How the US Military is Preparing for Climate Change – The Green Line – Ep 1

How the US Military is Preparing for Climate Change - The Green LineWhilst debates around Climate Change still rage on US TV, the US Military has been quietly preparing for the now inevitable. Planners are now acutely aware of just how quick Climate Change is coming down upon us, and how dramatically it will change the geopolitics of the planet. What wargames are the military running in preparation for this? Which theatres do they project to be the most impacted? and is the US ready for a worst-case scenario? We ask our panel of experts. On the panel this week: – Sharon Burke (Ecospherics/Fmr White House) – John Conger (Center for Climate and Security/Fmr White House) – Larry Wilkerson (Fmr Chief of Staff to Colin Powell) This is Part 1 of our special 5-Part Series focusing on The Geopolitics of Climate Change This Production was Brought to you by The Red Line and Mission Climate Project


More than 1,700 environmental activists murdered in the past decade – report

Figures likely to be an underestimate, says Global Witness, as land defenders are killed by hitmen, crime groups and governments

Climate activists hold up portraits of slain Philippine environmental defenders during a climate justice protest last November. Photograph: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Climate activists hold up portraits of slain Philippine environmental defenders during a climate justice protest last November. Photograph: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

More than 1,700 murders of environmental activists were recorded over the past decade, an average of a killing nearly every two days, according to a new report.

Killed by hitmen, organised crime groups and their own governments, at least 1,733 land and environmental defenders were murdered between 2012 and 2021, figures from Global Witness show, with Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, Mexico and Honduras the deadliest countries.

The NGO has published its report on the killings of land and environmental defenders around the world every year since 2012, after the murder of Chut Wutty, a Cambodian environmentalist who worked with the Global Witness CEO Mike Davis investigating illegal logging. Killings hit a record of 227 in 2020 despite the pandemic.


STARK: How the Rich Destroy Democracy and Cause Collapse

STARK: How the Rich Destroy Democracy and Cause CollapseIn this episode, I interview political commentator, former congressional candidate, and now regenerative farmer Haven Scott McVarish, author of LAST CHANCE TO SAVE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. Haven talks about his favorite novel, STARK by Ben Elton, a dystopian comedy thriller about how corporations and the wealthy cause a global ecological collapse. Haven also discusses the novel’s themes in relation to his own book about the current, ongoing collapse of U.S. democracy. We talk about how to save our imperiled democracy as well as what ordinary people can start doing now to prepare for collapse via local community building and restorative agriculture.


Last Chance to Save American Democracy by Haven Scott McVarish
Stark by Ben Elton
5 Journeys (Haven Scott McVarish’s non-profit organization)

We’re in a global food crisis that will wreak havoc on local economies and trigger civil unrest

We're in a global food crisis that will wreak havoc on local economies and trigger civil unrest

Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios

Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios

Prudent risk management requires consideration of bad-to-worst-case scenarios. Yet, for climate change, such potential futures are poorly understood. Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? At present, this is a dangerously underexplored topic. Yet there are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe. Analyzing the mechanisms for these extreme consequences could help galvanize action, improve resilience, and inform policy, including emergency responses. We outline current knowledge about the likelihood of extreme climate change, discuss why understanding bad-to-worst cases is vital, articulate reasons for concern about catastrophic outcomes, define key terms, and put forward a research agenda. The proposed agenda covers four main questions: 1) What is the potential for climate change to drive mass extinction events? 2) What are the mechanisms that could result in human mass mortality and morbidity? 3) What are human societies’ vulnerabilities to climate-triggered risk cascades, such as from conflict, political instability, and systemic financial risk? 4) How can these multiple strands of evidence—together with other global dangers—be usefully synthesized into an “integrated catastrophe assessment”? It is time for the scientific community to grapple with the challenge of better understanding catastrophic climate change.


Why the U.N. chief says we are ‘one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’

Why the U.N. chief says we are 'one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation'
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres says we are facing “a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.” His remarks came at the 2022 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York City.
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The world is now enduring greater stress than any time in recent decades, according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. And while humanity has so far avoided “the suicidal mistake of nuclear conflict,” he said, tensions are hitting new highs at a time when many lessons of the past seem forgotten.

“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” the world’s top diplomat said at a U.N. conference on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in New York City.

It’s not the first time such a dire warning has been issued about the catastrophic risks posed by nuclear weapons. Here’s a brief look at why Guterres and others are raising the alarm now: LINK

A State-of-the-Art Review on the Use of Modafinil as A Performance-enhancing Drug in the Context of Military Operationality


A State-of-the-Art Review on the Use of Modafinil as A Performance-enhancing Drug in the Context of Military Operationality

Modafinil is an eugeroic drug that has been examined to maintain or recover wakefulness, alertness, and cognitive performance when sleep deprived. In a nonmilitary context, the use of modafinil as a nootropic or smart drug, i.e., to improve cognitive performance without being sleep deprived, increases. Although cognitive performance is receiving more explicit attention in a military context, research into the impact of modafinil as a smart drug in function of operationality is lacking. Therefore, the current review aimed at presenting a current state-of-the-art and research agenda on modafinil as a smart drug. Beside the question whether modafinil has an effect or not on cognitive performance, we examined four research questions based on the knowledge on modafinil in sleep-deprived subjects: (1) Is there a difference between the effect of modafinil as a smart drug when administered in repeated doses versus one single dose?; (2) Is the effect of modafinil as a smart drug dose-dependent?; (3) Are there individual-related and/or task-related impact factors?; and (4) What are the reported mental and/or somatic side effects of modafinil as a smart drug?


We conducted a systematic search of the literature in the databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus, using the search terms “Modafinil” and “Cognitive enhance*” in combination with specific terms related to the research questions. The inclusion criteria were studies on healthy human subjects with quantifiable cognitive outcome based on cognitive tasks.


We found no literature on the impact of a repeated intake of modafinil as a smart drug, although, in users, intake occurs on a regular basis. Moreover, although modafinil was initially said to comprise no risk for abuse, there are now indications that modafinil works on the same neurobiological mechanisms as other addictive stimulants. There is also no thorough research into a potential risk for overconfidence, whereas this risk was identified in sleep-deprived subjects. Furthermore, eventual enhancing effects were beneficial only in persons with an initial lower performance level and/or performing more difficult tasks and modafinil has an adverse effect when used under time pressure and may negatively impact physical performance. Finally, time-on-task may interact with the dose taken.


The use of modafinil as a smart drug should be examined in function of different military profiles considering their individual performance level and the task characteristics in terms of cognitive demands, physical demands, and sleep availability. It is not yet clear to what extent an improvement in one component (e.g., cognitive performance) may negatively affect another component (e.g., physical performance). Moreover, potential risks for abuse and overconfidence in both regular and occasional intake should be thoroughly investigated to depict the trade-off between user benefits and unwanted side effects. We identified that there is a current risk to the field, as this trade-off has been deemed acceptable for sleep-deprived subjects (considering the risk of sleep deprivation to performance) but this reasoning cannot and should not be readily transposed to non-sleep-deprived individuals. We thus conclude against the use of modafinil as a cognitive enhancer in military contexts that do not involve sleep deprivation.

Resurrect Dead – The mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011)

An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.

Russian Hackers Target U.S. HIMARS Maker in ‘New Type of Attack’: Report

Russian Hackers Target U.S. HIMARS Maker in 'New Type of Attack': Report
US soldier walk past an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher vehicle, during the “African Lion” military exercise in the Grier Labouihi region in southeastern Morocco on June 9, 2021. Russian hackers have reported launched a cyberattack on American military company Lockheed Martin, the maker of the HIMARS.

Russian hackers have launched “a new type of attack” on American military company Lockheed Martin, which makes the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that the U.S. has supplied to Ukraine, a pro-Moscow news website said.


The Black Market for Nuclear Weapons

The Black Market for Nuclear Weapons

The collapse of the USSR brought about a period within Russia of unbridled chaos, devolving into a free-for-all amongst citizens unsure where their next meal might be coming from. Everything that could have been stolen, was stolen, and included in that were up to 400 nuclear weapons. But where did all of these weapons end up, and how secure is the rest of Russia’s apocalyptic arsenal today? Will the nuclear black market be responsible for the next major terrorist attack? On the panel this week – Robin M Frost – (Uni. of Ottawa) – Eric Gomez – (CATO) – Foeke Postma – (Bellingcat) – Andrew Futter – (Uni. of Leicester) Follow the show on @TheRedLinePod Follow Michael on @MikeHilliardAus For more information please visit –

Listen to this episode on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Libsyn RSS

Episode Overview:

Part 1: A Suitcase Full of Terror (3:56)

  • Robin M Frost begins our conversation with a look at the chaos of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which included nuclear sites in former Soviet states that were widely secret from the public until the end of the Cold War.

  • We discuss the realistic concerns about the security of these former sites, which independent investigations have proven to be extremely lax in security and operational protocols, and how much of a risk they pose for the nuclear black market.

  • What has stopped non-state actors who would want to use a nuclear weapon in an attack? Frost identifies a number of factors, including the difficulty of obtaining and fashioning enriched uranium into a suitable configuration for a weapon, the difficulty of constructing the triggers necessary to detonate, and the sophisticated knowledge required to build such a weapon.

  • The threat of “salting” a regular explosive device with spent radioactive materials, a radiological weapon, is a much more realistic threat according to Frost and could be created using much more readily available materials kept under significantly less security across the globe.

  • Interestingly, the IAEA notes that organised crime in the former Soviet Union has avoided dealing in nuclear materials, with Frost speculating both fear of handling the materials, the attention that would be brought upon their

Part 2: Recorking the Champagne (27:12)

  • Eric Gomez asserts that nuclear safety protocols are stronger than the public consensus seems to believe, backed up through the lack of accidental denotation of nuclear weapons.

  • Gomez notes the abundance of “tactical nukes” in the former Soviet Union, often forward-deployed with military units, which are small in payload but highly portable and typically featuring less safety protocols (i.e. codes for activation), poses the greatest threat to international safety today. However, many of the components in those weapons have degraded, leading to a questionable potency for those weapons in the current age.

  • We unpack how the United States security guarantee has served as a deterrent for other countries to develop their own nuclear weapons, but also note the scale of infrastructure (allowing for easy detection) and difficulty to build nuclear weapons is a major factor in preventing the spread of nuclear nations.

Part 3: A Fortified Castle… with a Broken Screen Door (46:02)

  • Foeke Postma posits that security of facilities and weapons are as strong as the people that guard it, noting the abundance of data in the modern world create highly traceable individuals and reveal the location of sites, transit routes, and other highly sensitive information that can be obtained on the black market.

  • Postma talks about how social media accounts and fitness devices are regularly used by Open Source Intelligence operatives and journalists to uncover such sensitive information, walking us through his work uncovering how US military personnel inadvertently revealed a multitude of sensitive security protocols about US nuclear weapons and the bases at which they are stored.

  • Postma notes that governments and potentially non-state actors are no doubt utilising these OS opportunities to map military and intelligence networks, including current members of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.

Part 4: Dumb Luck (1:08:27)

  • Andrew Futter notes that while there’s been a combination of luck and success with the security of nuclear weapons facilities, it’s not easy to assess what has been effective so far and what will need to change to continue success in the evolving security environment.

  • Futter notes the success of the AQ Khan proliferation network allowed for the flow of information about how to achieve a nuclear weapon program to several states with nuclear ambitions, but also demonstrates the scale of work that would be required to successfully launch such a program.

  • The fear of culpability is likely a major deterrent against states aiding non-state actors in the creation or use of a nuclear weapon, but Futter unpacks the possibility of a state being framed in a false flag attack, through the use of material or markers linked to that state in order to exacerbate tensions or trigger conflict.

  • We unpack nuclear deterrence theory and how in practice that would work in the modern day, noting that a significant amount of weaponisation would be required to be effective, as well as a certain level of overt testing and demonstration. We also talk about delivery methods and why missiles remain both preferred from a command and control perspective.

The Red Line’s Broken Arrows Reading List:

We’ve compiled a list of further reading to better understand the geopolitics of the nuclear black market.


The Politics of Nuclear Weapons

Andrew Futter


America’s Nuclear Crossroads: A Forward-Looking Anthology

Eric Gomez

Preventing Black Market Trade of Nuclear Technology

Matthew Bunn

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