Two experts, Carlin, a former analyst for the CIA and the State Department widely regarded as one of the top experts on North Korea in the world, and Hecker, former director of the Los Alamos Laboratory for over a decade, have just released a suggestion for a deal for North Korea with a surprising element - a United Korea civilian space and nuclear program! It was covered by the Associated Press and their release was run in many news outlets including the NY Times. But their release only describes the first steps of their report and doesn't mention this which I think is one of the most interesting parts of their proposal. Other reports expand on that part of their proposal however, e.g. in Stanford News, Phys.org and the Japan Times.
Their proposal, far from being an obstacle to the peace process, is a potential map for a way forward, suggesting that it can combine elements that satisfy both, the need for immediate measures that Trump wants so much, dramatic gestures, rapid progress but also long term a deal that will last and not lead to problems further down the road. Also managing expectations. Denuclearization is technically demanding, especially once they have tested nuclear weapons so have weapon test sites to clean up and plutonium and uranium processing faciliites to run down or repurpose, and a large body of thousands of scientists trained in missile and nuclear technology who would be a security concern if they dispersed to other nations. In the process it also uses civilian space as a way for the two nations to work together, and foster mutual understanding.
What these experts present is a detailed analysis and step by step proposal for denuclearization in a ten year plan. It starts with immediate dramatic reductions in the first years. Their proposal then deals with what is often a vexed question, how to make sure the missile experts and nuclear experts are kept employed at the end of the program and don't disperse to other nuclear and missile programs worldwide? It also helps with verification and the complex process of denuclearization which includes cleaning up test sites and facilities, a technically challenging job made much easier if the experts involved in developing them are part of the denuclearization process. It also helps with longer term security and should be popular with both Koreas as through mutal co-operation it helps advance their path towards a peaceful unified Korea which is the top objective for both Moon and Kim. Again that may surprise you, and I'll go into some of the background to it and how it relates to this suggestion.
I was especially interested to see it as I touched on this idea back in March in my For Trump Kim Talks: How's About A Combined Civilian Space Program As A Route To Reunification Of Korea? though not to that level of detail. I just noticed as a space geek that both South and North Korea have strong aspirations towards civilian space, that the NK seem to be genuine in wanting a civilian space program whatever the original mixed motives, and that both are keen on reunification, so what could be better than a combined space program to help bring the two working peacefully together?
Here are the reports in Stanford News, Phys.org and the Japan Times mentioned in the intro.
- Stanford researchers release risk-management roadmap to denuclearization in North Korea - Stanford News
- Researchers release risk-management roadmap to denuclearization in North Korea - Phys.org
- Trump wants quick North Korean denuclearization, but leading experts say process could take a decade - Japan Times
Before we get to those deatils, let's look at what else we might expect first. So, one thing we will get for sure is a Hollywood style production of the visit. Trump can expect Kim to do the meeting proud if their film makers are given a free hand, as they have been for his meetings with Moon and with Pompeo. It’s not surprising, the North Koreans have been doing this for all of Kim Jong Un’s activities for years now - he goes to talk to workers in a factory in NK and it becomes a Hollywood type experience for the viewers. The background to this is rather interesting, as you can find out from this video:
But what by way of actual substance? Well both Trump and Kim love dramatic gestures. And there are few suggested here in the Associated Press news: Ahead of summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump has lots of options
HAND OVER A NUCLEAR WEAPON IN PERSON - OR SEVERAL
We all know he has them. It would be purely symbolic - but if he were to hand over even one nuclear weapon to some third party (not necessarily Trump), that would be an amazing photo op. The Associated Press comment that they may not wish to do that so soon, as it would reveal some of their technology. But on the other hand, for the same reason - if they want to do a good will gesture, what better way to do it?
There is a problem here, Singapore is in a nuclear weapons free zone. Singapore surely won't want to be seen as in control of nuclear weapons even momentarily as hosts for such an event.
But that's hardly going to stop it if they want to do this. maybe they could agree to Kim handing a bomb over in the near future in the NK / SK demilitarized zone?
Though that's surely dramatic enough, perhaps it's one of the less likely things to happen. But, we can expect some major concession right away. E.g. to agree to shut down its plutonium production plant completely. Perhaps also shut down its weapons grade highly enriched uranium reprocessing too, all with inspections by the UAEA, as is usual for such agreements, to verify it was done correctly. As a first step. These would not just be gestures but real progress, but something both sides can show to their citizens and the world, right away to show that it is a remarkable deal already.
Since Trump said he won't meet unless there is going to be real progress - that's an easy guess, that there will be real progress :). So long as once met, they follow through and get on, that much is assured that there is going to be some major step at least.
DETAILED ROAD MAP SUGGESTED BY EXPERTS WITH UNITED KOREA CIVILIAN SPACE AND NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Of course we have no idea what they are working on right now behind the scenes. We may all be surprised. But, two experts have come up with a detailed plan which they have just published and it seems as good a guess as any of what they might do. Quoting from the Associated Press
“Hecker was director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986 until 1997, has visited the North seven times and inspected its nuclear facilities first-hand. Carlin has worked as an analyst for both the State Department and CIA and is widely regarded as one of the top North Korea experts in the world.”
Their plan is here. And one idea may surprise you at first, the idea that a key element might be a unified Korea space program, if North Korea are reluctant to give up their civilian space program, as they well might be.. Why would that help?
The background is that both Koreas are proud of their civilian space program, and North Korea exceptionally so. Kim has made a huge emphasis on the way they are breaking into the civilian space. It was the first of his list of “Technological breakthroughs” that he proudly announced to the people of North Korea in his New Year’s address:
“Our resourceful, talented scientists and technicians, following the successful launch of the earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong 4, succeeded in the static firing test of new-type high-thrust motor of the launch vehicle for a geostationary satellite. By doing so, they have opened up a broad avenue to the exploration of outer space. Also, they established fully-automated, model production systems of our own style, bred high-yielding strains with a view to ramping up agricultural production and achieved other laudable scientific and technological breakthroughs one after another. All this will be of great significance in developing the country's economy and improving the people's livelihood. “
This is something few countries can do - increasingly many of course but it is still a select club. Especially to get satellites into Geostationary Orbit - that's high enough to orbit Earth once a day instead of once every 90 minutes and so hover over a single site. It's much higher, 36,000 km, more than a tenth of the way to the Moon. And something that can attract them business too.
South Korea already has a civilian space program, and even a space port, their Naro Space Center , although with only one satellite launched from SK. A future where NK and SK co-operate on civilian space, in a jointly run operation would actually bring to South Korea technical expertise they don't have yet. And the South Korean spaceport would give them access to a launch site closer to the equator which has advantages for launching satellites into LEO, and of course the South Koreans have major expertise in this area too.
Naro-1 - South Korea’s own native rocket which launches from their Naro Space Center (34°26' N 127°32' E).- so far it has had only one successful launch and put a satellite into orbit.
North Korea have put two satellites into orbit successfully. Kwangmyongsong-3 Unit 2 and Kwangmyongsong-4 as part of their Kwangmyongsong program launched from the Sohai Satellite Launching Station (39.66°N 124.705°E).
So of course - the North Koreans have been accused of just launching their satellites as a cover to develop missile technology. And there may be some truth in that. It was after the first one, when they were accused of using it as a cover up for developing ICBMs that they finally withdrew from the last peace talks. Then of course went on to develop their program towards ICBM’s. That doesn’t prove or disprove the idea that their original motivation was to develop an ICBM. Perhaps their motivation for it was mixed.
But however mixed their motivation is, they do have a lot of pride in their civilian space program. I’ll quote first and then comment on what I see as the key points of this part of their suggestion.
- "If the North insists on retaining civilian nuclear programs and peaceful space access, the incremental risk posed by these can be managed if adequate verification measures can be developed. Although an electricity-producing light water reactor can potentially be diverted to plutonium production and a medical isotope research reactor can do the same, the risks are manageable. They are less than those posed by North Korea’s current plutonium production reactor. Likewise for space launch vehicles. These under proper verification protocols will not advance the North’s ICBM program nearly as much as the current missile buildup."
- "An agreement to have North Korea retain a civilian nuclear program and peaceful space program also solves the nuclear and missile personnel redirection issue. In addition to transitioning to civilian activities, the technical staff can help to decommission and clean up the facilities dedicated to the weapons program. One can envision a professional staff reorientation along the lines of the Nunn-Lugar program with Russia."
- "The future of the uranium centrifuge program will also need to be determined. Currently it is believed to be dedicated primarily to producing weapon-grade HEU (Highly Enriched Uranium). However, under proper verification procedures, it could be restricted to producing LEU (Low Enriched Uranium) for light water reactors and be adequately verified."
- "We also suggest that the best verification measures will result from cooperative civilian nuclear programs and space programs. That is, pursuing these ventures cooperatively between North Korea, South Korea and the US (perhaps later with others) will provide a presence of technical personnel at the North’s facilities that will greatly improve attaining adequate verification."
So - the idea is basically
- They can retain this space program they are so proud of, if they agree to verification to make sure it can’t be used to improve on missile technology. As part of a phased withdrawal, then turning the military into a civilian project is a major first step. They do the same thing with their nuclear missiles program, turn it into a light water reactor nuclear power generation program. It doesn’t get rid of all the issues, but it begins to move more in the direction of denuclearization away from the current situation where they can develop nuclear weapons and missiles at full pelt. It’s like - if you are driving fast down the wrong road at 70 mph, and want to turn back, before you can do that, decelerating is a good idea. :). Once you’ve stopped you can do a 3 point turn or a U turn if permitted and then go back the way you came.
- If the nuclear program is just dismantled, you end up with a lot of unemployed North Korean nuclear weapons experts looking for jobs - OOPS - and nobody employed left who is expert about what they did left working in NK - or they have moved to other jobs there - because everyone who knows what they did has lost their jobs. So - far better to have a retraining program, retrain the nuclear experts to be able to help with decommissioning and cleaning up nuclear test sites and nuclear facilities. That's likely to be a long and difficult job, to do it safely and thoroughly. Worthwhile, intellectually challenging, and useful.
- With the centrifuge facility, rather than destroy it, turn it from one to make weapons grade uranium to one that makes uranium suitable for civilian reactors.
- Cooperative North and South Korean civil, nuclear and missile programs mean you have lots of expert South Korean technical staff at the North Korean facilities - what’s more they all speak Korean too (the don’t mention that in the report but the two Koreans still speak enough of the same language to be mutually intelligible). That’s going to help a lot with verification.
They have put this into their detailed proposal. The civilian programs don’t start right away. First thing they have is immediate suspension of all space programs. But not destruction of their civilian space capability. Just mothballing it temporarily. Also mothball the nuclear enrichment too
They then propose big gestures to get it started like the Associated Press article suggests. Their suggestion is to immediately disable their reactor that they use to make Plutonium. This is that part of the report quoted:
“ To make it attractive to the Trump administration, which has stated its desire to denuclearize completely and quickly, it will be important for North Korea to front-end load as much of the denuclearization process as possible. The May 24 demolition of the nuclear test site is one such example. It moves the nuclear testing actions from the long term to the immediate term. We believe several similar moves such as disabling the plutonium-production reactor could be achieved during or before a summit (assuming one will occur)”
So - they think that could be done very quickly. They might announce during the summit that it has happened already or is happening as they talk. What’s more several similar such things could be done at the same time. That would be dramatic, probably enough to satisfy the Trump team as a first stage.
Here is their plan in detail - halting just about everything in the first year. Roll back in years 2–5 , declare and reduce nuclear weapons, join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) agree not to export any of the sensitive technology. And finally, in years 6 to 10, redirect to civilian programs and eliminate all the missiles, sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBC) (agree never to test nuclear weapons), with the whole thing finished in a decade.
Notice how they make sure that all the nuclear and missile scientists who were involved in the North Korean program are fully employed throughout, with no incentive to start up anything clandestine or to emigrate with their know-how to another country, instead they are fully involved in the complex and interesting technical job of denuclearization. If you want to do it properly you probably do need to take a fair while over it. But not only that, they all have secure permanent jobs at the end of the program once the denuclearization is complete.
But you do still have dramatic gestures and not just that, major reductions in capability, in the first year.
I think the commentators suggesting that North Korea could realistically totally denuclearize in a few months are in a fantasy land myself. They would basically have to say to the UAEA
“Just come in and do what you want, go where you want, visit any of our top secret facilities, we will stand around and watch you do it, and after that is over we have lots of unemployed missile and nuclear weapons experts who are also very angry because they have all been sacked ”.
That’s not a good plan. If done like that also, they would be bound to try to hide at least some weapons and technology in case it goes wrong or they hear that the US have some hidden agenda - which is particularly easy to do in their mountainous country which is also riddled with human made tunnels.
The gradual approach but doing big gestures at the start that are actually meaningful too - that can actually work. With far more assurances on both sides than an attempt to do it all in a few months. And there is another benefit of this approach that they don’t mention but a big thing for NK and SK.
NORTH KOREA DESIRE FOR REUNIFICATION WITH SOUTH KOREA
Both countries have right at the top of their list of priorities, reunification. There are differences of views in SK with not all keen on it, but many are, probably the majority and especially amongst older folk - but it is one of the top things South Koreans talk about in politics. In North Korea just about everyone is dead keen on it. Not conquest. They don't want to go back to a rerun of the Korean war, no way. But on peaceful reunification.
This is a central thing for both Koreas and part of their unique perspective. They both see Korea as split by the Korean war and they want reunification as a single nation.
This has got more attention since the Winter Olympics but I think few realize quite how deep this runs in NK politics. North Korea do not see themselves as communist, and this desire of reunification is part of their basic philosophy and politics.
BACKGROUND OF THE KOREAN WAR WHICH BOTH KOREAS SEE AS SPLITTING THEM APART
They see North and South Korea as split by the war in the 1950s, horrible horrible war as it was, especially in North Korea. It started off ethically, with US military commanders refusing to attack any towns unless you could avoid harm to civilians. But as sometimes happens in a long drawn out war, the ethics gradually got eroded as it went on without the US winning. Towards the end of that war, the United States bombers had given up any attempt at following the 4 Basic Principles of the Law of Armed Conflict - of distinction of military and civilian targets, that the civilian impact is proportional to the military gain, that there has to be a military necessity for it, and avoiding unnecessary suffering. They abandoned all of that, as happened also in WW2 towards the end, when the UK did the horrible horrible carpet bombing of Dresden, killing 40,000 old people, women, children etc in a fire caused by bombs in a single night, with no military targets in the region at all.
Similarly in North Korea, they just bombed houses in cities, towns and villages to the point where North Koreans had to live in tunnels to survive, and the chance of dying was similar to that of a soldier in the trenches in WW2.
I actually think that the US could do a major gesture of its own, though I don’t expect it, to apologize. Not for the war, not for fighting against the North Koreans. That's just warfare. But for their major breaches of the basic principles of the law of armed conflict. War crimes basically. I also think the UK should do that too with Germany. There was a proposal in 2004 for our Queen - who is a kind of symbolic head - to apologize. She never speak her own views, by convention, on politics. Her speeches to Parliament are prepared speeches written by the government in power that she just reads out. Anyway so she would apologize for our government, technically“her” government. It was discussed a bit but nothing came of it. Though the Archbishop of Canterbury did express his sincere and deep regret (but not apology). That would be something too.
It’s just an idea. An apology can do a lot towards healing some old wounds like this. But I don’t expect this to happen :). Countries find it hard to do. Just a thought.
KIM BRINGING HIS PEOPLE AROUND TO PEACE WITH THE US
Anyway, with this background - it is actually a remarkable thing that Kim is bringIng his people around to learning they need to make peace with the United States.
This is a covert interview the BBC had - they don’t disclose how, with a market trader in North Koreahttps://twitter.com/VictoriaLIVE/status/1001728339193810944
Quoting from the article which also has some of the text of the video:
By speaking out, market trader Sun Hui - not her real name - knows she is putting her life at risk.
"Mostly, people criticise Kim Jong-un for being a businessman," she says, reflecting wider discontent.
"People say that he acts the same as us, but takes away our money.
"[They say] the little man uses his head to suck up money like a little vampire."
"I've heard at the market that the president of the US is coming," Sun Hui says.
"People don't know much about the meeting," she continues, "but everyone dislikes America.
"We say the reason for us living in poverty is because America split us and sealed us off [from South Korea]."
"But things are changing a little recently,"
"They say we should get along with the South.
"Recently they say we should be living in peace with America, for everyone to have a better life."
NORTH AND SOUTH BOTH WANT TO HEAL THE PAST - ESPECIALLY THE NORTH
Well - both South and North Korea see that as a past they want to heal. Especially the older South Koreans. Moon is very keen on that. They want the border to go, to become a single country. There are families split by the war, young children, siblings, become old people who never saw each other, don’t even know if their brother or sister in North Korea is still alive or what happened to them if not. In the other direction, people who defected who can’t return to NK.
The North Koreans if nothing else are industrial. They work very hard. Given the opportunity they can become a country like South Korea which is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, not far off Japan.
What’s more North Korea has vast amounts of mineral wealth. It’s a great frustration for Kim that his people are resistant to change and resistant to trying out new ideas that might fail. He is trying to change this with propaganda, but they are using old fashioned ways of extracting the minerals. Both North and South stand to benefit a lot from working together on that.
So, there is more potential there than you might think. And many South Koreans want the same thing. It's going to be very expensive for them, full reunification, perhaps a trillion dollars, which North Korea can't be expected to find - but they are a wealthy country and can afford the cost of reunification. Much like reunification of Germany. They will benefit a lot from a united Korea long term.They have ideas for a special tax to pay for it.
How that can happen with a totalitarian state in the North based on a strange version of Confucianism called “Chendoism” with the aim to bring about an ideal order in the current life - and South Korea with its major religion Christianity, Buddhism second and oldest religion and many of them having no religious affiliation - and very different politics based on democracy and capitalism?
It’s hard to imagine how it would work.
However, in a survey of 100 North Koreans who were visiting China on business or to visit relatives, then a surprising picture emerges. Only a minority want a country unified under the North Korean government. Nearly all think it will be a peaceful process and not the result of collapse of their government. But most think it will be either a mixed system of government or the South Korean political system extended to North Korea.
The article is here: Korean Reunification: The View From the North
Few of them have degrees - so they are not the intellectual elite of NK, just ordinary folk - and not defectors so not people of unusual views either. The main thing they may have that sets them out from their compatriots is that they do have some exposure to conditions outside their country. The author of the article describes these results as "startling".
Korean unification flag which has been flown on several occasions when the two Koreas participated as one team in sporting events. For instance both countries usually walk in together under the same flag during the Olympic opening ceremonies, even though they then go on to compete separately
Also interestingly - China is keen on reunification too, so long as the unified Korea is not hostile to China. They don't require it to be an ally. just not hostile to them - and that the foreign powers withdraw from any military involvement in Korea after reunification.
North Korea is not particularly close to China. The opposite really, their main aim is to be independent of China and any other country, as part of a unified Korea. That’s become so strong, it's their political philosophy, what North Korean kids learn at school. It’s not communism. At least they would not call themselves communist. .
This is how the NewsWeek article puts it in Is North Korea Communist?:
“There are two ways of looking at a place: There is what it calls itself, and there is what analysts or journalists want to say a place is,” Owen Miller, who lectures in Korean history and culture at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), told Newsweek.
“On neither of those counts is North Korea Communist. It doesn’t call itself Communist—it doesn’t use the Korean word for Communist. It uses the word for socialism but decreasingly, less and less over the decades.”
The state’s official ideology is juche, a Sino-Korean word used in both North and South Korea that roughly translates as “independence, or the independent status of a subject,” according to Miller.
“Juche is enshrined in North Korea’s constitution, explicated in thousands of propaganda texts and books, while teachers indoctrinate North Korean children with the ideology at an early age.
The concept evolved in the 1950s, in the wake of the Korean War, as North Korea sought to distance itself from the influence of the big socialist powers: Russia and China. However the concept has a more profound resonance for North Koreans, alluding to the centuries when Korea was a vassal state of the Chinese.
“When Kim Il Sung started using the word, he was using [it] to refer to this sense of injured pride, going back decades and much further, hundreds of years under Chinese control. He is saying North Korea is going to be an independent nation in the world, independent of other nations,” Miller says.”
I talk a bit about their religion here Tense situation concerning North Korea by Robert Walker on Debunking Doomsday
We must not forget other countries. Japan particularly, naturally enough, wants to make sure that there is attention to its medium range ballistic missiles which can hit Japan, it has already fired over Japan into the sea beyond it. They can't get to the US and they worry it may not be a top priority in the summit.
It will be no surprise if there is some condition in the agreement to ensure that this is addressed quickly too.
See also (in my Debunking Doomsday blog)
- What if the Kim Trump meeting goes wrong? Preparations behind the scenes
- Kim Trump meeting back on track for 12th June - surprise NK announcement, Moon return visit to Kim in NK, and warm response by Trump
I have lived through several major political changes in my life that were really sudden, like the end of Apartheid in my mid 30s. Within a few years, suddenly, it was all gone. No apartheid in South Africa any more. Hard to believe it ever happened.
Just before that, the one that is being aired a lot on the News is the end of the cold war, started with President Reagen meeting with Gorbachov and their chemistry really worked well which is part of helped make it such a success.
It’s not impossible that Trump and Kim find some kind of rapport too. They may have more in common than they realize. The chemistry makes a big difference.
None of this is to say that Kim is a “nice guy” and his country has significant human rights issues. But it is more about the direction he is moving and his country is moving than where they are right now. And the direction they are going is in a direction potentially of huge change.
It’s far too soon to say, but it’s not impossible we are headed for something like the end of the cold war, on a smaller scale in Korea.
But there are lessons from the cold war too. As the USSR broke up, the US did not give Russia as much support as it could. That may have been a factor leading to loss of standing of Gorbachov - seen to have given away too much, and the coup that ended his government and the eventual rise of Putin quite possibly in response to those issues with the US and Russia. With the cold war over, the US may have been a bit dismissive. Whether that's true objectively or not, it's the narrative that Putin presents over and over in his talks About how the US treated it as a small unworthy fragment of the once huge USSR and it responded by proving to the world that it is still big and powerful to the surprise of the US by developing its nuclear weapons again. Who knows where we would be now if Gorbachov had had a bit more support in material ways from the U.S.
That’s a bit of a simplified way of speaking about it I know.And you can never be sure about these "What If's". Roll back and restart history and somehow avoid that and who knows, it might have been much worse in some other unexpected way. But - it’s possible that the situation between the East and West could have been easier if Russia had been given more support at the end of the cold war.
In the same way North Korea needs as much support as it can to go in this direction of denuclearization as something it agrees to gladly and fully. One way is to keep it a proud country, let it keep its civilian space and nuclear program, and support both Koreas in the direction of reunification that they both want to go. And - this is something they can achieve. It may seem impossible. But they don’t have to do it all overnight.
A combined civilian nuclear and space program would be a really major first step towards reunification. Not just some North Korean workers doing grunt work in an industrial site with the high paid jobs by South Koreans as happened in a previous attempted initiative. But both co-operating together in a project that uses the highest levels of technological expertise NK has to offer, which in the area of civilian space is at least equal to that of SK. And indeed, something to be proud of and a testament to their industry.
And reunification of course is also a powerful step towards security - far more reassuring than the US just saying they will be left alone, if they are joining in increasingly ambitious and far reaching programs with South Korea.
We need to make it a major “win win win” situation for North Korea, South Korea, US, China, and Japan. That way then it’s far more secure. If's far more certain all the countries involved stick with it.
I was especially interested to see this idea because I suggested the idea of a united Korea space program myself back in March:
- For Trump Kim Talks: How's About A Combined Civilian Space Program As A Route To Reunification Of Korea?
It's not worked out in the same detail of course, and the basic idea is surely not an original one - but I couldn't find anyone else suggesting it which is why I blogged about it back then. It was great to see what the same idea looks like worked through in detail by experts :).
DOOMSDAY DEBUNKED ARTICLE
This is part of the series of articles I write to help people who are scared of various sensationalized doomsday scenarios - sometimes to the point of being suicidal. Often young children still at school, early teens, who are terrified the world will be destroyed by a nuclear war, hit by an asteroid or they find junk stories saying it is going to be hit by a planet or an entire solar system in the next week or month or whatever. And many other bizarre things you wouldn't believe if you haven't seen them - which go right to the top of Google News. To them reading it on their mobile device, it is just "news" especially to the more naive and young ones. It's just awful what this flood of fake doomsday news is doing for them. Young children not able to study, can't concentrate at school, as soon as they go home they want to spend all their time searching for these stories, lose friends often end up needing treatment by health professionals, getting obsessed about these fears they can't shake off, many end up suicidal.
Any journalists reading this, or anyone to do with Google News, Apple News, Facebook Trending, or the decisions about which channels and videos can run ads on YouTube - do give attention to these people, you can make a huge difference by changing some of your policies. And the same also for sensationalist stories in the mainstream press too.
If you bear in mind that some of your readers may be young teenagers as young as 13 and we hear of others even younger, eight year olds who have got terrified of a "news" story. Not even been reading for long. Bear in mind there may be a reader like that who is on the point of suicide reading your story, and you may moderate the tone a little. Just a bit less hyperbole. At that age especially, but also many adults too, are not good at detecting hyperbole - like saying "I could eat a horse". They read a story saying the US could be turned into radioactive dust in a nuclear war - and they think that is literally what is meant, the entire country become radioactive dust. They read a story about the Doomsday Clock - you wouldn't begin to guess how much that is misunderstood, thinking that 2 minutes to Doomsday means a literal end of the world that could happen within 2 minutes at any time. It is just because of use of vivid metaphors and hyperbole. This BTW is my Doomsday clock debunk, one of the most misunderstood announcements in the non sensationalist press amongst young children:
Anyway more of my debunks here:
More debunks: List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date (List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date. by Robert Walker on Science 2.0 posts)
Search the debunks using e.g. site:Debunking Doomsday Nibiru - Google Search (site:debunkingdoomsday.quora.com Nibiru - Google Search)
Twitter feed: DoomsdayDebunked (@DoomsdayDebunks) | Twitter (DoomsdayDebunked (@DoomsdayDebunks) | Twitter)
Facebook group Doomsday Debunked (Doomsday Debunked) has been set up to help anyone who is scared by these fake doomsdays.
TOP NEWS WITHOUT THE FAKE SENSATIONALIST NONSENSE
I’ve done a custom search engine to search top mainstream reputable news sites. Various versions, see:
Search Top News (Search Top News)
You can also make your own custom search engines like that - easy to do in Google, I explain how I did it in New: Google News Without All The Nonsense - Top Astronomy News - Top Space Mission News - Top Science News - Top News (New: Google News Without All The Nonsense - Top Astronomy News - Top Space Mission News - Top Science News - Top News by Robert Walker on Debunking Doomsday)
IF YOU NEED HELP
If you are suicidal don’t forget there’s always help a phone call away with the List of suicide crisis lines - Wikipedia (List of suicide crisis lines - Wikipedia)
SEVEN TIPS FOR DEALING WITH DOOMSDAY FEARS
If you are scared: Seven tips for dealing with doomsday fears (Seven tips for dealing with doomsday fears by Robert Walker on Debunking Doomsday) which also talks about health professionals and how they can help.
Do message me on Quora or PM me on Facebook if you need help. There are several others in the group who are available to support scared people via PM and who can post debunks to the group. See our debunkers list. (debunkers list)