lurkitty: (Pogo)
Do we need more evidence that the Bush's erratic policies have made us less safe, not more?

Just yesterday, some of the world's most prestigious scientists met to reset the hands of the Doomsday Clock. Devised by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists as a measure of how close the world is to nuclear holocaust, yesterday's warning was intended to awaken the world to the threat of nuclear proliferation due to both weapons acquisition and climate change. The scientists termed this "the most perilous period since Hiroshima".

Still more disturbing news has surfaced. An obsolete Chinese satellite, FY-1C, has apparently been shot down in a Chinese anti-satellite weapons test. Dr. Jeffrey Lewis Lewis and friends over at ArmsControlWonk.com give you the details, including the text of an Aviation Week article confirming the launch of the kinetic kill vehicle on the satellite in the comments section.

While acknowledging this very possibility last month, Undersecretary of State Robert Joseph, declared, "There is no arms race in space, and we see no signs of one emerging." The Houston Chronicle continues , "He said that rather than writing treaties to address potential problems, the United States should concentrate on dealing with real nuclear weapons threats posed by enemies such as Iran and North Korea."

"A number of countries are exploring and acquiring capabilities to counter, attack and defeat U.S. space systems. Terrorists understand our vulnerabilities and have targeted our economy in the past, as they did on 9/11," Joseph said. "We reserve the right to defend ourselves."

The rattle of that saber sounds pretty hollow, sir, considering that the aggressor is China, not "terrorists", and they are quite well positioned to attack our economy, thanks to your profligate spending on a certain war.

crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] ljdemocrats
lurkitty: (Default)
The hands of this clock has been at seven minutes to midnight still since February 27, 2002. You'd think that a clock maintained by some of the world's most renowned scientists would keep better time. But we should be thankful that it hasn't moved forward since then.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has kept the Doomsday Clock as a symbol of nuclear danger since 1947. Its Board of Directors moves the hands depending on their assessment of risk of nuclear danger. The last time the hands were closer to midnight was in 1983, when India and Pakistan were threatening each other and the Scientists feared that "Arms control talks [with the Soviet Union] have been reduced to a species of propaganda..."

North Korea has tested a small nuclear device. What happens now? Kim Jong Il has already shown that he doesn't give a damn if his people starve, so further economic sanctions will do nothing other than assure that thousands of farmers will die. South Korea and Japan will want their own bombs as a result. We are witnessing the beginnings of an arms race.

We shall see whether the hands of the clock move in the coming weeks.

Deja Vu

Sep. 15th, 2006 03:14 am
lurkitty: (Default)
We are having an extreme case of dejá vù this week. One of the most memorable post-Katrina statements was made by Barbara Bush, who quipped that refugees in the Astrodome were better off after the hurricane than before because they were "underprivileged." Now we have Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist remarking Tuesday that conditions at Guantanamo are excellent and detainees are getting better medical and dental care than "many Americans".

Apparently it does not matter to Mr. Frist that many of the detainees have never made a move against the US but were turned in because someone wanted reward money. Since they have never had trials or had their cases reviewed by a judge, they have remained in custody for four years with no contact from their families and friends. We challenge Mr. Frist to go live there himself if he thinks their life is so good.

Earlier this month, there was much consternation and rending of garments over a British C4 TV drama in which Bush is assasinated. Why would a Republican promoter then think it okay to set up cardboard images of HIllary Clinton and John Kerry and invite college students to shoot at them with BB guns to get out the vote? Fortunately, plans for the event were scrapped when the media found out.

Finally, visions of the fake Nigerian yellowcake intelligence the Administration used to invade Iraq began dancing in our head today. Maybe that's because of the recent Senate report on prewar intelligence. Tuesday, Bush claimed that the IAEA itself had evidence that Iran is enriching uranium in the following exchange from an interview with Today's Matt Lauer:

LAUER: ... the accuracy of intelligence, especially after Iraq, do you have a smoking gun? Do you have a firm piece of evidence that proves to you, and could prove to the American people, that the Iranians indeed are enriching uranium for weapons purposes, not for peaceful purposes?

BUSH: Well, I think the most compelling evidence was that which is found by the IAEA, was the international inspection body, that there is evidence of an enrichment program going on outside of the protocol that the Iranians agreed to.


Now the IAEA is charging that the recent House report on Iran's nuclear capability is "outrageous and dishonest". The letter from the IAEA directly contradicts what Bush said:
The letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday outside a 35-nation IAEA board meeting, says the report is false in saying Iran is making weapons-grade uranium at an experimental enrichment site, when it has in fact produced material only in small quantities that is far below the level that can be used in nuclear arms.
President Bush lied when he answered Lauer's question.

The US ignored the objections of the IAEA in the days leading to the invasion of Iraq, saying that the IAEA was wrong and fabricating evidence to support their contentions. It turned out the IAEA was right. Perhaps we ought to believe the people with the better track record. Or believe people who tell the truth.
(crossposted to ljdemocrats)
lurkitty: (Default)
One of the excuses that lead us to the current unpleasantness in Iraq (are we allowed to call it a war now?) was the Saddam Hussein was accumulating materials with which to manufacture a nuclear weapon. This notion came from the now infamous Nigerian Yellowcake report, which I believe they got by sending $10,000 to an address some Nigerian sent them in an email….

The point here is that this administration expresses the belief in public that nuclear weapons grade materials in the hands of terrorists is a bad idea. A rational person might believe, then, that the administration might take steps to make that more difficult.

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, this is apparently not the case. In a stunning article, they outline how the republican congress, under pressure by lobbyists, have undermined decades of work to tighten controls on the export of weapons grade uranuim. The recent Energy Bill passed in 2005 contained the Burr Amendment, which loosened restrictions on the export of highly-enriched uranium isotopes (HEU) despite treaties long in place to phase them out and convert reactors to low-enriched uranium (LEU).

To quote one of the more ominous passages:
“All told, annual worldwide HEU commerce could increase by several hundred kilograms--sufficient for multiple nuclear weapons each year--and continue indefinitely instead of being phased out as envisioned previously… In light of the relatively lax security at civilian nuclear facilities, the technological ease of making a nuclear weapon with HEU, and the expressed will of groups like Al Qaeda to acquire and use such weapons, the specter of increasing HEU commerce raises grave concerns. The extent of damage to U.S. interests will depend on how Congress follows up this shameful performance.”

This is yet another example of the Pushkin Town “war on terror” this administration is fighting. When you look behind the rhetoric, you see they opposite of what they are telling you. This is not about our safety at all. This is about money, and whose pocket that money goes into.

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