The U.S. government recently stepped up efforts to renovate and upgrade massive nuclear bomb-proof underground shelters built across the country to provide a safe haven for members of the political and military elite classes and ensure that they survive a nuclear attack. Although a parallel industry has sprung up to cater to the needs of wealthy private citizens, including corporate leaders, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Wall Street tycoons and celebrities, the implementation of the plan by the political and military elite to survive a nuclear attack is ongoing without commensurate plans for ordinary citizens.
The U.S. government has maintained a network of secret nuclear bunkers scattered across the country since the Cold War era. The bunkers, many of which are built into mountains for maximum protection, are designed exclusively for the benefit of top government and military officials, members of Congress and government employees providing “essential” services to the political leadership.
A new book by journalist Garrett M. Graff, titled Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself While the Rest of Us Die, provides eye-opening details about how those who will make the nuclear war decisions that determine the fate of the rest of us plan to escape the consequences of their actions and decision-making. The book, based on thousands of previously classified documents and interviews with officials, gives details about how the members of the political and military elite have made elaborate plans to survive a nuclear holocaust, while making no commensurate plans to protect millions of ordinary citizens who will be affected by the decisions they make that lead to nuclear war, according to AlterNet.
Critics argue that the revelations contained in Graff’s book are chilling when considered regarding the moral-ethical implications of the fact that those in positions of authority know that they can make decisions that lead to nuclear disaster without having to suffer the consequences personally.
The best known of the “secret” survival bunkers is the NORAD facility located in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. The complex is built inside Cheyenne Mountain to accommodate more than a thousand people.
In theory, the complex and others scattered across the country are part of a strategy under the “Continuity of Government” (COG) program to ensure the survival of top officials who compose the civilian-military command hierarchy so that the country would be able to retaliate with a nuclear strike of its own after a first strike by a hostile power.
Less well-known than the Cheyenne Mountain facility in Colorado is the equally vital component of the COG plan known as the Raven Rock complex located in Pennsylvania, only six miles from the Camp David presidential retreat. The complex is designed as a safe haven from a nuclear attack for the commander-in-chief and senior members of the U.S. military.
In the event of a nuclear or terrorist attack while the president at his Camp David, a special squadron of helicopters, the First Helicopter Squadron, under the code-name “Mussel,” will transport the president and senior administration officials to the safety of Raven Rock. But it is also believed that there is a secret tunnel linking Camp David with Raven Rock.
Another secret underground facility, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), is located beneath the north lawn of the White House.
The First Helicopter Squadron is also charged with the responsibility of transporting members of Congress and their essential staff to safety in the event of a nuclear or terrorist attack on Washington.
Graff’s book explores ongoing massive effort by the U.S. government, under COG, to maintain and upgrade the bunkers scattered across the country. The U.S. government is reportedly spending billions of dollars to upgrade the facilities.
The Raven Rock facility, for instance, was first constructed in 1953 with 100,000 square feet of space for about 1,400 people. It was equipped with 340-ton blast doors and 1,000-feet-long tunnels to protect the occupants from the full force of a massive nuclear bomb blast.
The facility has reportedly undergone several renovations since it was first constructed in 1953. After the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the facility was expanded from 100,000 square feet to 900,000 square feet to hold up to 5,000 people.
The intensity of the commitment to maintaining and upgrading the facilities reveals the determination of the political elite to survive the consequences of decisions they make that could spell doom for the rest of us.
Another major doomsday bunker is Peters Mountain, located in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. The facility, buried beneath the Appalachian Mountains, is disguised to look like an AT&T communications station. But it is, in fact, a government doomsday bunker designed to hold a few thousand government officials.
Other doomsday bunkers include the Mount Weather bunker in Bluemont, Virginia. The facility is designed to hold the country’s civilian leaders, including senior congressional leaders and members of the Supreme Court. There is a list of more than 6,500 names and addresses of the people who will be sheltered at the facility in the event of a major disaster. The facility has undergone several renovations to strengthen and expand it since 9/11.
Although all government built bunkers are designed to hold only government officials and employees, a parallel industry dedicated to providing disaster shelter for wealthy private individuals will ensure that government officials enter their survival bunkers confident that their families will also survive, while the rest of us die.
Thousands of wealthy private groups and individuals have built their own survival bunkers or purchased space in one for their families. Recent media reports identified New Zealand as one of the favorite destinations for wealthy members of the Silicon Valley and Wall Street elite who have bought into the hysteria of the survivalist movement.
But observers are decrying the government and private industry to protect the elite from disaster, pointing out that the industry is flourishing at the expense of a comprehensive national disaster relief policy that will benefit everyone, and not only the elite. Providing exclusively for the elite to survive major disaster diverts huge resources from developing an effective disaster relief plan at the national level for all citizens, critics have pointed out.
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