Indian Point’s Final Days Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earth Matters: Indian Point’s Final Days – Nyack News and Views

by Barbara Puff

Indian Point has been the crown jewel of the nuclear industrialist complex and closing it is a big step to a sustainable energy future. — Susan Shapiro, environmental lawyer.

When scientists began exploring nuclear power in the 1950s, pollsters didn’t ask the public their opinion as support was almost unanimous. By the ’60s, there had been a few protests and opposition increased to 25%. So when Indian Point opened on September 16, 1962, it was greeted with enthusiasm, fanfare, and, in hindsight, naivete.

Within a few years, increased pollution, loss of wildlife, and accidents at the plant elicited concern. In response, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Riverkeeper were formed in 1966. After incidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, public opinion began to turn against the use of nuclear power.

In 1984, her first year as a legislator, Harriet Cornell formed the Citizens Commission to Close Indian Plant. A glance at her press releases over the years shows her convictions regarding closing the plant. In a recent speech she noted: “Were it not for the superhuman efforts of concerned individuals and dedicated scientific and environmental organizations focusing attention on the dangers posed by Indian Point, who knows what might have happened during the last 40+ years.”

Simultaneously Riverkeeper began documenting incidents, including:

1 An antiquated water-cooling system killed over a billion fish and fish larvae annually.

2 Pools holding spent nuclear fuel leaked toxic, radioactive water into the ground, soil, and Hudson River.

3 Recurring emergency shut-downs.

4 27% of the baffle bolts in Unit 2 and 31% in Unit 3, holding the reactor core together, were damaged.

5 The plant was vulnerable to terrorist attack.

6 Evacuation plans were implausible.

7 No solution for spent nuclear fuel, posing the risk of radioactive release and contamination of land.

8 The plant was near two seismic zones, suggesting an earthquake over 6.2 could devastate the area.

9 Asbestos exposure.

These and other issues led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to rate Indian Point in 2000 as the most trouble-plagued plant in the country. Lamont-Doherty Observatory agreed, calling it the most dangerous plant in the nation.

As individuals realized the seriousness of the situation, urgency for a solution grew and Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition was formed in 2001. Comprised of public interest, health advocates, environmental and citizen groups, their goals were to educate the public, pass legislation, and form a grassroots campaign with hundreds of local, state, and federal officials.

Clearwater also began monitoring the plant around that time. Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Action Director, recalls, “We were concerned when one of the planes that struck the WTC flew over the plant, including several buildings that hold huge fuel pools, filled with spent fuel rods and radioactive waste.” Had anything happened, the nuclear power industry had provided protection for themselves while neglecting surrounding communities. Powerful lobbyists, backed by considerable financing, induced Congress to pass the Price-Anderson Act in 1957. This legislation protected nuclear power plant companies from full liability in the event of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack.

With such warnings, it’s hard to believe as late as 2010, The New York Times stated, “No one should be hoping for a too hasty shutdown.” Over time, the cost of litigation by New York State proved more fatal to the continuance of plant operations than protests, though they were a crucial factor and led to initial filings. Attorney General Schneiderman was very active in filing contentions, legal reasons the plant shouldn’t be relicensed, and won several important court cases on high-level radioactive storage.

In 2016, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied Entergy a discharge permit for hot water into the Hudson River, part of their once-through cooling system. This permit was necessary for continued operation of the plant and a requirement for relicensing. The New York State Department of State, Bureau of Coastal Management, denied Entergy a water quality certificate the same year, which it also needed to relicense. After more than four decades of danger to the environment and residents, Governor Cuomo announced in January 2017 the plant would finally be closing. Unit 2 would cease production on April 30, 2020 and Unit 3 would end productivity on April 30, 2021.

Later that year, in March 2017, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board allowed Entergy to renew the plant’s licenses until 2021, dismissing final points of contention between the company, New York State, and Riverkeeper. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino attempted to sue the state and reopen the plant in April 2017 but failed.

Ellen Jaffee, NYS Assemblywoman, stated, “After 46 years of operation, I am glad to finally see the closure of Indian Point. Since joining the Assembly, I have long fought for its closure. I would not have been able to pursue these efforts if not for the environmental advocates, like the Riverkeeper, who fought long and hard beside myself to close the plant. The plant’s closure must be conducted in a safe manner, where all radioactive materials will be properly disposed of, without inflicting further harm on our environment. The closure of Indian Point shows that we can reduce our impact on the environment.”

Harriet Cornell said, “We have waited years for this to happen and frankly, it can’t happen soon enough. The facts have long shown there is no future for this dangerous plant.”

“The closure of Indian Point marks the shutdown of dirty polluting energy,” noted Susan Shapiro.

Holtec, the company chosen to oversee decommissioning of the plant, has a horrific track record. New York State Attorney General Tish James released a statement in January expressing multiple grave concerns about them. According to Riverkeeper, they have a scandalous corporate past, little experience in decommissioning, dubious skills in spent fuel management, workplace safety infractions, and health violations. Another fear is the cost will exceed a decommissioning fund set aside by Entergy, Holtec will declare bankruptcy, and the public will absorb the difference.

“Entergy made huge profits from Indian Point,” said Manna Jo Greene. “They’ve hired Holtec, a company with a poor record of decommissioning, to complete the work. Entergy plans to declare bankruptcy, thereby having taxpayers foot the bill. We are not out of danger. It is a different danger.”

Richard Webster, Legal Program Director at Riverkeeper, adds, “Decommissioning must be done promptly, safely and reliably. Selling to Holtec is the worst possible option, because it has a dubious history of bribes, lies, and risk taking, very limited experience in decommissioning, is proposing to raid the decommissioning fund for its own benefit, and is proposing leaving contaminated groundwater to run into the Hudson River.”

State Senator David Carlucci warned, “The NRC Inspector General Report shows there is much to be done by the NRC to gain the confidence of myself and the public, as the commission is charged with overseeing the decommissioning of Indian Point and ensuring the health and safety of Hudson Valley Communities. We demand answers from NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki. The Chairman needs to come to the Hudson Valley immediately and outline the steps being taken to address our safety and explain how the commission will properly inspect and guard the pipeline near Indian Point moving forward.”

One of the gravest dangers in decommissioning is the storage of spent fuel rods. A fuel rod is a long, zirconium tube containing pellets of uranium, a fissionable material which provides fuel for nuclear reactors. Fuel rods are assembled into bundles called fuel assemblies, which are loaded individually into a reactor core. Fuel rods last about six years. When they’re spent and removed they are placed in wet storage, or pools of water, which is circulated to reduce temperature and provide shielding from radiation. They remain in these pools for 10 years, as they are too hot to be placed in dry storage, or canisters. Even in dry storage, though, they remain extremely radioactive, with high levels of plutonium, which is toxic, and continue to generate heat for decades and remain radioactive for 10,000 years.

“Elected officials and government groups became involved once they understood the fatal environmental dangers nuclear energy creates for millenium,” said Susan Shapiro. “It is the only energy that produces waste so dangerous that governments must own and dispose of it.”

Robert Kennedy, Jr., of Waterkeeper, explained “If those spent fuel rods caught on fire, if the water dropped, the zirconium coatings of the spent fuel rods would combust. You would release 37 times the amount of radiation that was released at Chernobyl. Around Chernobyl there are 100 miles that are permanently uninhabitable. I would include the workplaces, homes of 20 million Americans, including the Financial District. There’s no evacuation plan. And it’s sitting on two of the biggest earthquake faults in the northeast.”

On April 24, 2020, Beyond Indian Point Campaign was launched to advocate for a safe transition during decommissioning. Sponsored by AGREE, Frack Action, Riverkeeper, NIRS and Food and Water Watch, they’re demanding Cuomo hire another company, opposing a license transfer before the State Public Service Commission and NRC and pushing state legislation to establish a board to supervise the decommissioning fund. When decommissioning is finished Beyond Indian Point hopes to further assist the community in the transition to renewable energy. These include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydrothermal power. Sign an online petition on their website to support their work, future generations and earth at BeyondIndianPoint.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

“Bravo to everyone involved in making this historic day come to pass,” said Susan Shapiro.

Raised in the Midwest, Barbara Puff is a writer who lives in Nyack, NY.

Retaliatory Operation outside the Temple Walls a Practical Response to Israeli Crimes: Revelation 11

Retaliatory Operation in West Bank A Practical Response to Israeli Crimes: Hamas

Retaliatory Operation in West Bank A Practical Response to Israeli Crimes: Hamas

  • October, 31, 2022 – 09:32 

    TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Shots fired by Palestinian resistance fighters in a retaliatory operation near an illegal settlement in the southern part of the occupied West Bank are a practical response to the crimes committed by the Israeli regime, Hamas said.

    Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement that the Saturday night operation close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, where an Israeli settler was killed and four other people were wounded, “proves that the resistance front can surprise the occupiers and deal them stinging blows.”

    “Resistance bullets are a practical response to the Zionists’ settlement expansion policies, the crimes that they are committing, and their repeated desecrations of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Ibrahimi Mosque,” he underscored.

    Moreover, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also stated that the shooting operation signifies that the spirit of resistance is on the rise among Palestinian from all walks of life, and shows that the dawn of a popular revolution and liberation of occupied Palestinian lands has come.

    “Our fighters are able to make the enemy pay for its terrorist crimes anywhere and at any time,” it stated.

    Following the aforementioned shooting operation at a checkpoint near Kiryat Arba settlement, which lies in close proximity to the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil, a young Palestinian man was rammed by an Israeli security official and shot dead by an off-duty soldier in connection with the incident.

    He was named by Palestinian media outlets as Muhammed Kamel al-Jabari, a Hamas resistance fighter, whose brother Wael had been serving life in Israeli prison before being freed and sent to the Gaza Strip in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal in 2011.

    Images circulated on social media showed that after the attack, sweets were handed to drivers in al-Khalil in celebration, fireworks were fired, and there were chants heard in support of the Palestinian resistance front.

    Israeli forces have recently been conducting overnight raids and killings in the northern occupied West Bank, mainly in the cities of Jenin and Nablus, where new groups of Palestinian resistance fighters have been formed.

    Israel has killed at least 183 Palestinians since the start of 2022 in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 26 since the start of October, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a new report yesterday.

    Local and international rights groups have condemned Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against Palestinians.

    The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, has warned that 2022 is on course to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, calling for immediate action to calm “an explosive situation” and move toward re-launch of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Wennesland told the UN Security Council on Friday that “mounting hopelessness, anger, and tension have once again erupted into a deadly cycle of violence that is increasingly difficult to contain,” and “too many people, overwhelmingly Palestinians, have been killed and injured.”

    The senior UN official also noted that the current volatile situation in the West Bank stems from decades of violence that has taken a toll on Palestinians, the prolonged absence of dialogue between the two sides, and the failure to resolve key issues fueling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Kashmir is a Nuclear Flash Point: Revelation 8

    ‘Kashmir not internal matter of India but nuclear flashpoint in S. Asia’

    By News desk

    October 31, 2022

    Kashmir is not an internal matter of India but a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia as unresolved Kashmir dispute can provide the spark to light South Asia’s nuclear fuse.

    Simmering Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) situation needs immediate world attention and ignoring the lingering Kashmir dispute is not in anyone’s interest, said a report released by the KMS, today. It said delaying the Kashmir solution has consequences for the world, adding just a solution to the Kashmir dispute is a prerequisite to end turmoil in the South Asian region.

    The report said the world must not remain indifferent to what is happening in Kashmir and it is time for it to take notice of the Indian atrocities in the occupied territory.

    The United Nations, it said, should intervene to settle the lingering dispute according to its own resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people so that nuclear war in the region could be avoided.—KMS

    Last Crossroad Before the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

    At a crossroads, again

    Maleeha Lodhi Published October 31, 2022  Updated about 16 hours ago

    PRESIDENT Joe Biden’s remarks questioning the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons provoked an angry response from Islamabad. At a fund raiser earlier this month, the US president said Pakistan “may be one of the most dangerous nations in the world” which had “nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”

    Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif rejected these gratuitous remarks, calling them “factually incorrect and misleading”. The American ambassador in Islamabad was summoned to the Foreign Office for an explanation. In another rebuke to Washington, a statement issued after a meeting of the country’s top army generals, declared that as a responsible nuclear weapon state, Pakistan has taken all necessary measures to strengthen its nuclear security regime.

    Although the State Department tried to walk back Biden’s statement the verbal exchange between the two countries again focused attention on the future of Pakistan-US relations. The historically close relationship has been in flux following the American military withdrawal from Afghanistan last year after its ‘longest war’.

    For two decades, the war provided the principal basis for engagement and cooperation between the two countries even as it became a source of mutual mistrust and disenchantment. But this marked only another episode in a mercurial, rollercoaster relationship, characterised by cyclical swings between intense engagement and deep estrangement.

    Geopolitical concerns that shaped America’s regional alignments and priorities also defined relations with Pakistan. They drove bilateral ties into different phases. First, in the Cold War, when the US aim was to contain communism, Pakistan became America’s ‘most allied ally’. Then came the pressing need, after 1979, of rolling back the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. And then the post-9/11 phase that involved defeating Al Qaeda in the ‘war on terror’. That chapter ended with the US exit from Afghanistan. These phases laid bare an ineluctable reality. Positive transformations in ties were almost always driven by events extraneous to the bilateral relationship.

    Even before the US pullout from Afghanistan, geopolitical dynamics were shifting fundamentally as China stepped up its diplomatic and economic engagement and launched its Belt and Road Initiative. Regional states including Pakistan began to sense a waning of both American interest and influence.

    Former president Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy signalled gradual disengagement from the region. This coincided with a significant intensifying of Pakistan’s longstanding strategic ties with China. They were symbolised by its pivotal role in BRI and the accompanying substantial Chinese investment in Pakistan’s infrastructure, energy and development projects.

    Increasingly, America was seen as a self-absorbed and inconsistent partner as well as a reluctant regional player. China was perceived as having the interest, money and growing global clout needed for a more constructive and enduring relationship.

    Although China is Pakistan’s strategic priority, Islamabad also wants an improved and stable relationship with America. The US remains Pakistan’s largest export destination, a source of FDI and a global power with significant influence, especially over international financial institutions, whose assistance Pakistan’s crisis-ridden economy continues to desperately need. Pakistan wants to avoid getting into the crosshairs of American-Chinese confrontation, but that is easier said than done.

    Pakistan-US relations are at an inflection point today. Any significant reset of ties will be influenced by a number of key factors. The most important is America’s policy of containing China and pursuit of a strategy to mobilise countries to join it to counterbalance Beijing’s rising global power. The revitalisation of Quad, the AUKUS security partnership and its Indo-Pacific strategy are all part of efforts to cement an anti-China coalition.

    This confrontation has obvious implications for Pakistan-US relations. So long as US-China relations remain rocky it will have a bearing on Pakistan’s effort to reshape ties with Washington. Islamabad may want to balance ties between the US and China but it cannot be part of any anti-China coalition or strategy. That limits the space for expanding ties when Washington’s overriding goal today is to counter China’s increasing global power while Islamabad sees its strategic future to lie with China.

    Another complicating factor is Washington’s growing strategic and economic relations with India, its partner of choice in the region in its strategy to project India, a member of Quad, as a counterweight to China. The implications for Pakistan of the US-India entente are evident from Washington turning a blind eye to India’s illegal annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir and its continuing silence over the grim situation there.

    Moreover, US strengthening of India’s military and strategic capabilities is intensifying the regional imbalance magnifying Pakistan’s security challenge. This in turn is driving Pakistan to enhance its strategic capabilities. This is a compulsion, because while Washington continues to arm India in its counter China policy, 70 per cent of India’s military assets — land, air and sea — remain deployed against Pakistan.

    Aspects of America’s Indo-Pacific strategy also have security implications for Pakistan, especially as the US has extended the contest with China in the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, thus injecting Cold War-type dynamics there. Opposed to India’s domination of the Indian Ocean, Islamabad has long sought to prevent it from becoming India’s Ocean. With the Indian Ocean now an arena of geostrategic contest this has obliged Pakistan to increase its military presence and strengthen its capabilities there.

    The challenge then is for the two countries to find space between the Pakistan-China strategic relationship and the US-India partnership to rebuild ties on a mutually beneficial basis. There certainly is space and areas of cooperation for them to explore in order to reset ties.

    The recent US decision to go ahead with the sale of spares for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet despite Indian opposition illustrates this. For its part, Islamabad seeks a new basis for relations predicated on Pakistan’s intrinsic importance and not as a subset of ties with a third country. Its vision is of broad-based relations that move beyond the traditional focus of security to economic, trade and investment ties and cooperation in science, technology and education.

    The US too has affirmed in recent statements that it wants strengthened and constructive ties with Pakistan. But more than declarations of intent it will need imagination by both sides to identify where their interests converge in order to reconfigure ties on a durable basis.

    The writer is a former ambassador to the US, UK & UN.

    Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2022

    Babylon the Great Scraps ‘Zero-Value’ Sea-Launched Nuclear Missiles

    Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile | Lockheed Martin
    Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile | Lockheed Martin

    US Scraps ‘Zero-Value’ Sea-Launched Nuclear Missiles As Focus Shifts From Russia To China — Reports

    BySakshi Tiwari

    October 30, 2022

    The Biden administration finally released an unclassified version of its long-awaited Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) on October 27, 2022. Coming against Russia’s dangerous nuclear saber-rattling, it does away with a major sea-launched nuclear weapon from the Trump era.

    According to the document, the United States will cease the effort to develop a nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missile which was decided under former President Donald Trump with a particular focus on the threat posed by Russia.

    The document has been released ahead of a crucial mid-term election in November.

    The decision has reportedly been taken against the recommendations of some senior military officials, according to media reports. Scrapping the submarine-launched cruise missile could help President Joe Biden respond to Democratic calls to reduce America’s nuclear stockpile without jeopardizing the “triad” of nuclear weapons.

    The weapon, named Submarine Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear (SCLM-N), which had backing from the Joint Chiefs and the US Strategic Command, was deemed to have “zero value,” a senior defense official told reporters after the release of the document.

    “Everyone’s voice has been heard. As it applies to the current situation – Russia [and] Ukraine – [it] has zero value because even at the full funding value, it would not arrive until 2035,” the senior defense official said. “Our deterrence posture is firm. Russia’s been deterred from attacking NATO. We continue to focus on Russia and China. I think as it stands right now, there is no need to develop SLCM.”

    However, the timing of such a decision and the publication of the Nuclear Posture Review document is significant as it comes when Russia has been floating the narrative about a “dirty bomb.” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed his western peers that Ukraine was planning to use a “dirty bomb,” which would ostensibly lead to a Russian nuclear retaliation.

    Under Donald Trump, the US military decided to build a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile in 2018. However, the decision to scrap the program aligns with Joe Biden’s inclination towards not adding new nuclear weapons to the arsenal. In its totality, the NPR seeks to adjust the existing force posture and increase the use of conventional weapons.

    However, one significant policy consideration worth highlighting is that the US now considers China a bigger threat than Russia. The Biden administration released three documents: the National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review, and Missile Defense Review.

    In the National Defense Strategy document, the administration maintains that the long-term threat to Washington comes from China, the war waged by Russia on Ukraine notwithstanding.

    A senior defense official told reporters that the biggest way the new document departs from the previous one is by emphasizing China as the greater threat rather than a shared focus on China and Russia. The SCLM-N is a weapon that was designed primarily to deter Moscow.

    According to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the military did not require the SLCM-N because its nuclear stockpile already had sufficient capabilities. When asked if the scrapping would send a dangerous message to Russia and China, he said: “I don’t think this sends any message to Putin. He understands what our capability is.”

    Another senior official defended the scrapping by saying that even if the program had received total funding, the missiles wouldn’t be ready until 2035. However, there has been significant criticism – some overt while others covert – about abandoning a crucial program by the military.

    For instance, in April, Mark Milley, a senior US general, told Congress that his opinion of the SLCM-N had not altered and that he thought several options should be available.

    Besides the SLCM-N, the Biden administration has decided to retain another weapon codenamed W76-2, which was initially intended as a system to deter an adversary like Russia using a low-yield weapon.

    US Deploys New Low-Yield Nuclear Submarine Warhead – Federation Of American Scientists
    US Deploys New Low-Yield Nuclear Submarine Warhead – Federation Of American Scientists

    As far as the SCLM-N is concerned, the US Navy had already done away with the funding for research and development into a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N) for the financial year 2023 budget request. At the time, the program was cited as cost prohibitive and had a long delivery schedule that would outdo the need for the weapon.

    The US Navy had stated that this program’s scrapping would save $199.2 million in FY2023 and $2.1 billion over the next five years. According to a report published in 2019 by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the SLCM-N would be used as a countermeasure to changes in Chinese and Russian nuclear doctrine.

    The paper noted that the SLCM-N would have the required range, penetration capabilities, and efficacy to hold primary adversary targets at risk and would be capable of proportionate, discriminate reactions based on survivable, regionally present platforms. However, the policy imperative seems to have changed for many in the Navy and the Biden administration.

    The US already possesses or will soon have three more nuclear weapon systems, including the new W76-2 low-yield warhead on Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, the air-launched cruise missiles that are currently in production, and the new B61 nuclear bombs.

    Together, these systems can do all tasks that the SLCM-N is capable of, writes George Perkovich for Carnegie Endowment.

    The Department of Defense also released another document besides the NPR and the NDS, known as the Missile Defense Review, that identifies both China’s and Russia’s missile modernization, including hypersonic weapons, as a persistent challenge to the US.

    While the NPR revisits its capabilities relative to Russia and reiterates the expansion of Chinese nuclear warhead capability, it actively talks about deterrence.

    The elimination of the SCLM-N could be a part of a long view, but critics’ voices are louder after publication. It is unclear if the Republican Party, with a vast Trump influence, would bring the SCLM-N if it wrests back numbers in the November elections.

    Russia says US lowering ‘nuclear threshold’ with newer bombs in Europe: Daniel 7

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, on October 28, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Handout via REUTERS

    Russia says US lowering ‘nuclear threshold’ with newer bombs in Europe

    Published: 29 Oct 2022 – 10:43 pm | Last Updated: 29 Oct 2022 – 10:46 pm

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, on October 28, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Handout via REUTERSFollow usnews

    Reuters

    London: Russia said on Saturday that the accelerated deployment of modernised US B61 tactical nuclear weapons at NATO bases in Europe would lower the “nuclear threshold” and that Russia would take the move into account in its military planning.

    Russia has about 2,000 working tactical nuclear weapons while the United States has around 200 such weapons, half of which are at bases in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    Amid the Ukraine crisis, Politico reported on Oct. 26 that the United States told a closed NATO meeting this month that it would accelerate the deployment of a modernised version of the B61, the B61-12, with the new weapons arriving at European bases in December, several months earlier than planned.

    “We cannot ignore the plans to modernize nuclear weapons, those free-fall bombs that are in Europe,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told state RIA news agency.

    The 12-ft B61-12 gravity bomb carries a lower yield nuclear warhead than many earlier versions but is more accurate and can penetrate below ground, according to research by the Federation of American Scientists published in 2014.

    “The United States is modernizing them, increasing their accuracy and reducing the power of the nuclear charge, that is, they turn these weapons into ‘battlefield weapons’, thereby reducing the nuclear threshold,” Grushko said.

    The Pentagon said it was not going to discuss the details of the US nuclear arsenal and that the premise of the Politico article was wrong as the United States had long planned the modernisation of its B61 nuclear weapons.

    “Modernization of US B61 nuclear weapons has been underway for years, and plans to safely and responsibly swap out older weapons for the upgraded B61-12 versions are part of a long-planned and scheduled modernization effort,” Pentagon spokesman Oscar Seara said.

    “It is in no way linked to current events in Ukraine and was not sped up in any way,” Seara said in an emailed statement.

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered the gravest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the two Cold War superpowers came closest to nuclear war.

    President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Russia will defend its territory with all available means, including nuclear weapons, if attacked.

    The comments raised particular concern in the West after Moscow declared last month it had annexed four Ukrainian regions that its forces control parts of. Putin says the West has engaged in nuclear blackmail against Russia.

    US President Joe Biden said on October 6 that Putin had brought the world closer to “Armageddon” than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, though Biden later said he did not think that Putin would use a tactical nuclear weapon.

    Putin has not mentioned using a tactical nuclear weapon but has said he suspects Ukraine could detonate a “dirty bomb”, a claim Ukraine and the West say is false.

    The US B61 nuclear bomb was first tested in Nevada shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Under Barack Obama, US president from 2009 to 2017, the development of a new version of the bomb, the B61-12, was approved.

    Russia’s Grushko said that Moscow would also have to take account of the Lockheed Martin F-35 which would drop such a bomb. NATO, he said, had already strengthened the nuclear parts of its military planning.

    NATO “has already made decisions to strengthen the nuclear component in the alliance’s military plans,” Grushko said.

    Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said on Saturday on Telegram that the new B61 bombs had a “strategic significance” as Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons were in storage, yet these US bombs would be just a short flight from Russia’s borders.

    The United States, according to the US 2022 nuclear Posture Review published on Thursday, will bolster nuclear deterrence with the F-35, the B61-12 bombs and a nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile.

    Palestinian shot dead after killing Israeli outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

    Israeli security forces patrol an area of a gun attack near urban Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, in the southern West Bank. AFP.
    Israeli security forces patrol an area of a gun attack near urban Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, in the southern West Bank. AFP.

    Palestinian shot dead after killing Israeli in West Bank

    Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attack that left three others injured

    Neil Murphy

    Oct 29, 2022

    Listen In English

    A Palestinian gunman killed one person and wounded at least three others in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank before being shot dead by a guard, the Israeli military, medics and a settlement representative said.

    The militant group Hamas claimed the Hebron gunman as its member.

    UN panel says Israel is breaching international law in Palestine

    Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right politician from the settlement whose Religious Zionism party is projected to win third place in Israel’s election on Tuesday, was unharmed.

    “I say to these terrorists, if they think that threats, that attempted murder will deter me — it won’t help you. I am pressing ahead,” Mr Ben-Gvir told Israel’s Channel 12 TV.

    Violence in the West Bank, among territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has escalated since Israeli forces launched a crackdown in March in response to a string of attacks by Palestinians within Israel.

    A settlement representative said four people were wounded in the shooting near a checkpoint in Hebron, where hundreds of settlers live in an uneasy standoff among hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

    One of those casualties, a middle-aged man, was later declared dead. It was not clear if he held Israeli citizenship.

    Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said a Palestinian had also been slightly wounded in the incident.

    The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said one of its crew members in Hebron was hit in the shoulder by Israeli gunfire. The Israeli military made no comment on that.