This Fall in Nuclear Threat History

By |2019-09-30T15:40:29-07:00September 30, 2019|

October 4, 1957 – The Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the world’s first artificial satellite, as the Space Age began. U.S. government leaders concerned that a missile capable of launching satellites (particularly follow-on Soviet space missions that carried animals and hundreds of pounds of equipment) might soon be able to place a nuclear warhead on U.S. or allied territory led to fears of a “missile gap.”  Inflated estimates from the U.S. Air Force and intelligence community predicted that the Soviets might deploy up to 500 operational intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by 1961.  However, some of the first U.S. military spy satellites, including CORONA, determined by 1960 that the Soviets, in fact, possessed only four operational ICBMs.   In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. military and scientific communities studied the deployment of nuclear weapons into outer space including a Deep Space Force nuclear-armed manned program, a nuclear-powered spacecraft (Project Orion), and the testing of nuclear weapons on the Moon.   The Soviets also worked on antisatellite weapons as well as orbital nuclear weapons platforms called FOBs (Fractional Orbit Bombardment system).  On October 17, 1963, multilateral negotiations culminated in the passage of U.N. General Assembly Resolution No. 1884 (XVIII) which called on nation-states “to refrain from placing in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction or from installing such weapons on celestial bodies.”  More negotiations followed which resulted in the signing and ratification of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.   Comments:  While in the ensuing decades since Sputnik, nuclear weapon states, especially the United States, have spent tens of billions of dollars on military assets to utilize outer space for communication, reconnaissance, threat assessment, and nuclear strike warning, recent trends toward actually weaponizing outer space, including the deployment of tremendously expensive space missile defenses, are dangerously destabilizing trends.  The long-established international legal paradigm of demilitarizing outer space and preventing nuclear war have been dealt lethal blows by President George W. Bush’s withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and by President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement of 2015 and the INF Treaty of 1987, the creation of a sixth military branch The Space Force, and a refusal to commit to renew the New START (Moscow) Treaty before it expires in February 2021. The defeat of Trump in the November 2020 election is a necessary prerequisite to reduce the dangers of nuclear war on Earth, under or on the surface of the seas, and in outer space.  (Sources: Marcia Dunn. “Trump Directs Pentagon to Create ‘Space Force.’” The Associated Press, June 18, 2018 https://www.truthdig.com/articles/trump-directs-pentagon-to-create-space-force/ accessed April 28, 2019 and Jack Mendelsohn and David Grahame, editors.  “Arms Control Chronology.”  Washington, DC:  Center for Defense Information, 2002, p. 28 and Bob Preston, et al., “Space Weapons:  Earth Wars.”  Santa Monica, CA:  Rand Corporation and Project Air Force, 2002, p. 11.)

October 8, 1993 – William Broad’s article in the New York Times, “Russia Has Doomsday Machine U.S. Expert Says” revealed that Dr. Bruce Blair, a former U.S. Air Force nuclear missile launch control officer and nuclear weapons expert with The Brookings Institution (who later served as President of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Pentagon watchdog organization, The Center For Defense Information) became the first Westerner to disclose the existence of what was previously believed to be a fictional device mentioned in director Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film “Dr. Strangelove” – a doomsday machine.  Dr. Blair’s contacts with Russian military officials allowed him to become aware of a computer-controlled means of ensuring that if the U.S. launched a first strike and destroyed the highest levels of Russian leadership as well as a large number of Russian nuclear forces, that enough nuclear-tipped ICBMs could still be launched to ensure MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction.  This system of nuclear command and control established in November 1984, designated Perimeter (Perimetr) or “Dead Hand,” was buried deep beneath the Ural Mountains and was automated (except for one human in the decision making chain).  Dr. Blair noted that, “The doomsday machine provides for a massive salvo…(of) nuclear combat missiles…without any participation by local (launch) crews, weapons commanders in the field would be completely bypassed.”  The continued existence of this Cold War era system was verified by one of its designers Valery Yarynich, a former Soviet colonel and 30-year veteran of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff, in March of 2009. And more recently in November 2018, the former chief of staff of the Soviet Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel Viktor Yesin, noted that, “The Perimeter functions perfectly and has passed all stages of preparation and verification,” according to a Pravda article.  Comments:  With the onset of a new, seemingly unrestricted nuclear arms race, that includes missile defenses (thanks to U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty of 1972 by the Bush Administration) and large numbers of short range nuclear missiles to be deployed on Russia’s borders by NATO (again, thanks to U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty of 1987 by the Trump Administration), the Russians have expressed fear that even the Perimeter system may be ineffective due to Russian missile forces being overwhelmed by extremely large numbers of U.S. nuclear weapons.  Such fears have triggered even more unstable responses by both sides, particularly by Russia which has accelerated the development of hypersonic nuclear-armed missiles and other “Dead Hand” type devices such as stealthy automated deep underwater mini-submarines each equipped with a 100-150 megaton warhead meant to destroy U.S. coastal port cities with nuclear tsunamis and enhanced radioactive fallout.  It’s as if military and political leaders of both countries, and the other nuclear-armed nations, have forgotten that the larger the number of nuclear weapons exploded in such an insane conflict, the more likely a global nuclear winter will ensure the demise of our global civilization and possibly our entire species.  Cynically it also appears that the nuclear weapons contractors are counting on enjoying unprecedented profits for many years to come.  Even if a nuclear war is not triggered, humanity will still suffer contamination from reckless nuclear production and accidents as well as many other social, health, environmental and economic deficits due to the diversion of trillions of dollars to this obscene buildup.  It’s time to bring a measure of sanity back into this equation starting from the bottom up as hundreds of millions of global citizenry are not only protesting this state of affairs but promising to elect new leaders who reject the failed wisdom of “Peace Through Strength” and “Nuclear Weapons Keep Us Safe,” and instead embrace a new paradigm that calls for an end to war and the nuclear arms race.  (Sources:  Jason Torchinsky. “The Soviets Made A Real Doomsday Device in the ‘80s and The Russians Still Have It Today.” Foxtrot Alpha. https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-soviets-made-a-real-doomsday-device-in-the-80s-and-1794225196  and “Without the INF Treaty, USA Can Destroy Russian Nuclear Weapons Easily.” Pravda. Nov. 9, 2018 www.pravdareport.com/news/russia/141954-dead-hand/ both accessed May 19, 2019.)

October 16, 1980 – China conducted its last atmospheric nuclear test exactly 16 years after it first exploded an atomic bomb.  In total, that nation conducted a total of 45 such tests before joining most of the nuclear weapons states in signing (and later ratifying) the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on September 24, 1996.  Increased cancer rates, groundwater contamination, and other detrimental health and environmental contamination still plague global populations decades after over 2,000 nuclear bombs were exploded below ground or in the atmosphere by members of the Nuclear Club over the last 75 years. But the admonition that those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it is seen in the fact that the Trump Administration and other nuclear weapons states are unfortunately considering renewed nuclear testing despite a strong international legal prohibition against such environmentally damaging and human health-impacting insanity.  Comments:  Although Russia signed the CTBT and ratified that agreement (by a 298-74 vote in the Russian Duma on April 21, 2000), the U.S. Senate rejected the treaty by a vote of 51-48 on October 13, 1999 and despite the establishment of a global verification regime, in the form of hundreds of seismic monitoring stations, as well as reliable national technical means of verification in place, there is no credible reason for the U.S. not to ratify the CTBT.  Hopefully, a newly elected Democratic-dominated Congress should place this near the top of its agenda in January of 2021.  However complicating this matter is the fact that the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) of 2018 reversed President Obama’s decision not to conduct more nuclear tests and it provided for an illogical return to such testing in order to meet “geopolitical challenges,” which unfortunately fits a pattern for this president of unreasonably ratcheting up nuclear tensions and the risk of nuclear war. The NPR also mentioned technical reasons as a justification for more testing, however a 2018 commentary by Philip E. Coyle and James McKeon notes that that issue has long been put to bed by U.S. scientific consensus.  For over 25 years since U.S. nuclear testing ended in September 1992, the heads of the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories have assessed that the U.S. stockpile is reliable and that resuming nuclear testing is unnecessary.  Coyle and McKeon point out that the Stockpile Stewardship program has perfected the use of advanced simulations using supercomputers to provide even more information about the U.S. nuclear arsenal than what was ascertained during the period of nuclear testing. (Sources:  Philip E. Coyle and James McKeon.  “Mushroom Clouds Beneath the Surface:  The Dangers of A Return to Nuclear Testing.” WarontheRocks.com. April 20, 2018 https://warontherocks.com/2018/04/mushroom-clouds-beneath-the-surface-the-dangers-of-a-return-to-nuclear-testing/ accessed May 25, 2019 and Jack Mendelsohn and David Grahame, editors.  “Arms Control Chronology.”  Washington, DC:  Center for Defense Information, 2002, pp. 10, 12, 19, 22 and 24.)

October 28, 1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis ended on this date.  “It was perhaps the most dangerous issue which the world has had to face since the end of the Second World War” according to then British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Today this is still true, with the possible exception of the 1983 NATO Able Archer exercise, interpreted by Soviet leaders as a military exercise disguising a nuclear first strike by the U.S., and other Cold War era false alerts and near-misses including more recent unusually irrational nuclear threats wielded by President Trump against North Korea and Iran.  During the very tense thirteen days of October 1962, the world came the closest it has ever come to thermonuclear war when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev secreted 42 SS-4 nuclear-tipped medium-range ballistic missiles (range: 1,200 miles) along with approximately 100 tactical nuclear warheads including nuclear torpedoes, cruise missiles, and short-range rockets to the island of Cuba.  Several times during the crisis, unexpected events like the Russian shoot down of a U.S. U-2 spy plane over the island or the U.S. Navy’s firing of depth charges at nuclear-armed Soviet submarines, nearly triggered World War III.  If the unthinkable had happened 57 years ago, it is extremely possible that a then limited Soviet nuclear arsenal might have killed about a few million Americans but because of overwhelming U.S. nuclear superiority at the time, the use of the inflexible full-scale SIOP (Single Integrated Operational Plan) by U.S. strategic nuclear forces would probably have resulted in the killing of hundreds of millions in not only the Soviet Union but other pre-set targeted regions like China and Eastern Europe thereby triggering a then unanticipated global nuclear winter event that ultimately would have led to billions of deaths, the end of human civilization and possibly the near-extinction of our species.  Thankfully that eventuality never materialized as secret diplomacy between lower-level representatives of both nations helped President John Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev agree to finally end the stalemate and remove the Cuban missiles (along with a secret quid-pro-quo promise by Kennedy to remove obsolete Jupiter missiles from Turkey at a later date).  (Sources:  Daniel Ellsberg.  “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.”  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2017 and Michael Mandelbaum. “The Nuclear Question: The U.S. and Nuclear Weapons, 1946-76.”  New York:  Cambridge University Press, 1979, p. 129 and Robert L. O’Connell.  The Cuban Missile Crisis: Second Holocaust. in Robert Cowley, ed. “What Ifs? of American History.” New York:  Berkley Books, 2003, pp. 251-272.)

November 7-11, 1983 – A supposedly routine NATO military exercise designated Able Archer 83 inadvertently almost triggered World War III!  The exercise involved an unusually realistic buildup to a simulated U.S. nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The problem was that in the decades following the development of nuclear weapons in 1945 the Soviets knew about past U.S. military plans that called for a bolt-from-the-blue series of strategic bomber attacks or ICBM launches against Soviet military and civilian targets and their extreme paranoia or fear of an actual U.S. nuclear attack had grown even stronger during the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989).  Stoking these fears were many statements by the President referring to the Soviet Union as “an evil empire” perhaps legitimately reinforced by deadly incidents such as the Soviet shootdown of the KAL 007 civilian airliner (interpreted by the Kremlin as a U.S. military spy plane flying near extremely sensitive defense installations) which killed all 269 passengers and crew (including 62 Americans) over Sakhalin Island on September 1, 1983.  A large consensus of Soviet military and political leaders believed that the Able Archer exercise was, in actuality, a cover for an actual U.S. nuclear first strike.  According to a declassified 1997 CIA analysis by Benjamin Fischer, when NATO generals sent a flash telegram to its Western European military bases, the Soviets believed the buildup to World War III had been initiated and they responded by readying their defenses including deploying nuclear-armed Russian aircraft on high alert at dozens of Soviet air bases. U.S. and NATO military commanders were shocked at this response and they quickly ratcheted down the exercise.  In Washington, DC, the Pentagon’s plans to rehearse a nuclear conflict by escorting President Reagan to a deep underground bunker were suddenly altered by National Security Advisor Robert “Bud” McFarlane who directed the President to immediately make a televised public appearance.  The Soviets breathed a sigh of relief and de-escalated their nuclear alert.  Comments:  Our species has been very lucky over the last 75 years as the perceived “strength and reliability” of nuclear deterrence theory has faltered countless times yet we have somehow avoided nuclear doomsday.  But our rational minds know that eventually our luck will run out unless we make a major paradigm change.  That is why it is a global imperative to dramatically reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons while simultaneously shrinking global conventional military forces before the human race suffers near- or total extinction.  (Sources:  Numerous articles from alternative and mainstream websites including the National Security Archive at George Washington University and Nate Jones. “Able Archer 83:  The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War.”  New York: The New Press, 2016.)

November 18, 2008 – The acclaimed publication The Nation featured a web-based article on the topic of “Smart Defense,” edited by Katrina vanden Heuvel.  The article quoted representatives of the military-industrial complex which surprisingly expressed skepticism about the Bush Administration’s military intervention in the Third World.  The piece noted that a senior Pentagon advisory board, the Defense Business Board, declared that the then annual military budget of more than $500 billion and the ancillary $200 billion budgeted for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “is not sustainable.”  In addition, The Nation pointed to an op-ed by the highly respected military analyst Lawrence Korb of The Center for American Progress and Miriam Pemberton of the Institute of Policy Studies which concluded that, “The balance between our spending on military forces and other security tools like diplomacy, nonproliferation, foreign aid, and homeland security needs to change.”  Comments:  Amazingly, a decade later the Western news media has jumped unabashedly onto the bandwagon of both the perpetual Global War on Terrorism, that has escalated steadily and without any end in sight since the 9-11 attacks (few, if any, mainstream journalists, strategists, or nongovernmental experts for example have argued that the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden could have qualified as the point at which President Obama should have declared that the GWOT was won and could thereafter be ratcheted down), and Cold War II, a renewed nuclear and conventional arms race that the U.S., Russia, and other top militaries have inexplicably embraced as an essential necessity.  Thankfully a recent ray of light has originated from the U.S. peace movement in the form of a campaign known as “People Over Pentagon,” which includes over twenty organizational sponsors including Daily Kos, FCNL, 350.org, Code Pink, Greenpeace, The Institute for Policy Studies, Peace Action, WAND, World Beyond War and others.  This effort, begun in May of 2019, appeals to the American people as well as all the Democratic candidates running for President to demand an immediate $200 billion reduction (a modest 25-30 percent cut) in the U.S. military budget and the requirement that any President cannot single-handedly launch a war without Congressional authorization.  The savings from such cuts could fuel Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and serious efforts to address climate change.  However, much more work along these lines need to be done worldwide for although many international antiwar campaigns have been strengthened in the last few years, the annual SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) report released in April of 2019 noted that the world is still spending an appalling $1.8 trillion on military expenditures every year.  Most relevant to these dreadful statistics are the recent comments of Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin correlating military spending and nuclear war, “Any war can turn into a nuclear war.”   The dire events of the past decade require that hundreds of millions of inhabitants of this Pale Blue Dot who oppose war and nuclear weapons must redouble their efforts to educate, agitate, lobby, and push ever harder for the changes needed to make our global civilization survivable and sustainable into the indefinite future.  We must not tolerate the authoritarian ethic that embraces the necessity of perpetual war, which at any time might inadvertently trigger our species’ extermination through nuclear Armageddon.  (Sources: “An Agenda to End Wasteful Pentagon Spending & For a Just and More Prosperous Future.” PeopleOverPentagon.org. May 2019 https://peopleoverpentagon.org and “World Military Expenditure Grows to $1.8 Trillion in 2018.” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). April 29, 2019 https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2019/world-expenditure-grows-18-trillion-2018 both accessed May 23, 2019.)

November 30, 1950 – Within a short time period after a U.S. military victory over North Korea was reversed by the entry of the Peoples’ Republic of China into the war, a large force of U.S. Marines were surrounded by Chinese troops at the Chosin Reservoir on this date.  In Washington, DC at a televised press conference, President Harry Truman was asked whether there was active consideration by him of the possible use of an atomic bomb in the Korean Conflict.  The President responded that, “There has always been active consideration of its use.”  In fact many historians as well as former nuclear war planners like Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg have revealed that President Truman’s statement, “was not an offhand comment but a statement reflecting the fact that some or all of the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff actually recommended their use.”  Comments:  Thankfully U.S. or Soviet nuclear weapons were not used in the Korean Conflict or in Vietnam or during the tense decades of the first Cold War (1945-1991) but there were many frightening near-misses, an abundance of nuclear saber-rattling, and times like the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 and the NATO Able Archer exercise in November 1983 when nuclear war was barely avoided.  In the last few years, a rejuvenated Cold War II has again threatened to make nuclear war a more likely eventuality.  Only a rising tide of global consensus toward the elimination of these doomsday weapons can save our species.  (Source:  Daniel Ellsberg.  “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.”  New York: Bloomsbury, 2017, pp. 315-317.)

December 1, 1999America’s Defense Monitor, a half-hour documentary PBS-TV series that premiered in 1987, released a new film, a 15-minute long advocacy video titled  “Back From The Brink: End The Nuclear Threat Now,” produced by The Center for Defense Information, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization and independent monitor of the Pentagon, founded in 1972, whose board of directors and staff included retired military officers (Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll, Jr.), former U.S. government officials (Philip Coyle, who served as assistant secretary of defense), and civilian experts (Dr. Bruce Blair, a former U.S. Air Force nuclear missile launch control officer and former analyst with The Brookings Institution).  The press release for the video noted that, “There are thousands of nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia on hair-trigger alert, ready to fire at a moment’s notice.  The Russian early warning system is deteriorating due to the collapse of the Russian economy.  As recent near-disasters prove, both countries are increasingly prone to accidents or miscalculations that could trigger a nuclear disaster.  If the United States takes the initiative to de-alert its nuclear weapons, Russia will follow.” Guest commentators who spoke about the nuclear threat included the late Admiral Stansfield Turner [1923-2018], USN (Ret.) who served as CIA Director from 1977-1980, Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and Lynn Woolsey, a former U.S. Congressional Representative (California’s 6th District, 1993-2013) who served as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus from 2010-13.  Comments:  It is impossible to justify how much the nuclear threat has increased in these last two decades.  Equally hard to contemplate is that a current or even retired CIA Director would follow Admiral Turner’s lead and call for substantial reductions or even the elimination of the U.S. nuclear arsenal (although retired Defense Secretary William Perry has made similar statements in the last few years, calling for the phase-out of all U.S. land-based ICBMs in 2016).  Twenty years ago or so, President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which unfortunately Congress voted not to ratify, and the START III Framework Agreement with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.  However today President Trump has committed himself to using a wrecking ball to scuttle a whole series of vital arms control treaties including the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, the Iran Nuclear Agreement of 2015, the INF Treaty of 1987, The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, while unnecessarily delaying or even refusing to extend the New START Treaty before it expires in February 2021.  That’s why it is critical for the survival of our species to encourage the American voting electorate, including most importantly young voters, to turn out in unprecedentedly large numbers to elect a successor to Trump who will reverse all of his unwise, reckless, and dangerously destabilizing arms control, military, and diplomatic missteps before it is too late.  It is also fervently hoped that the 46th President elected on November 3, 2020 will commit to the de-alerting of nuclear weapons, the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, agreeing with Russia quickly to extend the New START Treaty, and forging a new U.S. negotiating consensus to cooperate in a United Nations campaign to convince the nine nuclear weapons states including the U.S. to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by 2024.

December 22, 2008 – Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News TV, “The President is followed at all times by a military aide carrying the nuclear codes that he would use in the event of a nuclear attack on the U.S.  He doesn’t have to check with anybody.  He doesn’t have to call the Congress.  He doesn’t have to check with the courts.  He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.”  Comments:  While the facts about the President’s 24-7-365 access to the nuclear “football” have been well established by many news media sources as well as being dramatized on stage, in films, and on television for some time, it is nevertheless highly disconcerting to realize that miscalculation, false nuclear alerts, irrational decision-making, combined with human infallibility under the dictates of extremely short time constraints, can, despite a plethora of safeguards, fail safes, and verification protocols, credibly result in what the late Jonathan Schell (“The Fate of the Earth”) called, “a republic of insects and grass” – the possibility of human extinction.  But the nuclear threat to our species is even worse than what Cheney revealed and what today the world is faced with — a nuclear saber-rattler like Donald Trump in the White House.  Because, in point of fact, the President is not the sole authority for launching nuclear weapons.  Daniel Ellsberg’s intriguing 2017 book “The Doomsday Machine:  Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner” authoritatively concluded that, after discovering many specific cases where commanders in the field were delegated that authority in the 1950s through 1960s and more recently, the idea that the U.S. President (and most probably other top governmental leaders of nuclear weapons states) has unilateral access to the “nuclear football” represents essentially a hoax.  The actual authority to press the nuclear button is delegated to a range of actors, both military and civilian, at various levels of authority.  But it is critical that this relatively widespread delegation of nuclear launch capability be kept secret and the myth of sole presidential authority perpetuated in order to minimize fear on the part of citizenry, allies, and the rest of the world.  The result of this secrecy, what Ellsberg calls the ‘Strangelove Paradox,’ is that nuclear arsenals represent a failed means of deterrence.  In simpler terms, our human species is in even more danger from these doomsday weapons since an unconscionable number of people actually have the ability to launch a nuclear Armageddon!  Nobel Peace Prize winner and former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, may have said it best, “It is my firm belief that the infinite and uncontrollable fury of nuclear weapons should never be held in the hands of any mere mortal ever again for any reason.”  Therefore as we accelerate toward the path of eliminating nuclear weapons, until Global Zero is achieved, we must de-alert U.S., Russian, Chinese, European, North Korean, Israeli, Pakistani and Indian nuclear arsenals.  Give the human race at least 72 hours to think about it and change course before unleashing the end of our global civilization.  (Sources:  Christopher J. Coyne.  Reviewer of “The Doomsday Machine” by Daniel Ellsberg.  The Independent Review:  A Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 23, No. 4, Spring 2019 www.theindependent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?id=1380 accessed May 2, 2019 and Daniel Ellsberg.  “The Doomsday Machine:  Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.  New York:  Bloomsbury, 2017, pp. 68-70 and numerous news media sources including Fox News and Democracy Now.)

December 23, 1983 –The TTAPS group of scientists,  R.P. Turco, O.B. Toon, T.P. Ackerman, J.B. Pollack, and astronomer, astrophysicist and science popularizer Carl Sagan (1934-1996), published the article “Nuclear Winter and Global Consequences of Multiple Nuclear Explosions,” in the journal Science on the previously unknown global atmospheric and climate impacts of nuclear war – that as few as 100-200 nuclear weapons exploded in a period of one or two days could inject extremely large amounts of dust and smoke into the Earth’s upper atmosphere causing significant reductions  in light and temperature levels triggering a “nuclear winter” that could substantially decrease agricultural yields. Their study concluded that in an all-out nuclear war, in which about 5,000 megatons were exploded, that the global impact would prevent crops from germinating and producing foodstuffs causing over a billion deaths from starvation and triggering other previously unforeseen environmental impacts that could lead to near- or total extinction of the human species.  Comments:  This theory, opposed by military and scientific conservatives for decades, has been replicated and expanded by Professor Alan Robock and other colleagues to the point that by the 21st century most nuclear experts were able to authoritatively argue that neither side can actually “win” a nuclear war.  Such a horrendous all-out nuclear Armageddon has become tantamount to committing mass Omnicide of the human race.  (Sources:  Joshua Coupe, Charles G. Bardeen, Alan Robock and Owen B. Toon. “Nuclear Winter Responses to Global Nuclear War in the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model Version 4 and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies Model E.”  Journal of Geophysical Research Atmos. 2019, 124, 8522-8543, Alan Robock. “Climatic Consequences of Nuclear Conflict: Nuclear Winter Is Still A Danger.” Rutgers University, 2014 http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/nuclear/ and Alan Robock and Owen Brian Toon. “Let’s End the Peril of a Nuclear Winter.”  New York Times. Feb. 11, 2016 and the Carl Sagan Portal http://www.carlsagan.com accessed May 22, 2019.)