Steven Starr, Bruce Gagnon and William Hartung at the Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction symposium
In this episode, we hear more presentations from the Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction symposium held at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City in February 2015. Some of the speeches include visuals which can be seen by watching the presentations in streaming format on the official conference hosting site. Since the conference, U.S. politicians and mainstream media have only amplified the reignited hatred of Russia, particularly president Vladimir Putin, and made nuclear war more likely. Read Demonization of Putin as “Personally” Behind Clinton Hack Is Old Propaganda Technique, Mikhail Gorbachev: Appears ‘The World Is Preparing for War’ and Thanks, Trump. Doomsday Clock Now Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight.
First up is Steven Starr, Associate of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Senior Scientist at Physicians for Social Responsibility. Hear Dr. Caldicott’s 2010 interview with Starr. Visit Starr’s website NuclearDarkness.org to learn more about the consequences of nuclear war, nuclear winter and how nuclear weapons explosions would irreparably harm the global climate. In Starr’s presentation, “Nuclear War: An Unrecognized Mass Extinction Event,” he explains how nuclear war would be the crime to end all crimes, and would mean the end of all human life on earth. Among the issues addressed are the phenomenon of nuclear winter, why political leaders by and large do not discuss nuclear war, and the lack of awareness among today’s youth (and most of the public) about the continuing and now increasing nuclear threat. Starr mentions a 2015 article he co-wrote with Lynn Eden and Theodore Postol, What would happen if an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated above midtown Manhattan?.
Starr notes that the world’s leading climatologists say that nuclear war threatens our survival as a species. Even a small nuclear exchange would render the earth uninhabitable. Political leaders refuse to meet with scientists who could explaint he consequences of detonating weapons. Read the 2017 article Senator Markey wants to curb Trump’s power to use nuclear weapons and the Peace Action citizen alert to block President Trump’s ability to launch nuclear weapons. Starr elucidates the firepower of today’s nuclear weapons, and the number of weapons ready to fire in the U.S. an Russian arsenals.
The second speaker in this session is Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons in Space. Listen to Dr. Caldicott’s 2009 interview with Gagnon and her three 2011 interviews with Gagnon here, here and here. Gagnon’s symposium presentation was entitled “The Ongoing Dangerous Militarization of Space and Nuclear War.” He starts off encouraging people to read the Global Network’s newsletter Space Alert
Gagnon covers the missile defense systems the U.S. is using to threaten Russia, the U.S. under President George W. Bush having pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty which had limited the development of missile defense, a key component of first-strike nuclear war planning. He also discusses the U.S. Space Command’s use of computer war games as practice and how missile defense makes launch-on-warming a more problematic policy than ever. President Obama broke his campaign promise to take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert. Gagnon notes that the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal under Obama (who won a Nobel Peace Prize for simply talking about nuclear disarmament at the start of his first term), is causing major instabilities in U.S./Russian relations, in effect representing a whole new arms race. Read The Trillion Dollar Question the Media Have Neglected to Ask Presidential Candidates about Obama’s trillion-dollar nuclear weapons upgrade. He discusses the U.S. military’s provocative goal of regime change in Moscow to benefit corporations and the missile defense systems aimed at China, with transnational companies seeking control of the Arctic region where the U.S. and Russia share a border.
Near the end of his talk, Gagnon explains the ramifications of U.S. weapons in space as means of waging war and spying, and the goal of extracting resources from planetary bodies, with the U.S. seeking to rewrite moon and space treaties to enable such plunder. He illuminates the role of the mainstream media in spreading lies that create fear in the public in order to justify war spending.
The third speaker in this session is William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Listen to Dr. Caldicott’s 2009 interview with Hartung. Hartung’s presentation was called “Inordinate Power And Pathological Dynamics Of The US Military Industrial Complex.” He is the author of several books including Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex. Read his April 2017 report, The Military Budget and the Costs of War: The Coming Trump Storm. Check out his March 2017 article The Generals vs. the Ideologues or the Generals and the Ideologues? Hartung discusses the influence of the military-industrial complex in U.S. politics, particularly since the Eisenhower presidency, and its threat to democracy without an informed and involved citizenry. He talks about the constant push by the weapons industry and idealogues to be at war. The Project for a New American Century, an organization created just before the George W. Bush administration, included many of the figures included Dick Cheney and Lockheed Martin president Bruce Jackson - who used the events of September 11, 2001 to launch a greatly expanded, all-encompassing agenda for war and U.S. global domination.
Hartung covers how the weapons industry control polilticians through campaign contributions, defense firms’ vast lobbying networks, think tanks, the false notion that the defense sector creates many jobs, and how antinuclear activists must not let powerful forces prevent the public from successfully demanding nuclear disarmament.
Dr. Caldicott concludes this segment by taking questions from the audience for a panel composed of Starr, Gagnon and Hartung. Some of the topics raised include space militarization, the U.S. goal of “endless war,”, “launch-ready nuclear weapons,” the corporate stranglehold over the mainstream media, recycled “red-baiting” and how few politicians make nuclear weapons dangers and disarmament a part of their program.episodes.