The Labile Pakistani Nuclear Horn (Rev 8)

Who guards Pakistan’s Islamic bomb?

Raaskoh1By Shahdad Baloch

Like every year this year also the Free Balochistan Movement headed by Baloch national leader Hyrbyair Marri has announced to organise a worldwide protest against Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in Balochistan. Pakistan tested his deadly nuclear weapons in Balochistan’s Koh-e-Kambaran and Raaskoh range of Chaghai Balochistan on 28 May 1998. The Baloch nation has been demanding from the civilised nations of the world and the UN to send medical and nuclear experts to examine the effects of the Pakistan’s nuclear radioactive against the local population.

The aftermaths of the nuclear blasts have been horrendous as each other hundreds of people and livestock die due to the mysterious disease. New babies are born abnormal and skin diseases in the region have dramatically increased. These are the effects that the people of Balochistan have been suffering but the nuclear weapons of Pakistan pose a great threat to the world peace if immediate action is not taken to neutralise Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

“Pakistan’s nukes in the hand of religious fanatics” the rising concerns that whether the nukes of Pakistan are safe from terrorist has rendered them as “Apprehended nukes”, mostly apprehensions come up with reality which then became a trauma for the world. The growing concerns that militants might try to snatch a nuclear weapon in transit or insert sympathisers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities, leaves loopholes that who is guarding the growing nukes of Pakistan?

The killing of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad near the army academy already proved that al Qaeda sympathisers might also be among those guarding Pakistan’s nukes. Pakistan does not release details of its nuclear arsenal before IAEA or the world. Estimates vary on the size of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, although analysts suggest Pakistan has between 60 and 120 nuclear warheads. The attack on Pakistan’s Air Force headquarters and GHQ Rawalpindi shows that the terrorists had advance knowledge of the general’s routes, indicating that they had contacts and allies inside the security forces.

Pakistan has the scattered nuclear arsenal, from tactical nuclear weapons to nukes carrying missiles, which lacks proper security planning. The successes of major attacks on Pakistan army bases and the attack carried out at Mehran Base to hijack a naval frigate by serving Navy personals along with Owais Jakhrani, a former Navy cadet, raised an obvious question: Are the bombs safe? Pakistan maintains there is no chance of Islamist militants getting their hands on atomic weapons. But evidence is on record that Pakistani army and ISI are in cardinal relation with terrorists and there is a big lobby within the army who support Taliban, Daesh and Al Qaeda. In such a state if there occurs a coup than how the world defines the guardians of nukes? Might be in That fashion that the militant army and jihadis are guarding nuclear arsenal unanimously!

On April 29th, President Obama was asked at a news conference whether he could reassure the American people that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could be kept away from terrorists. he said, “gravely concerned”. He added that the biggest threat to Pakistan nukes comes internally. It seems that the world is pessimistic regarding the fragile civilian government of Pakistan and her army’s nexus with religious fanatics.

The first reaction in 1998, came when Bill Clinton was president of America. ”I cannot believe,” Mr. Clinton said. ”that we are about to start the 21st century by having the Indian subcontinent repeat the worst mistakes of the 20th century, when we know it is not necessary to peace, to security, to prosperity, to national greatness, or to personal fulfilment.”

The reiterations from religious extremists that they could carry out more organised attacks on Pakistan’s military basis has enhanced the probability of nuclear theft. It is widely believed that tactical nukes are not far from the reach of religious fanatics who see these as Islamic atom bomb, which could be used on the basis of the ideological clash with Jews and Christians. There is growing hatred within Pakistan against countries like Israel, India, USA and occupied Balochistan. On several forums of the world, it was debated that Pakistan might use its nukes on India and occupied Balochistan, holding the pre-emptive measures Pakistan has scattered the nukes due to which nuclear theft is high risk.

Pakistan army is more a Jihadist factory than a state army, for them both non-Muslims and secular Muslim nations like the Baloch nation are infidels and worthy to be killed which reflect ideological similarities between Pakistan army and religious extremists such as ISIS. Since the test of Islamic atom bomb the world leaders, analysts, institutions, states, and nations are of the same lineage that the nukes of Pakistan are in transition towards extremist mentality, but still, the guardians of nukes are being discussed in theories.

Pakistan has turned occupied Balochistan as her “War terrain”, from where she could operate her evil designs against Baloch nation, Israel and India, even American navy and soldiers are not barred from the presence of Pakistani Navy in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, this is because it is hard to differentiate between the guardians of nukes and the religious extremist who are hell bent to destroy the peace of world. The reduced risk of nuclear war is possible only when the world supports the Baloch struggle for the restoration of an independent, nuclear free secular Balochistan, which would be a buffer state against dogmatic extremist and their supporters like Pakistan.

North Korea Fires Yet Another Missile

North Korea fires ANOTHER ‘unidentified’ missile as Kim Jong-un threatens WAR

By Henry Holloway & Jamie Micklethwaite /

Kim Jong-un and nuclear explosion GETTYHERE WE GO AGAIN: Kim Jong-un launches his 9th missile this year
North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency has said.

Kim Jong-un has been questing to create a nuclear-capable ICBM able to strike the US – with dozens of tests in the past year.

Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Pyongyang launched a projectile in the eastern direction from Wonsan, Gangwon Province at dawn.

“The president was immediately notified of the situation, and the president ordered the NSC Standing Committee at 7:30 am,” the military statement said.

It added: “The flight distance is around 450 km, and South Korea and the U.S. are in the process of conducting detailed analysis on additional information.”

North Korea is believed to be on the verge of their sixth nuclear bomb test – but have yet to make good of threats to ramp up their nuclear programme.Kim believes securing a nuclear ICBM will cement his rule in the beggar kingdom and also allow him to put further pressure on the US.Trump has taken a hardline on North Korea since taking office in response to a string of missile launches this spring.

The Sixth Seal (NYC Quake) WILL Occur (Rev 6:12)

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Earthquakes in the New York – Philadelphia – Wilmington Urban Corridor

Since colonial times people in the New York – Philadelphia – Wilmington urban corridor have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from infrequent larger ones. New York City was damaged in 1737 and 1884. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the urban corridor roughly twice a century, and smaller earthquakes are felt roughly every 2-3 years.

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).

Faults

Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most bedrock beneath the urban corridor was assembled as continents collided to form a supercontinent about 500-300 million years ago, raising the Appalachian Mountains. Most of the rest of the bedrock formed when the supercontinent rifted apart about 200 million years ago to form what are now the northeastern U.S., the Atlantic Ocean, and Europe.

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, often scientists can determine the name of the specific fault that is responsible for an earthquake. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case. New York City, Philadelphia, and Wilmington are far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. The urban corridor is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few, if any, earthquakes in the urban corridor can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in the New York – Philadelphia – Wilmington urban corridor is the earthquakes themselves.

The End of the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Image result for sunni vs shiaSaudi rulers will perish: Khamenei

ANI | Tehran [Iran] May 28, 2017 03:10 PM IST

On the occasion of the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that “Saudi rulers are going to perish”.

He further added that the Saudi rulers “are too harsh on Muslims, yet kind to the disbelievers. They are giving special handouts to the US. To whom does all this wealth belong? This is the Saudi people’s wealth, which they give away to disbelievers and their people’s enemies.”

“Among the Muslim world, a group of worthless, inept and villainous people are ruling over a community of the Muslim nation, namely the Saudi government. The fools actually think they can gain the friendship of Islam’s enemies by providing them with money and assistance. There is no friendship there; as they say themselves, they are ‘milking them’ like cattle. They oppress their own people in this manner, and oppress the people of Yemen and Bahrain in other ways. But they are going to perish.”IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s supreme leader as saying.

After re-elected for a second term, Iran’s reformist president, Hassan Rouhani asserted that unity and consensus is the solution against the terrorism.

The era of interfering in other countries’ affairs, waging wars and funding terrorism is over and fighting terrorism is the only way ahead, he added.

Iran’s leader also reminded his audience on the experience of the Iranian nation’s victory over the eight-year imposed war; adding that the Iranian nation triumphed during the eight-year war as the ‘underdog.’

Referring to the afflictions of the Islamic world and disputes imposed on the Muslim states, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on leaders of the Islamic world to undertake further responsibility regarding unity of the Islamic nations.

History of the Pakistan Nuclear Horn

Journey to making Pakistan a nuclear state was not easy, as  successive rulers and governments faced and resisted all kinds of pressures and sanctions. And, at last, we became a nuclear state on May 28, 1998.

Founder of nuclear programme, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was made a ‘horrible’ example and executed, which many believe was linked to his bold decision on January 20, 1972 and refusal to abandon country’s nuclear programme.

The dream finally came true on this day, May 28, 1998 when another prime minister, Nawaz Sharif (NS), in his second tenure, took the most popular decision and Pakistan joined the nuclear club.

There is a general consensus in the country that Bhutto was the founder of the bomb, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was the father of the bomb. Then the credit goes to Nawaz Sharif, who finally took the decision to make Pakistan a powerful nuclear state, after India conducted its second nuclear test in the same month.

Pakistan twice waited for the US and the West to stop India from initiating an arms race in the region and creating a situation wherein Pakistan was left with no choice but to go for the tests. According to former foreign minister, Sahibzada Yaqub Khan (the late), “Had the US played a responsible role during India’s first nuclear test and stopped India, the country would not have even heard the name of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.”  The decision to launch Pakistan’s nuclear programme was taken in Multan, at the residence of Nawab Sadiq Hussain Qureshi, when Bhutto called the meeting of country’s eminent scientists.  Dr Samar Mubarak Mand, who attended that historic meeting, once quoted Bhutto’s remarks during the meeting. Bhutto said, “Faith placed him in a position where he could make decisions that would lead the country into a nuclear arms race.”

In the same meeting, Bhutto asked the scientists, “Can we make the bomb?” After some pause, a junior scientists said: “Yes, we can.”  He then asked, “How many years will it take?”

The reply came, “Five years.” And Bhutto raised three fingers: “three years.”

“Yes, it can be done in three years,” the scientists replied.

Bhutto smiled and said, “This is a very serious political decision which Pakistan will make, and perhaps other third world countries will have to make one day.” It was perhaps one of those decisions which Bhutto took at a time when the nation had not even recovered from 1971 tragedy of East Pakistan. But, many books written on this subject revealed that since the days Bhutto had entered Pakistani politics as a junior minister in Ayub Khan’s cabinet in 1958, it was in his mind. He sent many junior scientists to US under the ‘Atom for Peace’, programme in the 1960s to get training.

He finally came out more aggressively after 1965 war with India, when he said, “We will eat grass but will make bomb to make Pakistan strong.”

Many of his opponents at that time termed it a political stunt and statement, but years later when he became the prime minister he launched the program and wanted it to be completed in his tenure. But, events which unfolded resulted in massive US pressure, followed by serious warning to him from former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who came to Pakistan with a message of carrot or stick. When ZAB refused, he was made a ‘horrible’ example.

The most unfortunate part was the event which followed after Kissinger’s visit. Massive US pressure, threats, sanctions and political turmoil, which led to 1977 crisis. It’s a tragedy but the fact remains that the then military dictator, General Ziaul Haq signed the death warrant of the founder of Pakistan ‘s nuclear programme. Bhutto, was hanged on April 4, 1979, after a controversial murder trial.

The “Father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme”, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, who was discovered by Bhutto, termed former prime minister a true nationalist. “I have never seen a nationalist like Bhutto,” he told the writer in a TV interview few years back. “I tried to save Bhutto’s life and even visited some Islamic countries including Turkey, met its president to use their influence on Zia to commute his sentence as I knew Pakistan needed someone like him,” he added.

AQ Khan further said that the then Turkish President told him that he would call Zia, but also cautioned him (AQ) that Zia would not spare him.

Dr Qadeer said that Bhutto gave him powers like a PM, and that was exactly what he said when he met him and complained about certain hurdles from his bureaucracy. He called a meeting and told all those concerned: “I have given complete power to him as far as this programme is concerned. You just have to follow his instructions,” AQ Khan quoted Bhutto as telling the senior most bureaucrats.

Making Pakistan a nuclear state, was a national decision since the day India conducted its first nuclear test and Pakistan got cold response from the US, which did not stop India nor impose that kind of sanctions which Pakistan faced.

In the aftermath of 1979, Iranian revolution and later Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the US needed Pakistan. It not only lifted sanctions but also provided unprecedented support in the form of civil and military aid, for the ‘Afghan jihad’. It came like a blessing for Pakistan as during all this period Pakistan played a decisive role in “jihad-e-Afghanistan”.

Dr Qadeer said: “Bhutto’s dream to make Pakistan nuclear came true in the 80s and he had even told Zia and later former president, the late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, that we are ready and just needed a green signal.”

But, it took Pakistan another 10 years, before it finally conducted the nuclear test after India’s second test.

Nawaz Sharif, who was the prime minister, took the bold decision with complete backing of all stakeholders. He once told this writer that during his consultation with some of his colleagues, one voice which really encouraged him was that of Syed Mushahid Hussain Syed, who told him, “Mian Sahib, do it.”

What former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf did with Dr AQ Khan was most unfortunate. Though, he himself defended his decision by saying, “It was taken in the national interest”, it did not go well and people generally were upset. What he did with Nawaz Sharif, from trial to conviction and from sentence to exile is also a matter of history.

As a state, Pakistan is the only Islamic nuclear state. But, today, our challenges are different and more serious i.e. internal threats like growing extremism, terrorism, ethnic and sectarian division. In the fight against terrorism, we have lost 70,000 people including 25,000 soldiers and officers.  Pakistan has come a long way and is trying to change its narrative from the one damaged during General Zia’s period and later due to bad policies of Gen Musharraf.

It’s time to learn few lessons that until and unless we become a strong economic power, and succeed in eliminating extremist narrative and change the mindset, our problems would persist as a nuclear nation.  Let’s make Pakistan a strong nation, an economic power and all this is only possible if we defeat the mother of all ills, extremism.

The writer is a senior columnist and analyst of Geo, The News and Jang

Babylon the Great’s Flawed Nukes

As the Pentagon begins the 2017 Nuclear Posture Review a great deal of focus will be placed on how to modernize each leg of the nuclear triad, which on all fronts is aging and must be replaced. Each country that has nuclear weapons in its arsenal has started a nuclear weapons program or modernized their programs and delivery systems with the exception of the United States. The United States is a part of an international community with a dependency on these weapons that is not going away. Therefore, the nation must maintain a safe and reliable nuclear triad to deter against the only existential threat to the nation.

The portion of the nuclear triad many forget when discussing nuclear triad modernization is the nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) systems. These systems are the “glue” that ties the triad together. They allow the U.S. president to communicate with his senior advisors, monitor potential attacks on the nation and—if necessary—order the release of a nuclear weapon. The NC3 system is essential in ensuring nuclear weapons can be safely and reliably released when ordered, regardless of the nature of the crisis or the damage incurred by the nuclear forces.

The majority of the nation’s NC3 systems are maintained and operated by the Air Force. It is made up of a collection of systems and platforms to achieve its goal of allowing for senior-level decision on nuclear-weapons employment. The systems link the fixed National Military Command Center located in the Pentagon and the fixed Global Operation Center at Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska with the mobile command centers located on an airborne E-4B National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) or an airborne Boeing E-6B Mercury “Take Charge and Move Out” Air Command Post. These facilities and aircraft also allow senior leaders to monitor world events and act upon them outside of a nuclear crisis.

The NC3 system does have redundant components, but they are primarily designed to ensure the nation’s nuclear arsenal can be employed even if the fixed-command centers are destroyed. For example, the E-6B can control the launch of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from the air while simultaneously ordering a submarine or bomber to launch a nuclear weapon. Also, an E-4B NAOC aircraft is continuously ready to launch within minutes from randomly selected bases to ensure key national-security leaders survive and can continue to make decisions about how to deploy the U.S. military. Finally, other NC3 systems use a combination of satellites, radars and processing systems to identify launches and missile attacks that could be directed toward North America or one of the U.S. allies around the world. Recently, the functionality of this system is displayed as it is used in monitoring missile launches from North Korea.

The reason the United States has a nuclear triad is to ensure no adversary can eliminate the nation’s entire nuclear arsenal during an attack. The adversary is deterred from attacking the United States because the enemy must realize the United States will always have a means to strike back with the devastating force of nuclear weapons. However, without the NC3 system working properly, the United States does not have a functioning nuclear triad, and that counterstrike ability is lost. The NC3 system functions are vital to ensure the United States maintains its capacity for deterrence.

Like all the legs of the nuclear triad, these systems are old and outdated for the current world they operate in, and must be modernized or replaced. Gen. John Hyten, head of Strategic Command, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on March 8, 2017, and said, “The nation’s NC3 systems are facing obsolescence and component age-out challenges. These systems are not only essential for providing early warning and time-critical information to the National Command Authority for decisionmaking, but also to effectively direct triad forces in response to a strategic crisis. A twenty-first century architecture is needed to address potential adversary’s increasingly complex and capable threats.” During that same hearing, Gen. Stephen Wilson, vice chief of staff of the Air Force, stated, “Many of our NC3 systems are well past their lifespans. Therefore, we are investing in several programs to support this connective architecture, ranging from communications systems improvements to upgraded digital processing and display improvement.”

The investment General Wilson spoke of involves modernization of the E-4B NAOC aircraft, which began its role in 1980, improving early-warning radar systems, and upgrading the communication systems that link the triad together. Theses modernization efforts will cost the Defense Department approximately $40.5 billion over the next decade. These modernizations to the NC3 systems is small compared to other planned nuclear-modernization efforts for each of the other legs of the nuclear triad.

1884 A Forewarning Of The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The Coney Island earthquake of 1884

Seismograph of New York Earthquake 1884

Seismograph of New York Earthquake 1884

January 20, 2010

New York City isn’t immune to earthquakes; a couple of small tremors measuring about 2.5 on the Richter scale even struck back in 2001 and 2002.

But on August 10, 1884, a more powerful earthquake hit. Estimated from 4.9 to 5.5 in magnitude, the tremor made houses shake, chimneys fall, and residents wonder what the heck was going on, according to a New York Times article two days later.

The quake was subsequently thought to have been centered off Far Rockaway or Coney Island.

It wasn’t the first moderate quake, and it won’t be the last. In a 2008 Columbia University study, seismologists reported that the city is crisscrossed with several fault lines, one along 125th Street. 

[Headline of The New York Times, August 12, 1884]

With that in mind, New Yorkers should expect a 5.0 or higher earthquake centered here every 100 years, the seismologists say.

Translation: We’re about 30 years overdue. Lucky for us the city adopted earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.

India’s Nuclear Hegemony

Pakistan has said that India is capable of producing 2600 nuclear weapons

India Today

Amid heightened tension between the two neighbouring nations in the wake of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Pakistan has said that India is capable of producing 2600 nuclear weapons.

Claiming the India has the fastest growing nuclear programme in the world, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told reporters in Islamabad that India’s nuclear aspirations pose a threat to strategic stability in the south Asian region.

“Pakistan has been underscoring the risk of diversion by India to imported nuclear fuel, equipment and technology received pursuant to civil nuclear accord and 2008 energy waiver by Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Radio Pakistan quoted Zakaria, as saying.

The top Pakistan official also raised concerns over India’s bid for a permanent membership at the NSG, saying the world community should check the risks involved in allowing New Delhi a seat in the elite group.

‘INDIA RETHINKING NO FIRST USE NUCLEAR POLICY’

Pakistan’s statement regarding India enhancing its nuclear capability has come just days after reports suggested that New Delhi may be rethinking its nuclear doctrine.

India may abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy and launch a preemptive strike against Pakistan if it feared that Islamabad was likely to use the weapons first, a top nuclear expert on South Asia has claimed.

“There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first,” Vipin Narang, an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had said.

He also pointed out that India’s preemptive strike may not be conventional strikes and would also be aimed at Pakistan’s missiles launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads.

Trump’s Nepotism Backfires

‘This is off the map’: Former intelligence officials say the reported Kushner-Russia plan is unlike anything they’ve ever seen

White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner listens during President Donald Trump’s joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 17, 2017.Jim Bourg/Reuters

Former intelligence officials described Jared Kushner’s reported attempt to set up a backchannel line of communication with Russia last December that would bypass the US’ national security and intelligence apparatus as “off the map,” “explosive,” and “extremely dangerous.”

Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said during a press conference on Saturday that, if Kushner did try to set up such a back channel, “I would not be concerned about it.”

“We have back-channel communications with a number of countries,” McMaster said. “So, generally speaking, about back-channel communications, what that allows you to do is to communicate in a discreet manner.”

Scott Olson, a recently retired FBI agent who ran counterintelligence operations and spent more than 20 years at the bureau, agreed that it is not unusual for low-level staffers to work between governments and bypass bureaucracy to exchange views and build consensus in advance of higher-level negotiations.

But what Kushner appears to have done is “substantially different, in two ways,” he said.

“First, he is not seeking a back-channel for a low-level staff exchange,” Olson said. “He wants high-level direct-contact communication. This is extremely dangerous because it results in verbal (and therefore undocumented and unwitnessed) agreements, which are binding on governments. Free governments do not work this way. They can’t. If they do, they are no longer free.”

He continued:

“Second, he asked to use a foreign government’s communication facilities. This is way beyond a private server. This is doing US government diplomatic business over a foreign government’s communication system. It’s not an off-the-record conversation. It’s a conversation recorded by the opposing party. This shows a staggering lack of understanding of the US and its place in the world. Actually, it shows a staggering lack of common sense. When he negotiates a business deal does he use the other guy’s notes?”

Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser, was willing to go extraordinary lengths to establish a secret line of communication between the Trump administration and Russian government officials, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Kushner met with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December at Trump Tower, where he floated the possibility of setting up a secure line of communication between the Trump transition team and Russia – and having those talks take place in Russian diplomatic facilities in the US. That would essentially conceal their interactions from US government scrutiny, The Post wrote, citing US intelligence officials briefed on the matter.

Jared KushnerWhite House Senior Advisor and son-in-law to the president Jared Kushner (L) joins other cabinet members and senior members of the Trump administration during a news conference. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The New York Times confirmed the Post’s story late Friday night, adding that the planned purpose for the secure channel was to discuss military strategies in Syria.

If true, “this actually is even more disturbing,” said Susan Hennessey, a former attorney for the National Security Agency. “Why in God’s name would they want to conceal plans on Syria strategy from the US military?”

“Even accepting their Syria spin, what Kushner tried to do was blind the US government on incredibly important national security matters,” Hennessey added. “That’s not how it works. That’s not the behavior of someone who recognizes America is still, at its core, a common endeavor.”

Kislyak reportedly passed along Kushner’s request to Moscow. The Post’s Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous, and Greg Miller reported that the Russian ambassador was “taken aback” by Kushner’s request, because it posed significant risks for both the Trump team and the Kremlin.

“This was probably as off-putting to Kislyak as it is for you and me,” Michael Hayden, who served as the director of the NSA and the CIA, told CNN on Saturday. “This is off the map. I know of no other experience like this in our history, and certainly not within my life experience.”

“What manner of ignorance, hubris, suspicion, and contempt [for the previous administration] would you have to have to think doing this with the Russian ambassador would be a good or appropriate idea?” Hayden added.

Kushner, who did not disclose the meeting on his security clearance form, is now under scrutiny in the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s election interference, and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to undermine Hillary Clinton.

GOOD GRIEF. This is serious,” Robert Deitz, a veteran of the NSA and the CIA who worked under the Clinton and Bush administrations, said in an email of the latest developments.

“This raises a bunch of problematic issues. First, of course, is the Logan Act, which prohibits private individuals conducting negotiations on behalf of the US government with foreign governments. Second, it tends to reinforce the notion that Trump’s various actions about Comey do constitute obstruction.”

“In other words, there is now motive added to conduct,” Deitz said. “This is a big problem for the President.”

‘You are, in the eyes of the FBI and CIA, a traitor’

Trump fired FBI Director James Comey earlier this month as Comey was overseeing the FBI’s investigation. Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt shortly thereafter that “the Russia thing” was on his mind when he fired Comey, leading lawmakers and legal experts to question whether Trump obstructed justice – a criminal and impeachable offense.

Kushner was among those who pressured Trump to fire Comey, according to The New York Times.

“If you are in a position of public trust, and you talk to, meet, or collude with a foreign power” while trying to subvert normal state channels, “you are, in the eyes of the FBI and CIA, a traitor,” said Glenn Carle, a former top counterterrorism official at the CIA for more than two decades. “That is what I spent my life getting foreigners to do with me, for the US government.”

Carle said that if the Kushner-Kislyak meeting and reported discussion were an isolated incident, it could be spun as “normal back-channel communication arrangements among states.”

But Kislyak and the Trump campaign interacted extensively, and Trump associates either kept those interactions secret from US officials or misrepresented them. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign on February 13 amid questions about his communication with Kislyak, also spoke with the Russian ambassador about setting up a secret backchannel during the transition, according to Reuters.

Trump reportedly pressured Comey, in a meeting one day after Flynn resigned, to drop the bureau’s investigation into his foreign contacts and payments.

“We know about the multiple meetings of Trump entourage members with Russian intel-related individuals,” Carle said. “There will be many others that we do not know about.”

‘A huge red flag’

Mark Kramer, the program director of the Project on Cold War Studies at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, said Saturday that Kushner’s reported backchannel plan is “a huge red flag.”

“If the report accurately recounts what Kislyak transmitted, and if Kislyak’s transmission accurately reflects what Kushner was seeking, then it’s a very damaging piece of evidence,” Kramer said.

He added: “A back channel in itself would not be suspicious, but a back channel relying solely on Russia’s facilities would be egregiously unwise and dangerous. It’s a huge red flag, and it’s not surprising that the FBI investigators would have been taken aback by it.”

Carle said that while this reported back channel is “explosive,” it is worth questioning who tipped off The Post to the story. The Post said it received an anonymous letter in December tipping it off to the Kushner-Kislyak meeting.

Donald Trump Sergey Lavrov Sergey KislyakU.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, next to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP

Additionally, as a longtime diplomat, Kislyak would have known that his communications were being monitored. So the possibility remains, Carle said, that the Russians used the meeting with Kushner to distract the intelligence community and the public from potentially more incriminating relationships between the campaign and Moscow.

Indeed, “FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump,” Reuters reported on Friday, citing a current US law enforcement official.

Kushner met with the CEO of Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank, Sergey Gorkov, in December 2016, The New York Times reported in late March. The meeting – which had not previously been disclosed and came on the heels of Kushner’s meeting with Kislyak at Trump Tower – caught the eye of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation Russia’s election interference.

Kislyak reportedly orchestrated the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2016 as part of a restructuring of the bank’s management team, Bloomberg reported last year.

The Kremlin and the White House have provided conflicting explanations for why Kushner met with Gorkov.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, in testimony last week before the House Intelligence Committee, said that “the information and intelligence” he saw before leaving office in January “revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.”

“It raised questions in my mind about whether the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of such individuals,” he said.

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

http://cbsnews1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/2016/02/22/db8bf7b3-37b0-4070-bd45-7b297b442cb0/77970ceb25a12f33ba40734b2d2ce962/indian-point.jpg

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.”