It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Divine Strake session criticized
Toward the end of the second hour of a public information session Wednesday night on the planned Divine Strake explosion, a man shouted that anyone who was against the test should say aye.
"Aye" roared from the several hundred Utahns gathered in a ballroom of the Grand America Hotel, 55 S. State.
As officers were hustling the man out of the room, shouts came that this was a public meeting. That was followed by a response, apparently from an officer, "It's not a public forum."
And that description of the meeting is one of the many concerns of those who attended the Salt Lake gathering sponsored by the government agencies that plan to detonate 700 tons of explosive material that opponents fear will stir up radioactive dust from the same area when nuclear bombs were tested decades earlier.
Divine Strake: Hatch, Matheson criticize meetings on blast
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jim Matheson say they want the Pentagon to follow through on a promise to hold hearings where residents could question officials on the record about the safety of Divine Strake, a massive blast slated to take place in Nevada.
"We fully agree with the disappointment felt by many of our constituents" at the lack of on-the-record questioning at Divine Strake open houses held in Salt Lake City on Wednesday and St. George on Thursday, the pair said in a letter to the director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which is planning the test.
Hatch and Matheson said the Pentagon agency made a commitment to have a question-and-answer session, but didn't follow through.
I met Aralee Scothern in the Imperial Room. She attributes the deaths of some family members to past nuclear testing. She said, "In the '50s they told us it was safe. My father got close enough to see the mushroom cloud with binoculars. The whole crew he went with died of cancer."
Divine Strake,The Pentagon to set off bunker buster bomb in Nevada
The Pentagon is preparing to set off a record-breaking bang, detonating 635 tonnes of high explosives and sending a mushroom cloud into the sky over the Nevada desert. The blast, on June 2, codenamed Divine Strake, is likely to be the biggest controlled conventional explosion in military history, experts said, and is designed to test the impact of bunker-busting bombs aimed at underground targets.
Ivan Oelrich, a munitions expert at the Federation of American Scientists, said: "I suspect this is primarily a test of their computer modelling abilities, because I don't know how they could deliver a weapon like this. They are looking at how different rocks respond to shockwaves."
Desert Greens Lead Utah Groups Demanding an End to Divine Strake Nuclear Blast Simulation
Applauding Governor Huntsman's call for meetings that allow public input regarding the Divine Strake explosion, the Desert Greens Green Party of Utah, Blue Sky Institute and Shundahai Network as members of the Stop Divine Strake Coalition, a coalition of four-dozen indigenous, peace, environmental justice, disarmament groups and Western Shoshone leaders, are echoing the dire need for an EIS (Environmental impact Statement).
An s-EIS is needed since an activity like Divine Strake was not evaluated in the original EIS (1996) for the NTS. This would allow more public involvement into the purpose for Divine Strake.
On December 20th, the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) released a revised Environmental Assessment and disclosed their schedule of public information sessions in Las Vegas, Salt Lake and St. George; but these sessions will not include a public hearing on the issue. Instead, NNSA officials said that the public sessions are basically open house meetings where people can look at informational posters and ask questions.
"In the past, these meetings allowed public verbal input by citizens, allowing everyone present to hear a variety of views," said Deanna Taylor, Co-Coordinator of the Desert Greens. "The meetings as planned were nothing more than slick sales pitches."
"The United States selectively condemns nations that violate or are even suspected of violating treaties or UN resolutions, yet we ourselves flout the decision of the CERD committee in finding the US in clear violation of the treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863. This test, and in fact all tests at the Nevada Test site, are destructive acts of trespassing on Western Shoshone land, and should cease immediately."
"Originally the Defense Department's budget documents identified Divine Strake as necessary to determine the smallest proper /nuclear/ yield necessary to destroy underground targets," said Eileen McCabe. "After questions were raised that information from the blast will aid in the design of new nuclear weapons, NNSA officials stepped back, claiming that there were no nuclear applications for the test."
Scientists say plans flawed for Vegas-area 'Divine Strake' blast
A professional engineer who specializes in air quality says he found fatal flaws in federal plans for a weapons test that U.S. officials say will generate the first mushroom-shaped dust cloud in decades at the Nevada Test Site.
"Given the right meteorological conditions, it is possible that some portion of the PM 2.5 emissions generated by the proposed detonation could settle in either Utah or Las Vegas," Leskys said in an interview late Tuesday.
Michael Skougard, an NNSA official overseeing compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, acknowledged that test planners and analysts looked at larger, 10 micron, particles in making a crucial determination that a 10,000-foot cloud will dissipate within 13 miles.
Leskys called the smaller particles "the most likely pollutant that would carry radionuclides."
"They could stay in the atmosphere for weeks, and settle hundreds of miles from here," he added.
Leskys was one of 40 people who turned out for the meeting - which resembled a trade show more than a public hearing. Seven people provided written comments and a stenographer took three individual oral comments during the 21Ú2 hour affair at a Las Vegas convention hall.
Public affairs officers from the two federal agencies narrated in front of 12 display boards showing the design, reasons and plans for exploding 700 tons of a fuel oil and fertilizer mixture over a tunnel at the Test Site, some 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Hold the government accountable
By REP. JIM MATHESON
I question the latest proposal by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to detonate a mammoth pile of chemical explosives at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles outside of Las Vegas.
Last April, I wrote to James Tegnelia, Director of DTRA, voicing my concerns - chief among them, that Divine Strake was being conducted in order to further attempts to build new low-yield nuclear devices. I wrote that at 700 tons, the Divine Strake demonstration won't simulate a conventional bomb - no bomber in the U.S. fleet can carry a weapon that size.
In subsequent briefings, DTRA officials confirmed that this would be a dual-purpose test - supporting research efforts to predict damage to deep underground facilities from both conventional and nuclear devices.
In my April 2006 letter, I asked what precautions would take place to ensure that radioactive debris from the test site, home to hundreds of past open-air and underground nuclear tests, wouldn't be hurled into the atmosphere, exposing those downwind from the blast. The government's initial environmental assessment - issued in May prior to its original June 2006 test date -declared that no radiation would become airborne, or escape the Nevada Test Site. I asked to see the supporting data, but none was produced.
At the same time, Nevada air quality officials refused to issue state environmental permits for the test, due to insufficient data.
During the years of above-ground testing, Southern Utah residents were repeatedly told not to worry about ash falling thick as snow, and strangers about town, carrying Geiger counters.......Subsequent health studies calculated that thousands of deaths resulted from exposure to the radioactive fallout.
The government's latest environmental study contradicts the first. It says radioactive particles will become airborne and may contribute a "radiological dose" to the public, but in too small an amount to pose a health risk.
In 1980, the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce concluded that the Atomic Energy Commission had engaged in a sophisticated scientific cover-up aimed at protecting the testing program in Nevada at any cost.
DELEGATION GETS DIVINE STRAKE MEETING IN IDAHO
Idahoans will have the opportunity to hear firsthand about the Divine Strake experiment proposed for later this year at the Nevada Test Site. The Idaho Congressional Delegation has won a commitment from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the National Security Agency Administration/Nevada Site Office to hold an informational meeting in Boise concerning the experiment.
The agencies will hold a public information session on Sunday, January 28, 2007, in Boise. Time and location for the meeting are still being worked out and will be announced as soon as arrangements have been completed. Similar sessions have already been held in Nevada and Utah. A court reporter will be on hand to document comments at the Idaho meeting.
“I am very pleased that Idaho will have the same opportunity as Nevada and Utah to learn more and to voice our concerns in ways that should have occurred much earlier in the process,...,” said Senator Larry Craig.
“I’m grateful our state’s citizens will finally have access to the same information as their neighbors in Utah and Nevada and pleased the DTRA and the other agencies have agreed to our request for this meeting,” said Congressman Mike Simpson.
“I am very pleased the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency has committed to hearing from Idahoans regarding Divine Strake testing. Concerned Idahoans, like citizens of Utah and Nevada, should be heard on this matter and continue to be part of the comment process on testing in Nevada,” said Congressman Bill Sali.
A healthy skepticism for federal activities
...the U.S. government is champing at the bit to explode 700 tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, and the most desirable spot is about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas on desert land still rich in radioactive sand and soil from nearly five decades of nuclear tests.
Similar but smaller explosions — meant to mimic so-called bunker-buster bombs — were set off in a limestone quarry between Bedford and Mitchell in 2004 and 2005 by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). DTRA is part of the U.S. Department of Defense.
For a few months last year, the Indiana quarry was rumored to be a possible site for the pending $23-million mega-blast, dubbed by the feds, “Divine Strake.”
After concerned Hoosiers raised questions and turned to their U.S. representative, Steve Buyer, DTRA’s acting director said the agency had “no plans” to conduct its “Tunnel Target Defeat” experiment in the quarry.
Nevadans and folks in Utah could do the worrying instead. And they have.
How big is 700 tons? In comparison, the ammonium nitrate and oil bomb Timothy McVeigh used to destroy the Murrah federal office building in Oklahoma City was 2.5 tons.
Assurances to the contrary by DTRA and the National Nuclear Security Administration have done little to assuage suspicion. To generations of Nevada and Utah residents, the government has a long history of misinformation and disinformation where nuclear testing is concerned.
While the nuclear security administration has withdrawn its “finding of ‘no significant impact’” from its original environmental assessment of Divine Strake, the Spectrum said, “it wasn’t done until members of Congress got involved and a lawsuit was filed against the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Linton Brooks, director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and James Tegnelia, DTRA director,” by the Western Shoshone Tribe.
“It could be nuclear or advanced conventional,” the Sun quoted Bruder, who added, “A charge of this size would be more related to a nuclear weapon.”
The US, in particular, has caused concern with its plans to develop and test new weapons, including anti-ballistic missiles, the earth-penetrating "bunker buster" and perhaps some new "small" bombs.
Critics say these plans clash with 13 steps agreed at the last review in 2000, which includes calls for "a diminishing role" for nuclear weapons in security policies.
Judge moves 'Divine Strake' court hearing up to Jan. 31
Judge Lloyd George cited a scheduling conflict in moving the date of the telephone conference call to January 31st. A Justice Department lawyer from Washington is due to provide an update of the federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency proposal. No date has been set for the blast.
Public Gets Chance to Speak Against Divine Strake
Suspicion, fear and outright anger -- those were the dominant emotions tonight as Wasatch Front residents finally had a public forum to speak out against a gigantic explosion the Pentagon wants to set off in the Nevada Desert.
Earlier this month federal agencies were fiercely criticized for holding low-key open houses instead of public hearings, so the Governor organized hearings himself. The result tonight is what the feds apparently didn't want: speaker after speaker heaping scorn on the Pentagon plan.
Gov. Jon Huntsman: "My strong submission is that we do not test Divine Strake. Thank you very much."
The Pentagon has said the risks are insignificant because there's only miniscule radiation at the site, but critics believe the Pentagon will say whatever it takes to win approval for the test, which they fear is aimed at developing a nuclear bunker-buster bomb.
Radiation facts may ease fears
"It bothers me to hear of people worried about trivial or nonexistent amounts of radiation," Howard said, "and what we're talking about in this case is a level of radiation so small it should realistically be called zero."
"According to quotes from the (government's) official draft assessment, the most radiation a person could receive standing next to the test site boundary during the explosion is estimated to be 0.006 to 0.007 millirem, while off-site populated areas would have an exposure two to five times lower still. That is 40 to 100 times lower than the 0.1 millirem level established by the EPA as allowable exposure (at the Nevada Test Site) under any conditions."
"Doesn't the public know that they are getting radiation of approximately 100 to 150 millirems per year just from background radiation in Utah — that's radioactive materials from the soil, in building materials and from cosmic rays?" said Howard. "That's 60 times the .006 cited for Divine Strake every day."
"Don't they realize that a cross-country trip in an airliner could get them about five extra millirems? Don't they know that a dental X-ray exposure is about 100 millirems?"
"We should not be concerned about an explosion that would only throw ordinary dirt into the air."
...an explosion that would only throw ordinary dirt into the air.
“Divine Strake”and the talk of a nuclear attack on Iran
“Divine Strake” is one of many experiments and studies going on across the U.S. military research and development complex, aimed at learning how best to combine nuclear and non-nuclear weaponry in the new round of “small” wars that powerful, perhaps dominant, factions in the United States appear determined to fight. A solicitation to contractors for work on Hard and Deeply Buried Target Defeat stated that
“STRATCOM [Strategic Command] needs to consider and evaluate the option of using nuclear weapons against its most difficult targets, and to compare whether such weapons provide an enhanced targeting posture or alternately provide the exclusive means to eliminate some particularly difficult targets. Because these strategic targets may themselves contain WMD, STRATCOM, as part of its assessment, needs to predict the extent and spread of chemical, biological or radiological contaminant released by virtue of the attack. In a post-attack environment, STRATCOM also needs to determine the effectiveness of the attack based on sampled physical and inferential variables produced by the attack.” Statement of Objective For The Hard, Deeply Buried Target Defeat ACTD 29 January 2003, p.1
The fact that planning and technology development for a new generation of strategic delivery systems is ramping up remains largely invisible, even though the way those programs develop likely will determine the nature of the future nuclear arsenal as much or more than debates over how warheads should be produced or maintained. Changes in the way that nuclear strikes are planned and executed, from new software for strike planners to new communications systems, are well underway, supported by the kind of testing of which “Divine Strake” is only one part.
And if half of what Seymour Hersh reports this week in the New Yorker, we now are faced with a serious debate within the government over whether to use nuclear weapons in a war of aggression, against a country that has not attacked us or its neighbors. What mainstream discussion there has been in recent years about nuclear weapons has focused largely on technical issues and an abstract, backward-looking emphasis on the “uselessness” of new nuclear weapons capabilities for a vision of deterrence which, if it ever really existed, those in power have decisively left behind. Uninformed by any sustained debate in the mainstream about the fundamental moral and legal legitimacy of the uses actually envisioned for nuclear weapons, the public is poorly prepared for the crisis we now face. Americans may wake up some day in the coming years responsible for an unprovoked nuclear attack, and have no idea how they got there.
First, an attack on Iran would be an act of aggression, barred by the UN Charter and prosecuted at Nuremberg. That is, it would be aggression unless authorized by the Security Council or in response to an Iranian attack.
Second, a U.S. nuclear attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would violate international law requirements of necessity, proportionality, and discrimination acknowledged by the United States and affirmed by the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion on nuclear weapons. The Court put the principle of discrimination, which it described as “fundamental” and “intransgressible,” as follows: “States must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets.” (emphasis added) Given the blast, heat and widespread radiation effects of an attack – the spread of radiation is elevated by an underground explosion by an earth penetrator – that requirement cannot be met.
But one of the things that caught my eye in the Hersh article was this:
American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions—rapid ascending maneuvers known as “over the shoulder” bombing—since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.
The meeting did not provide an avenue for the public to share comments out loud, and many in attendance, like airline pilot John Post, were unhappy with the experts' answers.
"My basic intuition as a former military member, and now someone who's really concerned about the amount of money being spent on such things, being told one thing when it's obvious to me that it's something else, is insulting," said Post.
Divine Strake Meeting - Boise, Idaho
Defense agency kills Divine Strake test explosion
Breaking under a flood of public opposition to Divine Strake, the Pentagon announced Thursday that it would scrap plans to conduct the massive blast at the Nevada Test Site.
Early planning documents said it was intended to help "improve the warfighter's confidence in selecting the smallest proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities while minimizing collateral damage." The Pentagon later said the reference to nuclear yield was in error, and it would help with conventional weaponry as well.
Matheson calls for Divine Strake federal hearings
Matheson told ABC 4 News he wants to know exactly who was behind the test and why.
Matheson says, "I am...on the Energy sub-committee of the House Energy and Commerce committee which has jurisdiction over the Department of Energy nuclear weapons program and within that sub-committee, I want to hold hearings."
And Matheson also says that - if he has to - he will issue congressional subpoenas.
Did Clear Channel-owned ABC 4 boot news anchor Terry Wood from 10 p.m. weeknights to weekends over his editorializing about Divine Strake? According to the still-active Stop Divine Strake group (MySpace.com/StopDivineStrake), it sure as hell looks that way: “Clear Channel is a strong supporter of the Bush administration, and Divine Strake was a test for a program being pushed by the Bush Administration,” goes the latest blog.
“Inadvertently, any criticism of any decision by the Bush administration, even though the words ‘Bush administration’ were never mentioned, is unacceptable. David D’Antuono, the news director for KTVX [ABC 4], publicly defended and praised Terry Wood’s actions. The parent company, Clear Channel, uncomfortable with any criticism against the Bush administration’s decisions...
But Wood still deserves props for speaking out against Divine Strake when no one else in local TV would.
“The extraordinary failure rate of online diaries and claims that interest in blogging will soon begin a precipitous slide are sparking an intriguing debate about the future of self-expression on the Internet and whether blogs, once seen as revolutionary, are destined to become a footnote in the history of computing,” said a U.K. Sunday Times report. “Others liken the abandonment of blogs to ‘the suicide of your virtual self’ … At least one Internet writer blames the blogging culture for helping to turn the Internet into a dictatorship of idiots.’”
Originally posted by antar
I have never discussed this because it just seemed so dark and sinister.