Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Russia Arms the "Doomsday Bomb"?

Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that a US attack on Iran would be considered an attack on Russia. Earlier, a Chinese sub popped up undetected in the midst of the US 5th Fleet. As tensions mount, Wired Magazine tells us that a Russian "doomsday bomb" is still armed.
Fearing that a sneak attack by American submarine-launched missiles might take Moscow out in thirteen minutes, the Soviet leadership had authorized the construction of an automated communications network, reinforced to withstand a nuclear strike. At its heart was a computer system similar to the one in Dr Strangelove. Its codename was Perimetr. It went fully operational in January 1985. It is still in place. Its job is to monitor whether there have been nuclear detonations on Russian territory and to check whether communications channels with the Kremlin have been severed. If the answer to both questions is “yes” then the computer will conclude that the country is under attack and activate its nuclear arsenal. All that is then needed is final human approval from a command post buried deep underground. It would be a brave officer, adds Smith, who, having been cut off from his superiors in the Kremlin, could ignore the advice of such a supposedly foolproof system.


We all face the prospect that, if Russia were ever attacked, its strategic nuclear warheads could be launched by a computer system designed and built in the late 1970s.

Ron Rosenbaum, Slate, [quoted in Wired:Soviet Doomsday Device Still Armed and Ready]

A giant cobalt bomb capable of making the earth uninhabitable was made famous in the Stanley Kubrick film: Dr. Strangelove. [The clips below playback in sequence, a precis of the motion picture!]

We'll Meet Again??

Kubrick blurred fact and film fiction. Not only scenarios but devices dealt with by Kubrick had been classified.

We now have good reason to ask ourselves if we are safer now than during the height of the cold war. I don't think we are! Bush moved the countdownclock to nuclear annihilation much closer when he promised that the US would join an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran. As relations between Russia and the US seemed to warm for a brief while, America's right wing struggled throughout the Reagan era to find another phantom menace, another demon around which it might rally the populace. Sadly --our enemies are of our own making. The GOP would literally be nothing without them.
Sober PhDs are behind these thoughts. Citing the hazard of genetically engineered viruses, eminent astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has said, "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years." Martin Rees, the knighted British astronomer, agrees; he gives us a 50-50 chance. Serious thinkers such as Pulitzer Prize winner Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, and Bill Joy, who wrote Wired's own 2000 article "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," warn of techno-calamity.

--Gregg Easterbrook, We're All Gonna Die! Wired

The real enemy has always been the politicians. Their power derives from the manifestation of nightmares!

This update from Crooks and Liars:

The Wall Street Journal ran an article last week (subscription req’d) that Bush was using an investigation into a 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish Community Center in Argentina as a way to continue to strain and maintain pressure on Iran.

The only problem? There’s no real evidence that Iran was involved in the bombing:

(I)t is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the case against Iran over the AMIA bombing has been driven from the beginning by US enmity toward Iran, not by a desire to find the real perpetrators.

Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence. Nobody could anticipate the president initiating a pre-emptive war against a sovereign nation on trumped up evidence, could they? Oh…wait…

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