Missing The Indian Point Nuclear Disaster (Revelation 6:12)

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Nuclear spent fuel fire could force millions of people to relocate — ScienceDaily

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) relied on faulty analysis to justify its refusal to adopt a critical measure for protecting Americans from the occurrence of a catastrophic nuclear-waste fire at any one of dozens of reactor sites around the country, according to an article in the May 26 issue of Science magazine. Fallout from such a fire could be considerably larger than the radioactive emissions from the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan.

Published by researchers from Princeton University and the Union of Concerned Scientists, the article argues that NRC inaction leaves the public at high risk from fires in spent-nuclear-fuel cooling pools at reactor sites. The pools — water-filled basins that store and cool used radioactive fuel rods — are so densely packed with nuclear waste that a fire could release enough radioactive material to contaminate an area twice the size of New Jersey. On average, radioactivity from such an accident could force approximately 8 million people to relocate and result in $2 trillion in damages.

These catastrophic consequences, which could be triggered by a large earthquake or a terrorist attack, could be largely avoided by regulatory measures that the NRC refuses to implement. Using a biased regulatory analysis, the agency excluded the possibility of an act of terrorism as well as the potential for damage from a fire beyond 50 miles of a plant. Failing to account for these and other factors led the NRC to significantly underestimate the destruction such a disaster could cause.

“The NRC has been pressured by the nuclear industry, directly and through Congress, to low-ball the potential consequences of a fire because of concerns that increased costs could result in shutting down more nuclear power plants,” said paper co-author Frank von Hippel, a senior research physicist at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security (SGS), based at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “Unfortunately, if there is no public outcry about this dangerous situation, the NRC will continue to bend to the industry’s wishes.”

Von Hippel’s co-authors are Michael Schoeppner, a former postdoctoral researcher at Princeton’s SGS, and Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Spent-fuel pools were brought into the spotlight following the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami that struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, disabling the electrical systems necessary for cooling the reactor cores. This led to core meltdowns at three of the six reactors at the facility, hydrogen explosions, and a release of radioactive material.

“The Fukushima accident could have been a hundred times worse had there been a loss of the water covering the spent fuel in pools associated with each reactor,” von Hippel said. “That almost happened at Fukushima in Unit 4.”

In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, the NRC considered proposals for new safety requirements at U.S. plants. One was a measure prohibiting plant owners from densely packing spent-fuel pools, requiring them to expedite transfer of all spent fuel that has cooled in pools for at least five years to dry storage casks, which are inherently safer. Densely packed pools are highly vulnerable to catching fire and releasing huge amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

The NRC analysis found that a fire in a spent-fuel pool at an average nuclear reactor site would cause $125 billion in damages, while expedited transfer of spent fuel to dry casks could reduce radioactive releases from pool fires by 99 percent. However, the agency decided the possibility of such a fire is so unlikely that it could not justify requiring plant owners to pay the estimated cost of $50 million per pool.

The NRC cost-benefit analysis assumed there would be no consequences from radioactive contamination beyond 50 miles from a fire. It also assumed that all contaminated areas could be effectively cleaned up within a year. Both of these assumptions are inconsistent with experience after the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents.

In two previous articles, von Hippel and Schoeppner released figures that correct for these and other errors and omissions. They found that millions of residents in surrounding communities would have to relocate for years, resulting in total damages of $2 trillion — nearly 20 times the NRC’s result. Considering the nuclear industry is only legally liable for $13.6 billion, thanks to the Price Anderson Act of 1957, U.S. taxpayers would have to cover the remaining costs.

The authors point out that if the NRC does not take action to reduce this danger, Congress has the authority to fix the problem. Moreover, the authors suggest that states that provide subsidies to uneconomical nuclear reactors within their borders could also play a constructive role by making those subsidies available only for plants that agreed to carry out expedited transfer of spent fuel.

“In far too many instances, the NRC has used flawed analysis to justify inaction, leaving millions of Americans at risk of a radiological release that could contaminate their homes and destroy their livelihoods,” said Lyman. “It is time for the NRC to employ sound science and common-sense policy judgments in its decision-making process.”

What Antiballistic System?

As North Korea claims missile progress, Pentagon plans ICBM interceptor test

As North Korea makes headway in developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the US mainland, the Pentagon is preparing to test its missile interceptor – which has a very inconsistent record, APA reports quoting Sputnik.

First developed during the Cold War as part of former US President Ronald Reagan’s multi-billion dollar “Star Wars” effort to counter Soviet ballistic missiles, the US missile interceptor has only had nine successful tests among the 17 conducted since 1999.

After a recent successful missile test, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the US mainland was in “sighting range for a strike,” and claimed that they have missiles capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead, though this has not been verified.

Earlier this week, US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart warned a Senate hearing that if Pyongyang’s activities aren’t reined in, “the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland,” calling such an event “inevitable” if action isn’t taken.

Though the Pentagon has a number of missile defense systems, only one of them, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, is designed to counter a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This system is also the least reliable, according to critics.

The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency has scheduled the test for Tuesday, when a target will be launched from the Kwajalein Atoll test range in the Pacific. The intention is that the missile will be met by an interceptor launched from an underground chamber at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Missile Defense Agency spokesman Christopher Johnson explained that the target will be custom made to resemble an ICBM, meaning it will travel at a quicker pace than test missiles used in the past.

“We conduct increasingly complex test scenarios as the program matures and advances,” Johnson said on Friday. “Testing against an ICBM-type threat is the next step in that process.”

There has been much saber rattling between Washington and Pyongyang, with the two countries trading barbs and shows of force. North Korea refuses to halt its nuclear weapons and missile testing despite international calls for denuclearization and sanctions from the United Nations.

The US has riled Pyongyang by sending a Navy carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson along with the USS Michigan, a Tomahawk missile-armed nuclear powered submarine, near its waters.

The Sixth Seal by Nostradamus (Rev 6:12)

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The Sixth Seal by Nostradamus
To Andrew the Prophet
Completed February 5, 2008

Les Propheties
(Century 1 Quatrain 27)

Michel de Nostredame Earth-shaking fire from the center of the earth.Will cause the towers around the New City to shake,Two great rocks for a long time will make war, And then Arethusa will color a new river red.(And then areth USA will color a new river red.) Earth-shaking fire from the center of the earth.Will cause the towers around the New City to shake,Two great rocks for a long time will make war

There is recent scientific evidence from drill core sampling in Manhattan, that the southern peninsula is overlapped by several tectonic plates. Drill core sampling has been taken from regions south of Canal Street including the Trade Towers’ site. Of particular concern is that similar core samples have been found across the East River in Brooklyn. There are also multiple fault lines along Manhattan correlating with north-northwest and northwest trending neo-tectonic activity. And as recently as January and October of 2001, New York City has sustained earthquakes along these plates. For there are “two great rocks” or tectonic plates that shear across Manhattan in a northwestern pattern. And these plates “for a longtime will make war”, for they have been shearing against one other for millions of years. And on January 3 of 2010, when they makewar with each other one last time, the sixth seal shall be opened, and all will know that the end is near.

And then Arethusa will color a new river red.

Arethusa is a Greek mythological figure, a beautiful huntress and afollower of the goddess Artemis. And like Artemis, Arethusa would have nothing to do with me; rather she loved to run and hunt in the forest. But one day after an exhausting hunt, she came to a clear crystal stream and went in it to take a swim. She felt something from beneath her, and frightened she scampered out of the water. A voice came from the water, “Why are you leaving fair maiden?” She ran into the forest to escape, for the voice was from Alpheus, the god of the river. For he had fallen in love with her and became a human to give chase after her. Arethusa in exhaustion called out to Artemis for help, and the goddess hid her by changing her into a spring.But not into an ordinary spring, but an underground channel that traveled under the ocean from Greece to Sicily. But Alpheus being the god of the river, converted back into water and plunged downthe same channel after Arethusa. And thus Arethusa was captured by Artemis, and their waters would mingle together forever. And of great concern is that core samples found in train tunnels beneath the Hudson River are identical to those taken from southern Manhattan. Furthermore, several fault lines from the 2001 earthquakes were discovered in the Queen’s Tunnel Complex, NYC Water Tunnel #3. And a few years ago, a map of Manhattan drawn up in 1874 was discovered, showing a maze of underground waterways and lakes. For Manhattan was once a marshland and labyrinth of underground streams. Thus when the sixth seal is broken, the subways of the New City shall be flooded be Arethusa:the waters from the underground streams and the waters from the sea. And Arethusa shall be broken into two. And then Arethusa will color a new river red.

And then areth USA will color a new river red.

For Arethusa broken into two is areth USA. For areth (αρετη) is the Greek word for values. But the values of the USA are not based on morality, but on materialism and on wealth. Thus when the sixth seal is opened, Wall Street and our economy shall crash and “arethUSA”, the values of our economy shall fall “into the red.” “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:15-17)

Iran Abandons Last Signs of Democracy

2583After Reelection, Iran’s President Rouhani Abandons Promise to Free Green Movement Leaders

Asked what he would do to free opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hosseini Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, who have been detained for more than six years for leading the peaceful, mass protests against the disputed result of the 2009 presidential election, Rouhani suggested that a solution depended on cooperation from other branches of state.

“The country is ruled by laws and we should all submit to them,” he said on May 22. “The executive, legislative and judicial branches have their own responsibilities. We are moving forward on the basis of the Constitution.”

“I am responsible for the rights of every citizen, even Iranians living abroad,” added Rouhani. “Wherever I see the rights of Iranians being violated, I will take action within my powers. In cases related to the judiciary, I will respond by direct communication or in joint meetings. The next government plans to implement the Charter on Citizens’ Rights. In this respect, the rights of all people are important to me.”

Rouhani made no reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, whose adamant opposition to freeing the three has kept them detained in legal limbo.

At a presidential campaign rally at Sharif University in Tehran on May 13, 2013, Rouhani said he hoped he could free the three within the first year of his presidency: “We can provide conditions such that over the next year, individuals who were imprisoned or put under house arrest for the 2009 events are released.”

Chants for freedom for Mousavi and Karroubi were a fixture amongst Rouhani supporters throughout the election campaign, and celebrations of his victory.

Amid Rouhani’s virtual silence on the issue during his first term, other politicians raised it a number of times, including conservative Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari, who has repeatedly spoken of the need for a solution.

In an interview on May 8, 2017, Motahari repeated his suggestion that the issue could be resolved through negotiation.

“Some steps have been taken towards resolving the house arrests and we have to listen to the reasoning by the opposing side,” he said. “We have to move towards improving the conditions in the country and prevent issues before they turn into a crisis.”

Motahari has previously explained that Khamenei is the driving factor behind the continuing house arrests.

“One of the obstacles against their freedom has been the insistence by some officials that if they do not apologize and repent, it will damage the state and the supreme leader,” said Motahari. “It isn’t wrong to have an opinion about the 2009 incidents different than those of people in power…keeping [Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi] under house arrest for six years is neither compatible with the law nor with religious teachings.”

At the May 22 press conference, the newly reelected president was also asked about his policies on protecting the rights of the artistic community, particularly those in the music and film industries.

“One of the outcomes of this year’s elections was that everyone was at peace with music,” responded Rouhani. “However, we are not too fond of cheap music. Some say that’s fine as well, but in any case, I am certain our new government will give more support to the cultural community.”

“The situation did improve for music and cinema in our previous four years, but we will make greater efforts in the next four,” he added.

Since 2013, when Rouhani was voted into office promising a more open society, numerous state-sanctioned musicians, including popular artists Alireza Ghorbani and Sirvan Khosravi, saw their concerts canceled at the last moment.

Religious conservatives have justified their attacks on musicians by quoting vague statements and decrees by senior religious leaders. Khamenei has himself often warned about the alleged dangers of music, saying it will “lead people away from the path of God.”

Rouhani also said his government would adopt proposals based on educational guidelines provided by the UN 2030 Agenda—vehemently opposed by conservatives—that do not violate Islamic principles.

“The ministers of foreign affairs, science and education wrote to the supreme leader explaining to His Excellency at length that the Islamic Republic of Iran has reserved the right to ignore parts of agenda 2030 that do not conform with our culture and national values,” Rouhani said.

On the issue of women in the workforce, Rouhani said his government would do more to increase women’s employment prospects.

“It’s wrong to think that men have a higher status or that they are more capable than women,” he said.

At the same time, Rouhani echoed Khamenei’s sexist views by claiming certain jobs are more suitable for men than women: “Of course men are better at some professions and women are better at others. (God) has given both their own special qualities.”

“But women are not lower than men and keeping them inside the house does not make sense from social or legal standpoints,” he added.

The Nuclear Fallout After the Sixth Seal

https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/headline/thumbs/indian_point_2.jpgScientists just blasted US nuclear regulators, saying fallout danger is far greater than claimed

mike-wehner

As the world keeps an eye trained on loose canons like North Korea, researchers from Princeton University say the threat from nuclear fallout from within our own borders is something that needs our attention. The researchers teamed up with the Union of Concerned Scientists to issue a warning, calling out the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for using faulty data and skewed analysis to downplay the potential impact of a nuclear disaster in the United States.

The group, which published an article in Science magazine, alleges that the NRC is being lobbied and the result is a great danger to everyday citizens. “The NRC has been pressured by the nuclear industry, directly and through Congress, to low-ball the potential consequences of a fire because of concerns that increased costs could result in shutting down more nuclear power plants,” Frank von Hippel of Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security, said. “Unfortunately, if there is no public outcry about this dangerous situation, the NRC will continue to bend to the industry’s wishes.”

Using computer models based on real-world weather patterns, the team simulated the fallout from a nuclear waste fire at any of the many nuclear reactors across the nation. According to the scientists, the resulting damage caused by the radiation, including evacuations and relocations for years after the event, would result in a total cost of $2 trillion, which is an order of magnitude greater than the amount of liability compensation the US nuclear industry would provide in such a situation.

In short, if the scientists are indeed correct, a nuclear waste fire is not only a real concern, but if it were to happen, we’re ill-equipped to deal with it, and would end up paying for the cleanup ourselves thanks to shoddy regulation and little to no oversight.

India May Accelerate Tensions with Pakistan

WASHINGTON: India is moving towards isolating Pakistan diplomatically and is considering punitive actions against Islamabad for its support to cross-border terrorism, a top American defence intelligence chief has told lawmakers, reports NDTV.“India has sought and continues to move to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and is considering punitive options to raise the cost to Islamabad for its alleged support to cross-border terrorism,” Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats.

His statement came a day after Indian Army launched “punitive fire assaults” on Pakistani positions across the Line of Control. India, he said, is modernising its military to better posture itself to defend New Delhi’s interests in the broader Indian Ocean region and reinforce its diplomatic and economic outreach across Asia.

Bilateral relations between India and Pakistan worsened following several terrorist attacks in India, he said.“Continued threat of high-level terror attacks in India, violence in Jammu and Kashmir and bilateral diplomatic recriminations will further strain India-Pakistan ties in 2017,” he said.

Following a terrorist attack on an army base in Jammu and Kashmir last September, New Delhi conducted a highly publicised operation against terrorists across the Line of Control, he added.

“In 2016, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged some of the heaviest fire in years along the Line of Control in Kashmir, and each expelled a number of the other’s diplomats amid growing tension,” Lt Gen Stewart said.

He also told lawmakers that in 2017, Islamabad is likely to slowly shift from traditional counterinsurgency operations along Pakistan’s western border to more counter-terrorism and paramilitary operations throughout the country.

Noting that Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile continues to grow, Lt Gen Stewart said the US is concerned that this growth, as well as an evolving doctrine and inherent security issues associated with Pakistan’s developing tactical nuclear weapons, presents an enduring risk. “Islamabad is taking steps to improve its nuclear security and is aware of the extremist threat to its program,” Lt Gen Stewart said.

Observing that China has long identified the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity as a “core interest,” he said in the South China Sea, China has embarked on a multi year, whole-of-government approach to securing sovereignty, principally through maritime law enforcement presence and military patrols.

In 2016, China rejected the international arbitration ruling on its excessive South China Sea claims, built infrastructure at its man made outposts on the Spratly Islands, and for the first time, landed civilian aircraft on its airfields at Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef.

“China will be able to use its reclaimed features as persistent civil-military bases, which will enhance its presence and its ability to control the features and nearby maritime space. Beijing recognises the need to defend these outposts and is prepared to respond to any military operations near them,” he told the lawmakers.

Lt Gen Stewart said a key component of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) strategy in a regional contingency is planning for potential US intervention. The PLA Rocket Force has given priority to developing and deploying regional ballistic and cruise missiles to expand its conventional strike capabilities against US forces and bases throughout the region.

“In addition to the Rocket Force’s fielding of an anti-ship ballistic missile, China is fielding an intermediate range ballistic missile capable of conducting conventional and nuclear strikes against ground targets in the Asia-Pacific region as far away as Guam,” he said.

Why Australia Will Soon Become Nuclear (Daniel 7)

Over the past century, Australia has been America’s most dependable military ally. In every major U.S. conflict, including World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, Australians have fought alongside.

Yet as competition between China and the United States heats up in the Western Pacific, Australia is cautious not to provoke its greatest trading partner. When it comes to a potential U.S.-China conflict, Australia is doing all it can to keep its options open – and with good reason.

Australia is highly vulnerable to long-range missile attack, including those carrying nuclear payloads. Despite Australia being a continental power, almost all its population is concentrated in a half-dozen major cities — easy targets for small numbers of warheads.

In a high-intensity conflict between the United States and China, it is conceivable that China may target Australia with long-range nuclear missiles as a step up the escalation ladder, demonstrating to the United States its capacity, and willingness, to conduct nuclear strikes over intercontinental ranges.

In this eventuality, extended nuclear deterrence would hardly be credible. Retaliating on Australia’s behalf would demonstrably mean accepting large-scale nuclear attack by China on the continental United States.

For this reason, many Australians believe entering into conflict with the world’s most populous nuclear power, for any reason and under any circumstance, is unthinkable – despite very strong support for the Australia-U.S. alliance overall. The most effective means for Australia to insulate itself from long-range nuclear attack is to develop or acquire its own reliable long-range nuclear deterrent.

Many would consider this a bad idea. If Australia (a non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT) went nuclear, conventional wisdom suggests it very difficult to dissuade Japan, South Korea and others from following suit, critically threatening the nuclear non-proliferation regime as a whole.

This view is fundamentally flawed. In actuality, Australia has a very unique legal status with regard to nuclear weapons.

At present, there are five Nuclear-Weapon States under the NPT (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China). Under Article IX.3 of the NPT, a country may accede to the treaty as a Nuclear-Weapon State if that state “manufactured and exploded a nuclear device prior to January 1, 1967”.

Australia qualifies. In the 1950s and ’60s, Australia hosted a series of nuclear tests conducted by the United Kingdom. These nuclear explosions were conducted on Australian sovereign territory with the active participation of Australian scientists and military personnel.

These tests received financial support direct from the Australian government, with at least some explosions likely to have used fissile material that had been sourced locally from within Australia. No other non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT is in this category.

As Rod Lyon of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute sharply has observed from recently declassified documents, Australian negotiators were very much cognizant of this legal basis prior to Australia joining the treaty. In sum, if Australia determined it was a national security imperative to develop an independent nuclear deterrent, it would be legally entitled to do so.

As this legal status does not apply to America’s other allies in the Asia-Pacific, a changed nuclear status by Australia under the NPT would not automatically undermine the treaty as a whole.

A nuclear-armed Australia is likely to confer a number of strategic advantages upon the United States. It strengthens Australia’s resolve in supporting the United States in a potentially open-ended strategic contest in the Asia-Pacific. It supports extended nuclear deterrence by removing a potentially vulnerable element of the policy, and the nations in Southeast Asia will see Australia as a more capable strategic partner and deepen cooperation.

There’s more. A nuclear-armed Australia makes drawing the country into a broader collective defense architecture much more feasible. Having a reliable U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific with an independent nuclear deterrent strengthens nuclear deterrence in the Asia-Pacific overall. And it achieves these objectives without fatally weakening nuclear non-proliferation efforts more broadly.

The United States should publicly recognize Australia’s right to nuclear weapons under the NPT. This does not mean that Australia will immediately seek to acquire such weapons.

Australia has a strong non-proliferation record and a long history of disarmament activism. In the short-term, Australia would use this recognition to leverage its position in present nuclear arms control negotiations, further persuading countries in the region to exercise nuclear restraint.

Regardless of Australia’s future nuclear choices, just acknowledging the legal reality of Australia’s unique status under the NPT supports America’s long-term strategy in the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. government should do so as a matter of priority.

The Problem With Trump’s Big Mouth

Has there ever been a more indiscreet world leader than Donald Trump? We knew in the campaign that he had a big mouth when he was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women and getting away with it, but very few people would have predicted that this propensity to discuss private matters in wildly inappropriate contexts would extend to classified intelligence.

After all,  month after month he excoriated Hillary Clinton for allowing some confidential emails to be inadvertently sent over her personal email server when she was secretary of state. He said it disqualified her, in fact, and “she should not have been allowed” to run for president because of it.

Trump told Clinton to her face that if he were president she would be in jail:

Well, Donald Trump is the president now and several different government entities are investigating his campaign and administration. And he’s been shamelessly blurting out highly sensitive intelligence to foreign adversaries, unstable tyrants and even the press without a second thought.

Trump felt the need to meet with the Russian ambassador and the foreign minister at the behest of Vladimir Putin and in the course of their conversation he bragged that he had “great intel” and proceeded to expose a foreign ally’s asset by giving them  highly sensitive “code-word” intelligence without the ally’s permission. As former CIA chief John Brennan explained in testimony  before Congress this week, while it’s true that a president has the authority to declassify information, he is supposed to follow protocols:

The first [protocol] is that this kind of intelligence is not shared with visiting foreign ministers or local ambassadors. It’s shared through intelligence channels. The second is that, before sharing any classified intelligence with foreign partners, it has to go back to the originating agency to ensure that revealing it won’t compromise sources, methods and future collection capabilities.

There has never been a need for a protocol to guide a proudly ignorant, inexperienced president with a pathological need to brag to everyone he meets, since nobody anticipated such a thing before. Now we know.

And nobody anticipated that this same president would visit the foreign ally he exposed and confirm to reporters from all over the world that it had been the source of that intelligence. But Trump did that too.

And while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put on a good face for the cameras, the effect on the relationship has been profound. After the breach was reported, BuzzFeed spoke to two Israeli intelligence officials who said that this was their worst fear confirmed. One explained, “There has to be trust for this sort of arrangement. I cannot speak for Israel’s entire security apparatus, but I would not trust a partner who shared intelligence without coordinating it with us first.”

Foreign Policy reported that the Israeli defense minister admitted that the two countries have since revised their “protocols” and when asked what they were he tartly replied, “Not everything needs to be discussed in the media; some things need to be talked about in closed rooms.” A certain president shouldn’t talk about such things in closed rooms either, since he is incapable of understanding protocols for anything.

But that wasn’t the only report we had this week of Donald Trump’s loose lips putting national security in danger. The Intercept released a transcript of the Trump’s recent phone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (I wrote about it here.) The actual words were worse than we knew. Not only did the president effusively compliment Duterte on his murderous drug war, he also insulted former President Barack Obama for failing to be equally impressed.

The two leaders  discussed the threat from North Korea, mused about the mental state of Kim Jong-un and batted around the idea that nuclear war might end up being necessary. Trump said he hoped the Chinese would take care of it but promised that if they didn’t the U.S. would. Then he shared some military secrets with a foreign leader widely seen as unbalanced and untrustworthy:

We have two submarines – the best in the world – we have two nuclear submarines – not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this but [Kim] could be crazy so we will see what happens.

According to BuzzFeed, the Pentagon was in shock:

“We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movements secret is key to their mission.

While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that, in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of force. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.

Trump, Duterte, Kim Jong-un and nuclear weapons. What could go wrong?

There are dozens of reasons why America’s allies and adversaries alike are starting to panic a little bit about Donald Trump serving as the supposed leader of the free world. Until now, despite major misgivings, it was not entirely clear whether Trump might grow into the job or whether American institutions and expertise would be able to guide his behavior. After four months it seems clear that’s not as easy as everyone hoped.

In this context, the fact that U.S. officials apparently leaked the identity of the accused Manchester bomber to the press before U.K. authorities were ready to do so was received with sharp irritation by the British government. If this had happened under any other administration, the misunderstanding between two close allies would likely have been handled quietly. But it’s obvious that the gusher of leaks throughout the government and at high levels of the White House has other countries spooked.

Along with the president’s ongoing inability to understand and respect the seriousness of classified intelligence, this lack of trust in the United States government’s basic competence and predictability is making the world order as we’ve known it for the last 60 years suddenly feel very unstable. It will be interesting to see whether the NATO meeting being held over the next few days can provide any sense of reassurance.

The Real “Korea” Problem

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Iran is Our Biggest North Korea Problem

Far from being smart and pragmatic, thinking North Korea’s odious regime can be reformed into a better regime seems to rely on magical Unicorns spreading sparkly poop across Pyongyang and infecting their leadership class with hopeful goodness. Getting rid of the Iranian mullah regime is the key to a successful North Korea policy.

Yeah, nice work if you can get it:

Our main argument is that a smart, practical foreign policy on North Korea must include cooperation with China, a controlled Russia, strong assurances to South Korea, the equities of Japan, robust domestic support in the United States and no direct military confrontation to achieve the political objective of a denuclearized Korean peninsula. [emphasis added]

Is that all a successful North Korea policy to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses rather than to his knees requires? Plus North Korea’s cooperation, of course. A simple oversight, I’m sure.

I feel foolish not to have thought of this approach before. Especially the “equities” of Japan. I don’t know what it means but it sounds awesome.

But really, there are more modifiers than policy in this policy description. And ponder that Russia is the wild card in their framework–not North Korea itself.

And one more thing. Why muddy the waters by pretending that the problem is denuclearizing the “Korean peninsula” when the nuclear problem lies solely north of the 38th parallel?

I remain convinced that our main problem with reacting to North Korea lies outside of North Korea in Iran.

Back when President Bush named the Axis of Evil, I felt the proper response to each was invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam, support for an Iranian revolution to overthrow of Iran’s mullahs, and containment of North Korea until they collapsed–ideally before they get nukes.

We invaded Iraq. And you must admit that having an Iraq that fights rather than supports terrorism; doesn’t slaughter their own Kurds; and which doesn’t seek WMD or threaten to invade Kuwait and points south is a good thing.

But we never supported the people of Iran who polls show like America but don’t like their government. Under Bush, the Democrats would have impeached the man for trying that.

And under Obama there was no interest in that solution given we sided with the mullahs when the people took to the streets in 2009 in support of real reform rather than accepting the rigged elections that perpetuate mullah rule; and given the horrible nuclear deal that shoveled money at Iran with only the fig leaf of delaying Iran’s nuclear threshold a decade (assuming Iran does not cheat).

Ponder that President Obama looked the other way while the Iranian regime suppressed their people in order to pave the way for the monumentally stupid Iran nuclear deal. The Obama administration truly believed that an Iranian ruler was “moderate” if he could avoid screaming “Death to America!” in English while a Western camera was pointed at him.

Unless the Iranian people somehow topple the regime, we’re stuck with this aggressive nutball regime that wants nukes.

In my view, overthrowing Iran’s mullahs was the necessary condition for supporting containment of North Korea. North Korea is awful, but I think they can be deterred from using nukes because their priority is regime survival.

As distasteful as accepting that regime is, the cost of war (and any narrow strike on nuclear targets could easily and rapidly expand to general war) would be monumental. I’m sorry that the North Korean people suffer under this approach, but somebody will and I’d rather it not be us or our allies. Life is rough, eh?

With a nutball Iranian regime that could very well buy nuclear technology from North Korea (or even complete nuclear weapons systems), containing North Korea just enables Iran to go nuclear.

When North Korea announces this, are they just letting a customer know that they are ready to take orders?

North Korea said on Monday it successfully tested what it called an intermediate-range ballistic missile, which met all technical requirements and could now be mass-produced, although U.S. officials and experts questioned the extent of its progress.

You must admit that the nuclear deal with Iran could result in Iran technically abiding fully with the terms of the agreement and also buying nuclear weapons from North Korea.

As long as Iran needs North Korea to get nukes, simply containing North Korea is a less than ideal solution.

Not to mock the authors too much. I do have great respect for SAMS. Maybe my imagination is insufficient to appreciate their policy proposal. Although in my own defense their presentation invited mockery. Yet I do think deterrence rather than use of force could be the policy of choice if North Korea has no nutball customers for their nukes.

And I do want to keep pressure on North Korea. Although I think regime (or state) collapse is the more likely goal rather than hoping that the regime will evolve into something less horrible. North Korea is clearly willing to impoverish and starve their people to remain in power. I think North Korea is wrong to believe nukes are necessary to deter invasion and so remain in power, but the North Korean elites apparently believe it very much.

South Korea evolved from a non-murderous authoritarian regime to a real democracy. North Korea has a long way to just reach South Korea’s starting point. Is there really hope of going even part of the way down that route?

The only way to get to a North Korea policy that doesn’t involve war to destroy North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure is to destroy the mullah regime in Iran before it gets nuclear weapons. Do that and North Korean nukes are a bilateral deterrence issue rather than a proliferation issue.

This makes President’s Trump to the Middle East very significant:

One speech cannot change Arab or Muslim perceptions of the president or the U.S. as an ally. Much will depend on the years and actions that follow. Words really matter, however, and especially in the Middle East. This time, the president used the right words to start rebuilding the foundations of America’s strategic partnerships in the Muslim world and Middle East, and to deal with truly urgent threats. This speech is the right beginning — in remarkably well-crafted terms — and it deserves bipartisan and expert respect.

Indeed, with a focus on defeating Iran that this trip highlights rather than the last administration’s hope to befriend and neuter Iran,

the deal may handcuff Iran’s nuclear production ambitions long enough to defeat the mullahs

.

And a friendly Iran would have a great effect on our Afghanistan dilemma, too.

Indian Point Will Contaminate The Hudson With Plutonium At The Sixth Seal

Part of Indian Point nuclear plant still shut after transformer fire

AP
Sunday, May 10, 2015 06:35PM
BUCHANAN —

Part of a nuclear power plant remained offline Sunday after a transformer fire crea ted another problem: thousands of gallons of oil leaking into the Hudson River.
At an afternoon briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said emergency crews were out on the water near Buchanan trying to contain and clean up the transformer fluid that leaked from Indian Point 3.

“There’s no doubt that oil was discharged into the Hudson River,” Cuomo said. “Exactly how much, we don’t know.”

The transformer at the plant about 30 miles north of midtown Manhattan failed on Saturday evening, causing a fire that forced the automatic shutdown.

Cuomo revealed Sunday that even after the blaze on the non-nuclear side of the plant was quickly doused, the heat reignited the fire, but it was again extinguished.

Oil in the transformer seeped into a holding tank that did not have the capacity to contain all the fluid, which then entered river waters through a discharge drain.

Joseph Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said measures were taken to keep the oil from spreading, including setting up booms over an area about 300 feet in diameter in the water.

The cleanup should take a day or two, Cuomo said.

A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said several thousand gallons of oil may have overflowed the transformer moat.

The reactor itself was deemed safe and stable throughout, said a spokesman for owner Entergy Corp. The plant’s adjacent Unit 2 reactor was not affected and remained in operation.

The Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan supplies electricity for millions of homes, businesses and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County.

“These situations we take very seriously. Luckily this was not a major situation. But the emergency protocols are very important,” Cuomo said Saturday. “I take nothing lightly when it comes to this plant specifically.”

The transformer at Indian Point 3 takes energy created by the plant and changes the voltage for the grid supplying power to the state. The blaze, which sent black smoke billowing into the sky, was extinguished by a sprinkler system and on-site personnel, Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said. Westchester County police and fire were on site as a precaution.

It was not immediately clear what caused the failure, or whether the transformer would be repaired or replaced. Nappi said there were no health or safety risks.

Officials did not know how long the 1,000-megawatt reactor would be down. Entergy is investigating the failure.

Cuomo said there had been too many emergencies recently involving Indian Point. Unit 3 was shut down Thursday morning for an unrelated issue – a water leak on the non-nuclear side of the plant. It was repaired and there was no radioactive release, Nappi said.

In March, Unit 3 was shut down for a planned refueling that took about a month.

“We have to get to the bottom of this,” the governor said.

Diane Screnci, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said an agency inspector was at the site Sunday and the agency would follow up as Indian Point assesses the affected equipment.

She said there was no impact on the public, and it was not out of the ordinary for a transformer to have a problem.

The environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper issued a statement Sunday saying the latest Indian Point accident proves that the plant should be closed for good.