The One Nuclear Threat That Most People Aren’t Aware Of

nuclear silo wikimediaThese days we are all well aware that nuclear technology provides plenty of ways to disrupt our society. There are of course, an abundance of nuclear missiles in the world today, as well suitcase nukes and dirty bombs. There is also the ever looming possibility of a meltdown occurring in a nuclear power plant. However, there is one nuclear threat that very few people are aware of, and we have the Russians to thank for it.

In short, they have a bona fide doomsday machine. No, this isn’t science fiction. At first glance it probably doesn’t sound very exotic, since this machine delivers ordinary nuclear weapons. What’s so unique about it, is the conditions that could cause it to activate. The Russians refer to it as the “Dead Hand,” and it operates similarly to the fictional doomsday device from Dr. Strangelove.

Developed in the 1980’s, the Dead Hand is a system designed to ensure that no matter what happens during a nuclear attack, the Soviets would always be able to strike back. They feared that the United States would be able to decapitate their leadership with a preemptive nuclear strike, so they built an automated nuclear command system that requires very little human input.

The Dead Hand is a computer system that is connected to a network of seismic, radiological, and air pressure sensors distributed throughout the country, as well as the government’s communication infrastructure. If the Dead Hand detects a nuclear blast on Russian soil, then it will check to see if communications are still open with the upper echelons of the Russian government. If that connection is ever severed, (say by a nuclear attack against the Kremlin) the computer will initiate the launch of every remaining nuclear missile in Russia’s arsenal.

What’s so scary about this system, is that it has little human input. In any nuclear arsenal, there are typically multiple layers of politicians and military officials that a launch order has to pass through. If the Dead Hand however, decides that it’s time to launch a nuclear assault against the US, then that authority is passed to a handful of midranking officers hunkered down in a bunker. It’s widely believed that this system is still in operation to this day, and believe it or not, many of our government’s leaders are unaware of its existence.

The technical name was Perimeter, but some called it Mertvaya Ruka, or Dead Hand. It was built 25 years ago and remained a closely guarded secret. With the demise of the USSR, word of the system did leak out, but few people seemed to notice. In fact, though Yarynich and a former Minuteman launch officer named Bruce Blair have been writing about Perimeter since 1993 in numerous books and newspaper articles, its existence has not penetrated the public mind or the corridors of power. The Russians still won’t discuss it, and Americans at the highest levels—including former top officials at the State Department and White House—say they’ve never heard of it. When I recently told former CIA director James Woolsey that the USSR had built a doomsday device, his eyes grew cold. “I hope to God the Soviets were more sensible than that.” They weren’t.

That secrecy should be alarming, because we don’t have a very good idea about what could trip up this aging system. The very existence of the human race is in the hands of a 31-year-old computer and a few Russian officers, and that leaves a lot of scary questions unanswered.

Is this aging computer system still reliable? How about the sensors that its connected to? Can the select few people who man it be trusted to make the right decisions? Under the right conditions, could the Dead Hand initiate an accidental nuclear strike?

If say a dirty bomb temporarily severed communications with the Dead Hand, would it know what really happened? Or would it just sense the radiation and assume the worst? What about an asteroid, or a solar flare? We don’t know if all the sensors need to be giving readings that are consistent with a nuclear attack, or if they only need to identify a handful of conditions. We don’t know if the officers who check on the system are going to simply follow the computer’s instructions, or if they will rely on their own judgement.

There’s a lot of scary stuff that we don’t know about the Dead Hand. It just goes to show even though humans are far too scared and reasonable to launch a nuclear attack against another nuclear armed nation, the possibility of such a conflict happening accidentally is always present.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 21st, 2016
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  • LUCIFER

    Well the only thing to do is kiss your ass goodbye ASAP

    • Fear not them that can only destroy the body, rather him that can destroy both body and soul in hell… See Isaiah 1:12.

  • XSFRGR

    What if, what if, what if, what it we just stop provoking Russia ?

    • Jason Calley

      Hey XSFRGR! “Stop provoking Russia”? Why, that’s just CRAZY talk! It’s us or them! Shoot first — ask questions later! The only good Commie is a dead Commie! Sure, we’d get our hair mussed up a little — but our casualties would only be 80 million or so. !00 million tops! No sense taking a chance on the Russkies getting uppity! Why wait for them to come goose-stepping across the Golden Gate Bridge and into our living room? Would you want one of them to marry your sister? Huh? WOULD YOU?!

      (I desperately hope that I do not need to put a /sarc tag on that.)

      I remember as a child being proud of the fact that the US was dedicated to peace, with war only as a last option. That was a long time ago, and we have changed… Eisenhower was right about the military-industrial complex, but include the CIA and the big banks. War is now the health of the state.

      • XSFRGR

        Thanks, Jason, you’re absolutely right, and I needed that.

      • You need to remember that Eisenhower was at the top of the military-industrial complex when he gave his warning. War has been the health of the state since Randolph Bourne noted such in 1918. Smedley Butler put numbers and actions to the claim in 1935 in “War is a Racket.”

      • LUCIFER

        Jason you still seem to be lost in the stone age. Educate yourself in real history not comic books. Russia will wipe your country and turn it in to rubble in less than an hour. Neither has your country won one war only stirring up shit since WW2 where you with 52 other countries (big deal) on one small country and the Krauts shot the shit out of you. Rather look who is running your country today and using you as cannon fodder making money as hell at the cost of the normal citizen bleeding you dry. All those lovely Jews are rubbing their hands and laughing about your stupidity !!

    • What if we just start enforcing and obeying the Constitution?

    • LeslieFish

      The problem is, it’s impossible to stop “provoking” Russia when the Russian govt. *wants* to feel provoked. Russia has always been imperialistic, before and after the Revolution, and hasn’t given up the habit today. Of course, the best excuse for attacking the neighbors (Ukraine, Finland, etc.) has always been “they hit first”, whether it’s true or not, and the Russian govt. has never been addicted to truth.

      • XSFRGR

        Leslie, dear, you really do need to study up on Russian history, and current events. You seem to have Russia confused the the United States. As for the truth: Try it some time, you might find it refreshing.

        Personally, I find your confusion, and lack of knowledge a great disappointment. In reading your other posts I find that we agree on almost everything.

      • LeslieFish

        Explain, please, Stalin’s excuse for the Winter War with Finland.

      • XSFRGR

        Explain, please, why you are making a feeble attempt to use cognitive dissonance as a means of attack. If you want a clean debate, which you obviously don’t, stay on subject.

        In answer to your question: The Russo Finnish war was over 80 years ago, and hardly relative to this discussion.

        Have a nice life.

  • mothman777

    A natural extension of the Samson Option. Just think of who gave the Soviets the atom bomb. And members of the same group of people then simply constructed this as an addition to their Samson Option.

  • Craig Reynolds

    We could very well have one as well. We might just be better at keeping it secret.

    • Jason Calley

      And ours is probably sitting in high orbit.

    • Hillary must not know about it…

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    Nice! Nothing sells like the scare meme.

  • Maybe Dead Hand will be the beginning of Skynet.

  • LeslieFish

    Considering that Russian military hardware worked only 80% of the time when new, I suspect that most of this system has rusted away by now.

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