US nuclear weapons in Europe, who decides?


This 9 August 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

Donald Trump’s comments on nuclear weapons are alarming.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Secret US documents: The Netherlands had nothing to say about stored nuclear weapons

Recently, top-secret 1961 documents from the United States military revealed new information about the storage and role of nuclear weapons in the Netherlands. This shows that the Netherlands had no say in what happened to those weapons. It is not clear why this is because the Dutch government has never confirmed or denied the presence of nuclear weapons.

The United States National Security Archives have published the documents “to spark a broad discussion about the different facets of nuclear history.”

The documents reveal an “unmistakable nuclear hierarchy”, writes geopolitical expert Ko Colijn in Clingendael Spectator. The United States was allowed to decide whether to use nuclear weapons in the Netherlands, without our country having any say in that. The same was true for the weapons in Denmark, Greece, Italy and Portugal.

Other countries, such as France, the United Kingdom, … Japan and Canada, did have this authority. “They always negotiated a kind of veto and could have their say if circumstances allowed,” writes Colijn. Eg, the documents state that the British Prime Minister must be called before the weapons are used.

Volkel

It has long been an open secret that US American nuclear weapons are stored in Volkel in North Brabant, but the Dutch government has never confirmed this.

Whale sharks and nuclear bombs


This 2019 video says about itself:

Whale Sharks: Meet The Gentle Giants Of The Sea! | The Blue Realm

Scientists are racing against time to save the whale shark. Utilizing space-age technology from NASA and the Hubble Telescope, researchers are able to identify, catalogue and track individual animals.

From the Australian Institute of Marine Science:

Cold War nuclear bomb tests reveal true age of whale sharks

The radioactive legacy of the arms race solves a mystery about the world’s largest fish

April 6, 2020

Atomic bomb tests conducted during the Cold War have helped scientists for the first time correctly determine the age of whale sharks.

The discovery, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, will help ensure the survival of the species — the largest fish in the world — which is classified as endangered.

Measuring the age of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) has been difficult because, like all sharks and rays, they lack bony structures called otoliths that are used to assess the age of other fish.

Whale shark vertebrae feature distinct bands — a little like the rings of a tree trunk — and it was known that these increased in number as the animal grew older. However, some studies suggested that a new ring was formed every year, while others concluded that it happened every six months.

To resolve the question, researchers led by researchers led by Joyce Ong from Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, Steven Campana from the University of Iceland, and Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Perth, Western Australia, turned to the radioactive legacy of the Cold War’s nuclear arms race.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and China conducted tests of nuclear weapons. Many of these were explosions detonated several kilometres in the air.

One powerful result of the blasts was the temporary atmospheric doubling of an isotope called carbon-14.

Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring radioactive element that is often used by archaeologists and historians to date ancient bones and artefacts. Its rate of decay is constant and easily measured, making it ideal for providing age estimates for anything over 300 years old.

However, it is also a by-product of nuclear explosions. Fallout from the Cold War tests saturated first the air, and then the oceans. The isotope gradually moved through food webs into every living thing on the planet, producing an elevated carbon-14 label, or signature, which still persists.

This additional radioisotope also decays at a steady rate — meaning that the amount contained in bone formed at one point in time will be slightly greater than that contained in otherwise identical bone formed more recently.

Using bomb radiocarbon data prepared by Steven Campana, Ong, Meekan, and colleagues set about testing the carbon-14 levels in the growth rings of two long-dead whale sharks stored in Pakistan and Taiwan. Measuring the radioisotope levels in successive growth rings allowed a clear determination of how often they were created — and thus the age of the animal.

“We found that one growth ring was definitely deposited every year,” Dr Meekan said.

“This is very important, because if you over- or under-estimate growth rates you will inevitably end up with a management strategy that doesn’t work, and you’ll see the population crash.”

One of the specimens was conclusively established as 50 years old at death — the first time such an age has been unambiguously verified.

“Earlier modelling studies have suggested that the largest whale sharks may live as long as 100 years,” Dr Meekan said.

“However, although our understanding of the movements, behaviour, connectivity and distribution of whale sharks have improved dramatically over the last 10 years, basic life history traits such as age, longevity and mortality remain largely unknown.

“Our study shows that adult sharks can indeed attain great age and that long lifespans are probably a feature of the species. Now we have another piece of the jigsaw added.”

Whale sharks are today protected across their global range and are regarded as a high-value species for eco-tourism. AIMS is the world’s leading whale shark research body, and the animal is the marine emblem of Dr Meekan’s home state, Western Australia.

Drs Ong, Meekan, and Campana were aided by Dr Hua Hsun Hsu from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia, and Dr Paul Fanning from the Pakistan node of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation.

US Trump administration threatens nuclear war


This 7 February 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Risk of Nuclear War Rises as U.S. Deploys a New Nuclear Weapon for the First Time Since the Cold War

The Federation of American Scientists revealed in late January that the U.S. Navy had deployed for the first time a submarine armed with a low-yield Trident nuclear warhead. The USS Tennessee deployed from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia in late 2019. The W76-2 warhead, which is facing criticism at home and abroad, is estimated to have about a third of the explosive power of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) called the news “an alarming development that heightens the risk of nuclear war.”

We’re joined by William Arkin, longtime reporter focused on military and nuclear policy, author of numerous books, including “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.” He broke the story about the deployment of the new low-yield nuclear weapon in an article he co-wrote for Federation of American Scientists. He also recently wrote a cover piece for Newsweek titled “With a New Weapon in Donald Trump’s Hands, the Iran Crisis Risks Going Nuclear.” “What surprised me in my reporting … was a story that was just as important, if not more important, than what was going on in the political world,” Arkin says.

As more than 20,000 US troops and 20,000 military vehicles began to arrive in Europe for the massive “Defender 2020” exercise targeting Russia, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper took part in a war game at US Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska involving the simulated use of nuclear weapons against Russian troops: here.

The Australian government underlined its commitment to
the US war preparations against China last Friday by announcing a further $1.1 billion upgrade to the Tindal air force base in northern Australia, primarily to provide access for US warplanes, including nuclear-capable bombers: here.