B.A., B.A. Honours, M.A., PhD

Chief Operating Office, Visa Services Canada, Inc.

Political Scientist, Policy Advisor, Military-Strategic Researcher/Writer

Winner of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada

John (r) and Khadir Hamza (l), the father of the Iraqi atomic bomb, at MIT, 2001.

Dr. Clearwater is the chief operating officer of Visa Services Canada, Inc., and works from their head office in Ottawa. VSC is a diplomatic service company handling business and tourist visas for Canadians and people resident in Canada. (VSC) Visa Services Canada, Inc. is the proud Canadian member of the global visa company alliance PVS Global.

John was born in Winnipeg on 08 February and completed his International Baccalaureate programme in Canada and Wales. He won the Member of Parliament prize for politics/history upon his high school graduation, and then completed four years of undergraduate study at the University of Winnipeg. He was immediately accepted into Dalhousie University for his Master's degree in Soviet and Canadian military policy and nuclear weapons doctrine.

John then worked for Air Command Headquarters as an analyst and engineering historian before moving to Europe to do doctoral work at the War Studies Department of King's College London. Under the guidance of Sir Lawrence Freedman, John wrote and defended The Birth of Strategic Arms Control. His Ph.D. thesis has been published under the title Johnson, McNamara, and the Birth of SALT and the ABM Treaty, which has since been used as a university textbook.

Upon returning from London to Ottawa in 1994, his interest in nuclear weapons in Canada was rekindled, and he began an intensive effort to have the files from the 1950s through 1980s declassified and released by various departments and agencies. His first book, Canadian Nuclear Weapons, remains the only comprehensive reference work on the subject, and was the basis for two television documentaries. It was at this time that he was employed a senior analyst at National Defence Headquarters, and became a recognized specialist in Access to Information matters.

After leaving DND he wrote and published his third book, U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Canada, which in concert with the first became the basis for a CPAC documentary. John then became the editor-in-chief of the prestigious Arms Control Reporter international monthly journal in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He subsequently returned to Ottawa where he ran Clearwater Consulting and provided process improvement advice to the federal government.

His next big move was to Abu Dhabi where he acted as a temporary strategic policy advisor to the government of the United Arab Emirates. Since his return to Canada John has worked on contract for the departments of National Defence, Foreign Affairs, Public Works, Indian Residential Schools Resolution, and the Gomery Royal Commission. A short biography appears in the Canadian Who's Who (ongoing editions), and Who's Who (USA 2003, 2004, 2005).

His new museum exhibit, entitled LOST NUKE, premiered at the Vancouver Museum on 19 November 2004 in concert with the Discovery Channel documentary of the same name. John led the 2003 museum expedition into the mountains of British Columbia to discover the secrets of the world's first Broken Arrow: the loss by a B-36 bomber of a Mk-4 atomic bomb in February 1950. He also wrote a feature article about the incident and expedition for the November/December 2004 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. His new book on the subject, entitled Broken Arrow #1 was released in January 2009. The museum display premiered at the Vancouver Museum, and moved to both Edmonton and Winnipeg's famed Western Canada Aviation Museum. In July 2007 it opened in the Governor General's suite at the Diefenbunker, Canada's Cold War Museum. The remade documentary LOST NUKE will be released in the USA on 24 February 2009 on National Geographic Channel.

In January 2006 John moved to Cambodia to take up a temporary posting as the new visiting professor of political science in the philosophy and history departments at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He taught concepts of civil society and international relations to undergraduate students, and lead a master's seminar in human rights for professors seeking to upgrade to an M.A. To recuperate from the project he and his lovely wife Pamela sailed around the world for the first half of 2007.

In January 2007 he delivered the final report on the investigation into radiated Canadian soldiers to the Minister of National Defence. This special study was commissioned by DND to examine the events involving nearly 1000 soldiers taking part in open-air nuclear weapons tests with the USA and UK. The report was declassified for the media and appeared in the national press on Monday 18 June 2007. Copies of the complete report, listing names of soldiers, are available from DND.

Dr. Clearwater became the chief operating officer of Visa Services Canada, Inc. in 2007, and works from their head office in Ottawa. VSC is a diplomatic service company handling business and tourist visas for Canadians and people resident in Canada. (VSC)

John and his wife are on the board of directors of the Cambodian-based NGO "Life and Hope Association", run by monks at Wat Damnak in Siem Reap Cambodia. The LHA helps vulnerable children, orphans, girls, and land-mine victims achieve a normal and positive life. Please donate to the LHA: help make a better tomorrow for someone today. (LHA)

John was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada in 2012; specifically for his work in nuclear weapons, arms control and national security, and assistance to nuclear veterans.

John spends his time lecturing, writing, ship building, and petting cats.


Broken Arrow #1, The World's First Lost Atomic Bomb is an easily accessible review, with lots of photographs, of the world's first lost atomic bomb accident. (Broken Arrow #1) Using declassified documents; never-before seen photographs; and original testimony, the book shows what happened to the Mk4 atomic bomb lost over the coast of British Columbia in February 1950. Also included are records of the search and rescue operations and the 2003 expedition to recover artifacts. Look for a copy at your local bookstore, or ask them to stock it, in January 2009. The book is also available in paper and electronic formats directly from Hancock House Publishers. Watch the remade documentary LOST NUKE premiering in February 2009 on National Geographic Channel.

Just Dummies: Cruise Missile Testing in Canada, ((monograph) University of Calgary Press, 2006, ISBN 1-55238-211-7) is the last in his trilogy of books on nuclear weapons in Canada. (Just Dummies) The work examines, using newly released and declassified documents, the machinery of government and how cruise missiles came to be tested in Canada. Clearwater tells the story in great detail beginning in the late 1970s and brings the reader right up to today with details on continued cooperation with nuclear weapons systems since the end of cruise missile testing in 1994. Also included are details of each test and of the protests that rocked the country for a decade. Look for a copy at your local bookstore, or ask them to stock it. See cover picture at bottom of page. Released Monday 06 November 2006.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Canada, (monograph) Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2000. This is the only reference work detailing almost everything one would need to know about the deployment of nuclear weapons by United States' forces in Canada from 1950 through 1984.

Johnson, McNamara and the Birth of SALT and the ABM Treaty, (monograph) Dissertation Press. Florida, 1999. (LBJ) The work is the definitive study of the birth of bilateral strategic arms control prior to the initiation of the SALT process, and of the importance of the initial ABM negotiations. This book has been used as a university text.

Canadian Nuclear Weapons, (monograph) Dundurn Press, Toronto, 1998. This is the only reference work detailing almost everything one would need to know about the deployment of nuclear weapons by Canadian forces from 1963 through 1984. Almost all of the information was a closely-guarded state secret until publication of the book brought it all into the open.

Arms Control Reporter, (editor-in-chief, journal) IDDS, Cambridge, 2000-2001. ACR is the gold-standard monthly reference work on all aspects of international arms control and proliferation.


PhD King's College, University of London, UK. 1996. War Studies Department. Supervisor: Dr. Lawrence Freedman. Thesis: The Birth of Strategic Arms Control During the Johnson Administration.

MA Dalhousie University, Halifax, 1990. Political Science/International Relations. Thesis: The Evolution of Soviet Military Doctrine in Regards the Atomic Bomb.

BA (Honours) University of Winnipeg, 1988. Political Science.

BA University of Winnipeg, 1987. Political Science.

IB (Certificates) International Baccalaureate, Canada and Wales, 1984.


Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada in the field of nuclear weapons, arms control, and national security.

Merit Award from the federal government for exceptional and efficient teamwork in the public service of Canada.

Moody Grant from Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library for the pursuit of doctoral research in Presidential studies.

War Studies Department, King's College London, grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

Barton Award from Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security (CIIPS), to pursue doctoral work on international arms control.


Writer and chief nuclear weapons consultant on TV documentary now in the research phase.

Chief cold war consultant on CBC (French) documentary on Enquete entitled Les Camps Secrets du Canada about the secret RCMP plans to put thousands of Canadians in concentration camps for political reasons between 1945 and 1984. (premiered 14 October 2010)

Consultant on CBC (English) documentary on 5th Estate entitled Enemies of the State which was a remake of the Enquete programme above, about the secret RCMP plans to put thousands of Canadians in concentration camps for political reasons between 1945 and 1984. CBC English has yet to provide credit to me for the discovery of the records and the background information provided to CBC, unlike that provided by the honourable French CBC Enquete producers. (premiered 15 October 2010)

Chief nuclear weapon consultant on Airplane Channel documentary ATOMIC POWERED AIRPLANE about the nuclear B-36 programme, 2009.

Chief nuclear weapon consultant on US National Geographic Channel remake of LOST NUKE detailing the world's first Broken Arrow (premiered February 2009).

Chief nuclear weapon consultant on Discovery Channel Canada's LOST NUKE detailing the world's first Broken Arrow with MythMerchant Films of Alberta (premiered November 2004). In August and September 2003 John led a museum and TV documentary expedition into the mountains of northern British Columbia to recover nuclear weapons artifacts from the site of the world's first Broken Arrow for the Discovery Channel Canada documentary "Lost Nuke". (Expedition Diary 2003)

Consultant on nuclear weapons accidents for the CNN (Atlanta) CD-ROM accompanying the Cold War television series.

Consultant on recent nuclear history for a music video series done by Pop Up Videos of New York.

Consultant on nuclear weapons and air force issues to the Paramount Pictures production of the movie version of Tom Clancey's novel The Sum of All Fears.

CBC National Magazine aired a full-length television documentary based on the first book. This film was based on a French language CBC documentary.

Canada's History with the Bomb (2001) was made by C-PAC based on the nuclear weapons in Canada series.


John has recently traveled to various interesting locations, including:

In April 2014 John and Pamela visited Iqaluit for the Inuit games and Toonik Tyme cultural festival.

In December 2013 John and Pamela hiked the mountains of the Commonwealth of Dominica; and then spent Christmas on the volcanic island of Montserrat.

In August 2013 John and Pamela visited university friends in Seoul, Rep of Korea; then flew on to visit Beijing and took the train to Xi'an in China.

In December 2012 John and Pamela sailed on the world's largest sailing ship, the five-masted "Royal Clipper", from Barbados through various islands in the Caribbean.

In October 2012 John and Pamela travelled by train to Halifax for Thanksgiving and to watch for moose.

In December 2011 John and Pamela travelled to Provo, Turks & Caicos Islands for a Christmas/New Year holiday.

In January 2011 John and Pamela travelled to St. George's Bermuda for her birthday; and in April holidayed in Cayman Islands and swam with stingrays. John took Pam on a secret destination journey to Halifax for Canada Day, then surprised her with a train ride home in a private cabin.

In June/July 2010 John and Pamela travelled first class on a voyage from New York to Halifax and Boston on the QM2.

In February 2008 John took Pamela on a birthday cruise from New York to the Bahamas on the QM2. (Birthday Cruise)

You can buy a copy of the new book about our 108-day "around the world" voyage in early 2007 on the classic ocean liner, the QE2. (World Cruise Book)

In January 2006 John took up a posting to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he was the visiting professor of political science at the Royal University. (Monthly Reports)

In October 2005 John and Pam and their friends and family donated five tonnes of rice to orphans and vulnerable children in Cambodia. See the events here. (rice Donation) This is the only important part of our trip to Cambodia and VIet Nam, and is issued here in place of the usual trip diary which would have been about Phnom Penh, and the archeological wonders around Angkor Wat in Cambodia; and our riverboat trip down the Mekong to Sai Gon in Viet Nam. See the Mekong journey here. (Mekong Journey)

In April 2004 John and Pamela sailed on the inaugural trans-Atlantic voyage of the new Cunarder, the RMS Queen Mary 2, in tandem with the QE2. (Tandem QM2 Diary) (QM2 & QE2) (Queen Mary)

In June 2003 John and Pamela visited Petersburg, Russia, for the 300th anniversary of the city. (Russia 2003 Diary)

In May 2002 John was one of the very few visitors to the DPRK, or "North Korea". (DPRK 2002 Diary) (Koryo Tours)

Visiting the DPRK requires a week in Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China (PRC) , to acquire a visa. (Diary not available)

In February 2002 John and Pamela visited Cuba, and drove through the western half of the island. (Cuba 2002 Diary)

In 2002, John briefly lived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Diary not available)

In January-February 1999, John travelled through the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (SRVN) (Viet Nam 1999 Diary)

In August-September 1997 John took his mother to Ukraine, Russia and Hungary to visit the place where her father was born. (Ukraine-Russia 1997 Diary)


John is a major sponsor of and contributor to the Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum, at Carp, Ontario, near Ottawa. (D-CCWM) Please visit the Diefenbunker and support our overlooked heritage. Do not miss seeing the Mk-43 nuclear weapon on display in the entrance hut. It was a practice shape used for training load crew in the care and ground operation of this one-megaton hydrogen bomb used by the RCAF CF-104 strike units in Europe between 1964 and 1972.

His favourite nuclear weapons museums are the US National Atomic Museum (NAM) in Albuquerque, and the LANL nuclear museum (BSM) at Los Alamos, USA; and the Russian Nuclear Weapons Museum (NWM) at RFNC-VNIIEF in Sarov or Arzamas-16.


John lives in Ottawa, and sometimes in Phnom Penh and Houston.

You may contact him any time via email at:

Broken Arrow #1, The World's First Lost Atomic Bomb

ISBN 0-88839-596-5

160 pp., 67 photos, 26 illustrations, Index

Hancock House Publishers (HH)

Cdn$16.96 sc



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This page updated 08 April 2015.