You are on page 1of 16

Nuclear Arms Race/Cold War News Monitoring (Summer 2019)

From a certain, increasingly rare point of view, the origins


of our planet’s new Cold War and nuclear arms race in 2019
may be partly traceable to a little known physics experiment
called a subcritical nuclear experiment. Such experiments,
which involve underground chemical explosions on weapons-
grade plutonium (yet fall short of triggering a runaway
‘chain reaction’ and ‘nuclear explosion’) are carried out by
nuclear club nations to allegedly ensure that their nuclear
warheads are reliable. But because these subcritical tests
so nearly flirt with the negative stigma surrounding
conducting a full-scale or ‘hydronuclear’ nuclear test,
suspicion and mistrust naturally attach themselves to these
experiments. That suspicion and mistrust, especially in a
global news vacuum, gives way to accusations and disputes
that when global peoples and think tanks don’t see what’s
going on, national leaders are left fighting a battle as
Gods in the clouds. But there are no Gods, only mortals who
can destroy a planet, as they almost did many times in the
last Cold War.

In February 2019, on the eve of the U.S.-DPRK summit in


Hanoi, the U.S. carried out its 29th subcritical nuclear
test since 1997 (named Ediza). In the wake of that test,
strong condemnation by DPRK over Ediza was ignored by global
media outlets (outside of Japan) and then deflected as the
U.S. then began accusing another nation (Russia) of
violating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This
style of provocation continues through the late summer of
2019.

The CTBT needs to be fixed to close a loophole that allows


subcritical nuclear testing. This loophole weakens the
international agreement and is agitating the world into a
new nuclear arms race.
Ban Subcritical Nuclear Tests!

Contact: Andrew Kishner, nuclearcrimes@gmail.com

----------------------------

February 13, 2019 - NNSA (National Nuclear Security


Administration) conducts 'Ediza' subcritical nuclear
experiment in Nevada

May 24, 2019 -- NNSA's LLNL (Lawrence Livermore National


Laboratory) issues press release on Ediza
* https://www.llnl.gov/news/plutonium-research-advance-
stockpile-safely

(Prior, on May 6, 2019: it was learned the Ediza test


breached the experiment's containment vessel and leaked
radioactivity (LLNL press release didn't mention this)
* https://www.exchangemonitor.com/ediza-data-future-test-
schedules-unaffected-rad-leak-recent-subcritical-pu-test/ )

Last week of May 2019 - pronounced reaction to Ediza news by


DPRK
https://www.nknews.org/2019/05/pre-hanoi-summit-u-s-
subcritical-nuclear-test-a-sign-of-bad-faith-dprk-mfa/

Last week of May 2019 - Also, Japan's Chief Cabinet


Secretary Yoshihide Suga's comments on subcritical tests:
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190527_23/

June 13, 2019


Defense Intelligence Agency Statement
https://www.dia.mil/News/Speeches-and-Testimonies/Article-
View/Article/1875351/dia-statement-on-lt-gen-ashleys-
remarks-at-hudson-institute/
DIA Statement on Lt. Gen. Ashley’s Remarks at Hudson
Institute

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2019 — The following Defense


Intelligence Agency statement responds to questions we have
received about remarks DIA Director Lt. Gen. Robert P.
Ashley, Jr., made at a Hudson Institute event May 29, 2019:

"The U.S. government, including the Intelligence Community,


has assessed that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons tests
that have created nuclear yield. Regarding China, the
information raised at the Hudson Institute, coupled with
China's lack of transparency on their nuclear testing
activities, naturally raise questions about those activities
in relation to the "zero yield" nuclear weapons testing
moratorium adhered to by the United States, the United
Kingdom, and France. These are actions that the U.S.
government characterizes as inconsistent with the
commitments undertaken by the United States, the United
Kingdom, and France."

June 14, 2019


Marco Rubio's Press Release
https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-
releases?id=77916862-1529-423B-AEA5-FE186B4C15F5

Rubio Statement on U.S. Concerns about Russia, China, and


the Nuclear Weapons Testing Moratorium

Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the


following statement after the Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA) revealed the U.S. Government, including the U.S.
Intelligence Community, “has assessed that Russia has
conducted nuclear weapons tests that have created nuclear
yield” and also expressed concerns about China’s lack of
transparency on nuclear testing activities:

“Any Russian or Chinese nuclear weapons test that produces


nuclear yield not only violates the ‘zero yield’ moratorium
on nuclear weapons testing that the U.S., Britain, and
France have faithfully implemented, but also imperils the
national security interests of America and our allies around
the world.

“The U.S. assessment that Russia has conducted nuclear


weapons tests producing nuclear yield is deeply alarming
given Russia’s repeated and egregious violations of the
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

“President Trump, with the unanimous support of all NATO


members, was right to withdraw from the INF Treaty after
Russia’s material breach of that agreement, and is right now
to direct his Administration to pursue a 21st-century
approach to arms control that deals with a broader range of
nuclear weapons and nuclear-armed competitors.”

Rubio is a member of the Senate Select Committee on


Intelligence and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and
Majority Administrative Cochairman of the Senate National
Security Working Group.

June 14, 2019


Inforos.com article
http://inforos.ru/en/?module=news&action=view&id=93184

Russian envoy demands that US present evidence to support


words on nuclear tests in Russia

Russian Permanent Representative to International


Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov demanded on Friday
that the US present evidence to support words about nuclear
tests in Russia.

Ulyanov pointed out that the "US Government yesterday


assessed that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons tests."
This allegation was disregarded on May 29 by the Preparatory
Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Organization (CTBTO Preparatory Commission) on the basis of
data of the International Monitoring System, the diplomat
tweeted.

"Interesting: 2 weeks ago US said 'probably'. Now it’s


affirmative. Did US get new evidence?" Ulyanov wrote.

On May 29, Ulyanov told TASS that Russia observes moratorium


for carrying out nuclear tests. Thus he commented on the
statement made by Director of the Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA) Robert Ashley that Russia allegedly carried out
very low-yield nuclear tests. That said, the Russian
permanent representative called the US moratorium for
nuclear tests unreliable.

The CTBTO Preparatory Commission told TASS earlier that its


specialists did not register any unusual events in Russia,
and nuclear test monitoring systems operate in a regular
mode.

June 14, 2019


UrduPoint News / Sputnik Article

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/moscow-urges-us-to-prove-
russias-alleged-nuc-645087.html

Moscow Urges US To Prove Russia's Alleged Nuclear Test


Treaty Violations - Envoy

Moscow urges the United States to provide evidence


substantiating its claims that Russia violated the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Russia's
Permanent Representative to International Organizations in
Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said on Friday.

On Thursday, the US Defense Intelligence Agency released a


statement claiming that the US government, including the
intelligence community, had "assessed that Russia has
conducted nuclear weapons tests that have created nuclear
yield." No information proving the allegations was provided.

"US Government yesterday assessed that Russia has conducted


nuclear weapons tests. This allegation was earlier
disregarded by #CTBTO Prepcom on the basis of data of Intl.
monitoring system. Interesting: 2 weeks ago US said
"probably". Now it's affirmative. Did #US get new evidence?"
Ulyanov said on Twitter, adding that Moscow was eager to see
this evidence.

Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley suggested in May that Russia


was "probably not adhering to" the nuclear testing
moratorium outlined in the CTBT.

The CTBT, under which signatories pledge to halt nuclear


weapons tests, was adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly in 1996. It is set to enter into force only after
all states in Annex 2 sign and ratify it, but only 37 of 44
countries in question have ratified it so far. As of now,
the treaty needs to be signed by India, North Korea and
Pakistan, and ratified by China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the
United States.

June 17, 2019


TASS article
https://tass.com/politics/1064126

Russia slams new US accusations about nuclear tests as


unfounded

These statements can be only considered as "a cover up" for


Washington’s steps on leaving the CTBT, the Russian Foreign
Ministry said

OSCOW, June 17. /TASS/. Washington’s attempts to again


accuse Russia of carrying out above the "zero yield" nuclear
tests are unacceptable and have no grounds, the Russian
Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

"The United States continues making unfounded accusations


over Russia’s violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-
Ban Treaty," the ministry said, commenting on the June 13
statement of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

"We once again stress that all such accusations are


absolutely unfounded. They can be only considered as "a
cover up" for Washington’s steps on leaving the CTBT and
resuming full-fledged nuclear tests," the ministry said.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the United States has not


even bothered to invent at least a new scheme for fulfilling
its plans and has almost completely repeated its steps on
withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
Treaty. "Apparently, soon we should expect a statement of
the US administration that it does not consider it possible
to remain in the CTBT, which is allegedly violated by other
parties."

Thus, the Foreign Ministry emphasizes that another crucial


international treaty that is an essential element of
ensuring safety and stability for the overwhelming majority
of its participants, including Russia, has become "another
object of the destructive US policy on undermining the
international architecture of agreements in the sphere of
non-proliferation and arms control."

The Defense Intelligence Agency’s statement claimed that


Russia has carried out nuclear tests, which caused nuclear
explosions. This document was prepared to elaborate the
statement made by Director of the Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA) Robert Ashley, who said on May 29 that "the
United States believes Russia is probably not adhering to
the nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with
the zero-yield standard."
Russia has strongly rejected Ashley’s statement. On May 29,
Russian Permanent Representative to International
Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov told TASS that
Russia observes the moratorium for nuclear tests. On May 31,
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the claims
as nonsense

Moratorium on nuclear tests has been enforced in Russia for


almost 30 years. The last such test was conducted at the
Novaya Zemlya test site on October 24, 1990. Russia was one
of the first countries to ratify the CTBT in 2000 and it
strictly abides by its spirit and letter.

June 17, 2019


Urdupoint article
https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/moscow-rejects-us-claims-
of-russia-violating-646895.html

Moscow Rejects US Claims Of Russia Violating Comprehensive


Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 17th June, 2019) The


Russian Foreign Ministry rejected on Monday Washington's
claims that Russia was violating the Comprehensive Nuclear-
Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as groundless.

The US Defense Intelligence Agency released last Thursday a


statement claiming that Russia had conducted nuclear weapons
tests that had created "nuclear yield." No information
proving the allegations was provided.

"The United States continues putting forward groundless


claims, accusing Russia of violating the CTBT, This time,
these accusations were outlined in the statement that the US
Defense Intelligence Agency released on June 13. We will
stress once again that all such accusations are absolutely
baseless. They cannot be qualified as anything but
Washington's attempt to cover up its steps toward leaving
the CTBT and resuming full-scale nuclear tests," the Russian
Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

June 17, 2019


ExchangeMonitor article
https://www.exchangemonitor.com/defense-intelligence-agency-
says-russia-yield-test-point/

Defense Intelligence Agency Says Russia Did Nuclear Yield


Test

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency amped up criticism of


Russia’s nuclear stockpile work last week, saying in a
statement that the nation at some point “has conducted
nuclear weapons tests that have created nuclear yield.”

That is a step beyond what agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert


Ashley told reporters and the public in May at the Hudson
Institute in Washington: that Russia “probably is not”
adhering to the provisions of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test
Ban Treaty that forbid nuclear weapon tests that produce a
nuclear yield.

Russia has ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which


has not yet entered into force. The U.S. has not ratified
the accord, although Washington observes a self-imposed ban
on yield testing. The U.S. limits its stockpile stewardship
to explosive subcritical tests carried out in containment
vessels.

The Defense Intelligence Agency’s statement did not say


when, where, or how Russia produced a nuclear yield.

“The U.S. government, including the Intelligence Community,


has assessed that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons tests
that have created nuclear yield,” the Defense Intelligence
Agency stated last week.
Nuclear disarmament advocates dismissed Ashley’s initial
claims at the Hudson Institute as a baseless repetition of
old worries that Moscow was flouting the treaty.

Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, representative for


Moscow’s mission to Vienna, on Twitter called the Defense
Intelligence Agency’s latest statement “fake news.”

June 17, 2019


Xinhua article
http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-06/17/c_138151116.htm

Russia denies conducting nuclear tests

MOSCOW, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Foreign Ministry on


Monday denied U.S. accusations that Russia was violating the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by conducting
nuclear tests.

"All these accusations are completely groundless. They


cannot be regarded as anything other than an attempt to
justify Washington's preparations to withdraw from the CTBT
and to resume full-scale nuclear tests," the ministry said
in a statement.

Last week, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency published a


statement, saying that "Russia has conducted nuclear weapons
tests that have created nuclear yield."

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the United States is


"copying almost step-by-step the actions it took to pull out
of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty."

The ministry said it now expects a U.S. statement that


Washington considers it impossible to remain committed to
the CTBT "when others flout their obligations."
Russia has repeatedly said that it strictly adheres to the
multilateral CTBT and has stopped nuclear testing since 1991
in compliance with the pact.

June 17, 2019


Newsweek article
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-trump-u-s-nuclear-treaty-
tests-1444352

In an era in which keystone foreign policy doctrines and


alliances have been put to the test, the future of the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CNTB) appears
precarious.

Officials in Washington have accused Russia of secretly


carrying out low-yield nuclear tests in violation of the
CNTB, which was opened for signature in 1996 and has since
been ratified by 159 countries. It is the first time that
the United States has accused Russia of breaking the ban
since Moscow ratified it in the year 2000.

"The United States believes that Russia probably is not


adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium in a manner
consistent with the 'zero-yield' standard," Robert Ashley,
director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in a
speech at the conservative Washington D.C. think tank the
Hudson Institute on May 29.

Russia, meanwhile, has denied that it is breaking the ban,


arguing that Washington's accusations are "unacceptable" in
a statement released nearly one month after U.S. officials
first levied the charge.

"The United States continues making unfounded accusations


over Russia's violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-
Ban Treaty," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We once again stress that all such accusations are


absolutely unfounded. They can be only considered as a cover
up for Washington's steps on leaving the CTBT and resuming
full-fledged nuclear tests," the statement continued, adding
that the treaty had become, "another object of the
destructive U.S. policy on undermining the international
architecture of agreements in the sphere of non-
proliferation and arms control."

The word "probably" in Ashley's statement drew some


skepticism from nuclear experts who cast doubt on the U.S.
claims. The Arms Control Association, a Washington-based
research group, called on the Trump administration to
release evidence to back up its assertion that Moscow was
breaking the treaty.

"If the U.S. has credible evidence that Russia is violating


its CTBT commitments, it should propose...mutual confidence-
building visits to the respective U.S. and Russian test
sites by technical experts to address concerns about
compliance," the organization said in a statement.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization


(CTBTO), a group dedicated to monitoring nuclear tests, said
that its international monitoring system (IMS) had not
detected anything out of the ordinary.

"The CTBTO has full confidence in the ability of the IMS to


detect nuclear test explosions according to the provisions
of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty," the
organization said in a statement. "The CTBT verification
regime is already working and effective, with over 300
monitoring stations deployed around the world and sending
data."

The statements were made at a time when arms treaties


between the U.S. and Russia, both major nuclear powers, are
falling apart.

The administration of President Donald Trump already pulled


out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF),
citing Russia's violations of the treaty. In this case,
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members agree that
Moscow is violating the INF Treaty. Another key arms treaty,
New START, will need to be renewed in 2021.

June 18, 2019


WIRED article
https://www.wired.com/story/us-to-russia-on-nuke-
experiments-do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do/

US to Russia on Nuke Experiments: Do as We Say, Not as We Do

Excerpt:

Those involved in the 1996 test ban treaty negotiations say


the secrecy that gives rise to accusations and
counteraccusations was deliberately orchestrated by the US
and Russia, which resisted efforts at the time by
Princeton's von Hippel and others to include language in the
treaty requiring reciprocal inspections of such experiments
and to force them above ground. Both nations have also
declined voluntary mutual inspections suggested by the
Vienna monitoring agency.

Jean du Preez, who led external communications and


international cooperation for the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty Organization from 2009 to 2016 and is now a senior
manager at the James Martin Center, said that even in the
last decade, “my personal beliefs then and now are that the
[Latin and Caribbean nation] concerns are valid: These types
of experiments are against the spirit and the letter of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and undermine the treaty.”

The organization would itself have the authority to inspect


the experiments and to resolve any cheating claims if the
treaty had entered into force and a significant majority of
participating nations were suspicious that illicit testing
had occurred. But eight holdout nations—the US, China, North
Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, and Pakistan—have not yet
ratified it, blocking it from formally taking effect and
keeping the organization from conducting any verification
efforts.

...

June 26, 2019


WashPost opinion
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-quietly-
leading-us-closer-to-nuclear-disaster/2019/06/26/3348ca5e-
9445-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html

Trump is quietly leading us closer to nuclear disaster

Excerpt:

So why would the Trump administration seek to restart


nuclear testing? In March, four Republican senators wrote
the president asking whether he would consider “unsigning”
the CTBT, calling the pact a “deeply flawed treaty that
purports to ban all nuclear weapons tests.” In late May, the
director of the Defense Intelligence Agency stated Russia
“probably” is not adhering to its nuclear testing
moratorium. The word “probably” prompted more queries and a
new DIA statement: “The U.S. government, including the
Intelligence Community, has assessed that Russia has
conducted nuclear weapons tests that have created nuclear
yield.”
Are the Russians cheating? Russia’s nuclear test site has
been under close scrutiny for years. But in the absence of
more public information — information that if it exists
would probably be highly classified and unlikely to be made
public — we have little choice but to assess the
administration’s charge based on its motivations and
methods.
National security adviser John Bolton and other
administration officials are fervent test-ban treaty
opponents. The seemingly out-of-the-blue letter from
Republican senators and the DIA director’s public remarks
had the look of an orchestrated campaign — significantly
with no apparent effort to engage with Moscow. More
suspicious, someone in the Trump administration is leaking
portions of the classified Clinton directive on activities
not prohibited by the treaty, arguing the language “not all-
inclusive, but illustrative” suggests uncertainty over the
treaty’s ban. Anyone familiar with the directive and the
test-ban treaty negotiating record would understand how
completely misleading this is.

August 2, 2019
After suspending the INF treaty on Feb. 1, 2019, the U.S.
formally withdraws on this date.

August 23, 2019


Riafan.ru
https://riafan.ru/1206117-voennyi-ekspert-obyasnil-
nedovolstvo-kitaya-politikoi-dvoinykh-standartov-ssha

Military Expert Explains China’s Dissatisfaction With U.S.


Double Standards Policy

[Google translation]

….

The military expert also called the fiction of the US statement


on nuclear explosions in Russia. If Russia conducts subcritical
nuclear tests, then there is no violation of the test agreement.

“The US has not ratified this treaty at all. China also conducts
subcritical nuclear tests. I am opposed to this treaty and I
believe that Russia should withdraw from it. It is necessary to
verify the reliability of nuclear weapons. It is not known what
the United States can do. Russia, in turn, depends on nuclear
weapons. The mindless struggle for peace and disarmament
threatens the country's security. We need to take advantage of
the situation on how the United States behaves and stop
fulfilling the terms of the comprehensive nuclear test ban
treaty. The US can start testing at any time, but they need to
justify it as if someone else had violated. In this vein, the
United States decided to blame China, ”the FAN interlocutor
said.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the US’s


accusations against Moscow about violation of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) groundless . The
ministry expressed confidence that in the near future the US
authorities will announce their intention to withdraw from the
nuclear test ban treaty under the pretext of violations by "its
other participants."