Opening shots of WWIII? Legitimately elected and undemocratically deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in Moscow gives Russian President Vladimir Putin the perfect excuse for his military invasion of Ukraine
Leo McKinstry in the Daily Express (3 March 2014, page 12) argues ex CND Vice-Chairman Baroness Catherine Ashton (now High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs), provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine by trying to steal Ukrainian sovereignty for the European Union:
"Baroness Catherine Ashton, who goes by the grand title of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs ... does not have a shred of credibility. She might be paid over £250,000 a year and be head of a vast EU diplomatic operation costing an annual £442 million, but she is a lightweight socialist apparatchik who has never been elected to any public position. She ... was vice-chair of that posturing gang of noisy defeatists, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. ... Baroness Ashton ... helped to provoke the current crisis ... The EU has been desperate to extend its sphere of influence. Ukraine ... was a prime target."Mr McKinstry needs to compare in quantitative detail the level of corruption and slaughter financed by corrupt EU projects (like funding third world tobacco farmers to cause lung cancer in addition to the "warmongering" politics behind the current Ukraine crisis), with the "eugenics for ethnic fitness" of dictatorships like the USSR. He writes softly instead (Daily Express article of 6 March 2014, page 12):
“Because the EU’s officials are not answerable to the peoples of the nation states … Brussels overspent its budget last year by a shocking £20 billion. … far exceeds anything achieved by oil company Enron. … we have to pay £14 billion every year in our annual contribution … a protection racket that fails to provide any protection. … its own auditors have not given its accounts a clean bill of health for the past 18 years. Brussels has an annual budget of £133 billion … the EU spends £2.4 billion a year on marketing and publicity … European officials take an average of 14.6 days off sick every year … When its Court of Auditors in 2013 found “serious failures” in the award of EU contracts for a £13 billion pipeline between Hungary and Romania the EU said with typical insouciance, “We interpret the rules differently.” [This was precisely Putin’s response to corruption claims over the Winter Olympics.] … the EU’s foreign service … has 37 staff in Papua New Guinea and 32 in Mozambique.”
Following the 1991 Soviet Union collapse, in 1994 the Ukraine was disarmed of its own nuclear deterrent in exchange for a guarantee called the "Budapest Memorandum", which was signed by Russia as well as the U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister John Major. Article 4 in this Memorandum promised to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine (which has included Crimea since 1954), in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. Similarly, Britain had guaranteed the security of Poland on March 31, 1939, precipitating WWII after Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and likewise in 1839 Britain had guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium by the Treaty of London, leading to WWI after Germany invaded Belgium in 1914. Now, the Ukraine is reminding us of our 1994 Budapest Memorandum (one day in the distant future, maybe politicians will grow up, stop appeasing disarmament lobbies, and allow countries to keep their own nuclear deterrent to deter aggression against themselves, instead of this system of maximizing the escalation potential, inviting aggressive conflicts and war in the name of "peacemaking").
Britain's last hot war against Russia was the Crimean War, 1853-6. Russia was eventually defeated by an alliance of Britain, France, Sardinia and Turkey (Ottoman Empire). Britain's Crimean War against Russia broke out after gradual escalation stemming from Russian Tsar Nicholas I invasion of Moldavia on 2 July 1853, which initially seemed to be a trifling escalation of a clash between Russia and France's President Napoleon over the control of Palestine in the Middle East. But then Turkey declared war on Russia on 5 October 1853, and on 4 November, Russian ships from its naval base at Sevastopol in the Crimea annihilated Turkey's fleet at Sinope, its Black Sea base, the event that forced Britain and France to finally declare war on Russia in March 1854. They were fighting to destroy Russia's Crimean naval base at Sevastopol, which proved harder than expected: Crimea was secured in February 1856, after two years of brutal fighting and a cholera epidemic, with the loss of 25,000 British, 100,000 French and 1,000,000 Russian lives.
British Prime Minister Aberdeen had to resign from his coalition government, Russian Tsar Nicholas I died from pneumonia due to a chill during the conflict, and the Russian debt from the war was so great that his son, Tsar Alexander II, sold the Russian territory of Alaska to America. The poverty of Russia due to war debt made it a target for Marxist-communist revolutionaries like Lenin, while the decline of Russian political influence permitted the Prussian German Empire to unite and arm itself to start WWI.
Despite some changed map boundaries, country names, political ideology, oil and gas reserves, and technology, people don't evolve in 160 years. Key underlying disputes between East and West remain, like the military and religious flashpoints, e.g. Crimea and Palestine in the Middle East, and the financial, human and political costs of invasions:
Ukraine's interior minister accused Russian forces of an "armed invasion" at an airport in Crimea, as tensions escalate. It seems that most Ukrainians fear annexation of their country by Russia.
The legitimately-elected yet "undemocratically" deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, now residing in Moscow, gives Russian President Vladimir Putin the perfect excuse for his military invasion of Ukraine. The problem here is really Iraq and Afghanistan, which have helped push the U.K. to well over £1 trillion in National Debt, not to mention personal and bank debt which is another housing bubble (the threat of negative equity on homes and assets once Britain defaults on interest payments due to rising interest rates, resulting in bank failures that the government must either bail out at public "expense"/debt, or else classic financial ruin, either a la Greece, or else a la Weimar Republic).
We're currently only having to pay 2% interest (historically rock bottom rates), but we're still running a deficit (the debt is still growing bigger), not a surplus (see graphs below). This means we can't afford to even think about talking of another Crimean War (in the first one, Alfred Nobel made his prize-fortune by considerately supplying dynamite to both sides). In the first Crimean War (1853-6) Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. But Russia won't lose this time: we simply can't afford to fight for the liberty of the Ukraine. If interest rates go up due to economic uncertainty caused by such a war, we'd go bankrupt as is proved by the Money Week magazine graphs below.
The U.K. Government on both sides of Parliament falsely and sneakily conflates "deficit" with "debt", to make it appear that the horrendous cutbacks needed to reduce the deficit - the rate of increase of debt - are somehow cutting the debt itself. Wrong: the debt is still growing bigger - we're still headed out to sea into the storm, and we're not even turning around for a return to shore! Some estimates of the total U.K. debt (which is not an exact science, since you have to allow for depreciation of supposed "assets" into "negative equity" or "debt" when the economy goes completely bust and the gas hisses out of the inflated housing bubble) are that it is now worse than the 913% of GDP that the Weimar Republic had when it collapsed, sowing the seed of WWII.
Cutting the deficit is like reducing the throttle a bit, while still going in the wrong direction. The only way to reduce the debt is to have a surplus. To get rid of the debt means having a surplus for many years into the future. We don't even have a surplus! We've still got a deficit, so the national debt bomb is still growing, but the opposition watermelon parties use smokescreens to cover it up instead of pressurising the government to start reducing the debt mountain. But the fact is, debt interest default will wipe out Britain's credit rating, causing further interest rate rises in a period of international tension, escalating the problems.
The West half of the Ukraine (which borders Europe) is pro-European Union and wants Ukraine to join the European Union. However, the Eastern side of the Ukraine speaks Russian and tends to be Leninist and to feel some empathy with Putin's Russia. Will Russia's President Putin simply "put up" with the deposition of the pro-Putin elected Ukraine president, or will Putin instead decide to take a hand and "offer assistance" to Ukraine? Historically, all of Hitler's invasions in the mid to late 1930s were "excused" on the basis that Hitler was simply "protecting" the pro-Hitler, German-speaking, minorities. For example, when Hitler "invaded" the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia in September 1938, Hitler's excuse was that he was "providing humanitarian assistance" to nearly four million Germans who were living in the Sudentenland region of Czechoslovakia.
My point is that Hitler always had the "plausible lie"-type excuse that he was merely providing soldiers to act as "peacekeepers" or policemen, to "protect" German minorities in the countries he invaded. Because there are some Germans in a minority in every country, this excuse could be applied also to every country in the world. Propaganda it was, but it helped to "justify" the "peaceful" spread of the Third Reich. Hitler's glib excuse for the German annexation of Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc.: Jackboots were merely being used to "protect German Nationals in bigoted, anti-Nazi countries". (Those who were pacifist/fascist chose to believe Hitler because they wanted to; they had seen falsified pacifist 1930s claims that war would exterminate all the cities with gas, explosives, and incendiaries the moment war started.) This "peaceful invasion" situation, is mirrored by the Russian situation with regard to the Crimean region of the Ukraine today, "justified" by the fact Russia Navy has a controversial base at Sevastopol in the Crimea for its Black Sea Fleet (click here for details of the serious Ukrainian controversy over this base).
IF Russian President Putin decides to authorize the Russian Army to "provide further assistance" to the pro-Putin, pro-Russian, Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Eastern part of the Ukraine, perhaps adding the extra excuse that the present corrupt Ukrainian President was "democratically elected" and has been "unlawfully dismissed" by the Ukrainian Parliament as a result of a few undemocratic protests in Kiev, while the European Union and America support the pro-European Union Ukrainians in the West of the Ukraine, then the civil war will be beyond Western intervention, because of the debt bomb for the West.
First, an invasion by Russia will cause a really severe civil war in Ukraine. America's Obama and the European Union will then have to either climb down and lose face to Putin, or else we will end up with Ukraine becoming another Vietnam in which both sides (Russia and the West) provide war materiel, protracting and deepening the war. The end result could well be a complete degeneration of West-Russian relations and another very icy Cold War. But instead of Russian dictatorship being deterred effectively as in the past, the crippling national debts of the U.K. and U.S.A. will make them incredible, so their impotence will end up - like Chamberlain at Munich in September 1938 - encouraging aggression and further invasions. Second, with nuclear disarmament today proceeding like 1930s British disarmament, and for the exactly same financial and war-effects-exaggerating reasons as 1930s British disarmament, will we all be conscripted to fight WWIII, without any politically incorrect neutron bombs or other effective tank deterrents?
Update: a few quotations from the bestselling author of The Fourth Protocol about clandestine nuclear attack, Frederick Forsyth, from his 28 February 2014 Daily Express (page 13) newspaper article on the Ukrainian crisis:
AS we gaze out from our island there is precious little to bring us the comfort of optimism. ... every time a rioter was interviewed out came the same complaint: every holder of public office was massively corrupt. There were various complaints against the regime of now-toppled Mr Yanukovych but that was the most constant one.
Above: Poor old ex-KGB officer President Putin's hard-line corruption may be due to the fact that, apart from sharing the same Christian name as Lenin, Wikipedia shows his brainwashing by the corrupt USSR:
"Putin joined the KGB in 1975 upon graduation, and underwent a year's training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad. He then went on to work briefly in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence) before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where among his duties was the monitoring of foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad. From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany. Following the collapse of the communist East German government, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov. In his new position, Putin maintained surveillance on the student body and kept an eye out for recruits. It was during his stint at the university that Putin grew reacquainted with his former professor Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad. Putin finally resigned from the active state security services with the rank of lieutenant colonel on 20 August 1991 (with some attempts to resign made earlier), on the second day of the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Putin later explained his decision: "As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on", though he also noted that the choice was hard because he had spent the best part of his life with "the organs"."
We really don't want to make personal comments about President Putin, just in case our names goes on a hit list, and he decides to invade the UK, then perform his great KGB magic trick of making all the people on his list suddenly disappear without fair trial into Siberian salt mines (or maybe mass graves if he decides to lower his salt intake to improve his fitness). By the way, we do have some positive things to write about Putin the Great: he rides well, is great at judo, and swims the butterfly stroke nearly as well as me.
Tribute video of President Putin the Great, engaged in one of the many fine things he does best (which include huge state spending sprees for prestige, giving contracts worth billions to dedicated friends):
Update: James Delingpole points out the funny side of this crisis from our (UK) financially bad situation for a war, in a 3 March 2014 article:
Why are some people so hot for war with Russia? I don't just mean the neo cons and the semi-retired cold warriors still half expecting the squadrons of T54s ...
... Should it merely involve the conscription of every man between 18 and 30 and the immediate doubling of our defence budget? Or are we to go on a proper, Germany-in-late-'44 Götterdämmerung footing and ready the granddads with their pitchforks and prepare the school kids to man the anti-aircraft batteries? ... does that mean I get to fly a Harrier Jump Jet. Because if I do, I must tell you, it will fulfil a long-standing childhood fantasy of mine. Growing up in the Eighties, when General Sir John Hackett had that enormous, bestselling success with his what-if future history The Third World War, a major conflagration with the Soviet Union - possibly ending with the destruction of the whole world - was something all of us British schoolkids half feared ... American schoolchildren of the era, we know, felt just the same way. The tagline of 1984's Red Dawn was: "In our time no foreign army has ever occupied American soil. Until now." ...
On Breitbart Radio last night, the admirable Frank Gaffney - a former defence adviser to the man who did more than anyone to bring about the end of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan - was ramping up the rhetoric about global conflagration. ... In the US President Obama has been castigated - not unreasonably, it must be said - for making empty threats. (If you're going to make threats, be prepared to carry them through - or don't make them in the first place). ... It is a quarrel in a far-away country between people ...
"... a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing. It seems still more impossible that a quarrel which has already been settled in principle should be the subject of war. I can well understand the reasons why the Czech Government have felt unable to accept the terms which have been put before them in the German memorandum. Yet I believe after my talks with Herr Hitler that, if only time were allowed, it ought to be possible for the arrangements for transferring the territory that the Czech Government has agreed to give to Germany to be settled by agreement under conditions which would assure fair treatment to the population concerned. ... However much we may sympathize with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbor, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in war simply on her account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that. I am myself a man of peace to the depths of my soul. Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me; but if I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind to dominate the world by fear of its force, I should feel that it must be resisted. Under such a domination life for people who believe in liberty would not be worth living; but war is a fearful thing, and we must be very clear, before we embark upon it, that it is really the great issues that are at stake, and that the call to risk everything in their defense, when all the consequences are weighed, is irresistible. For the present I ask you to await as calmly as you can the events of the next few days. As long as war has not begun, there is always hope that it may be prevented, and you know that I am going to work for peace to the last moment. Good night."
"When he [Lord Grey] finally did make such communication, German forces were already massed at the Belgian border, and Helmuth von Moltke convinced Kaiser Wilhelm II it was too late to change the plan of attack." -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Grey,_1st_Viscount_Grey_of_Fallodon#July_Crisis
"General von Moltke [German army chief] said: I believe war is unavoidable; war the sooner the better. But we ought to do more to press to prepare the popularity of a war against Russia. The Kaiser supported this. Tirpitz [German Navy chief] said that the navy would prefer to see the postponement of the great fight for one and a half years."
“The statement of Lord Grey, British Foreign Minister, made in 1914, that, “The enormous growth of armaments in Europe, the sense of insecurity, and fear caused by them; it was these that made war inevitable,’ had a tremendous effect on post-war British opinion. Armaments were looked upon as something horrible, as being the cause of war, not a means of defence. Again and again, through the ‘thirties, opponents of rearmament quoted Grey.”
Therefore, unlike the assassin of the Archiduke and others players, Grey's role in the start of WWI was not merely a trivial convenient excuse for war, because Grey actually had the power to influence the Kaiser, yet failed to do so. Therefore, Grey could have prevented WWI, by acting differently. Likewise, Chamberlain wasn't the only cause of WWII, but he should have understood from Grey's 1914 failure, that the only language of diplomacy is force: force speaks louder than words. Putin understands this.
Update: incorrect propaganda fear-mongering on radiation effects by right-wing (not merely left-wing) continues in recent articles.
Jane Warren writes in a double-page feature in the Daily Express (1 March 2014, pages 36-37) that the genetic deformalities of Igor Pavlovets, who was born on 3 March 1987 nearly one year after the accident by which time iodine-131 had disappeared, were caused by radiation from Chernobyl in 1986:
"Following the explosions at the Chernobyl reactor on April 26, 1986, in what was then the Soviet Union, a generation of children was born with disabilities caused by radiation. Igor was one of the first."
Everyone humane is very glad that Jane Warren got Igor Pavlovets to England and a better life than he would have got in the USSR and the following corrupt regimes, but the good news she doesn't report is that there is extensive objective scientific evidence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki that proves Igor Pavlovets with overwhelming probability did not get his deformalities from the sub-lethal levels of radiation his parents were exposed to. Isn't that great news to report, Jane Warren? (Or is there still a Jane Warren bias against truth when it comes to radiation, as Dr Sanders suggests in his conclusive 2010 book, Radiation Hormesis and the Linear No-Threshold Assumption, published by Springer?)
For this evidence that sub-lethal nuclear radiation exposure doesn't produce any statistically significant rise in genetic deformalities, please see the studies made by the official Japanese-American "Radiation Effects Research Foundation", http://www.rerf.jp/radefx/genetics_e/birthdef.html:
"No statistically significant increase in major birth defects or other untoward pregnancy outcomes was seen among children of survivors. Monitoring of nearly all pregnancies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki began in 1948 and continued for six years. During that period, 76,626 newborn infants were examined by ABCC physicians. When surveillance began, certain dietary staples were rationed in Japan, but ration regulations made special provision for women who were at least 20 weeks pregnant. This supplementary ration registration process enabled the identification of more than 90% of all pregnancies and the subsequent examination of birth outcomes."
Genetic defects are not caused by radiation but are instead caused by occasional natural mistakes during the complex epigenetic differentiation of limbs and organs. We don't need to subscribe to left-wing myths about radiation induced mutations, just because of communist propaganda from the Cold War which tried to scare the West into surrendering. If we had surrendered, I fear Igor wouldn't have a life in England. I submitted a brief and polite, factual comment on this to the Daily Express website, so we'll see if Jane Warren continues to use unjustified emotional propaganda and ignore objective evidence on the subject of Igor:
It is great Jane Warren and supporters helped Igor Pavlovets come to England after Chernobyl to receive a far better life than he would have had in the USSR and its successor, but one new piece of good news which she doesn't report is available.
There is strong evidence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki arguing the case that Igor may not have been deformed by the survivable levels of radiation his parents were exposed to. Instead, genetic defects are caused by occasional natural mistakes during the complex epigenetic differentiation of limbs. For evidence from 76,626 children born after the nuclear explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki without any statistically significant rise in normal rates of genetic deformalities, see the official Japanese-American "Radiation Effects Research Foundation", http://www.rerf.jp/radefx/genetics_e/birthdef.html:
"No statistically significant increase in major birth defects or other untoward pregnancy outcomes was seen among [76,626] children of survivors."
https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/photos09.php: "The largest contributor to radiation doses from exposure to residual fallout contamination in the Marshall Islands comes from cesium-137. ... coconut crabs (refer photo shown above) form an important and prized source of food in the Marshall Islands and, in certain locations, have been found to contain above average concentrations of cesium-137."
https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/bikini.php: "Twenty-three nuclear devices were detonated on Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958 with a combined fission yield of 42.2 Megaton (Mt) ... An additional forty-three atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted on Enewetak Atoll about 300 km to the west of Bikini Atoll. The most significant contaminating event in the Marshall Islands nuclear test campaign and the highest yield atmospheric nuclear test ever conducted by the United States involved the detonation of a high-energy thermonuclear on Bikini Atoll on 1 March of 1954. This ground-surface test was code named Bravo and had an estimated explosive yield of 15 Mt. ... Through the early 1980s, scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory developed an extensive database of environmental measurements for Bikini Atoll, especially for soils and vegetation growing on Bikini and Eneu Islands. ... During this period, predictive dose assessments for both Bikini and Enewetak Atolls clearly indicated that the most significant pathway for human exposure toresidual fallout contamination in the Marshall Islands was ingestion of cesium-137 contained in locally grown root crops such as coconut, breadfruit, and Pandanus (Robison et al., 1980; 1982). ... One key factor that helps explain why cesium-137 plays such a important role in contributing to radiation exposure in the Marshall Islands is that coral soils are known to contain little or no clay material and very low concentrations of naturally occurring potassium—an alkaline earth element that shares similar properties with cesium. These conditions result in increased uptake of cesium-137 from soil and incorporation into plants relative to the rate of cesium-137 uptake from continental soils. Consequently, the significance of dietary intakes of cesium-137 from eating locally grown foods was initially overlooked because early models in radioecology were based on continental type soils and exposure conditions. ... the most effective and practical method for reducing the uptake of cesium-137 into food crop products was to treat agricultural areas with potassium fertilizer (KCl). The addition of potassium had the added benefit of increasing the growth rate and productivity of some food crops with essentially no adverse environmental impacts. ... experiments show that a single application of 2000 kg per ha of potassium can be effective in reducing the cesium-137 uptake in coconut meat (and juice) to about 5% to 10% of the pretreatment level. ... we have recently demonstrated that the environmental half-life of cesium-137 is more important than radiological decay in controlling the fate and distribution of cesium-137 in coral soils (Robison et al., 2003). For example, the estimated effective half-life of cesium-137 on Bikini, Enewetak, and Rongelap Atolls is around 8 to 9.8 years (95% confidence) compared with its radiological half-life of 30 years. ... cesium-137 is slowly being incorporated into more resistant mineral phases within the soil and, through aging effects, may be becoming less available for soil-to-plant transfer. ... Applying a mean effective cesium-137 half-life of 8.5 years for the data developed for the 1999 Bikini dose assessment (Robison et al., 1997a), the predicted population average effective dose for resettlement of Bikini in 2010, where imported foods are available, is conservatively estimated to be about 0.17 mSv per year (17 mrem per year) or very close to the self-imposed cleanup standard of 0.15 mSv per year adopted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal. With this understanding and the fact that exposure conditions on Bikini are improving at an accelerated rate, early resettlement of Bikini Atoll may become much more plausible and cost effective."
(Shame on LLNL for providing an unreadably poor-quality, badly uploaded PDF Bikini Atoll datasheet: https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/pdf/bikini_factsheet.pdf They might as well keep it locked in a safe marked "top secret" for all the use it is in making the facts lucid !)
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/03/02/asia-pacific/bikini-atoll-islanders-fearful-of-return-home has the following (surprisingly high-definition) photo of the 360 kiloton Redwing-Mohawk nuclear explosion on a 300 ft tower at Eniwetok on 3 July 1956, passed off as the 15 megaton Bravo test at Bikini, followed by an account of Bikini Islander radiation fears (which we specifically debunked in the previous post on this blog!!):
Above: 360 kt Redwing-Mohawk on Eberiru Island in Eniwetok Atoll (detonated on a 91 metre tower, on 3 July 1956), a UCRL thermonuclear device employing a compact fusion-boosted Swan-type (11.6" by 22.8", 105 lb) primary fission stage and a Flute-type secondary (thermonuclear) stage. The bomb was 15" in diameter, 46.2" long, with a mass of 1116 lb. The resulting crater was only 8 feet deep. The Japanese article wrongly states that this was the 15 megaton Bravo test in 1954 at Bikini Atoll! The article continues:
"The Marshall Islands on Saturday marked 60 years since the devastating U.S. hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, with angry exiled residents saying they are too fearful to ever go home. ... “The government says ‘don’t worry’ (about radiation exposure), but recently we’ve seen many cases of thyroid problems be confirmed in the Fukushima area,” said Kai Sato, a Fukushima University student. [Sato: the half-life of the longest lived thyroid radiation iodine isotope, iodine-131, is only 8 days, it is a myth that continuing long-delayed cancers from the actual radiation exposure back in 1954 are somehow due to continuing low-level radiation at Bikini and everywhere else on earth, which is now mainly natural potassium-40, uranium-238, radon, etc.] “People don’t know what is the correct information to believe.” ... But a U.N. report in 2012 s ... called for the U.S. to provide extra compensation to settle claims by nuclear-affected Marshall islanders and end a “legacy of distrust.” The Nuclear Claims Tribunal awarded more than $2 billion in personal injury and land damage claims arising from the nuclear tests, but stopped paying after a U.S.-provided $150 million compensation fund was exhausted."
I have submitted the following polite fact correcting comment for moderation:
This is a fine article. But I think that the photograph of the nuclear test at the top of the article is not Bravo at Bikini Atoll, but is Redwing-Mohawk on Eberiru Island in Eniwetok Atoll (360 kilotons thermonuclear explosion on a 91 metre tower, on 3 July 1956). For confirmation of this fact, please see http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Redwing.html [that site contains all the classic groupthink errors on nuclear effects, however]
[Update: the mis-captioned Redwing-Mohawk photo was removed and replaced by a correct photo after I submitted my comment.]
At Bikini Atoll (scene for 42 megatons of fission yield in 23 nuclear tests), cesium-137 is only important in food chains in soil deficient in potassium, and cesium-137 uptake by crops at Bikini was diluted by adding potassium chloride fertilizer to soil (potassium is chemically similar to cesium, and thus works by the same dilution mechanism as iodine tablets for thyroid protection).
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/bikini.php) found that the "effective half-life of cesium-137 on Bikini, Eniwetak, and Rongelap Atolls is around 8 to 9.8 years", not the laboratory radioactive half life figure of 30 years! This is because cesium compounds are relatively water-soluble and cesium-137 (as with iodine-131 and strontium-90) is fractionated in fallout (coated on the outer surface of fallout dust, not fused inside the particles) so it dissolves in rain and is soon weathered out of the local environment, ending up in the ocean (where it's totally insignificant compared to the immense natural radioactivity of sea water from potassium-40). Similarly, if you eat cesium-137, it doesn't build up in your body with a 30 year half life, but is flushed out with water with an effective half life of only about 3 months!
"Large-scale field experiments on Bikini Island have been used to optimize the required amount and application rates of potassium (Figure 3). The results from these experiments show that a single application of 2000 kg per ha of potassium can be effective in reducing the cesium-137 uptake in coconut meat (and juice) to about 5% to 10% of the pretreatment level. Multiple applications (over several months) of the same total amount of potassium produce even better and more consistent results. Moreover, the concentration of cesium-137 in the coconuts following remediation remains low for an extended period of time, so the need for continuous effort and retention of scientific and technical expertise is minimized (Robison et al., 2004)." - https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/bikini.php#remed
So there is hope for Bikini Atoll. If the American government would publish a revised edition of its book "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons" (last revised in 1977), it would help these people to understand the recent progress in decontamination and safety measures against fallout. Thank you for your excellent article.
Bikini Atoll nuclear test: 60 years later and islands still unliveable
Above: 13 year old Jamie Edwards achieved nuclear fusion at school in Lancashire, proved by radiation measured by a Geiger counter. However, this is not proof that anybody can make a hydrogen bomb or fusion-powered time-travelling DeLorean, or that we need to "disarm" Britain of school kids who study physics in case they blow up the universe. The fusion problem is quantitative, not qualitative, contrary to newspaper hype today:
And yesterday, in a ‘radiation controlled area’ in a classroom, before an audience of experts, he flicked a switch and stared intently at his Geiger counter until it registered that fusion had indeed taken place – or created ‘a star in a jar’, as Jamie refers to it. Nuclear fusion, the reaction that powers the sun, is very different from nuclear fission, or the splitting of the atom, that occurs in nuclear power stations and is the stuff of atom bombs. However, both release vast amounts of energy. Scientists around the world are replicating Jamie’s experiment, but on a much bigger scale, in the hope of using it on a large scale to fuel cheap, environmentally-friendly power stations. Jamie said: ‘I heard the Geiger counter rapidly go up and I was “What is that?”,’ he said in the afterglow of success. ‘Then I looked over and the neutron counter was right up off the scale nearly, and I thought “We must have done it”.’
The problem is the amount of fusion is trivial. The scaling up of a fusion reactor to a practical power creates problems that don't exist on the small scale, so the proof of principle is not proof of practicality! The only way to get useful energy from fusion reactors is to use plasma (heated by lasers) that is confined using magnetic fields, so at a high enough power (gigawatts) to be economic, you have the problem that any instability or failure of the magnetic plasma confinement system will cause a devastating explosion. The scaled-up system is inherently unstable, and the very high energy fusion neutrons penetrate deeply into the surrounding materials, inducing radioactivity.