing’ Iran’s nuclear deal with ‘Trump deal’

For Americans, Trump’s nuclear posture is not timely. The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic can provide opportunities for investment in health, technology and sustainable economic growth – instead, Trump seems to want to silence state funding. The cost of the US nuclear test will show nothing to the world, apart from the dangers of applying a neoliberal ideology from deregulation to weapons control.

Meanwhile, the international community is pushing back against nuclear weapons. Fiji, Namibia and Belize recently ratified 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Only 13 ratifications are needed until they take effect. Nobel Peace Prize winner developer agreement Tim Wright told me, “While most countries are advancing disarmament through a new UN nuclear weapons ban agreement, the Trump administration is actively undermining the cause.”

Nuclear weapons are dirty, dangerous and out of date technology. Eight countries have exploded 2,056 nuclear explosion over the past 75 years, so I’m pretty sure that we know how it works now. When we reflect on the global legacy of the damage they cause, it is clear that strict gun control and gradual disarmament are important.

However, the future is not written. We may be at the peak of peace, or on the brink of a new multilateral Cold War – perpetrated by people who think they are above international law.

Dr Becky Alexis-Martin is a lecturer in human geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. He examines nuclear culture and geopolitics. He is a writer “Disarming Doomsday: The Human Impact of Nuclear Weapons Since Hiroshima” which has been shortlisted for L.H.M. Ling Outstanding First Book Award


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The German government plans to buy 138 fighter jets and prepare for nuclear war | Instant News

The German government plans to buy 138 fighter jets and prepare for nuclear war

Gregor Link and Johannes Stern

May 7, 2020

The German government is preparing to buy 93 Eurofighters and 45 US-made F-18 fighter jets at a total cost of nearly € 20 billion. Eurofighter is manufactured by Airbus, while Boeing makes the F-18.

Among the latter types are 30 “Super Hornet” jets, the aim of which is to guarantee German involvement in atomic warfare and to allow the spread of US nuclear weapons located in German territory in the event of a nuclear war. Tornado strike bombers have been used for this purpose, but they must be removed from service by 2030 and replaced.

Der Spiegel reported last month that German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (Christian Democrat, CDU) offered the deal to US Defense Secretary Mark Esper via email. Extra-parliamentary steps seem to have taken place with the agreement of CDU’s coalition partner, Social Democrats. In a statement, the Ministry of Defense noted that the SPD had been involved in the process for weeks. Der Spiegel also reported that a secret agreement was made with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (both SPD).

F / A-18F Super Hornet during a supersonic test flight in 2010. (Image Credit: Photo of the US Navy by Liz Goettee)

On Monday, government officials reiterated Germany’s commitment to “nuclear participation” as part of NATO. This is “an important component of a prevention strategy that can be trusted in an alliance,” stressed government spokesman Stefan Seibert in Berlin.

Foreign Minister Maas distanced himself from other SPD members, including SPD co-leader Norbert Walter-Borjans, who had criticized German purchases of US-made aircraft and a nuclear alliance close to Washington for several days earlier. “Unilateral steps that undermine the confidence of our close partners and European neighbors weaken our alliance,” Maas said.

On Sunday, SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich told the German daily Tagesspiegel“Nuclear weapons on German soil do not improve our security, on the contrary.” It is time for Germany to rule out placement in the future. Other countries have done this without making NATO questionable. “He then added,” As Germans, we must confidently demand to influence NATO’s nuclear strategy, even when there are no nuclear weapons stored on our territory. “

Critics of the government from the SPD sections, which are supported by the Left, have nothing to do with pacifism. The aim is to develop a foreign and nuclear policy that is more independent from the United States and dominated by Germany and the EU. In the past, the SPD demanded that the Tornado be replaced exclusively with Eurofighters which were reused to “promote domestic production and prevent over-dependence on the United States,” as reported by the N-TV news channel.

Regardless of which fighter jet model the German government ultimately chooses, what happens is the largest German air force weaponry since the end of the Second World War, and, in the final analysis, German nuclear weaponry. According to the Ministry of Defense, the government’s desire to buy F-18 fighter jets is only seen as “a temporary solution for nuclear participation and electronic-supported electronic combat.” Development of “[Future Combat Air System (FCAS)] do not be endangered. “

FCAS is a European system consisting of multi-function manned fighter jets, several unmanned aircraft (long distance carriers), and new weapons and communication systems. The plan is for an integrated combat system that combines drones, fighter jets, satellites, and command and control aircraft, potentially related to independent nuclear capabilities.

In a foreign policy speech in February, French President Emmanuel Macron appealed for a “strategic dialogue” on European nuclear prevention. In the face of the nuclear arms race, Macron stated that Europeans could not limit themselves “to the role of the audience.”

FCAS is part of the Franco-German leadership’s effort to turn the European Union into a military force capable of waging war independently, and if necessary, in contrast to the United States. Under conditions of mounting conflict between the main powers, project development was aggressively encouraged. After Germany, France and Spain officially launched FCAS last June, “there will now be a shift to technology development and demonstrations over the next 18 months with German investment of € 78 million,” noted a report from the Ministry of Defense on February 13.

In a press statement from April 22, Kramp-Karrenbauer also noted that fighter jets were “a transition … to goal-oriented FCAS technology in the future.” The problem with the replacement of the Tornado fleet is to “equip future air force armed forces so that all Tornado capabilities, air combat capability, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and also the ability for nuclear participation, can be included in the future.” In this process, it is important that we maintain industrial policy capability here in Germany and Europe. We need a solution that ensures that Europe’s main air system in the future, namely FCAS, is not at risk in the period after 2040. “

The amount of money set aside for this project is very large. With the cost for each F-18 standing at $ 93 million (€ 85 million) and each Eurofighter for $ 170 million (€ 156 million), the total cost for 138 jets amounts to $ 20 billion or € 18.5 billion, despite the costs for new weapons the program generally produces many multiples of the original number.

The cost of European air systems is much higher. In total, costs will rise above € 100 billion. Handelsblatt reported last year that by the middle of this century, the system would swallow “up to € 500 billion.”

In the midst of the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic, funding for this project is a social and political crime. As the International Campaign for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the International Doctor for the Prevention of Nuclear War noted, the cost for an F-18 jet alone (€ 7.47 billion) would be enough to build 100,000 intensive care beds, buy 30,000 ventilators, and pay 60,000 nurses and 25,000 doctor for one full year.

The purchase price for weapons of mass destruction is enough to finance the work of the World Health Organization for four and a half years.

The German government’s plan explains that 75 years after the end of the Second World War, German imperialism and militarism have once again revived its criminal traditions. The ruling elites in Germany responded to the buildup of nuclear weapons by the United States and rising tensions between the major powers by preparing their own plans for destruction.

Think tanks, commentators, newspapers and influential politicians have been demanding weapons of Germany’s own mass destruction for some time.

Recently, the president of the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP) and former head of Europe’s second big arms company EADS, Tom Enders, said, in an article entitled, “We must talk about nuclear weapons” to collaborate with France or the creation of a nuclear deterrent Germany itself. “Responsible German security and foreign policy” must consider “the nuclear choice of the Federal Republic of Germany wisely and with regard to reapolitics.” This discussion must “not exclude options from the start as taboo,” including “which seems inconceivable: does Germany need its own nuclear weapons?” “Building a European defense union ready for combat is difficult to imagine without nuclear support.”

The only way to prevent this arms race and the annihilation of humankind in the third world war fought with nuclear weapons is to mobilize the working class against rearmament, war and its source – the capitalist profit system. Workers and young people must fight for expropriation without compensation from weapons companies, banks and oligarchs who are very rich so that this vast resource can be used to fight a pandemic and meet the social needs of the majority. These demands cannot be separated from the formation of workers’ power and the socialist transformation of society.

The author also recommends:

The European Union is rearming for World War III

[21 June 2019]

German rights demand nuclear “weapons of mass destruction”

[31 July 2018]

The conservative newspaper promotes German nuclear weapons

[2 August 2017]



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