Podcast: Oppenheimer and techno-hubris

In Episode 185 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg reviews the Oppenheimer movie, and discusses the legacy of J. Robert Oppenheimer 78 years after Hiroshima. Manhattan Project dissidents like Leo Szilard petitioned to stop the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. But such sentiment was overruled by Harry Truman's geopolitical imperatives—and what Freeman Dyson called the "technical arrogance" of Oppenheimer and his circle. Now, as open Russian nuclear threats continue to mount in Europe, we are poised at the brink of unparalleled catastrophe. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Production by Chris Rywalt

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Medvedev's latest nuclear threat

"Imagine if the...offensive, which is backed by NATO, was a success and they tore off a part of our land, then we would be forced to use a nuclear weapon according to the rules of a decree from the president of Russia," Security Council deputy chair Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Telegram July 30, referring to President Vladimir Putin's Decree No. 305. Signed in 2020, the decree authorizes use of nuclear weapons after "aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened." (CommonDreams)

Annotation re. Oppenheimer podcast

Re. the audio at 13.00: It only became clear to the Allies that the Nazi atomic program had languished with the joint US-UK Alsos Mission and capture of Germany's top atomic scientist Werner Heisenberg in May 1945.

Books referenced in Oppenheimer podcast

Russian academic calls for nuclear first strike

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists notes a "controversial essay" in which noted Russian academic, commentator, and former Kremlin advisor Sergei Karaganov called for Moscow to launch nuclear strikes on Western Europe as a way to bring the war in Ukraine to a favorable conclusion.

Russia puts 'Satan' missile on 'combat alert posture'

Yuri Borisov, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, announced Sept. 1 that the new Sarmat (Satan) missile has "assumed combat alert posture." In April 2022, Moscow said it had successfully tested the Sarmat MIRV-equipped ICBM. Putin claimed at the time that the weapon would make Russia’s enemies "think twice." Russia tested one of its Sarmat warheads during a visit to Ukraine by President Biden in February 2023, but the test was apparently unsuccessful. (Moscow Times, Al Jazeera)