“Dangerous Escalation”: US To Deploy Six Nuclear-Capable B-52 Bombers To Australia

America’s great power competition against China is gaining momentum as the Pentagon plans to deploy a fleet of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers in northern Australia in what is being dubbed a “signal” to Beijing, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. 

“Having bombers that could range and potentially attack mainland China could be very important in sending a signal to China that any of its actions over Taiwan could also expand further,” Centre for New American Security’s Becca Wasser told the ABC. 

The Australian broadcaster’s current affairs show, Four Corners, revealed the US documents detailing up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers were set for deployment at the Tindal air base, south of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. The airbase would also receive $100 million in upgrades for the maintenance and parking areas for the bombers, expected to be finished by 2026. 

“The ability to deploy US Air Force bombers to Australia sends a strong message to adversaries about our ability to project lethal air power,” the US Air Force told Four Corners.

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US to modernize nuclear arsenal in Europe

The US has brought forward delivery of upgraded B61-12 air-dropped unguided nuclear bombs to NATO bases in Europe, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing a US diplomatic cable and two people familiar with the matter.

According to the report, the change originally planned for next spring is now scheduled for this December.

US officials were said to have relayed the news to NATO allies during a closed-door meeting in Brussels, Belgium this month.

In an emailed comment to Politico, Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder declined to discuss the details of the US nuclear arsenal, but said that the replacement of the older-generation B61 bombs for the B61-12 version is “part of a long-planned and scheduled modernization effort.” 

“It is in no way linked to current events in Ukraine and was not sped up in any way,” Ryder added.

The B61 is a family of nuclear bombs originally developed in the 1960s. The upgraded version is equipped with a modern tail kit for greater accuracy, according to the US Department of Energy. The weapon is designed to be carried by a number of Western aircraft, including B-2 and B-21 bombers, as well as F-15, F-16, F-35, and Tornado jet fighters.

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Ukrainian ‘Dirty Bomb’ Threat is Real, Up to West Whether They Want to Believe It or Not: Kremlin

On Sunday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned his French, UK, US, and Turkish counterparts that Kiev may be preparing a false flag dirty bomb attack on its own territory to accuse Moscow of using weapons of mass destruction. Western officials and officials in Kiev have dismissed the warning.

The threat of Ukraine using a “dirty bomb” is real, and it’s up to Western countries whether they want to believe in the danger or not, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

“The fact that they do not trust the information which was provided by the Russian side does not mean that the threat of the use of such a dirty bomb ceases to exist. The threat is present. This information was brought to the attention of the [Russian] defense minister’s interlocutors. It’s up to them whether they want to believe it or not,” Peskov told journalists in a briefing Monday.

Separately on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated that Moscow was preparing to raise the issue of Kiev’s possible preparations to use a dirty bomb at the United Nations. The Russian top diplomat emphasized that Moscow’s information on this matter is not an empty claim, and that the Foreign Ministry has information on Ukraine-based institutes capable of creating such arms.

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Here’s Where US Nuclear Bombs Are Stored In Europe

Back in January, in what was a rare showing of consensus on a global security topic, the United States, Russia, China, the UK and France jointly agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. The pledge, the result of months of talks, was summarized by a senior U.S. state department official at the time as: “an acknowledgement that it is something that we want to avoid”.

Now, though, with increasingly threatening rhetoric from Russia, U.S. President Biden has said that Putin is “not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons“, warning: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon”. Adding historical context, Biden said: “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Currently, as Statista’s Martin Armstrong notes, there is estimated to be almost 13,000 nuclear warheads in the hands of nine countries.

At the top of the list, as compiled by the Federation Of American Scientists (FAS), are of course Russia and the U.S. with a combined arsenal of over 11,000. The FAS warned in late 2021 that “instead of planning for nuclear disarmament, the nuclear-armed states appear to plan to retain large arsenals for the indefinite future. All continue to modernize their remaining nuclear forces…and all appear committed to retaining nuclear weapons for the indefinite future.”

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War With Iran

The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia are plotting a war with Iran. The 2015 Iranian nuclear arms accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Donald Trump sabotaged, does not look like it will be revived.  U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) is reviewing options to attack if Teheran looks poised to obtain a nuclear weapon and Israel, which opposes U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations, carries out military strikes.

During his visit to Israel, Biden assured Prime Minister Yair Lapid that the U.S. is “prepared to use all elements of its national power,” including military force, to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. 

Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. function as a troika in the Middle East. The Israeli government has built a close alliance with Saudi Arabia, which produced 15 of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks and has been a prolific sponsor of international terrorism, supporting Salafi jihadism, the basis of al-Qaeda, and such groups as the Afghanistan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front.  

The three countries worked in tandem to back the 2013 military coup in Egypt, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew its first democratically elected government. He has imprisoned tens of thousands of government critics, including journalists and human rights defenders, on politically motivated charges. The Sisi regime collaborates with Israel by keeping its common border with Gaza closed to Palestinians, trapping them in the Gaza strip, one of the most densely populated and impoverished places on earth. 

Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, has conducted an ongoing campaign of covert attacks on Iranian nuclear sites and nuclear scientists. Four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated, presumably by Israel, between 2010 and 2012. In July 2020, a fire, attributed to an Israeli bomb, damaged Iran’s Natanz nuclear site. In November 2020, Israel used remote control machine guns to assassinate Iran’s top nuclear scientist. 

In January 2020, the United States assassinated Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, along with nine other people including a key figure in the anti-ISIS coalition, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. It used an MQ-9 Reaper drone to fire missiles into his convoy, near Baghdad’s airport. 

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Nuclear Watchdog Groups Mock NYC’s Atomic Bomb Preparedness Video As ‘Delusional’

Peace advocates on Tuesday derided a New York City public service announcement meant to prepare residents for a nuclear attack as a 21st-century version of the absurd Duck and Cover civil defense film of the early Cold War era.

“So, there’s been a nuclear attack,” the narrator of the NYC Emergency Management video begins. “Don’t ask me how or why, just know the big one has hit.”… “So what do we do?” she continues before instructing viewers to “get inside, fast,” “stay inside… and get clean immediately,” and “stay tuned; follow media for more information.”

“All right? You’ve got this,” the woman assures viewers.

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the PSA a “great idea,” some critics accused officials of unwarranted fearmongering amid increased nuclear tensions with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and NATO’s response.

Others lambasted the PSA as latest in a line of nuclear war informationals like the U.S. Civil Defense Administration’s Duck and Cover and the British government’s Protect and Survive films that offer little more than delusive contentment for millions of people who likely would not survive a full-scale thermonuclear attack.

“The reality is, if this comes to pass, you don’t ‘got this,'” tweeted the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work leading to a landmark treaty outlawing nukes.

Calling the PSA “outrageously misguided,” ICAN said it’s difficult to get inside fast during a nuclear explosion “when, in a matter of seconds, houses up to 175 kilometers away from the epicenter crumble like they are made of cards.”

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Biden Just Said He’s Willing To Go To War With Iran, Mainstream Yawns

US President Joe Biden said in an interview aired Wednesday that he would be willing to go to war with Iran to prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon, a position that drew condemnation from advocacy groups and foreign policy analysts who questioned the moral, strategic, and legal bases for such a stance.

Biden also reiterated in the sit-down interview with Israeli broadcaster N12 that he is committed to keeping the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, even if it means sinking the prospects of a deal to revive the nuclear accord that former President Donald Trump violated in 2018.

While acknowledging that Trump’s decision to abandon the seven-country deal was a “gigantic mistake,” Biden said he would not delist the IRGC to advance nuclear talks that have hit a wall in recent weeks.

Biden offered a one-word answer—”yes”—when asked whether he would keep the IRGC on the terror list “even if that means that kills the deal.”

The US president went on to say that he’s prepared to use military force “as a last resort” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran has repeatedly said it is not pursuing a nuclear weapon and that its nuclear energy program is designed for peaceful domestic purposes.

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Ingredients To Build Dirty Bomb Go Missing From Chernobyl Monitoring Lab

Anatolii Nosovskyi, director of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in a recent interview that the ingredients needed to build a dirty bomb have gone missing from a monitoring lab for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The publication reported:

In the chaos of the Russian advance, he told Science, looters raided a radiation monitoring lab in Chornobyl village—apparently making off with radioactive isotopes used to calibrate instruments and pieces of radioactive waste that could be mixed with conventional explosives to form a “dirty bomb” that would spread contamination over a wide area. ISPNPP has a separate lab in Chornobyl with even more dangerous materials: “powerful sources of gamma and neutron radiation” used to test devices, Nosovskyi says, as well as intensely radioactive samples of material leftover from the Unit Four meltdown. Nosovskyi has lost contact with the lab, he says, so “the fate of these sources is unknown to us.”

Russian military forces quickly took control of all Chernobyl facilities shortly after they launched their invasion into Ukraine back at the end of February and effectively held the staff there hostage for nearly a month, according to the report.

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