November 2008 (vol. 25, #1)
Even as the federal government tools up to take more “responsibility” over banking, medicine, energy, etc., it is devolving response to nuclear attack to local authorities.
It's not that an attack is considered unlikely. The U.S. Department of Defense announced that it has assigned military specialists to the first of three planned units dedicated to assisting local and state governments following a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack: the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force. The 4,000 to 6,000 personnel “could secure the site of attack....” (Global Security Newswire 7/24/08).
As 6,000 soldiers could encircle a 2-mi-diameter area fingertip to fingertip, or a 35-mi-diameter area if 100 ft apart, a doable plan would be to keep anyone from entering or leaving the area for a few weeks, then see what's left.
National Guard teams could arrive within hours, the larger group within “several days,” to do search and rescue–with mortuary teams, assess contamination, do some decontamination, and provide some medical assistance.
What they could not and would not do is outlined by Kirk Paradise, Plans Coordinator for the Huntsville-Madison County (Alabama) Emergency Management Agency:
Sheltering the Public
“Emergency Managers: Today,...the federal government places the entire burden of sheltering the public from high level radiation events on local government. This is widely advertised to the public online at www.ready.gov/america/_downloads/ nuclear.pdf and in FEMA IS-22, Are You Ready?, which says on p. 66: ‘Find out from officials if any public buildings in your community have been designated as fallout shelters. If none have been designated, make your own list of potential shelters near your home, workplace and school. These places would include basements or the windowless center area of middle floors in high-rise buildings, as well as subways and tunnels.'
“ If an attack with a nuclear or radiologic weapon were to occur, how would you protect your citizens?
“ Even if it happens hundreds of miles away, what will you tell your elected leaders? The media?...
“ What actions can you instruct people to take that will save their lives? Calm their fears?...
“The knowledge given in NWSS enables you to ready your jurisdiction....” See www.physiciansforcivildefense.org for the entire Paradise letter.
Nuclear War Survival Skills Plan Taken to IAEM
Hundreds of emergency managers heard about the NWSS plan at the International Association of Emergency Managers meeting in Kansas City on Nov 18. Steve Jones parked a van with the Physicians for Civil Defense “Good (Bad?) News about Nukes: You Don't Have to Die” poster close to the entrance. He supervised the distribution of the NWSS manual (Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny), a KFM materials-only kit (everything you need except the tin can), and Shane Connor's pamphlet “The Good News about Nuclear Destruction” to 200 emergency managers in about 4 hours, with volunteer help from IAEM. The distributors had all seen a factory-made Kearny Fallout Meter (KFM) discharged with smoke detector foils and were convinced of its effectiveness.
“If there is time I think we are going to see a real revival in interest in CD. Not from the main stream but the rank and file at the grassroots level,” Jones writes.
A demonstration tour of small Arizona towns is planned for this winter, to educate local managers, and put manuals and KFM materials on their bookshelves. This is the default U.S. government plan: an expedient designed by government scientists and engineers who foresaw that the government would not provide real civil defense for America. It is self-training and designed to be implemented 24-72 hours before an attack or even post attack. It requires that responsible officials know of the plan and have a hard copy of it.
What Color Is the International Threat Level?
The terrorist threat has been rated “orange” at all American airports I have visited for years. But some international events that haven't caused much stir:
A top-secret military site in northern Syria was reduced to rubble by Israeli F-15 fighter bombers in September 2007 (Telegraph 4/28/08). Syria, Iran, and North Korea are apparently working together on Iran's nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia started implementing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear or radioactive hazards” earlier this year (Press TV 3/30/08).
Somali pirates who hijacked an Iranian ship, which was reportedly carrying iron ore from China, died with skin burns and hair loss. An Iranian press report claimed that the U.S. had offered pirates a $7 million bribe to search the vessel. U.S. officials refused to comment (Long War Journal 9/22/08).
In the biggest strategic war games in 20 years, Russia test-fired three long-range ballistic missiles in two days (Raw Story 10/12/08). In July 2007, the S-400 missile defense system was deployed to defend Moscow and central Russia against fixed-wing aircraft, stealth aircraft, remote-controlled drones, and cruise and ballistic missiles (RIA Novosti 5/21/07). Live-fire tests were scheduled recently (GSN 10/15/08). St. Petersburg residents were alarmed by an air-raid test (Telegraph 9/29/08). A hair-trigger alert test of strategic nuclear bombers and cruise missiles was conducted (UPI 10/2/08). Short-range missiles are being deployed near Poland (AP 11/5/08).
China has boosted its nuclear arsenal by 25% since 2005. See www.thebulletin.org. On the right, scroll to “Nuclear Notebook”; click on “view all” to open links to past reports, including the 2007 report on Pakistan.
The largest U.S. DoD personnel recovery drill to date, with participation of foreign troops, is scheduled for Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson Dec 1-12 (Az Daily Star 11/15/08).
Meanwhile, the U.S. economic crisis is “an opportunity to do things you could not do before,” said Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Others in the world may think likewise.
A Report on the NukAlert
Friends of mine were laughing at me for carrying my NukAlert on my belt: “just another Internet scam,” they said.
After I got injected with a radioactive substance, Myoview, for a heart scan, my NukAlert began chirping. After about 20 minutes, it was chirping 5 times [indicating a maximum dose-rate of 1.6 rad/hr]. The technician said the isotope would be cleared within 24 hr; the NukAlert made its last single chirp [0.1 rad/hr] 14 hr later. I know my personal radiation detector works (JM, Richmond, Va.)
Federal Guidelines for Radiation Exposure
Final guidance for protection and recovery following radiologic dispersion device (RDD) and improvised nuclear device (IND) incidents were published in the Aug 1, 2008, Federal Register, vol 73, pp 45029-45048). Guidelines in early phase: 10 rem for protecting valuable property necessary for public welfare, e.g. a power plant; 25 rem for lifesaving or protection of large population. The latter dose is unlikely in an RDD incident, but “conceivable” in an IND incident. That's about 45 heart scans, at 560 mrem/scan. “The guides are not intended to define ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ levels of exposure or contamination,” but simply to justify recommended protection.
See PCD comments submitted 1/11/06, on our website.
Drop and Cover
Although “duck and cover” could save millions of lives, it has become an object of derision that has carried over to the whole concept of preparedness, writes Kirk Paradise. He suggests using the term “drop and cover”–or the Fire Services slogan “Stop, Drop & Roll.” Children whose clothes catch fire are taught to stop (don't run), drop to the ground, cover their face, and roll to extinguish the flames. Rolling might reduce the severity of burns from a thermal pulse if cover is not available.
The Cavalry Is Not on the Way
In May 15 hearings before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman, it was acknowledged that there would be a large nuclear “gray zone” around the core of destruction from a nuclear device–and that there are no plans to mitigate or respond. Optimal survival depends on an appropriately stocked shelter system and an informed citizenry, said Irwin Redlener, M.D. The public has entirely unreasonable expectations of government; in a megadisaster, “the public represents the true ‘first responders.'” State and localities should not depend on a federal rescue, Redlener warned.
If a grease fire starts in the frying pan, turn off the heat. Put a lid on the pot. A wrung-out wet dishrag makes a good expedient lid. Do not throw water on the fire. Being heavier than oil, it sinks to the bottom and becomes superheated. The explosive force blows the burning oil up and out; it can hit the ceiling and fill the entire room. To see the effects, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZG2bd01vUE (or search “kitchen fire” on Google). Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.
For a “pretty good reference” on food storage, do a Google search on “shelf life data for long term food storage; Hancock.”
For information on water purification and personal sanitation, the summer 2008 issue of the Journal of Civil Defense is outstanding. See www.tacda.org, and join The American Civil Defense Organization if you are not already a member. Some highlights:
Clear water in small quantities can be disinfected by placing it in a transparent container in sunlight for 5-6 hours, preferably on a dark surface. Containers 10 cm wide or smaller work best. Solar disinfection is now saving millions of lives in developing countries by preventing water-borne disease.
Boiling for 1 min (3 min at high altitude) is the best method of killing Giardia or Cryptosporidium. Unscented 4% to 6% chlorine bleach is somewhat effective against Giardia and kills many other organisms at a concentration of 8 drops (1/8 tsp)/gal for at least 30 min, longer if water is very cold. Settle and filter the water first.
No We Can't
In 2.5 years, the U.S. will no longer have any spacecraft of its own capable of carrying astronauts and cargo to the international space station, in which it is investing $100 billion. The only nation now capable of carrying humans there is Russia. The space shuttles are being retired, and NASA will have no replacements before 2015 at the earliest.
Insects have been developed deliberately as biological weapons; Japanese Unit 731 had plans to produce 5 billion plague-infected fleas per year. In a review of the book Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War by Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Kenneth Linthicum of the USDA Agricultural Research Service warns of our vulnerability–and manages to avoid mentioning DDT even once (Nature 2008;456:36-37). He criticizes Lockwood for not mentioning the “development in the 1940s of the most effective and widely used insect repellent, DEET.[!]” Lockwood instead notes that the U.S. would not have had enough troops to fight Japan had we not first waged successful war on mosquitoes–with DDT. Between 1943 and 1945, the incidence of malaria in U.S. troops in the Pacific dropped from 208/1,000 to 5/1,000. In Europe, the U.S. made war on typhus, dusting 3.2 million people with 127 tons of DDT powder in a few months.
The U.S. genocidal ban on DDT, which has killed millions of Africans, could boomerang on our own citizens.
[Do you at least have some DEET stockpiled? The higher the concentration, the longer the effect lasts.]
Global Warming Crisis–Cancelled?
The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change will be held at the Marriott New York Marquis Times Square Hotel March 8-10, 2009. Featured speakers include: Arthur Robinson, Lord Christopher Monckton, Richard Lindzen, Willie Soon, Benny Peiser, William Gray, S. Fred Singer, Jay Lehr, and John Coleman. Come if you possibly can–a strong showing is urgently important! You should have received an invitation by mail. See www.heartland.org or call (312) 377-4000. There's a 20% discount for signers of the Oregon Petition.