back to article Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers

More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see. These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might is right, in other words

    Just like in peacetime - he who has the biggest / most guns wins.

    It's telling that Americans think there will be anyone around to enforce the law after a nuclear exchange. There won't be any cities left.

    See The Day After movie.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Might is right, in other words

      "There won't be any cities left. See The Day After movie."

      The Day After? For further realism I'd also recommend watching Planet of The Apes and Whoops Apocalypse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Might is right, in other words

        From here:

        "Critics tended to claim the film was either sensationalizing nuclear war or that it was too tame. The special effects and realistic portrayal of nuclear war received praise."

        Oh, and parts were censored. "For the children".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Might is right, in other words

          Yeah, you can't have the innocent children become fricking pacifists and later refuse to go get killed for our industry captains' profit.

        2. StargateSg7

          Re: Might is right, in other words

          Actually the special effects of the 1983-era "The Day After" movie completely SUCKED and I knew that even at that time !!!! The much better UK-made Threads was much more realistic MOVIE in terms of effects and actual timeline and the events that would LIKELY happen in a real nuclear exchange!

          For nuclear Armageddon special effects, the best depiction is from the Battlestar Galactica Reimagined Series (2003 onwards) and the related BSG "The Plan" movie which quite realistically depicted nuclear devastation (kinda ironic the BSG series and The Plan were filmed a few blocks down from my office at Vancouver Film Studios)

          ---

          I should PUBLICLY NOTE THOUGH! If Putin even THINKS about trying to nuke us, we've got MORE THAN A FEW tens of thousands of 160,000 kmh (100,000 mph) "Rods From Gods" at 22 Tons per spear of kinetic energy that can be directed at ANY Hypersonic Cruise Missile or ICBM or Building at ANY time we want --- They are READY TO GO at a mere moment's notice !!!!!

          AND at 65,000 objects per frame at 10,000 fps 4K/8K resolution worth of fully-autonomous, auto-detection, aut-tracking and auto-fire-control we thinks we should say GOOD LUCK MOFO !!! --- We will OBLITERATE EVERY DAMN NUCLEAR SITE AND CITY IN RUSSIA if we have to!

          Plus we can find EVERY DAMN SUB YOU HAVE with real-time GLOBAL Thermohaline/Thermocline Bulge detection and that those 160,000 kmh Rods From Gods can reach down to even 33,000 feet underwater or 2000+ feet underground to annihilate ANY such underwater or underground system in less than 20 seconds!

          We Dare You! Putin! NO! We Double Dare You MOFO! Say WHAT ... one more G'dam Time!!!

          V

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Might is right, in other words

            "those 160,000 kmh Rods From Gods can reach down to even 33,000 feet underwater"

            If Russia has ballistic missle nuclear subs that can survive 33,000 feet underwater, we're toast.

      2. SCP

        Re: Might is right, in other words

        "Whoops Apocalypse"

        The TV series rather than the film!

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Re: Might is right, in other words

          Wear your mushroom with pride!

          Spike Milligan's "The Bed Sitting Room" may also be suitable research material.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Might is right, in other words

      Threads and The War Game are both far closer to reality.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Might is right, in other words

        @Uncle Slacky

        They were both UK centric whilst the Day After was US based. It was deeply disturbing to see multiple huge missiles launching from underground silos in the middle of the US and watch them go on their way to kill millions of civilians on the other side of the planet.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Might is right, in other words

          You can also read "When the wind blows" by Raymond Briggs.

          I can remember my sister crying like a baby as she read it.

          1. Blacklight

            Re: Might is right, in other words

            Read it? They made a film of it to make it really sink in.

        2. Rustbucket

          Re: Might is right, in other words

          I would also have been deeply disturbing if you were one of the people watching the missiles launch, because you'd know there'd be a bunch of soviet missiles targeting your location and arriving soon.

    3. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Might is right, in other words

      No, we Americans don't think that. Just the American government. If DC gets nuked it's a fair bet that the 35 people who are left (we'll call them "those poor sad bastards") in the US won't care as they'll be dying of radiation poisoning. I know I won't be here as I live near a 3rd tier city with an industrial and technoogy base, and am within a mile of a hydroelectric dam. A nuclear attack for me will begin and end with, "What's that bright li"

  2. Sixtiesplastictrektableware Bronze badge

    Quite a thing to wake up and read how civilization is merely conditional. Not a surprise, but more like a reminder to bring an umbrella for the rain.

    Not really 'oh, shit!' but rather 'oh yeah, right.'

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumbly the UK has similar plans

    Has High Chancellor Johnson sent out Liz Truss to light the fuse for World War III yet?

    1. Twanky Silver badge

      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

      The Coronavirus Act 2020 was ready to go suspiciously quickly - I suspect there are boilerplates.

      It was being implemented before reaching Royal Assent ie before it became law.

      For even faster responses we don't really need any additional 'orders'. Instructing the armed forces to assist the police to 'keep the Queen's peace' has been done before in parts of the UK. Not having a pesky written constitution (sorry, Constitution) makes it easier to do.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

        The Homeland Security laws passed after 9/11 must set a world record for oven ready legislation. The extent and depth of the legislation was so large that literally no legislators had time to even read it.

        There is a school of thought (see "The Shock Doctrine") that handy crises are used -- and even from time to time engineered -- in order to get legislation passed that would never stand scrutiny under normal circumstances.

        1. Twanky Silver badge

          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

          I expect the UK (and most other countries) has some interesting boilerplate draft legislation held in standby by the civil service. The question in my mind is do the ministers get an adequate briefing on what's available in case of emergency - and the implications if they try to deploy it?

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

            The question in my mind is do the ministers get an adequate briefing on what's available in case of emergency - and the implications if they try to deploy it?

            Probably. One of the most sobering aspects of becoming Prime Minister in the UK must be writing the 'Letter of Last Resort'. So in the event that our nuclear missile boats can't listen to the Archers, they can open up the Letter and see what to do with their <=128 bundles of instant sunshine. It must be a rather sobering experience for any incoming PM to go from victory celebrations to being briefed about their responsibility, and needing to write that Letter ASAP.

            I'd love to see an interview with a PM talking about the impact of that responsibility. How the world ends, and your responsibilities in that event. Naturally everything is highly classified, but it'd still be interesting to hear about the emotional impact of having that responsibility.

            The rest is normal for government given role-playing and 'what if?' scenarios are standard practice. So in the event of a zombie outbreak, pull out the current plan for dealing with that. And I picked that as an example because despite being highly unlikely, it has been wargamed. As I understand it, those plans often include draft legislation required to execute those plans, if legislation is needed. But then in the event of something really serious, I guess emergency powers/martial law could be used, which would bypass BAU democratic decision making processes.

            Biggest challenge I think its still with the decision makers, eg the shower of shite currently in charge of energy policy, or diplomacy. That's an issue at the moment, so as an example-

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-europe-61612803

            During their phone discussion, the leaders of France and Germany asked Vladimir Putin to hold "direct serious negotiations" with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.

            Zelensky's been refusing to negotiate. But then he has his own security guarantees.

            The two EU leaders "insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops", the German chancellor's office said.

            Errm. Right. So once Russia's withdrawn from Crimea & Donbass, negotiations can begin. Somehow, I can't see Russia agreeing to that given the demand would rather weaken Russia's negotiating position. So why would the EU's 2 most powerful leaders make such an unrealistic demand?

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

              Because (1) it's not their territory to give away, and (2) any negotiation starts from an absolutist position. If the Ukrainians want to give ground that's their decision, but if it happens it needs to be part of the negotiation, not a fait accompli that's done and dusted before they start.

              Personally I think the position should be "Russia disbands its armed forces completely". Let it keep the nuclear arsenal as a deterrent against actual attack, but let it never again be in a position to bully and assault its neighbours.

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                President Zelensky has already been negotiating. Though nothing has come of them since the Bucha massacres came to light. He has also said that he will agree a ceasefire and negotiate if Russian troops return to their pre-war February positions. Given Russia have repeatedly proved they don’t respect heir own ceasefire agreements, and have been engaging in massacres and mass deportations of Ukrainian civilians in occupied areas, that’s a pretty moderate position to have taken.

                They’ve also said they won’t officially accept the occupation of Crimea as a permanent situation. Which I suspect they’ll have to, to make a permaent peace deal, rather than just a ceasefire and long term frozen conflict, like the Korean War. Which has never officially ended. But then Putin might re-invade at any moment anyway. No permanent treaty is worth anything with him in power.

                If we take the position that we won’t remove sanctions without Ukraine’s say so, then we give them leverage in any talks. And we’ve got $300 billion of frozen Russian government money. So if they want to keep Crimea on a legal basis, they can buy it. That support also gives us leverage over Ukraine's negotiating position, though we should be careful using it.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                  If we take the position that we won’t remove sanctions without Ukraine’s say so, then we give them leverage in any talks. And we’ve got $300 billion of frozen Russian government money. So if they want to keep Crimea on a legal basis, they can buy it.

                  The Crimean population voted a long time ago to become part of Russia. Sanctions are about the only negotiating position the West holds, and Ukraine doesn't. It can demand the West applies more sanctions, but they're currently harming the EU far more than they're harming Russia.

                  Sure, we've seized a lot of Russian citizens cash and assets, but it's not entirely clear if such collective punishment is legal. And that's a situation made worse by denying the Russians who's assets have been seized legal representation. Which is a rather strange state of affairs, ie seizing Chelsea from Abramovich, and it's now being sold without any compensation.

                  And then there's the general wisdom of suggesting we give all the seized money to one of the world's most corrupt nations.

                  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                    Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                    Jellied Eel,

                    The Crimean population voted a long time ago to become part of Russia.

                    No they didn't. The Crimean Parliament voted to hold a referendum while surrounded by armed Russian troops, and a "referendum" was held in polling stations also surrounded by armed Russian soldiers.

                    There wasn't free campaigning or international monitoring and there wasn't an option to keep the status quo.

                    It should also be pointed out that Russia claimed a 97% vote to join Russia. Which is odd because in the national referendum held in Ukraine back in the 90s on separating from Russia, which was monitored, everywhere voted to leave Russia including Crimea. Although I think Crimea was the closest, with it only be a small majority - but it seems unlikely that it changed from a small majority one way to almost a totality the other. And election rigging, therefore seems a much more likely option.

                    But then you already knew that.

                    Seizing Russian citizens assets is entirely legal. Sanctions laws have been around for ages. The assets get frozen and returned at some future point when sanctions are lifted.

                    Seizing the money from Russia's Central Bank is a whole different ball game. The legality under international law is a whole lot murkier. Although the problem with international law is that it's semi-fictional. You can have law, but if there's no court to enforce it or interpret it, then it's not real law. What if two tenets of international law conflict? That conflict would have to be decided by a court, that doesn't exist. Therefore two states or groups of lawyers could write reasonable sounding opinions on the matter that disagree - and there'd be nowhere to finally settle the dispute.

                    And then there's the general wisdom of suggesting we give all the seized money to one of the world's most corrupt nations.

                    You're right. You are arguing the money can't be returned to Russia, yes?

                    Oh, you mean Ukraine. True, Ukraine has got some serious corruption problems, and giving Russia's Central Bank reserves to them is even more legally dubious than just freezing them. However I don't think we should be giving them back to Russia anytime soon either. And if Russia wants concessions out of Ukraine after slaughtering its population and destroying its cities, well that money could be a useful way of doing it. Some sort of 100 year lease on Crimea in exchange for money seems like a realistic deal with international precedent behind it. And Crimea could be promised a genuinely free and fair referendum on the outcome, in say 50 years when the Russian government is hopefully a bit more reasonable, and a bit less prone to fixing elections.

                    It's only one suggestion mind. But $300 billion is a lot of weapons for Russia to throw at Ukraine, so in all conscience, I don't see how we can unfreeze that money without very good reason. I doubt Russia is going to pull out of Crimea, and while I think the Ukrainian army is going to be a lot stronger next month or two, once they've got their mobilised troops and new equipment sorted out, I'd be amazed if re-taking Crimea is possible. Also, unlike the Donbas, it's not already semi-destroyed - so taking it back by force would be a tragedy - even though that means condemning the population to Russia's increasingly authoritarian personalist dictatorship.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                      There wasn't free campaigning or international monitoring and there wasn't an option to keep the status quo.

                      Wrong-

                      https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/international-observers-find-crimean-referendum-strongly-and-voluntarily-supported-by-the-crimean-people-250658201.html

                      A group of international observers from Israel, Spain, Italy, USA, UK, Latvia, Moldova and Serbia, which were invited by the Central Electoral Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, visited the largest cities of Crimea - Simferopol, Yalta, Evpatoria, Alushta, Saki, as well as many villages in the countryside.

                      ​All observers unanimously noted that the referendum was held in full compliance with international standards.

                      So although it somewhat trampled over the Ukrainian constitution, the referendum was considered valid. It's one of those odd bits of history where people think Russia 'invaded' Crimea, despite having large bases there, and many troops. And of course it happened following Ukraine's coup, which was also unconstitutional.

                      That conflict would have to be decided by a court, that doesn't exist. Therefore two states or groups of lawyers could write reasonable sounding opinions on the matter that disagree - and there'd be nowhere to finally settle the dispute.

                      There are many courts. Problem is sanctions prevent Russia(ns) from hiring Western lawyers to challenge the decisions. Or potentially even attend court given sanctions have included travel bans. But collective punishment is against Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II. There's also some fun history lessons, eg-

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intolerable_Acts

                      The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British Government. In Great Britain, these laws were referred to as the Coercive Acts.

                      The acts took away self-governance and rights that Massachusetts had enjoyed since its founding, triggering outrage and indignation in the Thirteen Colonies. They were key developments in the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in April 1775.

                      So the UK used collective punishment against it's colony, much as Kiev did against Crimea. Rather ironic that the US is objecting to the very thing that gave it it's independence. It's probably a bit late for the UK to demand restoration of it's territory though.

                      And if Russia wants concessions out of Ukraine after slaughtering its population and destroying its cities, well that money could be a useful way of doing it. Some sort of 100 year lease on Crimea in exchange for money seems like a realistic deal with international precedent behind it.

                      Crimea was already leased by Russia, but after the coup, Ukraine wanted to cancel that lease. As for slaughtering populations, that's why we're in this mess. Ukraine has been doing that since 2014. See-

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa6DBkvNNLk

                      as an example. See also the OSCE reports pre-invasion where they reported increased shelling by Ukraine prior to Russia's invasion/intervention. Something that the MSM conveniently ignores, ie if Russia hadn't intervened, Ukraine would have been trying to re-take Crimea and Donbas.

                      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

                        Re: invited by the Central Electoral Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea

                        You are incredibly naive. And cherry-picking your data.

                        Crimea wasn't leased to Russia. Only the ablity to base some of Russia's Black Sea Fleet there.

                        The supposedly free and voluntary referendum was apparently boycotted by most Ukraine-leaning residents, so of course if only the Russia-leaning residents vote you're going to get 90% of the vote in favour of indendpence. But as a proprotion of actual residents, it will have been very much less.

                  2. nobody who matters

                    Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                    Errrrrr.......Chelsea Football Club has NOT been seized from Abramovich. It is Abramovich himself who has sold it (admittedly to avoid having it seized from him).

                    Might not suit your narrative, but don't let that stop you from making yourself look a fool!

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                      Might not suit your narrative, but don't let that stop you from making yourself look a fool!

                      I'll.. just leave this here-

                      https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2022/05/06/club-statement

                      Of the total investment being made, £2.5bn will be applied to purchase the shares in the Club and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100% to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich. UK Government approval will be required for the proceeds to be transferred from the frozen UK bank account.

                      And of course government approval for the sale of Abramovich's asset was conditional on Abramovich receiving none of the proceeds from the sale of his property.

                      1. nobody who matters

                        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                        Perhaps you had better research the full story, instead of just cherry picking a bit out which enables you to twist the truth.

                        It is a fact that is was Abramovich himself who chose to sell Chelsea FC. It was also Abramovich himself who stated at the outset in early March that he would not personally benefit from the sale, and that all the net proceeds would be transferred to a charitable foundation specifically targetted to helping the victims of the war in Ukraine. All this was BEFORE the UK Government imposed sanctions against him.

                        So stop trying to be clever and twist the narrative to your own warped viewpoint. Every time you post, you make yourself appear a bigger fool.

              2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                Because (1) it's not their territory to give away,

                Currently, it's Russian territory. They occupy it, they control it. And in the case of Crimea, they've respected the UN's principles of local autonomy and self-determination, ie Crimea voted to join Russia.

                (2) any negotiation starts from an absolutist position. If the Ukrainians want to give ground that's their decision, but if it happens it needs to be part of the negotiation, not a fait accompli that's done and dusted before they start.

                Nope. Negotiations should be based on a balance of power, especially if they're in good faith. Ukraine obviously wants to eliminate all Russians inside Ukraine, and restore it's territory. Sections of the Ukrainian population do not want to be ruled by Ukraine's regime since 2014. As for fait accompli, that's what Ukraine is demanding, ie Russia surrenders any territorial gains they've made, including Crimea. So Russia is expected to concede everything before negotiations even start.

                Obviously that's not good faith negotiation. Especially as Ukraine's ignored agreements like Minsk in the past. But such is politics. Russia is busily committing 'war crimes' by using artillery. The West's peace proposals have been to give Ukraine artillery and unguided rockets (M270) because when Ukraine shells civilian areas, as it has been since 2014, those are not war crimes.

                1. TheFifth

                  Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                  Ukraine obviously wants to eliminate all Russians inside Ukraine, and restore it's territory. Sections of the Ukrainian population do not want to be ruled by Ukraine's regime since 2014.

                  As someone who has in-laws who are Russian and who have family who are Russian and live in the east of Ukraine, I can tell you that you are so wrong with what you are claiming here. The 'eliminate all Russians inside Ukraine' bit is pure Putin propaganda. It may be worth mentioning that a 2015 poll of residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions outside of the Russian rebel held areas showed that 75% wanted the entire Donbas region to remain fully Ukrainian. Also, when asked if Russian-speaking citizens are under pressure or threat, 82% said 'no'. Only 7% 'somewhat' supported Russia helping rebels in the east and 71% did not. Note that these result are after Russia had already supported rebels in the east and many ethnic Ukrainians had fled. It's likely that before 2014, these figures would have been very different and shown less support for breaking away and less threat to ethnic Russians. So the line that Russia is saving the Donbas region from Ukrainian atrocities and that its people want to be part of Russia is complete bull.

                  Also, it's worth noting that in the 1991 referendum on becoming independent and separating from Russia, even in the east, over 80% of the population voted for independence (Donetsk 83.9% and Luhansk 83.86%). The only region below 80% was Crimea at 54.19%. So Russia could possibly make some sort of claim about popular support in Crimea (not really though), but in the east it's flimsy at best.

                  In the last census of Ukraine, the area with the highest ethnic Russian population was Crimea which stood at 58.3%. The next highest was Luhansk with 39% , then Donetsk at 38.2% and Kharkiv at 25.6%. Everywhere else is below 18%, with most below 10%. Something tells me that it would be tricky to get 97% to accept Russian rule when only 58% of the population are ethnic Russians (well, if the referendum was fair anyway). It's a moot point anyway as the referendum was illegal under Ukrainian law as all Ukrainian referendum that cause territorial changes can only be approved if all the citizens of Ukraine are allowed to vote.

                  Obviously the percentage of ethnic Russians in the east and Crimea is now likely far higher as ethnic Ukrainians have fled those regions due to mistreatment by Russian rebels (ironically).

                  I'm no historian, and I wouldn't dare to suggest you don't have a good understanding of the region's history (you may be a history professor with a really weird and unique take on it for all I know), but as someone who married into a Slavic family, with relations in both Russia and Ukraine, I've tried hard to read and understand the region and the history (not to mention having spent a lot of time in Russia over the past 15 years).

                  My suggestion is don't listen to Russia or the West's propaganda and read the history for yourself. You could even try talking to some actual Ukrainians and Russians if able. If you're interested, I would suggest starting with the following:

                  The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine

                  The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union

                  Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991

                  You can see the beginnings of these troubles going back hundreds of years, especially when you look at the way Ukraine was treated as part of both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Ukraine has always been a country caught between warring empires. Be it the Byzantine Empire, the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, The Austro Hungarian Empire or the Russian Empire, it's always been a battle ground that others used to fight their wars.

                  Ironically, Muscovy, which later grew into the Tsardom of Russia, began life as a mere region of Kyivan Rus', the Kyiv centred state that is arguably the mother of all Slavic countries.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                    It's likely that before 2014, these figures would have been very different and shown less support for breaking away and less threat to ethnic Russians. So the line that Russia is saving the Donbas region from Ukrainian atrocities and that its people want to be part of Russia is complete bull.

                    Or it's politics. You're absolutely right about different opinions and polling results pre and post coup. How Ukraine decided to settle those differences is easily apparent from footage that came out of Ukraine afterwards.

                    Obviously the percentage of ethnic Russians in the east and Crimea is now likely far higher as ethnic Ukrainians have fled those regions due to mistreatment by Russian rebels (ironically).

                    Also true for Donbas and Crimea, especially Donbas where it lost around 1.5m of it's population after the coup and onset of it's civil war. The vast majority moved to Russia. But that's one of the huge problems Ukraine is going to face. Since 2014, it's depopulated rapidly, and the current conflict has only accelerated that migration. Post-conflict, how many will return? And if they don't, who will replace them? And how will that affect some Ukrainian's dreams of an 'ethnic Ukrainian'.

                    As you say, the history there is complex and bloody, with large segments of 'Ukraine' frequently changing hands, along with pogroms and attemps to 'de-X', where X is the ethnic identity considered undesireable at the time. But a bunch of politicans tried much the same thing iin Germany last century, and look how that ended up.

                    As for actual war crimes, wait until the dust has settled. War crimes have been happening since 2014, so there's going to be a lot of cases to review. Or ignore, ie the mysterious way that wearing 'Das Reich' emblem has become a symbol of bravery, heroism and how an 'ethnic Ukrainian' might be expected to live.

                    1. TheFifth

                      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                      The problem is that when another country invades a sovereign nation, or indeed 'gives support' to a tiny minority that want to break away, the far-right nationalists are generally the first to respond. If the US was attacked tomorrow, I guarantee that the ultra-nationalist organisations would be the first on the front line. The clues in their name.

                      However, let's not pretend that the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are all sweetness and light. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine reported in 2014 that there was growing lawlessness in the region, documenting cases of targeted killings, torture, and abduction. With beatings and attacks on supporters of Ukrainian unity.

                      Also in 2014 Human Rights Watch have said that "Anti-Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine are abducting, attacking, and harassing people they suspect of supporting the Ukrainian government or consider undesirable...anti-Kiev insurgents are using beatings and kidnappings to send the message that anyone who doesn't support them had better shut up or leave". Most of the ethnic Ukrainians did leave and they relocated further west.

                      And yes, Amnesty International have also raised concerns in 2014 about the volunteer battalions in eastern Ukraine. Saying that they act like "renegade gangs" and also use abductions and torture. But as I say, this is the problem when there are threats to your sovereignty. Those ultra-nationalist groups become useful muscle, because the desire to protect their nation is part of their belief system. I would say though, be careful with what you believe of that 'footage that came out of Ukraine'. Some has been proved to be either filmed within Russia or be footage of previous Russian encounters. Bellingcat described some of it as 'Dumb and Lazy' with corpses showing signs of having had previous autopsies (i.e. they are cadavers placed within a scene to fake photos etc.). It happens from both sides, but it's Russia's go to ploy. Having watched a lot of Russian TV within Russia, it's like an alternate reality. They present objectively and provably false things with a straight face.

                      As you say though, "As for actual war crimes, wait until the dust has settled".

                      I would note that the make up of battalions like Azov now are far more diluted of nationalist sentiment than they used to be. Russia invading the country has understandably stirred up the desire to protect the homeland in people of every persuasion, but even pre-invasion those battalions were made up of people from all walks of life and all beliefs. Far-right experts Vyacheslav Likhachev and Andreas Umland have both said that since 2017 the Azov Battalion has been 'de-ideologised' and openly right-wing radicals had been 'cleansed' from the ranks. It even has several Jewish members now and is considered a regular fighting unit by most observers (granted one with a fierce reputation).

                      Putin has been using the nationalists' playbook within Russia for years and since 2014 Zelensky has been playing that game too. I hate these nationalist games, but the problem you have is that threats to a nation will always increase nationalism, not decrease it. The Russian 'de-nazification' line is a joke. Putin is just creating more extreme views, in both Ukraine and Russia. But that's all part of the plan. Create a tonne of extremists as a product of your actions and then point and say "look, we said they were all extremists". It's a tried and tested playbook.

                      You could argue all day about 'who started' the atrocities in the east, but the fact is, pre-2014 things were mostly peaceful and it was Russian interference in both the east and in Ukrainian politics in general that caused most of the problems. Yes there was political unrest during 2013-2014 and there were protests both pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian, but it wasn't all out fighting. Ukrainians and Russians consider themselves part of a wider Slavic family and the close bonds between the people kept things peaceful (or it used to anyway).

                      As a side note, you seem to be using the term 'ethnic Ukrainian' like it's some sort of big bad conspiracy by the Ukrainian population, which is weird to me. It's merely a way of describing a subpopulation within a country or region. The wider population of 'Ukrainians' is made up of ethnic Ukrainians, ethnic Russians, ethnic Belarusians, ethnic Moldovans etc. It's just a way of saying 'this Ukrainian has Russian roots, or this Ukrainian has Ukrainian roots'. They're all still Ukrainian citizens and we need some way of describing the subgroups.

                      Of course Ukraine has nationalists, but it has no more of a problem than other countries have, including Russia and the US. You can argue that France and Hungary have a far bigger issue with extreme nationalist groups than Ukraine does.

                      And to pick up on the point about corruption you made earlier. Yes Ukraine has an issue, but it has been improving since Zelensky came to power. Reducing corruption was the main policy he ran the election on and he has had some success in tackling it. It's always going to be slow going when the country has had deeply ingrained corruption since the time of the Soviet Union. Even with the problems, Ukraine still has a better rank on the Corruption Index than Russia does. And I can tell you, having spent time in Russia over the past 15 years, the corruption there is rife and impacts almost every aspect of life. I've come face to face with it several times.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                        However, let's not pretend that the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are all sweetness and light.

                        I'm not. I simply point out that the current reporting is extremely one-sided and hypocritical.

                        With beatings and attacks on supporters of Ukrainian unity.

                        And the same against supporters of Donbas autonomy. But that's largely why Ukraine is in this mess, ie if it'd restored autonomy, it probably wouldn't be in this mess now. But consider the example Ukraine set in Odessa when it's tame neo-nazis burned down a building full of seperatists. And how thoroughly Ukraine investigated that one incident, even though there was a lot of video evidence.

                        You could argue all day about 'who started' the atrocities in the east, but the fact is, pre-2014 things were mostly peaceful and it was Russian interference in both the east and in Ukrainian politics in general that caused most of the problems.

                        Err.. Right (not Sector). So I hope you're not suggesting Russia triggered the 2014 coup in order to force Ukraine into the EU's arms, thus destabalising the EU? It would seem rather more obvious that it was the West that interfered in Ukraine's politics, eg Nuland's discussion of who'd been hand picked to lead.

                        Ukrainians and Russians consider themselves part of a wider Slavic family and the close bonds between the people kept things peaceful (or it used to anyway).

                        Yup, most people would be happy just getting along. Not the nationalists who want to rid Ukraine of the 'orcs'. And of course for some of those nationalists, they may have an.. old fashioned view wrt the Slavic people. Some German nutjob really didn't like Slavs.

                        It's merely a way of describing a subpopulation within a country or region.

                        Sure, that's one of the dangers of nationalism. Characterise a population, decide which populations are desireable, and which aren't. Then get your chosen population to prove Ukrainian ancestory back to say, 1750 or 1800, and it'll be fine. Or perhaps not. So this story appeared briefly in the DM, then reappeared with some edits. Like his unit patch being less visible. Can't think why-

                        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10866215/amp/Injured-chief-tells-death-defying-chopper-flight-safety-Ukraine-warzone.html

                        As well as apparently co-founding Azov, he's also ended up head of Ukraines military intelligence. A bit curious given that kind of role is usually restricted to nationals, not Georgian imports. Even though like some other Georgians and foreign nationals who've ended up in senior political positions, he doesn't exactly seem an 'ethnic Ukrainian'. Possibly why he's so willing to sacrifice Ukrainians.

                        Yes Ukraine has an issue, but it has been improving since Zelensky came to power. Reducing corruption was the main policy he ran the election on and he has had some success in tackling it.

                        Not sure what you mean by 'improving'. The Panama papers showed Zelensky's own financial situation has improved, despite a relatively modest salary. He's built up quite a large property portfolio around the world, and allegedly accumulated a large pile of cash. One oddity was buying a house in Israel given private home ownership is very limited there. Israel's banking secrecy laws are rather handy though.

                        That purchase could prove useful, assuming Zelensky manages to last the next month without being coup'd or just martyred.

                        1. TheFifth

                          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                          I give up. I'm just trying to explain to you that as someone who has Russian family, and that Russian family has Ukrainian family in eastern Ukraine (who are ethnic Russians), the way you are painting things is not at all what they have experienced over the past 15 years or what I have experienced when talking to them.

                          They tell me that Russian speakers were not being targeted in the their everyday lives pre-2014, when Russia used political instability to launch a land-grab and create a buffer zone (obviously I can't speak for all Russian speakers, but I'm just sharing the stories they have told me). I have no reason to question them because they are Russian speaking Ukrainians who live in eastern Ukraine. Yes there are nationalist idiots, but every country has those and it was no worse in Ukraine than elsewhere, but from what they tell me, their day to day lived life was not what you are making it out to be (not until Putin stoked the hatred anyway). You are painting Ukraine as a country that has been involved in state sanctioned ethnic cleansing for years, which is simply untrue if you actually asked the people who are the supposed targets. Yes things are nuanced, even pre-2014, but you seem to be countering a perceived lack of balanced reporting with a total lack of balance in the opposite direction.

                          I have also shown poll data that was taken in 2015 that said that Russian speakers in the areas in which you claim they area being suppressed still did not consider themselves targeted, even after 2014. I'm sure that will change now after the invasion, but I don't think that can be blamed on the Ukrainian people. The fact is that even post 2014, the vast majority of people in the east of Ukraine did not support Russian interference in the Donbas and Russian speakers did not feel in any way 'under pressure or threat'. This is what they themselves have said. This fits exactly with what my extended family is telling me. The people on the streets didn't want this, even the ethnic Russians. It's purely a very small, mainly politically motivated group, who are interested in personal power more than what's good for the region. So all your whataboutism misses the actual point, which is that the people in the east did not want this, pre or post 2014. Putin used a tiny minority of support to justify an invasion that was useful for him, not the people of eastern Ukraine.

                          If you want to see where Putin gets lots of his ideological ideas, look up the 1997 book 'Foundations of Geopolitics' by Aleksandr Dugin. The guy is known as Putin's Rasputin and has been in the ear of Putin for many, many years. The ideas in the book read like a laundry list of what Russia has been up to over the last 10 years.

                          Yes the current reporting may be substantially one sided, although in the UK it's certainly been reported that Ukrainian soldiers have shot unarmed Russian soldiers and yes, there have been calls for war crime investigations into those reports. I don't know where you are, but it's certainly not 100% one sided here in the UK. However, taking the extreme opposite view doesn't make it any better. You just sound like you're parroting the blatantly absurd talking points Putin used to justify invasion.

                          And please, stop trying to make the term 'ethnic' into some sort of nationalistic slur. It's an academic term that is used to describe the make up of a population. It's even a term that is mandated in the the UK Government's style guide when writing about populations. It is used instead of the word 'race', which is considered to have the connotations you are levelling against the term 'ethnic'.

                          Anyway, I'm out, believe what you like. I'll believe what I'm being told by my extended family who have lived in eastern Ukraine and Russia all their lives.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

        "The Coronavirus Act 2020 was ready to go suspiciously quickly - I suspect there are boilerplates."

        Yes, pandemic planning was already done. What appears to have gone badly wrong was the provisions and supplies supposed to be in warehouses, ready to go. Much was either expired and unusable or had been wound down and reduced over the years under the guise of cost savings.

        1. Twanky Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

          Spot on.

          A question in my mind is did they deploy the Ebola plan or the 'Flu plan?

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

          In the UK, I'd suspect we’d stockpiled enough masks, about 22 million from memory, but not enough disposable clothing. But there were also distribution problems. I read that they were shipping planned amounts to all hospitals, but some were using way more than others, as they prioritised where to send patients. And that left some of the busier hospitals running out. But that was info from the early pandemic, which might be wrong.

          Our mask stockpile must have started running low in early June. I guess this because a friend of mine is in charge of reporting mask fitting training for our NHS Trust. Which he’d been reporting daily since January 2020, before the pandemic started, as the plan kicked in. All frontline staff had to have mask fitting training. A process which they had to restart in June because Trump had banned the export of the 3M mask the NHS used, so they had to train everyone on whatever the new one was, which fit slightly differently. The big shortages were in March and April. So I suspect it was logistics.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

      FFS dont give him ideas....

    3. nobody who matters

      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

      "Has High Chancellor Johnson sent out Liz Truss to light the fuse for World War III yet?"

      Too late - that slow burning fuse was lit by Putin three months ago. Or haven't you been keeping up with the news in the real world?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

        Participating in WW3 is a choice.

        Are you not aware of that?

        1. nintendoeats Silver badge

          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

          In 1941, the Japanese made that choice for the Americans.

          1. nobody who matters

            Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

            Quite.

            You/your country may not wish to join a war, but sometimes another country makes a different choice on your behalf.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

              No one ever forces another country to choose to do something they don't want to do.

              Unless you believe in predestination where grown adults have no choice but to follow a preordained set of decisions.

              1. nobody who matters

                Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                What utter brain dead rubbish!

                Ukraine did not want to have a war with Russia. Russia did not give them a choice in the matter. Come out of your cave.

              2. Filippo Silver badge

                Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                I think that the whole point of invading another country is to force them to do stuff they don't want to do. I'm not sure why you'd be invading them, otherwise.

                More to the specific point, though, a country definitely can be forced to be involved in a war: if a country gets attacked, then it is involved, regardless of what it does about it.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                  How a country responds to being attacked is entirely its own decision.

                  There are no rules that say killing has to be responded to in kind.

                  1. veti Silver badge

                    Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                    That's true. In 1917, the newly formed Soviet government decided to simply stop fighting Germany. In return for a mere 30% of Russia's prewar territory, and about 50% of its industrial capacity, Russia got peace and lasting prosperity.

                    Oh, wait...

                  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

                    Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                    But sometimes responding to the killing will lead to less lives lost overall and so that should be the course taken. Ukraine fighting back has probably saved millions of lives in countries bordering Russia.

                  3. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge
                    Facepalm

                    Response to Invasion

                    Citizens of the invaded country could passively lie down in front of the incoming tanks.

                    That wouldn't be effective in the real world.

                  4. Cederic Silver badge

                    Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                    Some of us don't want to see our women raped, our men murdered, the survivors enslaved.

                  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                    Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                    How a country responds to being attacked is entirely its own decision.

                    There are no rules that say killing has to be responded to in kind.

                    True. However passive resistance may not always be the best option. It depends on your enemy and their plans.

                    I remember a lot of scepticism, shading to laughing, back in January when the CIA and MI6 suggested the Russians had prepared death lists and death squads for Ukraine. Didn't look so funny after Bucha and Irpin had been liberated - and the Russians had killed all the fighting age men they could find, and quite a lot of the others. Of course there were the killings from random looting and raping that the Russian army has become notorious for. But you don't randomly tie peoples' wrists and shoot them in the back of the head. And ill-disciplined troops on a killing spree don't dig mass graves. Plus we've all the information coming out from around Kherson, where mayors have been systematically kidnapped, if they're not willing to collabarate. And then we've all the Ukrainians who've been send to "filtration camps" in Russia - and then distributed to various parts of Russia - which is straight out of the Stalin genocidal mass movement of people's playbook.

                    Oh, and now the Russians are buring books in Ukrainian in occupied territories. Erasing a national identity, another sign that fighting may be the better option.

                    To quote Heinrich Heine, "Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too." His books were burned by the Nazis in 1933, being a German poet was no good as he was also Jewish.

              3. Filippo Silver badge

                Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                If Country A gets invaded by Country B, then Country A does not have the option not to be involved in a war. It has the option to either defend itself, or not, and both choices are involvement. You don't have to believe in predestination in order to be aware that choices can have constraints.

            2. jmch Silver badge

              Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

              "You/your country may not wish to join a war, but sometimes another country makes a different choice on your behalf."

              Exactly!

              In 1939, Holland and Belgium were neutral, but had weak army, no defences and a completely flat and convenient terrain, and they were completely rolled over. Switzerland was also neutral, and besides a highly impassable terrain, also had a conscript army and a reputation of tough warriors dating back centuries (hence for example why the Vatican 'army' are historically Swiss). I presume them being the de facto bankers of all sides in the war also helped.

              Being neutral isn't in itself enough to avoid conflict, unless you can show any bullies that you will give them a right bloody nose if they try anything funny.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

            keeping in mind an important detail:

            Japan was influenced by Nazi Germany.

            what was that about BAD company corrupting Good habits?

            hhmm,...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

              FWIW, Japan was at war with someone in the 20th century pretty much all the way up to and including WW2.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

                As the US has been pretty much been every year since WW2...

    4. Wizardofaus
      Mushroom

      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

      Luckily for the rest of the world:

      Johnson has no control over Truss or anyone else,

      and

      When Truss speaks, the whole world laughs

    5. Lis

      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

      @A/C

      "Has High Chancellor Johnson sent out Liz Truss to light the fuse for World War III yet?"

      Oh do grow up

      Cheers... Ishy

    6. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

      Has High Chancellor Johnson sent out Liz Truss to light the fuse for World War III yet?

      Don't encourage her - she is channelling Mrs Thatcher, Boudica and Xena Warrior princess. She's capable of starting a Trade war with the EU or WW3 with Russia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

        @Fruit and Nutcase

        Unfortunately, that probably is her true skillset. Together with preventing a trade deal with the US.

        Liz <I'm out of my depth in a puddle> Truss.

        Clueless

        :/

      2. Jason Bloomberg
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

        she is channelling Mrs Thatcher, Boudica and Xena Warrior princess.

        Oh fuck! How much mindbleach is it going to take to get the image of a leather bikini clad Truss lugging a chained wheel of cheddar behind her out of my mind?

        I fear I'm going to have to lie down on the driveway with my head against a tyre and wait for the inevitable. Thanks, you bastard.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

          Wishful thinking, I keep hoping for Truss to challenge Putin to a duel, or Celebrity Deathmatch style fight. Or at the very least, a game of tiddlywinks

          1. jmch Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

            "I keep hoping for Truss to challenge Putin to a duel"

            I'm of the strong belief that world leaders involved in pissing contests should settle them 1-on-1 (or even many-on-many) in a mano-a-mano royal rumble*, instead of manipulating hundreds of thousands / millions of people to their death and costing billions on weaponry and infrastructural damages, in order to win a pissing contest on their behalf.

            *Heck, if you televised it I'm sure it would make excellent pay-per-view

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

              Johnson with his union jack underpants over tights, with union jack cape, and Truss in a leather bikini, as a tag team against Putin. Come to think of it - when they both get booted out at the next election (or earlier), they could go work for WWE

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Devil

          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

          Jason Bloomberg,

          If it helps, think Servelan. In one of her more, leathery outfits…

        3. Roj Blake

          Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

          Liz Truss is more Philomena Cunk than Margaret Thatcher.

      3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Presumbly the UK has similar plans

        Odds on Liz Truss accidentally starting a trade war with Russia? It might actually do good these days.

  4. HildyJ Silver badge
    Windows

    I want to be in the crater

    I grew up in the 50s just outside of Washington DC. I went through duck and cover drills. We had Civil Defense rations at our school. There were periodic air raid siren tests. And then there was reality. When the USSR tested the 50 megaton Tsar Bomb, my school was blocks away from the area that would be vaporized.

    And that was a single bomb.

    All things considered, though, I don't mind. I have no desire to live in a post-apocalyptic world.

    1. Jim Mitchell
      Mushroom

      Re: I want to be in the crater

      The Tsar Bomba wasn't a deliverable weapon, so that wasn't quite reality. You would die to a smaller device, if that matters.

      Anyways, I grew up in the early 80s just outside of Washington, DC. We still had duck and cover drills in elementary school.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I want to be in the crater

        "Anyways, I grew up in the early 80s just outside of Washington, DC. We still had duck and cover drills in elementary school."

        Sadly, "duck and cover" nowadays is more about domestic shooters than foreign nuclear bombs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I want to be in the crater

          That's okay, those are local boys, not bloodthirsty foreign commies!

          /s

  5. Persona Silver badge

    All risks are relative

    Nuclear apocalypse remained the top risk for the US government over the Cold War. The fear of terrorism took over post-9/11.

    Statistics show you are far more likely to be shot by US police than be involved in a terrorist incident, dramatically so if you are black and not a member of the US Government.

    1. nobody who matters

      Re: All risks are relative

      Of course, the right statistics, presented in the right way can be made to show almost whatever the presenter wishes them to show.

      As the saying goes, there are lies; there are damned lies; and there are statistics!

      I don't think that there is anything particularly surprising in these papers, much as some people with an axe to grind will obviously try to make out that there is evil intent behind them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All risks are relative

        It would be interesting to show a source to back your claim that death from nuclear annihilation is more probable than a US citizen being shot by the police.

        Unless it was just a distraction technique.

        1. nobody who matters

          Re: All risks are relative

          Nobody has said that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: All risks are relative

            Not directly, but you implied Persona was spinning the truth by using statistics that, because they were statistics and not "facts", weren't necessarily true.

            Which is it?

            1. nobody who matters

              Re: All risks are relative

              I was stating the fact that statistics can be twisted to show what someone wants them to show. You are reading a meaning into my post which simply is not there!

              In any case, the post I was replying to referred to terrorism and being killed by the police - not compared with nuclear annihilation.

        2. Bill Gray
          Boffin

          Re: All risks are relative

          Hmmm... it's difficult to say without knowing the likelihood of nuclear annihilation. But we can still do a Fermi estimate.

          A quick search on "number us people shot by police" gets you agreement on a bit over a thousand a year, out of a total population a bit over 300 million (you wrote "citizens", but I'll consider citizen=person for this rough approximation). I was surprised at how good the agreement was amongst politically diverse sources, by the way, though I could imagine some systematic biases (I'd expect many murders by cops to go unreported and/or covered up).

          I'm also saying "numbers killed by police" rather than "numbers shot". It appears the first is carefully counted. Oddly, the latter is not.

          Let's say "nuclear annihilation" would kill half the US (I'm considering the risk to US people, as I assume you were as well). If the probability of nuclear annihilation in a given year is greater than 1000/150 million = about 0.0006%, you're more likely to die of nuclear annihilation than of being shot by a cop. I'd guess the actual probability of nuclear annihilation is much higher than that.

          I think you may have an exaggerated sense of how commonly people are shot by cops in the US. It's indeed dramatically more common than in any other country, and is much more of a danger to Americans than (say) mass murders with assault weapons, especially if you aren't white. But even with that, they're still about 30 times less common than garden-variety firearms murders. (Again, much more common in the US than anyplace else, because Freedumb.)

          1. Ghostman
            Headmaster

            Re: All risks are relative

            I think you may have an exaggerated sense of how commonly people are shot by cops in the US. It's indeed dramatically more common than in any other country, and is much more of a danger to Americans than (say) mass murders with assault weapons,

            Sorry, but I still haven't found anyone that manufactures "assault weapons". could you give an example please?

            1. Bill Gray

              Re: All risks are relative

              Forgot your troll icon, eh?

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban#Definition_of_assault_weapon

              I'll grant you, it's an arbitrary distinction, sort of like the legal distinction between fruits and vegetables. Your average citizen would probably say that "assault weapons" are "weapons intended solely to kill lots of people at once, as opposed to what you'd use to defend against an armed robber or shoot a deer or other 'legitimate' use."

              Since the "intent" is not necessarily clear, they went with a more arbitrary definition that (they hoped) would roughly line up with what they actually wanted and be good enough for government work. But you knew that.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: All risks are relative

      downvote for the obvious race reference

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    these emergency actions included an authorization to censor news reports, detain anyone designated a foreign enemy, suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and allow the search and seizure of persons and property

    So all of a sudden they would need an authorization to do things that are mostly already standard practice all over the country? Go figure.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Go figure.

      Such emergency actions have precedent during previous wars. The censorship of news reports and detentions of designated foreign enemies occurred during both World Wars, and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus * happened during the Civil War; once by Lincoln’s executive order, and again through legislation after pushback on the former †. The search and seizure of persons and property are permitted when not “unreasonable” (and accompanied by appropriate warrants), even during peacetime, and unreasonability can vary according to events of the time.

      * — Not suspension of the writ itself; I suspect that suspension of the privilege of the writ rather than of the writ itself is what was found among these recently unclassified emergency actions.

      † — Back when Congress reacted to encroachment from executive branch actions.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Go figure.

        "Not suspension of the writ itself; I suspect that suspension of the privilege of the writ rather than of the writ itself is what was found "

        And the difference in practice is???

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          And the difference in practice is???

          When the privilege of the writ was suspended, new writs of habeas corpus could still be petitioned, but the privilege of courts acting on the writs was suspended. If the writ itself were suspended, then no new writ petitions could be filed, and prisoners would lack the legal recourse of the writ. The difference in practice would be the total amount of time needed for someone arrested to have a petition be filed with, processed by, and acted upon by a court.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    long ago

    I remember "hearing*" because there was no internet then for plebs use, that the in times of trouble, the gov't could take your organs, your seed, and eggs for the greater good, not just your blood and plasma, I wonder if that document will be mentioned... I wish I knew it's name.

    *Only source was the person telling their story.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: long ago

      Did they have any bits obviously missing? e.g. arm, leg, ear, etc.

  8. Dave@Home

    A lot of this was known tbh

    The book Raven Rock goes into the Continuity of Government plans for the US up until around 2016 when it was first published. It explicitly covers things like censor boards, food management, civil defense (and lack of).

    (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raven-Rock-Governments-Secret-Itself-While/dp/1476735409 - other vendors are available)

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: A lot of this was known tbh

      I was about to recommend this book as it’s a really excellent read.

  9. LazLong

    Significant typo

    "Another document [PDF] from 1959 describing the aftermath of a Soviet nuclear attack estimated 48 million people would die, leaving 12 million survivors making up the US population."

    That should probably be 120 million. The population of the US in 1959 was 177 million.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      That should probably be 120 million.

      Indeed it should:

      PART I — PLANNING ASSUMPTIONS

      C. DAMAGE ASSUMPTIONS

      1. GENERAL. The attacks have almost completely paralyzed the functioning of the economic system, causing disruption of organized governmental activities, fragmentation of society into local groups, deterioration of our social standards, breakdown of our financial system, and complete disruption of normal production processes. The proportion of human casualties exceeds the proportion of material losses. In spite of the magnitude of the catastrophe and the possibility of additional but lighter attacks, about 120,000,000 uninjured people and substantial material resources remain. Consequently, there is ultimate recuperative potential to meet the requirements of the surviving population. Restoration of our society and its economy is possible in spite of the existence of confusion, despair, bereavement and psychological deterioration.

  10. VoiceOfTruth

    The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

    -> The main thing to remember is that there is next to no oversight of these emergency powers.

    All your supposed rights are not worth 2 cents.

    1. redpawn Silver badge

      Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

      Of course they are. You get an official apology 60 years later.

    2. Cheshire Cat

      Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

      In WW2, the Americans censored the mail and broadcast media, and shoved all citizens with Japanese ancestry in to internment camps with armed guards (though not those with German ancestry, go figure, as they say). I'm sure they would do the same again in a heartbeat if they wanted to, and likely the UK govt would as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

        In WW1, US censorship and misinformation led to the pandemic in 1918 commonly being referred to as Spanish flu, despite it having been suspected to originate in Kansas.

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Spanish flu

          It was called “Spanish flu” because it was first reported upon in the (neutral) Spanish press.

      2. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

        Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

        And the part of that which everyone conveniently forgets is that the President that signed that order was that darling of the Democrats, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

          FDR was, objectively, the most popular and successful president in US history. He won the presidency by four successive landslides.

          If the electorate believes that you're genuinely motivated and sincerely doing your best for them, they will forgive anything.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

            If the electorate believes that you're genuinely motivated and sincerely doing your best for them, they will forgive anything.

            FTFY

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

          He wasn't president until '33. He was secretary of the navy in www1

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: The Americans talk such crap about their constitution

        you are "not wrong". Sadly.

        This is why "emergency powers" MUST be limited. I would say no more than 30 days without direct legislative approval. No exceptions. And, it should require re-approval ever 30 days. And it should apply SIMILARLY to the states/provinces and OTHER more local authorities. (a constitutional amendment would be required for this in the USA)

        The last 2 years speak LOUDLY about the ABUSE of "emergency powers". And do not forget pre-WW2 Germany, either. (yes that is a link to a relevant "Washington Bleep" article).

  11. Twanky Silver badge
    Mushroom

    WWIII

    Not sure if this is a real quote. but:

    I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

    Attributed to Albert Einstein https://cdn.quotesgram.com/img/27/90/624908764-albert-einstein-physicist-i-know-not-with-what-weapons-world-war-iii-will-be-fought.jpg

    1. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: WWIII

      The full quote is here: https://xkcd.com/1687/

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure anyone will be respecting the rule of law post a nuclear exchange

    Life will probably resemble something worse than Somalia is today.

  13. innominatus

    Biggest takeaway?

    That there is a George W. Bush Presidential Library

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Biggest takeaway?

      Hmm. At least Boy George can read. Unlike, for example, the Orange One.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Biggest takeaway?

      "obtained about 500 pages from the George W. Bush Presidential Library – some 6,000 couldn't be released as"... he hadn't finished coloring them in

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So they call them Presidents

    But, at least in the classical sense, they're actually Dictators.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: So they call them Presidents

      US presidents are not at all dictators in the classical sense (i.e. dictators on the model of the Roman Republic before Sulla). Dictators were appointed by consuls to pursue a specific goal (and outranked the consuls in pursuit of that goal), and resigned when that goal was achieved; presidents are elected by the Electoral College, and have a fixed term to execute any or all of the powers of the office.

      Presidents are closer to consuls than to dictators, and even that comparison exaggerates the similarity of the two offices. Two consuls were in office simultaneously for one-year terms, and could not serve as consul again until ten years had passed after their most recent term; presidents have four-year terms, and are eligible to serve a second term immediately after the first one. Consuls were only head of government when they were within the city of Rome; when they were outside of it, though, they could (and often did) serve in the field as military leaders. Presidents remain head of government no matter where they’re located, and only Washington served in the field as a military leader while in office. Consuls had legislative, judicial, and religious duties along with their executive duties; presidents don’t.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So they call them Presidents

        Not too overendowed on the sarcasm front either, eh? :)

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Not too overendowed on the sarcasm front either, eh? :)

          You are perfectly free to draw any conclusion about me that suits you, Anonymous Coward. ;*)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What an incentive for a false flag operation

    Just a matter of when.

    :/

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: What an incentive for a false flag operation

      Presidents have had these potential powers, per TFA, since at least Eisenhower and probably much earlier. Nixon didn't do it. Even Trump didn't, though he surely would have if he thought he would gain anything from it.

      People talk a lot of bollocks about false flag operations. The truth is, they're extraordinarily hard to pull off at any scale more complicated than trying to shift a small amount of blame in an already chaotic situation. Putin tried it at the beginning of his current war, but the only way he could get anyone to believe it was by making it illegal to contradict him.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: What an incentive for a false flag operation

        > they're extraordinarily hard to pull off

        Sure, but nevertheless they infallibly do what they were supposed to: Give you the moral high ground to do whatever you wanted to do, but would had looked bad if you had done it without that additional justification.

        Never forget you only have to convince your followers, not your opponents (those won't believe you either way). To put it differently, the point isn't to convince your adversaries, but to avoid losing your followers, so the hurdle isn't a very high one: Just cater to their specific prejudices and half the work is already done.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What an incentive for a false flag operation

        "Even Trump didn't, though he surely would have if he thought he would gain anything from it."

        There was an attempt to shift the identity of Capitol rioters as being from Antifa.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: What an incentive for a false flag operation

      Just a matter of when

      [shhh... already happened a year or so ago]

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Weimar Republic was troubled by civil left-right violence. So the government wrote an Enabling law - which would give rule by fiat powers to the Chancellor. It was only a precaution - and put on the shelf. Then a new Chancellor activated it.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      an Enabling Law

      Weimar Germany had many enabling laws — I think that there were ten of them in its first decade. The critical difference between the early pack and the infamous later one was that the former were each limited to a duration of months, while the latter lasted for four years and could be (and was) extended for another four years at a time. Whether the latter could have been passed without the passage of the Reichstag Fire Decree three weeks earlier (which suspended several civil liberties) could be debated.

  17. IanTP
    Mushroom

    If we don't end war, war will end us - H.G. Wells

    Said the in the 1936 film, Things to Come.

    Icon - obvs

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