The Doomsday Machine; or, Does Trump's Button Really Work?

Jerry Russell

Staff member
Daniel Ellsberg has just released a new book, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner". Ellsberg reveals that at the same time he was making Xeroxes of the "Pentagon Papers", he was also copying another treasure trove of documents describing US nuclear weapons and warfare policy. Unfortunately, he says, those copies were lost or destroyed before he was able to release them. However, he says that the analysis in his new book is based on his recollection of those lost papers, as well as similar information that has been released since then.

Basically, Ellsberg's revelations are a confirmation of a worst-case situation which many analysts have suspected or feared. From the introduction:

The nature, scale, and posture of our strategic nuclear forces has always been shaped by the requirements ... to limit the damage to the United States from Soviet or Russian retaliation to a U.S. first strike against the USSR or Russia. ...

Though officially denied, preemptive “launch on warning” (LOW)— either on tactical warning of an incoming attack or strategic warning that nuclear escalation is probably impending— has always been at the heart of our strategic alert .....

With respect to deliberate, authorized U.S. strategic attacks, the system has always been designed to be triggered by a far wider range of events than the public has ever imagined. Moreover, the hand authorized to pull the trigger on U.S. nuclear forces has never been exclusively that of the president, nor even his highest military officials.

As I discovered in my command and control research in the late fifties, President Eisenhower had secretly delegated authority to initiate nuclear attacks to his theater commanders under various circumstances, including the outage of communications with Washington (a daily occurrence in the Pacific) or a presidential incapacitation (which Eisenhower suffered twice). And with his authorization, they had in turn delegated this initiative, under comparable crisis conditions, to subordinate commanders. To my surprise, after I had alerted the Kennedy White House to this policy and its dangers, President Kennedy continued it ... So did Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Carter. So, almost certainly, has every subsequent president to this day....

The same was true for the Soviet Union, now Russia. Public discussion of American plans for “decapitation” of Soviet command and control led to the institution and maintenance of a “Dead Hand” system of delegation that would assure retaliation to an American attack that destroyed Moscow and other command centers....

An urgent reason for enlightening the world’s public on this reality of the nuclear era is that it is virtually certain that this same secret delegation exists in every nuclear state, including the new ones: Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. How many fingers are on Pakistani nuclear buttons? Probably not even the president of Pakistan knows reliably. ...

The book goes on to state that even if a massive US first strike is completely successful in eliminating the enemy's ability to retaliate, nevertheless such an attack would wind up killing "nearly every human on earth." He explains:

It is the smoke, after all (not the fallout, which would remain mostly limited to the northern hemisphere), that would do it worldwide: smoke and soot lofted by fierce firestorms in hundreds of burning cities into the stratosphere, where it would not rain out and would remain for a decade or more, enveloping the globe and blocking most sunlight, lowering annual global temperatures to the level of the last Ice Age, and killing all harvests worldwide, causing near-universal starvation within a year or two.

Ellsberg proposes that the US ought to unilaterally get rid of its entire ICBM force. His reasoning is that we can't use it anyhow, because it would result in our own self-destruction; and by possessing it, we make it necessary for the Russians and Chinese to target the entire system.

So how can Trump make the claim that the button on his desk "Really Works", when in fact he might as well just blow himself up if he ever uses it?

And just in case the "Nuclear Winter" scenario turns out to be a climate modeling mistake, there's been a lot of discussion lately about a Russian nuclear "Doomsday" retaliation weapon, the "Status-6", a 100 Megaton autonomous nuclear torpedo; now on the drawing board, if not already deployed.

Some commentators (such as, for example, Peter Koenig) say there's nothing to worry about, because the elite are in control. He says:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos has come and gone, and nothing has really changed. The wonderful people of the world struck again – blowing hot air to the four corners of the world. When in reality the poor get poorer, the rich get richer, wars and conflicts are on the rise – and humanity, at least in the western world, is ever more exposed to propaganda lies and mind manipulations, of which then WEF is just one tiny, miserable example.

For instance, was anybody still listening to the bombastic nonsense coming out of Trump’s and Macron’s throat? – It is a soft version of “Fire and Fury” — to confirm to the World of the Noble who is in charge, and to assure the elite that nothing, but nothing will change in the balance of power. That’s the neoliberal Davos Club of always. And they, this elite of beautiful people, would certainly not want a ‘hard core’ nuclear war to destroy their properties and luxury yachts, castles and comfort zone.

So, rest assured, sable-rattling about nuclear Armageddon is just a smoke screen, a deviation maneuver to hide a much worse atrocity.
To me, this is putting way too much confidence in the Masters of the Universe. They may have the best (as well as worst) of intentions. But considering the many opportunities for mistakes and miscalculations and human foibles, this strikes me as sheer hubris.

Not to mention the possibility that Armageddon is simply part of the apocalyptic plan.

But let's review. Does anybody here believe that nukes don't exist, as per Miles Mathis's analysis that the pictures of nuclear bomb tests look faked? Rick, based on your interviews at the Marshall Islands, do you believe you can verify at least base on second hand testimony, that those bomb tests really happened?

Is there any basis to doubt the climate models predicting nuclear winter? I doubt it; soot and dust in the air are far more powerful operators than CO2 concentrations, and should be well understood from volcano studies.

Jerry Russell

Staff member
Also see Caitlin Johnstone's article "The Increasing Likelihood of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities":

A Russian pilot has been killed by US-armed terrorists in Syria. The Ron Paul Institute‘s Daniel McAdams writes the following about this new development:

“The scenario where a US-backed, US-supplied jihadist group in Syria uses US weapons to shoot down a Russian plane and then murders the pilot on the ground should be seen as a near-nightmare escalation, drawing the US and Russia terrifyingly closer to direct conflict.”

McAdams is not fearmongering; he is stating a plainly obvious fact. ...

I see us as facing an immediate existential crisis as a species that needs to be dealt with right now, and people say I should be more worried about this or that conservative figure saying rude things on Twitter. We are facing the very real possibility of near-term human extinction; I don’t know how to care about the petty sectarian squabbles in America’s various political factions. It really is time for us to all get over ourselves and grow up.

This unprecedented crisis should be drawing us together, yet we’re more politically divided than ever. It is evolve or die time, and we’re all still arguing over airplane peanuts while the plane is in a full nose dive.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
But let's review. Does anybody here believe that nukes don't exist, as per Miles Mathis's analysis that the pictures of nuclear bomb tests look faked? Rick, based on your interviews at the Marshall Islands, do you believe you can verify at least base on second hand testimony, that those bomb tests really happened?
I never had any discussions there about whether or not Nukes were real. For one thing, the thought never entered my mind.

On personal shopping day once a week, we'd pass by the exposed sunken wreck of the Prince Eugen, the escort cruiser for the Bismarck. The PE supposedly survived the blast at the Bikini Atoll and ironically sank during a storm, while being towed to Kwajalein. I later did some subcontract work for a man who was one of the human witnesses of the Bikini blast, and he developed and died of cancer from it. The amount of funds expended to support the (real or fake) perception that such exists is rather phenomenal. In my automated welding equipment career I visited a lot of industrial facilities and laboratories.

One project was a welding machine built for a new bomb being developed at Oak Ridge. When installing it we were kept behind a curtain at all times. This machine was a first at the time because the customer insisted on having a position encoder so as to ensure a precise termination of the weld. This is important because the uniformity of the weld ensures that the completed bomb casing is a uniformal strength, needed to ensure the proper fusion ignition pressure is reached via the initial fission reaction. Most other applications of such machines would simply use a supervising human welder to manually terminate a weld. And more common lesser applications allowed for a 'touch' start of the arc, rather than a gap start which generates a lot of electrical noise, making use with an incremental position encoder challenging. A touch start will cause some tungsten (from the torch electrode) inclusion in the work piece and create strength issues. So a lot of attention to detail, just to fool a few technical people?

That said, I still believe that such weapons are tools to help instill konformity when such as the Fear of the ever loving God is waning. It's use on any mass scale is a personal problem for the elites.

With Dear Orange Leader now demanding an impressive military parade I can imagine that he and his NK counterpart might indeed stage a limited demonstration for the rest of the global audience sake.