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UK Cold War Era Nuclear War Plans Revealed

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the governments-plan-the-darndest-things dept.

News 200

NicerGuy writes "The BBC reports that documents from 1975, recently released by the National Archives, detail in part the UK's plan in the event of nuclear strikes during the Cold War. An audio download of the prepared radio broadcast is available. Several other topics are covered." From the article: "Further documents released this week reveal that two pandas in London Zoo sparked fears a diplomatic rift could flare up between Britain and China in the 1970s."

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A transcript (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368824)

"Oh bloody hell, the Yanks have really done us in this time."

Re:A transcript - WTF MATE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369643)

I have been laughing at this for too long....

Bout that time chaps.... right oh (or whatever that looks like in UK lingo)

http://www.media.ebaumsworld.com/endofworld.swf [ebaumsworld.com]

Seriously - mod it funny guys

firrrst (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368826)

firrrst

A nuclear war for two pandas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368836)

A nuclear war over two pandas! That's it! The rules of war should change to politicians killing each other instead of the populations and military (which btw, wouldnt be needed)!

Re:A nuclear war for two pandas! (3, Funny)

doxology (636469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368867)

Talk about a Panda-mic!

Re:A nuclear war for two pandas! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368885)

GROOOOOOOOOOAAAAAN...... :)

Re:A nuclear war for two pandas! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368936)

I think the word you are looking for is pandemic. Pandamic isn't a real word.

Re:A nuclear war for two pandas! (3, Funny)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368970)

whoosh

That was the sound of a joke. You might have not been able to hear it, as it seems to have passed miles above your head.

Re:A nuclear war for two pandas! (1)

Furmy (854336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369100)

Pandamic isn't a real word.

Oh, yeah? [reference.com]



errrr, try this one [wikipedia.org] instead.

Nuke the Pandas! (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368888)

Well, you gotta nuke something. Nelson

Re:Nuke the Pandas! (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369088)

"Touché..."

- Lisa Simpson

Linux users need not apply (3, Interesting)

user9918277462 (834092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368837)

Too bad the so-called audio download is only available as WMP/Realplayer embedded content. Where's the direct download link? Isn't BBC one of the few media giants to have embraced open formats, etc?

Re:Linux users need not apply (4, Interesting)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368854)

The BBC actually offers an add/BS free version of RealPlayer on their website for people comming from UK ISPs. It's not exactly open, but it's alright. The reason they use WMP and Real is becuase the majority of their content is streaming, and mp3 based streaming servers aren't as well developed at the enterprise level as they could be. I'd imagine the reason this is in the same format (even though for this type of data it would make more sense as a download) is becuase it's a standardised system which they already have implemented for all their audio content.

To be fair to them as well, they do give you a choice, if that counts for anything.

Re:Linux users need not apply (4, Informative)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368869)

Sorry; forgot to mention in previous post that there is a version of Realplayer for Linux, so Linux users http://www.real.com/linux?pcode=rn&src=freeplayer_ partner&opage=freeplayer_partner [real.com] can apply.

Re:Linux users need not apply (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368911)

In fact Linux users can use Vsound http://www.zorg.org/vsound/index.shtml [zorg.org] to save real player stream as a wav file, which I don't think Windows users can.

Re:Linux users need not apply (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369032)

OK, so they have plans for dealing with a nuclear strike. But what about the aftermath? What's their plan for dealing with a psychopathic terrorist wearing a Guy Fawkes mask?

Re:Linux users need not apply (4, Funny)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369108)

OK, so they have plans for dealing with a nuclear strike. But what about the aftermath? What's their plan for dealing with a psychopathic terrorist wearing a Guy Fawkes mask?

Easy, they call The DOCTOR.

Re:Linux users need not apply (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368997)

Where have you been? I've had Linux RealPlayer for... I don't know how long... a long time.

Re:Linux users need not apply (4, Informative)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369065)

Dude, mplayer [mplayerhq.hu] is your friend. It is capable of using native Win32 codecs (included on many sites as a tarball) and it will play just about any format known to man. There are also plugins for Firefox which allow you to start mplayer by clicking on them funky Windows Media Player "only" links.

Re:Linux users need not apply (2, Informative)

sxpert (139117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369553)

dude, that doesn't work on my 64 bit machine...

Re:Linux users need not apply (1)

Mmm coffee (679570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369306)

Could someone please do many of us a huge favor and mirror that announcement? As a Konqueror user I don't even have Firefox installed and try as I must I can't get to it. :(

Re:Linux users need not apply (2, Informative)

someone300 (891284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369547)

Why must everyone keep saying that you can't use realplayer stuff (embedded or not) in Linux?

https://player.helixcommunity.org/ [helixcommunity.org]

Not only does it work perfectly, standalone and as a plugin, it's better than the Windows Real* players.
And, if you don't want to use the plugin, you could just view the html of the page and get the link to it, then open it in a standalone player... mplayer, realplayer, vlc.. etc.

Black-and-white nukes... (1, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368838)

I know the pandas are China's national treasure... But I'm sure China would NOT nuke humanity for the sake of two pandas. We got enough endanger species as it is.

Re:Black-and-white nukes... (2, Funny)

UniverseIsADoughnut (170909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368846)

Like to see Las Vegas Odds on that one.

Re:Black-and-white nukes... (2, Informative)

epugachev (530444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368988)

The panda issue is separate from the nuke issue. That article is a summary of all the documents that were recently declassified by the Brits, and not all of them have to do with nuclear war plans.

Re:Black-and-white nukes... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369270)

Spread the LOVE! ...we need more panda pr0n! The Chinese just aren't giving it up :(

They don't need to worry now (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368849)

That in discussions between Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the BBC's chairman they talked about whether there were too many "hippies" in the corporation

They all moved on to Slashdot.

For Another Take, Check Out The Movie "Threads"... (2, Informative)

ferrellcat (691126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368864)

Probably a more accurate version of how the British government's "plans" would be followed after a nuclear exchange.

It's an awesome move, too!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090163/ [imdb.com]

Amen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14368892)

It's been 20 years since I first saw that movie, and while it was utterly terrifying back during the Cold War, it still makes me shudder when I think about it now.

Re:For Another Take, Check Out The Movie "Threads" (2, Insightful)

veeoh (444683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369820)

Yeh, saw this film again a year or so ago - Its not lost any of its power - shocking film.

Poland did that too (4, Interesting)

MSBob (307239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368866)

A few weeks ago Poland revealed (to the dismay of Russia) the nuclear war plans from the days of the warsaw pact. The map was a truly scary prospect. Much of Poland would be annihilated in that nuclear war. Here's [scotsman.com] one article covering that story. You can find lots more. One interesting disclosure was the war games map with all the nuclear strike sites marked on it.

Re:Poland did that too (1)

Bad D.N.A. (753582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368891)

"One interesting disclosure was the war games map with all the nuclear strike sites marked on it."

A link to that content would be nice?

Re:Poland did that too (1)

MSBob (307239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369300)

The scan of the map was published in the Polish daily "Wyborcza" but I can't find it on their website anymore. I tried google but without luck. In essence all the cities along the vistula river were to receive the brunt of the nuclear attack. As far as Soviet retaliation was concerned, the usual suspects, including Bonn, London and Brussels were on that map. For Poland alone, 2,000,000+ casualties were forecast.

Re:Poland did that too (4, Interesting)

xs650 (741277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369119)

So the Ruskies were going to hit NATO where it cause the most pain. What would anyone except a complete cypher expect of them?

It's not like NATO was going to shoot it's nukes harmlessly off into some empty desert.

It was going to be a real nasty fooking war if it happened and very likely the West would have started tossing nukes first because the Warsaw Pact had greatly superior quantities of ground forces.

During the cold war one of the catchy phrases in the military industrial complex was that NATO forces were going to have a "Target rich environment". That means their asses were going to get run over.

Re:Poland did that too (2, Funny)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369310)

It's not like NATO was going to shoot it's nukes...into some empty desert.

Well, it was going to attack Russia. Close enough, IMHO.

Wouldn't that be... (5, Funny)

Phariom (941580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368900)

"Other Cabinet papers showed Harold Wilson was warned in 1975 that Britain's economy faced 'possible wholesale domestic liquidation.'"

...possible wholesale domestic vaporization?

Furthermore, my friends and I play a lot of pen-and-paper role-playing games set in Europe (Call of Cthulhu mainly) and they always accuse me of a "lack of realism" in the manner in which my characters behave. My response to said friends? "They're British. They boil their meat. They drink warm beer. I don't have to explain their unusual behavior; just play the damn game."

I can now add: "They'd let their entire population be atomized in order to wipe out the 'hippie menace.'"

Probably economic liquidation (4, Informative)

AngusH (611073) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369062)

Liquidation probably refers to the unfortunate state that the British economy had reached in the 1970s.

In addition to facing a nuclear threat (vaporization) there was a serious possibility that the country might collapse economically (liquidation).

Eventually the government got support from the IMF.

Of course the Soviet Union might have taken advantage of the situation if an economic collapse did happen in which case you might have had both sequentially.

Lots of different government papers got released at the same time, so it tends to get reported together.

Re:Probably economic liquidation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369205)

Indeed, who needed nukes when we had ardent trade unionists! Things were really quite bad [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wouldn't that be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369835)

And then look at yourself. You play pen and paper role playing games

It would have been nice ... (2, Insightful)

the real darkskye (723822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368919)

... if they provided an unedited and uncommented version of the broadcast.
As a UK resident it would be nice to know the kind of broadcast I'd be hearing the moment all other mediums went down. I have no idea if we even have an emergency broadcast channel or radio station.
Aside from always watching the big 4.7 (Channel five only counts as .7) analogue TV channels there is no way to get a major news flash. when 11/9 happened I only knew about it because I happened to be watching BBC1 at the time (well this would be true had I also not been on IRC at the time, but the average daytime TV viewer in the UK isn't always on-line), had I been watching any of the other digital channels I had at the time, I'd not have seen anything.

I won't get in to the whole "We have plans to make sure we can run the country, even if the rest of the country is dead, injured or suffering from radiation poisoning" thing, that's for another rant.

Re:It would have been nice ... (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369127)

And now for something completely different.

Re:It would have been nice ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369662)

They did broadcast the beginning of it on 5live a few mornings ago. I think it said that the radio would be the main communication channel and it was a bit disconcerting. One person rang up to say that people just waking up could have been fooled by it.
Also 0.7 is a bit generous. Of course there wouldn't have been 5 channels then...

Re:It would have been nice ... (2, Interesting)

KingDaveRa (620784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369803)

I think they are counting on most people having a radio or TV on at the time of such an announcement. I don't think the TV would just instantly go off - there'd be an announcement for an hour or two, then it would be switched off.

I think if a similar plan existed today, they would keep TV channels running. More people have working/decent TVs now than radios. Many that do have radios they use often are either mains powered, or DAB anyway. The internet would have to play some role too in telling people what was going on.

I heard about 11/9 via text message from a friend who was listening to Radio 1 whilst on the bus. The London bombings I heard about via IRC, then went looking at the BBC and News 24's stream (which had just been put up as it was happening). It seemed most other people were doing much the same, as IRC was buzzing, and the BBC news site was performing horribly. In this day and age it would be naive for the government to assume they could just shut everything down to the radio channels only. In 1975 this would be such a hard thing as TV was relatively new, and as for the internet, it was hardly in the position it is now.

Seattle Cold War Civil Defense Manual (4, Informative)

H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368922)

Here's a little self-plug for something somewhat related that I scanned. A "Civil Defense Manual [timandjeni.com] " for Seattle from 1951. Check it out, there's some unintentionally amusing stuff in there.

Did you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369006)

...email yourself asking permission to link to your site from Slashdot? :)

Re:Did you... (1)

H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369020)

Har har... If it were a front-page story I'd be worried, but even a +5 comment (if it gets that high) I think I can handle. ;^)

Re:Did you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369035)

OMFG! The guy from the parent post is slashdotting himself! Look out look out look out... KABOOM!

Re:Seattle Cold War Civil Defense Manual (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369093)

Check it out, there's some unintentionally amusing stuff in there.

It's a fascinating era, wildly optomistic in some ways (paint your home with reflective white paint to ward off radiation...) and terrifying in others (stay in your city after the atomic explosion and fight the invaders). There's a great collection of public interest films here;
It includes the original "Duck and Cover" movie, as well as the "Operation Cue" experiment. A fantastic resource.

Re:Seattle Cold War Civil Defense Manual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369673)

Maybe they mean the white paint would help to reflect heat radiation? Which could have worked. It may have helped prevent overheating and fires.

Re:Seattle Cold War Civil Defense Manual (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369142)

My Paranoia game thanks you, although the Troubleshooters in it hate you. 8)

Re:Seattle Cold War Civil Defense Manual (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369200)

That's pretty interesting...I especially liked the list of "Enemies from Within". Thanks for posting this. I tell you what: I will be on the lookout for those commies in the Consumer's Union and Civil Rights Congress!

--
Some things never change...

Re:Seattle Cold War Civil Defense Manual (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369388)

Well it looked interesting but unfortunately I had to give up after three pages. Some Photoshop ``guru'' has superimposed an ugly logo on every page, thereby ruining them: these are historical documents, not personal advertising billboards. Hint: JPEG defines header fields, use those if you want to show off.

What about MI6? (1, Offtopic)

Kuxman (876286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14368947)

What would Bond do? Would he sweep some lucky lady off her feet and escape in his submersable car for Australia?

Fucking Kangaroos [ebaumsworld.com]

Whew...Glad that's over! (1)

TheIndifferentiate (914096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369001)

I'm glad there's no threat of nuclear annihilation anymore so all these plans can be thrown out. Seriously though, they must have better plans now 'cause the nuclear threat is still there. They probably have dug bunkers under Ben Nevis or something.

Re:Whew...Glad that's over! (2, Informative)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369122)

...the nuclear threat is still there

Hmmm...yes and no. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and her 'satellite states', the threat for MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) has virtually disappeared. I mean, twenty years ago the image of thousands of ICBMs crossing each other in opposite directions was palpable, while now it almost sounds like the hysterical folly of Cold War doomsayers. The missiles are still there, but the Politburo has gone the way of the dodo, along with the itchy-trigger-finger military antagonism it fed back and forth with Washington, and I'm sure we all hope that the missiles in the plains beyond the Urals, along with those in South Dakota, rot in their freaking silos.

The image that sounds more feasible today is the suicide backpack nuker blowing a crater in the middle of an urban area, a couple of missiles lobbied from North Korea into Tokyo, or twin nukes blowing up in Delhi and Islamabad.

By the way, does anybody know if SAC (Strategic Air Command) is still flying its' B-52 bombers in circles around the perimeter of the Artic Circle, just in case?

Vladimir Putin scares me. So does Dubya. (0, Offtopic)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369185)

It seems like ever since he took power as Boris Yeltzin's hand-picked successor he has been feverishly working to basically reestablish Russia as "The Soviet Union with Capitalism." And his idea of Capitalism is sort of, kind of, alien: he is re-nationalizing a lot of industries, most notably the petroleum industry.

Of course, none of the "good things" wrt the old Soviet Union still exist: their education system is decimated, and there is no health safety net anymore. Life expectancies are galloping backwards thanks to drug-resistant TB strains bred in the "new Gulags" of Russia and an AIDS crisis that Putin is in complete denial about.

I would not put it past Comrade Putin to re-target the remaining Soviet-era nukes at the US again. Of course, they have less of them and so do we thanks to Yeltzin-era demilitarization efforts and the reductions built into the various treaties signed with the old Soviet Union. But I'm sure it's still enough for Mutually Assured Destruction. And with the G. W. Bush doctrine of "preemption," MAD would be a lot MAD-der than it was back in the '80s. Putin would have to deal with a certifiably insane foreign policy run by a guy who claims to have a direct hotline to Jay-zus. Sort of like dealing with Chechen rebels, only this time the religious fanatic in question has nukes.

ph34r.

Re:Vladimir Putin scares me. So does Dubya. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369249)

"I would not put it past Comrade Putin to re-target the remaining Soviet-era nukes at the US again. Of course, they have less of them and so do we thanks to Yeltzin-era demilitarization efforts and the reductions built into the various treaties signed with the old Soviet Union"

Yup, we're now only able to blow the world up 20 times over instead of 30, what a shitter, god damn hippies!

decimated ? (2, Informative)

ndg123 (801212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369430)

if the education system has only been decimated, that's not so bad
i would settle for a technical education system which is 90% as good as the old soviet system.
ok with a bit more money for equipment.

perhaps you meant 'almost completely destroyed' rather than decimated.

Re:Whew...Glad that's over! (2, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369187)

The image that sounds more feasible today is the suicide backpack nuker blowing a crater in the middle of an urban area, a couple of missiles lobbied from North Korea into Tokyo, or twin nukes blowing up in Delhi and Islamabad.

The problem is that if any of those scenarios happen, it's not unlikely that events will spiral out of control afterwards, leading to the eventual launch of all those still-existing ICBMs.

Just look at all the crazy stuff that's happened in response to 9/11, then imagine multiplying that hysteria level by 1000X. That's the environment we'll be in after even a single nuke gets set off.

Re:Whew...Glad that's over! (3, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369374)

There really is no danger of MAD. That said, you are right that there is a slight danger of a nation being wiped out. The scenario that I see having some small possibility is that an Islamic fundamentalist group is given a nuclear weapon by a state, most likely Iran or North Korea, and that weapon is detonated in the US or (even worse) Israel.

If the US ever traced a detonated nuclear weapon back to another nation, and it was clear that that nation handed over the nuclear weapon intentionally, they would be fux00red. The US would invade at the bare minimum, and probably glass them over if they thought such an invasion would fail. North Korea in particular would be a candidate for glassing, while Iran would be a candidate for a limited nuking and a full scale invasion. Whatever the case, the nation in question probably would stand no chance to fire back. Playing nuclear war with Washington is a horrible idea. Unless you own a few thousand nukes, the US is not only going to win, but probably win without taking a scratch because they can drop a nuke on any spot even so much as suspected as housing nukes. If Washington has to guess where your remaining nukes are, they will leave no stone unglassed.

Now, to make the situation even uglier, consider if Israel was nuked. The US would likely try and show some restraint if they thought they could achieve their ends and avoid further attacks without glassing a nation over. Glassing a nation is a way to make the prospect of nuclear war too horrible to ever be considered again, but obviously involves mass whole sale genocide. The US might balk at genocide if other options existed. Israel on the other hand would show absolutely no such restraint. Israel would have no compulsions about making a lesson out of the offending nation. Israel would almost certainly glass the entire nation. While Israel doesn't have enough weapons to glass the world, they do have more then enough to glass over any Middle Eastern nation.

All that said, the real loss in life might not be in the actual nukes themselves. The real loss of life would come in the complete collapse of financial markets. People would flee the cities. Societies would spread out very quickly. This sudden change would have disastrous effects on economics. Developed nations would likely find themselves in a deep depression. The effects on the developed would be sever, but the resulting collapse of the world economy would be even worse on developing nations. Such a depression would ravage the economies of developing nations, resulting in mass starvation.

Moral of the story? Nukes = teh sux

Finally - MOD PARENT UP! (2, Interesting)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369437)

MOD PARENT UP!

Finally, someone on /. who understands the gravity of the situation!

If a nuke was set off in any part of the US, no current politician would be able to resist the public outcry...no make that demands, to glass an entire country or region. The rise of public opinion would be stronger than WWI, WWII, KW, and Vietnam combined! If the person in power here in the US didn't retaliate with nukes I would be willing to bet they would be ousted and replaced with someone who would. An event like that as you mention would change US foreign policy, and even world opinion instantly.

With that being said, I hope it never happens.

However, some insight on things. Everyone believed that Saddam had WMDs prior to our invasion of Iraq. CIA, MI6, Mossad, etc all were in agreement. Well, Saddam couldn't get a nuke to the US, but he might could get one to Israel. As you said Israel has stated many times in the past few years that they are prepared to defend themselves and retaliate mercilessly at any aggressor regardless of world opinion or US intervention.

If you remember just prior to our invasion of Iraq N Korea unplugged the cameras inside their nuclear reactor and began to fire it back up. N Korea is under heavy heavy sanctions and needs crude oil. Iraq needed nuclear fuel for a hydrogen bomb. I suspect they were either about to make a trade, or they had already made the trade.

This is why we invaded Iraq in my opinion; Saddam was trading oil for processed uranium with North Korea, and he would then be a direct threat to Israel if he had a working nuke. The US knows that if Israel is attacked there is no holding them back so we decided to take out Saddam and make the whole situation go away before the entire MidEast was turned into glass. Invading N Korea wasn't really an option as we didn't want to deal with the Chinese aspect of that equation. Also logistically and practically Iraq was a much eaiser target at the time. Iraq had no major allies or at least none that would stand up to a US invasion. Their business partners (France/Germany) were not willing to go to war with the US over the invasion of Iraq, but they did voice loudly their opposition because they were selling a great deal of arms and technology to Saddam.

Re:Finally - MOD PARENT UP! (0)

aramael (892701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369686)

N Korea is under heavy heavy sanctions and needs crude oil. Iraq needed nuclear fuel for a hydrogen bomb. I suspect they were either about to make a trade, or they had already made the trade.

Oh, so it wasn't the Nigerians at all -- it was the evil Koreans! You know, if you could somehow fit Iran into the mix, you'd have a trifecta.

I'm fascinated by the revelation that Iraq decided to skip those boring old fission devices and go straight to a hydrogen bomb.

Re:Finally - MOD PARENT UP! (4, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369802)

The parent is off base by saying that the Iraq war was an attempt to keep Israel from nuking the Middle East. That said, he is dead on about that danger. North Korea is notorious for selling anything to anyone for money. North Korean diplomats are known use their diplomatic immunity to smuggle as narcotics simply to get some extra funding for the state. They sell weapons to everyone and anyone who will buy them.

The fear that they would sell to a terrorist organization is very well founded. Further, the fear that Israel would respond to a nuke being used in its territory by glassing over a piece of the Middle East is very well founded. The scenario is not hard to imagine.

Pick your favorite Palestinian resistance group that has state or pseudo state backing. Both Iran and Syria either actively support some of these groups, or blatantly turn a blind eye to them. Imagine if such a group bought a nuke from North Korea. They throw it in a boat, park it off Tel-Aviv, then detonate. They then make their usual claim of responsibility. Now Iran or Syria is sitting there with their pants down. I don't doubt for a single instance that Israel would nuke the capital of any nation that looked even a little guilty of harboring that group. Further, you need to realize that it wouldn't matter if the nation harboring the terrorist rounded up all of them and shot them the next day. Israel [i]would[/i] make an example of them regardless of what they did. There isn't a doubt in my mind that at least one Middle Eastern city would be nuked, if not more.

Now you are sitting there with a very pissed off Iran or Syria. Hell, it isn't like these nations ever liked Israel to begin with, but could you imagine how they would feel after getting nuked? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where this mess would lead.

Nukes are bad, m'kay? Any nation that gets nuked will nuke someone else back if they can find a target. Nukes are horrible weapons of mass destruction, and most nations would make a lesson out of any nation that would dare to use them. If Britain, the US, or (and especially) Israel had a nuke used on them, these nations would respond in overwhelmingly violent manner for the singular purpose of leaving in the history of the world a genocidal incident showing just how horrible these weapons can be.

I sure as hell hope no nukes go off in my life time, because you can rest assure that if one nuke goes off, another one is going to follow somewhere else.

Re:Finally - MOD PARENT UP! (-1, Flamebait)

Troed (102527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369799)

Everyone believed that Saddam had WMDs prior to our invasion of Iraq

Seriously, no. Everyone _but_ the americans and Blair knew he didn't have any. The inspectors were right all along, and it all made sense.

The WMDs were just an excuse made up to fool the american people - something they succeeded in. They didn't fool the rest of the world though, which is why we were out in millions protesting against the conquering of a nation just to get your hands on more oil.

We were right. At the moment the US is poisioning the land with DU-ammunition, killing civilians in the many thousands. Nice work there.

 

Re:Whew...Glad that's over! (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369482)

By the way, does anybody know if SAC (Strategic Air Command) is still flying its' B-52 bombers in circles around the perimeter of the Artic Circle, just in case?

No.
SAC is likewise gone, absorbed into Air Combat Command. They quit flying round the clock alert long, long ago. After Desert Storm (1991) there were no longer B-52's on 15 minute ground alert.

A little history [afa.org] on the BUFF.

Can't agree (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369675)

The MAD threath was always that one of the sides would be MAD enough to actually pull the trigger. The nuclear war would be like no other war before. Normal wars are either to defend OR to conquer but a nuclear exchange would be a murder/suicide. Like those cases were a father decides to kill his family and then himself.

The first reason for a nuclear war would be desperation. The reason the US and the USSR never had a ground war and kept their proxy wars limited was that neither wanted to push the other to the edge.

The other reason to start a nuclear war is that you might think you could actually win. This was one if the reasons anyone with a brain was so against star wars (No not the prequels the space defence program of the reagan era) as it could make the US think it could win a nuclear war or even worse make the USSR think it had no choice but to strike before the US became invulnerable.

Now lets look at the world today. US still working on Star Wars. A reaganite in the white house. USSR collapsed and in huge uncertainty of what is going to happen next with the US doing everything it can to upset the russian goverment and people.

China is still there with the old goverment possibly feeling attacked by the capatalist west.

The rogue nations don't matter. none of them are capable of triggering the lethal mutual exchange of weapons. Even as you suggest a dirty bomb in NY would cause the US to whipe muslims from the face of the earth, so what? No rogue nation has the capability to retaliate in force.

Only the former USSR and china and of course the US got the arsenal to create this end of the world scenario. Right at this moment it seems unlikely to happen BUT then again the same could have been said at the hight of the cold war.

The greatest threat I can see if russia/USSR continues on its slide to a 3rd world nation. Their is already a lot of sentement in russia to go back to a communist goverment. The whole collapse of the USSR rested on the believe that it would bring better times. So far this has not happened in fact the majority of the citizens have never had it so bad. A reforming of the USSR itself would be no threath (why should they reform just to commit suicide) but the reaction of the US might bring us right back to the days of the cold war with one tiny difference. This time the russians would have a lot of resentment. Think germany pre-ww2.

No, I don't think world war 3 The nuclear edition is going to happen but it is not impossible either. If anything the collapse of the cold war has made a World War 3 more likely. The world has lost a lot of stability while the US has gained a lot of perceived invulnerability. During the cold war the US more or less behaved because it did not want to push the russians to far. Will the US be so restrained? The war on terror would suggest not (perhaps this is World War 3? Remember WW2 had a longer pre-history then the invasion of poland.). The US can't even be bothered to be nice to its NATO allies anymore.

Strangely enough I do not think the risk comes from N. Korea or similar directly. To strike would be suicide. You do not commit suicide unless you think there is no other choice. The real threath is the rest of the world mostly the US pushing these nations into a corner.

Re:Whew...Glad that's over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369155)

One last threat remains... George W Bush

Hit with a nuclear weapon? (3, Funny)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369040)

What's the big deal? Duck and cover & you're set.

Re:Hit with a nuclear weapon? (1)

Celsius 233 (913263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369281)

Don't forget to cover your face with a newspaper to block the nuclear fallout!

Bend Over, Kiss Ass Goodbye! (1, Funny)

stox (131684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369056)

At least the PM was thinking:

The prime minister's plan to protect local breweries by nationalising them as part of an initiative to show he was sensitive to small problems that caused people concern, called "little things that mean a lot".

Re:Bend Over, Kiss Ass Goodbye! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369285)

With all the major cities are decimated and most of the populated gone, all you have left are small towns scattered about with only the local communities to lean on for support. As such, past times such as music, festivities and beer is the ONLY thing to keep you sane.

Seriously, we are talking about having to rebuild modern civilization from virtually the ground up on a global scale. Or, what's left of it anyways...

Re:Bend Over, Kiss Ass Goodbye! (1)

periol (767926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369777)

Dude, seriously. RTFA again. Privatizing beer companies was unrelated to the nuclear emergency plans. Two unrelated items in the middle of a bunch of unrelated items.

Besides, I'd want hard liquor at that point.

Re:Bend Over, Kiss Ass Goodbye! (1)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369655)

Come on, be fair. The government was just acknowledging the fact that imbibing extremely large quantities of beer makes the idea of being nuked to death look far less bleak than would be the case if one had to face that same prospect while sober.

BEER! (0)

hostingreviews (941757) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369066)

The prime minister's plan to protect local breweries by nationalising them as part of an initiative to show he was sensitive to small problems that caused people concern, called "little things that mean a lot".
They really thought peoples concern would be beer, of all things? Wouldn't the concern be this [wikipedia.org] ?
Beer has a special place in my heart, don't get me wrong.

Re:BEER! (1)

stox (131684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369081)

Guiness, with a high concentration of both iron and iodine would be an ideal treatment for radiation poisioning.

Re:BEER! (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369167)

Guiness, with a high concentration of both iron and iodine would be an ideal treatment for radiation poisioning.

They weren't kidding when they said 'Guiness is good for you', were they? That was the actual Guiness slogan in the UK not too long ago, maybe it still is. Pub lifeforms will thrive in a post-apocalyptic world, with Guiness and a nice hot kidney pie, yum.

I, for one, welcome our new Dublin-based stoutmeister overlords. Salud!

Re:BEER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369724)

"nice hot kidney pie"

You must mean one of these [wikipedia.org] . It has a somewhat lower concentration of offal than your proposed dish.

Re:BEER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369157)

The prime minister's plan to protect local breweries by nationalising them

Yeah, gotta keep making beer. I mean, what else would you do with grains after a nuclear exchange? Feed surviving people and livestock? Pshaw!

Re:BEER! (1)

DrFalkyn (102068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369241)

Actually not. The vast majority of casulties caused by a thermonuclear explosion are caused from the intense heat and pressure of the bomb, as they would be with a conventional warhead. Large doses of gamma radiation are of course, released during the explosion, but it only effects people very close to ground zero. And "radioacive fallout" is another big myth about nuclear weapons. The amount of radioactive material left is comparatively small, and on top of that, are alpha emitters anyway are only dangerous if ingested/inhaled and only then if in comparatively large doses.

Re:BEER! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369299)

That stuff about Pandas, Beer or Europe are nothing to do with the nuclear stuff, it's just that everything from 1975 has been declassified after 30 years so everything comes out at once, that article is rather confused as it's a summery rather than soley about civil defence.

Britain had the best post-nuke TV specials (3, Informative)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369071)

America gave us "The Day After" which came off as an Irwin Allen disaster flick.

Britain gave us "Threads [imdb.com] " which scared you shitless.

Also "When the Wind Blows [toonhound.com] " should be mentioned.

Re:Britain had the best post-nuke TV specials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369652)

Wow, that jars some memories....

I remeber seeing "When the Wind Blows" when I was younger, and it had quite some impact. That movie did an excellent job conveying the lack of any hope for survival.

Recomended for its quality, and for anyone desiring a depressed mood for a day or two.

Re:Britain had the best post-nuke TV specials (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369836)

if you compare the films to pictures of hiroshima, both were optimistic in terms of survivors. it's hard to believe even now that there would be nothing left of the developed world after a full scale nuclear exchange. a few years later, the entire planet would be a graveyard.

Two (or more) separate topics here. (2, Informative)

6350' (936630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369111)

Note that the pandas and the plans for possible nuclear war are two separate topics, both of which came to light from what amounts to declassified cabinet papers.

The article is about some of the interesting tidbits from this archival release which are by and large unrelated to eachother.

The part about Saddam is very interesting (2, Interesting)

IntelliAdmin (941633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369130)

Strange that it was not in the original post..but look at one of the items in the secrect docs: "How British diplomats secretly floated the idea that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - seen then as a figure to be courted - could be brought to the UK for a back operation."

Nostalgia (1)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369140)

Ahh, Sweet Armageddon.

Raise your hand if you still have pinto beans and 2L coke bottles filled with tap water and 1 tsp bleach in your basement from 1999.

I thought so...

Re:Nostalgia (1)

daddyrief (910385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369387)

So I see my parents weren't alone in their actions ;).

Stay In Your Own Home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369170)

yup, don't block the motorways for the important people!

Interestingly the UK government are selling off the main government bunker [bbc.co.uk] , many have been sold off before [thebunker.net] but the former was the main one where the Prime Minister and government would go, the Turnstile site over 35 acres underground!

Actual documents on National Archives Web Site? (2, Interesting)

Sockpuppetofdoom (678616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369195)

I've been looking for the documents under the FOI part of the site, and can't find them.. has anyone else?

Re:Actual documents on National Archives Web Site? (2, Interesting)

markyb74 (854540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369735)

I don't think they will be available until January 1st as that is when they are officially released under the 30 year rule.
I believe that the national archives puts together a list of highlights of what is going to be available and this is what the BBC is reporting on.

Mark

from the End of the World flash (1, Redundant)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369207)

Meanwhile Australia's down there like, "WTF mate?"
Russia's like, "AAAAHHHH, MOTHERLAND!"
Then, England's like... "'bout that time, ey chaps?"
"... Righto."

Pandas eat shoots and leaves (4, Funny)

chaffed (672859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369216)

A panda walks into a bar. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

"Why? Why are you behaving in this strange, un-panda-like fashion?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda walks towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

From Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

antique war plans (4, Interesting)

technoCon (18339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369449)

I had a huge laugh tonight after I read about the US Army's plans to invade CANADA! Seems that back in the 1930s we made plans just in case we went to war with Britain. And back then the Canucks had a plan to invade the US. Let's see, where's the link...

Raiding The Icebox [washingtonpost.com]

I figure the Canadians will never forgive US for neglecting to conquer them.

Years back, I went to Tijuana and looked around and thought, "this place needs adult supervision." And a few years after that, I went to Sault Ste. Marie and saw the perfectly manicured lawns, clean streets, and perfect order. And I thought, "this place has a bit too much adult supervision."

Fp 3u8 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369658)

Has been my oNly [goat.cx]

Details revealed (2, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369761)

As I recall, the oficcial plans for Nuclear ware were, "Have a nice cup of tea, and then put a brown paper bag over your head!"

It won't help, but nor will anything else.

__ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14369763)

Poop!

BBC's The War Game movie (2, Informative)

Morinaka (874174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369765)

The War Game made in 1966 by the BBC shows what would have happened and have been done in the event of a soviet nuclear attack, although it was banned from TV for being too graphic. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059894/ [imdb.com] You can probably get it on bit torrent somewhere if you want to watch it.

More War Plans (2, Funny)

Ed Almos (584864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14369809)

To give you some idea of the mindset of these people the following instructions were actually included in the plans.

"In the event of a nuclear strike on the City of London transport links will almost certainly be disrupted and many commuters will be unable to get home. Tea and biscuits will therefore be served on tressle tables in Hyde Park to those requiring refreshment"

Now I know why my Grandfather dug a bunker in the back yard.

Ed Almos
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