N. Korean Nukes Exaggerated; More Questions About American Nukes Too
By - February 26, 2017

George W. Bush invaded Iraq to remove its – ultimately nonexistent – weapons of mass destruction. Barack Obama used cyber weaponry and sanctions to deter Iran from building its own atomic bomb. Now Donald Trump faces North Korea, but stopping its nuclear and missile program may prove impossible, creating what may be his first and perhaps defining international crisis. -Reuters

President Donald Trump is being urged to confront North Korea and also to build up the army which, some say, has been neglected in the Obama years and even before.

He needs to do this as well because North Korea is supposedly getting close to having a usable nuclear force.

This is a crisis everyone has seen coming. That’s why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been so desperate to court Trump, visiting him even before the inauguration. As North Korea launched an intermediate medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, Abe was once again with the president – this time on a golf and bonding trip to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida retreat.

… Pyongyang first demonstrated its ability to detonate a crude nuclear device in 2006 – becoming the only Iraq- or Iran-style “rogue state” to ever get that far. Since then, it has continued to develop not just the bombs but also the missiles to deliver them.

Ultimately, the regime would love to have the ability to strike the continental United States – a prospect Trump has tweeted to say “won’t happen”. For now, however, there are few signs anyone has a plan to stop it.

The article goes on about North Korea’s land-based “nuclear rockets” and the progress it is making in creating and distributing them.

But who is making these claims? One of the only ways to know is to measure earth quakes. America is doing that, but the Pentagon has nearly as many reasons to exaggerate the North Korean threat as North Korea itself.

We don’t believe that North Korea has much in the way of nuclear weapons. It may have none at all. Not even the “mini-nuke” that you can possibly pick up in both hands. But with Trump banging the drums for more armament, North Korea has suddenly become a big threat to the United States.

There is no real evidence for North Korea having a large nuclear force. But because we are told it is so, we should believe it. These are the same kind of observations that go back some 75 years to Hiroshima and Nagasaki even though its fairly clear that both cities were firebombed.

Some sort of nuclear device may have been dropped as well, but if it was nuclear device it wasn’t a very effective one. Crawford F. Sams, who ran the post-war nuclear program in Japan has said,

When the bomb went off, about 2 thousand people out of 250 thousand got killed [in Hiroshima] – by blast, by thermal radiation, or by intense x-ray, gamma radiation … You see, it wasn’t “Bing” like the publicity here [said]: a bomb went off and a city disappeared. No such thing happened. That was the propaganda for deterrent …

When I came back to this country, I was appalled, from a military standpoint, to find that our major planners in the War Department were using their own propaganda, 100 thousand deaths, Bing! …

You don’t hear much about the effects of Nagasaki because actually it was pretty ineffective. That was a narrow corridor from the hospital … down to the port, and the effects were very limited as far as the fire spread and all that stuff. So you don’t hear much about Nagasaki.

It makes very little sense that nuclear weapons have been around for 75 years but never have been used. Never as in not once. Except for the supposed uses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And there is a good deal of doubt they were actually used then. In fact, they are still basically the same size and shape.

Trump seems determined to build up the military to a size never before seen. In this he may agree with Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas and Sen. John McCain of Arizona. These two have asked for base military budget of $640 billion in 2018. That would be $100 billion more than in 2017.

The larger picture according to Pentagon budgets is up to one trillion over the next ten years or so to dramatically hike the Pentagon’s nuclear forces.

But the  entire history of nuclear warfare is muddied by a lack of real reporting and credible eye witnesses. The New York Times had only one reporter assigned to nuclear weapons during their formative years. That person turned out to be on the Pentagon payroll as well.

Conclusion: There are a good many questions as to how nuclear weapons work – and if they work and when they work. Before we spend another $1 trillion adding to such weapons, we should ask some hard questions about them. We shouldn’t believe everything we hear. When it comes to America’s “nuclear program” we should be skeptical.

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  • Bolt Upright

    Fukushima nuclear waste, poisoning the Pacific, will render the human population useless before Nork’s nuclear bomb will.

  • autonomous

    Pathetic little children hiding under plastic desks while their ‘teachers’ flap their wings and cry that the sky is falling. That’s the nuclear threat. The fat little dictator starving his own citizens so that he can buy weapons from China, Russia and other failed dictators over the proletariat. If there were such weapons, the biggest and baddest good guy the world has ever seen would surely have long since rid the world of such wicked men. Except that such wicked men are so valuable to the big bad good guys in shaking down the advances, highly educated citizens of the freest

    nation in human history. Excuse me while I puke.

  • Alan

    “It makes very little sense that nuclear weapons have been around for 75 years but never have been used. Never as in not once. Except for the supposed uses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
    There have been a lot of underground nuclear tests by the US, China, Russia, India…
    So, to say it’s all a big hoax seems quite a bit farfetched. We have Minute Man missiles that carry multiple nuclear warheads. The Daily Bell seems to have an “expert” who keeps putting out these claims but sorry I don’t buy it. At least not until there’s some actual evidence. Firebombing may well have been carried out in addition to the nuclear bombing in Japan. That said, I certainly believe the government and media are capable of such lies.

    • We don’t say there are none. We say they are not what we’ve been told they are.

      • sleat

        Most of your other articles have by-lines by well-known authors. Are all the articles “questioning nukes” written by the same anonymous DB staffer? What is the reasoning behind not having a real, accountable person taking credit for what’s being speculated on, like most other articles?

        For me, as I’m sure it is for you folks, anonymous authors are like “unnamed sources”. They detract from the credibility of a story.

        “We say they are not what we’ve been told they are.”
        But you’re never specific, only raising doubt without evidence or assertions. Why?
        What exactly are they?

        • We don’t believe anonymous sources detract. Most “real” news stories utilize anonymous sources. You must never have read DB before. Like the Economist, almost all of our stories are anonymous these days.

          • sleat

            OK, so what do you think nuclear weapons are, if they’re not “what we’ve been told they are”?

            Is this a “subscribe and we’ll tell you in due course” kind of assertion?

            “We don’t believe anonymous sources detract.”

            OK, but a very reliable source told us you don’t actually believe that.

            But if we allow that anonymity does not detract from the quality of this article, what does detract from the credibility/quality is that your “Mr/Ms X” seems have become mixed-up with the name “Sam Crawford”. There was no “Sam Crawford” historical figure involved in immediate post-war Japan nuclear business.

            The actual significant historical figure’s name is similar, but not that name. Also, that person seemed to have no doubt that nuclear weapons were “real” and were “what we’ve been told they are”, he only believed they were not particularly effective for killing (presumably relative to cost).

            Why not correct the fellow’s name, add an author, and improve the credibility immensely? What have you to lose by identifying the writer?

          • Thank you. It was Crawford F. Sams. We reversed the name when we pulled it from a previous article.

            Crawford F. Sams himself said that “When I came back to this country, I was appalled, from a military standpoint, to find that our major planners in the War Department were using their own propaganda, (regarding nuclear weapons) … ”

            He used the word “propaganda” to describe what the US government was doing in publicizing the “atom bomb.” We were not “told what they were,” only what the government wanted us to hear.

            Thought magazines have history of not using names. The New Yorker was that way for decades. The Economist still is. Many high end publications were unbylined in the past. We are not of course so prestigious as either one of those magazines, though ironically these days we think we are more truthful.

            Which branch of service do you work for? Or do you work directly for the CIA?

          • sleat

            “Which branch of service do you work for? Or do you work directly for the CIA?”

            You flatter me with your loaded questions!

            I totally agree with you that the US military-industrial-complex circa 1945-1955 was essentially “high on its own propaganda”.

            Once the Soviets got some destructive parity going with the US, things got a lot less hype-y, at least in the realm of calculating the effects of nuclear weapons.

            It seems like the gist of your, if I may say rather vague argument is: “Soon after the birth of nuclear weapons folks started believing they had magical powers, mainly due to US propaganda.”

            Yes, probably some people did, evidently folks in the pentagon did, but then, some of them believed Saddam had nukes as well only a few years ago! Crawford Sams, of course, had firsthand experience with the effects of these weapons and was one of the only people at the time who had this. No wonder he was mad at the pentagon types!

            I could guarantee you that physicists (at least the ones in my immediate family) and certainly nuclear physicists and weaponeers didn’t have any misconceptions about the effects of nuclear weapons. It was their job to answer these sorts of questions. Getting Generals to listen to scientists has always been a problem.

            So, your rather vague assertions “we’re not being told the whole story” would be fine if it was only 1957, but 60 years have gone by and many books have been written about this topic, all over the world, many by folks not even remotely associated with the US government. I have not seen significant disparity between US government tomes such as “Effects of Nuclear Weapons” (including a Dr Strangelove slide-rule!) and other publications, have you?

            Here’s a link to all the nuclear books in the world (known to the publisher of the list):

            Here’s a link to the online copy of the US Government publication “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons” by Samuel Glasstone


            The numbers in this book tally with the internationally accepted physical quantities such as “joules of energy per kiloton” and the quantitative figures for various kinds of damage caused by bomb effects such as heat, radiation, and blast.

            What I would expect, if your thesis is sound, is that you can find an actual scientific text that disagrees with the consensus (from both sides of the iron curtain) figures for nuclear weapon effects.

            The only alternative to that it seems, is claiming that “all the scientific texts regarding nuclear weapons effects are wrong”. That would be quite a claim, even from an authority on the topic. Are you claiming this?

            Putting it in perspective, if we agree that cremating a 150lb human being (reducing flesh to bare bones) takes 100MJ of energy, and that 1 kiloton releases 4.184 x 10^12 J of energy, that 1 kiloton’s worth of energy focused solely on human bodies would cremate 41,840 of them.

            But, as you’ll learn when you’ve read some of those weapons effects books, they’re not nearly as efficient as that. In fact, at least half the energy from any air-burst literally goes in the wrong direction! The rest is shared across the entire “footprint” of the bomb, across all forms, blast, heat, and radiation, and that footprint is generally huge with an air-burst. A ground or penetrating burst of the same weapons will have a far smaller footprint as far as prompt destructive (non radiological) effects.

            So, instead of using the rather vague phrase “what we’ve been told” why not tighten up your game and make some claims against specific publications? If everything you think you know about nukes comes from the history channel “The Hitler Channel” I’m not surprised you have some cognitive dissonance, so why write articles as if that were the case?

          • Which branch of service do you work for? It’s a simple question.

          • sleat

            The highest bidder, as you pretend not to already know. It could even be you!

            Did you ever hear the story of the two competing entities who staged parallel related psyops, but due to compartmentalization and bureaucratic turf and budget appropriation wars, didn’t know about each other? Hilarity (and several sideways promotions) ensued!

    • Mary

      “There been a lot of underground tests…”

      How do you know? Is there a reliable way to verify? Your conclusion must be based on military announcements and the msm, in other words, congenital liars. So, how do we verify?

      • Alan

        I lived through that era when the news media actually did some news reporting and journalism and underground testing was a big deal. It would have to be a vast conspiracy between nations and governments, so believe what you want. BTW, one of my first job offers about 48 years ago as a new EE PhD was for making radar fuses for nuclear bombs so as to detonate at the optimal altitude.

        • sleat

          “BTW, one of my first job offers about 48 years ago as a new EE PhD was for making radar fuses for nuclear bombs so as to detonate at the optimal altitude.”

          So a nuclear-hoax might have had to include everyone involved, extending all the way down to getting folks like yourself to design actual hardware for fictitious weapons. That’s quite a thorough conspiracy if you ask me!

          Did you end up designing the air-burst proximity fuses after-all?

          My dad worked on various kinetic issues with nuclear artillery shells, odd gyroscopic effects, mysterious wobbles, etc. Unless he was “in on it” I have little doubt he thought they were real enough.

          One of my calculus teachers was employed for a time to design explosive lenses for smashing various already-rather-dense substances. He wouldn’t tell me the densities, though.

          • Alan

            No, I decided that was a bit too offensive for me so I went to work at another research/defense lab and worked on a wide range of defensive systems.

        • The media did NO reporting on nuclear tests. Their reporting for decades was nothing but stenography.

          • sleat

            “The media did NO reporting on nuclear tests.”

            That still doesn’t explain the long-range and aerial test footage. How do you suppose one would go about faking this in the 1950s?

            And what’s your take on so-called “mishaps” like Castle-Bravo, where the effects caused international embarrassment to the US government? Just more propaganda?

            “Their reporting for decades was nothing but stenography.”

            True. And it was exactly the same for the Space Race.
            Shall we then assume there were only actually three missions to the Moon?
            Only one?
            Perhaps the only mission trying to land on the moon only got half-way there?

            So, let’s assume for argument’s sake that you’re exactly right. Let’s say that every nuclear weapon’s effects are exaggerated by a factor of 100. So Castle Bravo (15MT advertised) was only 150kt. That’s still a very big explosion!

            That would put Fat Man at 200 tons and Little Boy at 130 tons. Those are still 4.5 and 3 times the yield of the Russian non-nuclear FOAB bomb. Still very big explosions.

            Also, it seems having produced a blast which was advertised at around 15MT, that the US then decided to limit the deployable weapons (missile warheads, bombs, etc) to 1MT for most of the duration of the arms race.

            If they were worried enough about the effective yields of weapons to exaggerate them, why scale them back to only 6.6 percent of the maximum tested size for actual cold-war use? That doesn’t seem to support the argument that they had trouble making them big enough.

            What the history of various countries atomic programs seems to show is that there doesn’t seem to be much problem (given thermonuclear technology) in making LARGE bombs, but in making reliable small ones.

            i.e. lead tampers vs uranium tampers in the biggest Soviet bomb cut the yield in half, according to Sakharov.

            But I agree with you, if the yield (maybe divided by the actual mass?) is linearly proportional to cost, then the taxpayers should demand every kiloton they have paid for!

            It seems to me that spending good money on all-new-nukes is a really dumb idea, but this doesn’t prove the old ones were garbage.

          • Look government had a facility in Laurel Canyon where all the filmed footage from nuclear “tests” went to be enhanced. The New York Times wrote an article about it. We’re not making it up.


            And more:

            “At least one bombing division of 66 bombers on August 6 was likely diverted from its original target to firebomb Hiroshima. In fact, it makes no sense that this bombing division would have bombed its target – already flattened – for a third time.

            “Even given that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed by “atom bombs,” lies still cluster thickly around the Pentagon nuclear program. Every bit of nuclear test film apparently went through Los Angeles-based Lookout Mountain, (here). Film was manipulated, enhanced and even reconfigured.

            “But if you look at the film today, it’s hard to find any believable footage. Almost always the missile or plan streaks into the sky but one never sees the entire graphical narrative. Films inevitably cut away and the explosion is seen separately.

            “Even foreign films of nuclear explosions seem faked. And we have pointed out that it is perfectly possible for the Pentagon to mimic a nuclear explosion using large amounts of TNT. You can see one such mimicked explosion here. Who is to say there are not other ones?”

          • sleat

            Thanks for the link to the NYT DB. Well nothing in that link even gave me a whiff that things are significantly different than what the textbooks tell me. There are nukes, some warheads are decades old, the exact innards are classified, the exact yields are classified. There are no actual films of current warheads being tested above-ground. Do I normally trust the government? No, but this narrative hangs together.

            There are factories dotted across the US which work in the nuclear weapons industry. Real people go to work there. What would they be doing all day if all this fakery is happening?

            Then where you say: “At least one bombing division of 66 bombers on August 6 was likely diverted from its original target to firebomb Hiroshima.”

            It looks like you’re simply quoting yourself. Where did this information come from?

            “But if you look at the film today, it’s hard to find any believable footage.”

            Hey, an anonymous guy with anonymous qualifications says it “looks fake” must be fake, eh?

            Tell me, what would make a color film of a very rare once-in-a-lifetime event shot in, say 1961 look “believable” to you? What exactly are you expecting to see that you are not seeing?

      • Dimitri Ledkovsky

        Under a list of causes for earthquakes around the globe I saw (somewhere) just yesterday nuclear testing got a sort of honorable mention at around 1%.

      • sleat

        “How do you know?”

        Either nuclear weapons or something equally large (kilotons of HE) made the underground cavities and huge depressions in the surface of the various worldwide nuclear underground testing sites.

        Do you imagine that the Russians, Chinese, and Americans all blew up millions of dollars worth of high explosive (non-nuclear) underground charges simply to fool ordinary people (but not one-another)?

        And further, what of the surviving witnesses (and films) of above-ground nuclear tests? How would one fake such a film in the 1950s?

        • Every single test performed by the military industrial complex has been “enhanced” by its own admission. Every single one.

          • sleat

            Where can I go to find the evidence you based this statement on?

            Are you really saying, that, for example the GSA scientists who worked at the BRL at Aberdeen Proving Grounds lied about the firing tables they computed with the ENIAC?
            (Yet somehow the long-range artillery still worked…)

            What would be the point, exactly?

            Are you saying that when they then used it to figure out whether the “Super” could ever be built (the H-Bomb) that the results of that research were fraudulent? If so, how did they manage to build it (and most importantly, how did the soviets?)?

            Again, what would be the point?

            Once again, your statement is so sweeping as to be very vague yet again. Why not be more specific?

            Trying to fight the military-industrial-complex by intentionally mis-characterising its activities doesn’t seem a very effective strategy to me, unless you’re really on their side!

            Who was it that actually admitted this?
            Are all the surviving ex Soviet cold-warriors sworn to secrecy on this? Would they not be the first ones to cry “foul” as soon as they detected provable lies?

          • The USSR has its own problems. The first astronaut may not have gone into space when they said he did.

            “Lost Cosmonauts, or Phantom Cosmonauts, is a conspiracy theory alleging that Soviet cosmonauts entered outer space, but without their existence having been publicly acknowledged by either the Soviet or Russian space authorities.

            “Proponents of the Lost Cosmonauts hypothesis concede that Yuri Gagarin was the first man to survive human spaceflight, but claim that the Soviet Union attempted to launch two or more manned space flights prior to Gagarin’s, and that at least two cosmonauts died in the attempts. Another cosmonaut, Vladimir Ilyushin, is believed to have landed off-course and been held by the Chinese government. The Government of the Soviet Union supposedly suppressed this information, to prevent bad publicity during the height of the Cold War.”


    • sleat

      Alan, whoever is writing these “questioning nukes” articles doesn’t seem to believe, or understand that a nuclear weapon works very well for igniting combustible materials within quite a large radius. WWII Japanese structures tended to be combustible.

      He/she has already demonstrated that nuclear weapons’ actual effects on ships at various distances were poorly understood by the author in a previous article.

      The blast, heat, and radiation of a moderately sized nuke won’t have much of an effect on most of the steel of a ship, say a few thousand feet from ground zero. It would obviously DISABLE the ship, but it wouldn’t necessarily flip it over or cause it to vanish or blow apart Hollywood style.
      Instantaneous radiation, heat (via infrared) and air-coupled shockwaves are LOUSY for wrecking steel. Most of the nuked ship would remain.

      “Firebombing may well have been carried out in addition to the nuclear bombing in Japan.”

      There would not have been much point firebombing the place AFTER they had nuked it, and wanting to ascertain the grizzly effects of nukes on actual people and structures was a key strategic concern, according to historians.

      Remember, that the trinity test had very few, if any “live” targets or structures, so much data was needed.

      Anyway, I think Hollywood is at least partly to blame for these misconceptions.

  • Don Duncan

    Until DB brought up the possibility that nukes are a hyped boggy man I hadn’t questioned them. But now that I think it over, the Korean War and ‘Nam would have been too tempting not to show off nuclear superior military prowess. Every other weapon was used/tested/developed. Why not nukes? Could it be they are not so frightening? Could the govt. be using the nuke scare for political advantage? Would it stoop that low? Or is the military so restrained out of respect for people/property? Could it be really soft hearted? Let’s ask the one million + dead Iraqis, or 2 million refugees. Or wait! They have some questions for us first: Are we free yet? When are you leaving? Can we have our oil fields back? Can we have our country back?

  • Praetor

    The fact that we know they lie, and us deception to maintain control. Everything they tell and show us has to be viewed with a lot of skepticism. Pure and simple.!!!

    • sleat

      Yes, we know they lie. They tell and show us that the Earth is a spheroid orbiting the Sun, and that there are lots of satellites in orbit around Earth, and that spacecraft have explored the moon and other planets. Are you also skeptical of these things?

  • georgesilver

    PROJECT FEAR This is my name for the project which encompasses Nukes, War on Terrorism, Man Made Global Warming, Population Control etc. etc.
    Big money spinners all of them.

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    Based on what is reported from Iraq, Syria and Yemen depleted uranium bombs/missiles (though apparently forbidden under certain treatise/agreements) seem to be doing a hellish job. Are they not to be considered a “nuclear” weapons?

    • Depleted uranium is left over from the enrichment of uranium 235. It is not itself an explosive weapon.

    • sleat

      Unlike enriched uranium, the only energy you can really extract from DU is to burn it.

      It’s a highly toxic heavy metal, but it’s not particularly radioactive compared to similar amounts of other radioactive isotopes. If DU makes you sick, it probably won’t be from the radiation.

      I don’t suggest you burn it, though, the oxide is also bad for you!

      • william readling

        Fast neutron reactors can convert U-238 to Pu-239 in large amounts. Pu-239 is fissile, and is used as both reactor fuel, and in nuclear weapons. It is fairly easy to design a fast neutron reactor that creates more fissile material, than it uses. This is called a breeder reactor.
        U-238 is not fissile, but is said to be fertile. In operating light water reactors, which are thermal neutron reactors, a small amount of Pu-239 is created, and part of it is fissioned to release energy.

        • sleat

          What you have described is the opposite. You are adding energy to U-238 in the form of neutrons to transmute it, not extracting energy from it.

    • william readling

      DU makes a good anti-tank round, because it is very dense, lead is 11.3 grams per CC uranium is 18.9 DU is a tiny bit denser, self sharpening, it fractures in such a way as to retain a sharp point, and it is ignited by the friction of penetrating armor, and burns like crazy once inside, likely igniting fuel, and ammunition.

  • borgteam

    How silly. All you need to do is look all over the globe for the obvious results from both above and below ground nuclear tests.
    It is so trivially easy to disprove this article’s speculation you have to wonder why it was posted at all.

    • We use Wikipedia for amusement not for anything else.

      • sleat

        Wikipedia is not authoritative. Wikipedia mentions nuclear tests. Therefore ANY evidence of nuclear tests is suspect and not to be believed. Even the physical evidence.

        Seems legit.

        DB, I am lovin’ me your logic right there!

        Facile answer bonus: 100 points!

  • CrusaderImperial

    Interesting article by Miles Mathis on nuclear products:

    Is it a bogeyman used to generate bigger military at more expense? Ongoing state of a nuclear threat makes me wonder if Oceana is still at war with East Asia…

  • william readling

    Nuclear fission works, there are two operating reactors ten miles from my home, and I use the electricity they generate. If fission works in a reactor, where only 2% or so of the uranium is fissile, why wouldn’t it work in a bomb where essentially all the uranium, or plutonium are fissile?
    The weapons may not be as potent as advertised. Governments certainly lie to frighten the sheep, but I find it hard to believe that nuclear weapons do not work.
    I’m sure nuclear, or any ionizing radiation is not as dangerous, or as insidious as we are led to believe. Rather than a waste land around the Chernobyl plant, there are lush forests, and Fukishima has not yielded the consequences that were predicted by the anti-nuke folks. It seems that some ionizing radiation is desirable, and leads to lower levels of cancer, after all, we evolved to live in a world where it is ubiquitous.

    • sleat

      Even at 1/100th the advertised yield, they are still huge!

      The problem with this article is that it doesn’t make any specific claims, other than “the reality is not what we’re told”.

      Most of us already know that.

      That’s about as vague a thing as you can say, whilst still actually saying something.

      Claiming that a film of a nuclear test has been “enhanced” is not the same as claiming that the test itself is a fraud, or that the weapon depicted in the test does not exist.

      I can “enhance” a movie of my wife, but she won’t be 100 times prettier.

      There’s a further point, a huge amount of “nuclear age” video has been recently declassified. If the point of it was to lie to the average person, it doesn’t make much sense to leave it classified for 30+ years.

      Also, the facile claim that “The Russians lie, too” doesn’t indicate anything specific about their nuclear capabilities or weaknesses.