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Thu, 22nd June 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “warning systems” Tag

Risk Of “Accidental” Nuclear War Growing, UN Research Group Says

The warning comes as the Pentagon begins an extensive review of its nuclear arsenal.

On Sept., 26, 1983, shortly after midnight, the Soviet Oko nuclear early warning system detected five missiles launched from the United States and headed toward Moscow. Stanislav Petrov, a young lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Air Defense Force, was the duty in the Serpukhov-15 bunker that housed the Oko command center. Petrov was the man in charge of alerting the soviets about a nuclear attack, which would trigger a retaliatory strike. He determined that the Oko had likely malfunctioned and the alarm was false. The Americans would not start World War III with a quintet of missiles (risking total annihilation.) It was a daring judgment call. He was, of course, right. As the U.S. prepares to undertake a new nuclear posture review to determine the future direction of the nation’s nuclear weapons, a report from a United Nations research institute warns that the risks of a catastrophic error — like the one that took place that early morning in 1983 — are growing, not shrinking. Next time, there may be no Lt. Col. Petrov in place to avoid a catastrophe.

On Monday, the U.S. Defense Department commenced a new, massive study into its nuclear weapons arsenal, looking at how weapons are kept, how the U.S. would use them in war and whether they present an intimidating enough threat to other countries not to attack us. The review was mandated by President Trump in a Jan 27, memo.

 The Pentagon is scheduled to complete the review by the end of the year, an essential step as the military seeks to modernize different aspects of its nuclear deterrent. But a new report from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, or UNIDR, argues that as the modern battlefield becomes more technologically complex, crowded with more sensors, satellites, drones, and interconnected networks, the risks of another nuclear accident are on the rise.

“A greater reliance on automated systems can lead to misplaced confidence while introducing new points of vulnerability,” says the report. Those new points of vulnerability include so-called “hidden interactions.” That means a sensor or computer program misinterpreting some bit of data and possibly presenting false information in a way that could cause an accident.

The 1987 incident provides a good case in point. Oko satellites mistook a very unusual sunspot on top of a high altitude cloud as a missile strike, hence the false alarm.

Take those satellites, combine them with sensors on drones and data from other sources as well, including new, perhaps unproven technologies to detect missile launches and the picture becomes much more crowded and murky.

M6.8 earthquake near Okinawa, Japan. Warning issued for 1m tsunami

Tsunami warning issued after earthquake near Okinawa, Japan

  • Magnitude 6.8 earthquake near Okinawa, Japan
  • Warning issued for 1-metre tsunami in Okinawa 

Reuters headlines from NHK

Also via Reuters: 

  • Strong earthquake shakes offices in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Earthquake measures at magnitude of over 4.0 around eastern Taiwan – central weather bureau
  • Earthquake epicenter off coast of eastern Taiwan measures at magnitude of 6.3 – central weather bureau
  • Very shallow quake off coast of eastern taiwan measured at 6.8 – USGS
  • No tsunami threat after quake off Taiwan’s east coast – Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

Benjamin Netanyahu’s angry threats against Iran have put West on edge over possible Israeli attack

With the biggest decision of his political career weighing on him, one on which the survival of Israel potentially hangs, Benjamin Netanyahu’s temper is visibly fraying.

A fortnight ago, the Israeli prime minister exploded in anger during a meeting with the American ambassador to Tel Aviv, furious at the Obama administration’s reluctance to state at what point he would authorise force to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power.

A senior congressman who witnessed the encounter said that Mr Netanyahu was “agitated” and “worked up”, describing the meeting as the tensest he had ever attended with a foreign leader.

Last week, Mr Netanyahu publicly turned his wrath on Barack Obama himself, warning the American president that if he was unwilling to set fixed red lines that Iran could not cross, he had no “moral right” to prevent Israel taking military action of its own. Read More