On January 25, 1995 Norwegian and American scientists launched a Black Brant XII four-stage sounding rocket from Andoya Island off the coast of Norway to study the aurora borealis over Svalbard. The rocket followed a trajectory to nearly 930 miles altitude but away from the Russian Federation. To Russian radar operators the flight appeared similar to the profile a Trident missile launched from a ballistic missile submarine would take before detonating at high altitude as part of a 1st strike to create a massive electromagnetic pulse that would disable Russian electronic and electrical systems. To them, Russia was under nuclear attack from the U.S…
Russian nuclear missile forces were placed on high alert and the nuclear briefcase known as ‘Cheget’ was brought to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and activated, the first time ever in history. Yeltsin was told that Russia was under attack and he needed to enter his codes into the Cheget to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike against the U.S.. He hesitated, knowing that something was not right. Shortly thereafter it was realized that a 1st strike was not underway and a retaliatory strike was not initiated. The world came within minutes of an accidental nuclear conflagration.
As it turned out, the U.S. had previously notified Moscow about their planned Black Brant launch but the information had not been forwarded to their missile forces.
Thursday the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Atomic Clock closer to Midnight than it has ever been since it was set in “operation” in 1947. The 1995 “failure to communicate” nearly led to a full force “response” by the Russian Nuclear force and which would have been a world-crushing disaster.
But the Atomic Clock has been moved closer to Midnight than it was is 1995 in no small measure because the US has been fostering and funding a new nuclear arms race ($1.7 Trillion) and has been withdrawing from Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaties. It has snubbed its nose at the Nuclear Ban Treaty. In addition the US has a President who likes to talk tough about his willingness to do “anything” to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon (so long as it is not something Obama successfully put in place), as well as a Secretary of State who believes Armageddon is not something that can be avoided since it is prophesied and since it would be part of “God’s Plan”. In addition the US has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreements thus weakening the efforts to prevent the chaos Climate Change will bring. Such chaos could lead to more failures to communicate and thus possible “accidental” launches of a modernized nuclear weapons fleet.