Quotable

"The moral cost of nuclear armament is that it makes of all of us underwriters of the slaughter of hundreds of millions of people and of the cancellation of future generations." -Jonathan Schell


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Declaring Our Independence From Nuclear Weapons

FOR A NATION TO BE, in the truest sense, patriotic, its citizens must love their land with a knowing, intelligent, sustaining, and protective love. They must not, for any price, destroy its health, its beauty, or its productivity. And they must not allow their patriotism to be degraded to a mere loyalty to symbols or any present set of officials. (Wendell Berry: from A Citizen's Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States of America).

At the end of that same essay Berry says that "If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we now prepare for war."

When it comes to nuclear weapons, Berry's words ring particularly true. We have seen time and time again that our government has no real intention of honoring its commitments to work toward global disarmament under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The lofty rhetoric of President Obama's famous 2009 Prague speech has long since faded away.

It is clear that the only thing that will convince our elected officials to fulfill their legal (and moral) obligations to abolish nuclear weapons is a massive citizen-led movement bringing pressure to bear on every member of Congress and the President.

This movement will require every method of conventional and unconventional (nonviolent) strategies and tactics, including nonviolent civil resistance.


On July 5, 2010, during a large gathering of anti-nuclear activists outside the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 13 resisters walked onto the facility, each one carrying a document declaring independence for nuclear weapons at Y-12.

Here is the final version of the document carried into the Y-12 Complex by the 13 nuclear resisters on this day in 2010. May we all declare our independence from nuclear weapons, and may we do the hard work to abolish these horrific and omnicidal weapons.

Declaration of Independence from Nuclear Weapons at Y-12

The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 indicted a government that engaged in barbaric conduct contrary to the laws of Humanity that included "works of death, destruction and tyranny unparalleled in the most barbaric ages" until the Age of Now!

Current Law requires an end to all planning, preparation, production, threat, or use of nuclear weapons and adherence to the fundamental rules and principles of Humanitarian Law.

The cardinal rules and principles of humanitarian law require that civilians never be the object of attack and prohibit weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and military targets.

The International Court of Justice found that the destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time, and nuclear weapons have the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet.

All W-76 and W-76-1 thermonuclear secondaries produced at Y-12 are designed and intended to unleash 100 KT of uncontrollable and indiscriminate heat, blast and radiation, six times more than the Hiroshima Bomb. Because any threat or use of these weapons is a crime against peace, war crime or crime against humanity any complicity in planning or preparation for threat or use is similarly unlawful.

Under principals of democracy we exercise the right of every citizen of this republic and this planet to peacefully resist the nuclear threat; attacking as it does every core concept of human rights.

We act to exercise our basic rights to life and freedom from violence and we exercise our duty to protect children and future generations.

We act to ensure that our government fulfills its promise and responsibilities to unequivocally pursue and achieve nuclear disarmament in good faith.

We call on this government to end the use of our tax dollars to wage permanent war and demand clean up all chemical and radioactive contamination.

July 4, 2010

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Free Mordechai Vanunu, Israeli Nuclear Weapons Whistleblower

Mordechai Vanunu was a technician in Israel's Negev Nuclear Research Center, south of Dimona, where Israel manufactures its nuclear weapons. Israel neither acknowledges nor denies that it posesses nuclear weapons. Vanunu was laid off in 1985, and in 1986 went to London where, as an act of conscience, revealed his knowledge (with photographs) of Israel's nuclear weapons activities to The Sunday Times of London. He was not paid for the information he provided to The Times.
Mordechai Vanunu

After being lured to Italy - the Israelis had an agreement not to conduct operations in Britain - by an American Mossad agent who had begun an affair with him, Vanunu was drugged, abducted and taken back to Israel by Mossad agents. Shortly after his abduction The Times ran the article based on the information provided by Vanunu, and in it estimated Israel's nuclear arsenal to contain at least 100 warheads (and as many as 200). In a secret trial Vanunu was charged with treason and espionage, and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Even after his release in 2004, Vanunu has been hounded by the Israeli government, has had severe restrictions placed on his travel and contacts, and has been arrested multiple times. To this very day, years after his release and parole, the Israeli government continues to place extreme restrictions on his personal freedom. The government of Israel is, as it does in so many other aspects of its existence, flaunting its obligations under international law and as a "democratic" state.

Amnesty International recognized Vanunu in 2010 as a Prisoner of Conscience, and just this April - 10 years after completing his full sentence - Amnesty issued a statement (which you can read below) calling on the Israeli government to lift the "ludicrous" restrictions on Vanunu.

Click here to learn more about and participate in the campaign to free Mordechai Vanunu!!!


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Amnesty International USA, APRIL 16, 2014

Israel: Lift ‘ludicrous’ restrictions on whistleblower Vanunu decade after release

Ten years after serving a full sentence for his revelations to the press about Israel’s nuclear weapons programme, Mordechai Vanunu still faces severe restrictions that arbitrarily infringe on his freedom of movement, expression and association, said Amnesty International.

The former nuclear technician served an 18-year-prison sentence, the first 11 years of which were in solitary confinement, for disclosing information to journalists about Israel’s nuclear arsenal during the 1980s.

Since his release in 2004, renewable military orders, have placed Mordechai Vanunu under police supervision. Among other things, he is banned from leaving the country and participating in internet chats. He must also seek permission to communicate with any foreign nationals, including journalists.

“The authorities’ continued punishment of Mordechai Vanunu appears to be purely vindictive. The government’s arguments that these severe restrictions are necessary for national security are ludicrous,” said Avner Gidron, Senior Policy Adviser at Amnesty International.

Israeli officials claim that restricting Mordechai Vanunu’s freedom is necessary to prevent him from divulging further secrets about Israel’s nuclear programme. He has, however, repeatedly stated that he revealed all he knew about Israel’s nuclear arsenal in 1986 and that he has no further information. He and his lawyers have also pointed out that the information he had at the time of his imprisonment has now long been in the public domain and is about 30 years out of date.

“The restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu are arbitrary, unnecessary and have no grounds in international law. The continuing restrictions on his liberty have placed a severe strain on his mental and physical health and should immediately be lifted,” said Avner Gidron.

Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to allow Mordechai Vanunu to leave the country if he wishes, and to allow him to exercise his rights to freedom of movement, association and expression while in Israel.

Last December, following an appeal by his lawyer, the High Court of Justice upheld the restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Interior on Mordechai Vanunu, which prevent him from leaving Israel, and ban him from entering a consulate or embassy or coming with 500 meters of international borders, border passages, harbours or airports. And they upheld the requirement that he seek permission before contacting foreign nationals. The current restrictions, which are due for renewal in May 2014, should be lifted immediately.

Mordechai Vanunu is a former technician at Israel's nuclear plant near the southern town of Dimona. He revealed details of the country's nuclear arsenal to the British newspaper, The Sunday Times, in 1986. He was abducted by Israeli secret service (Mossad) agents in Italy on 30 September 1986 and secretly taken to Israel. He was tried and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment.

In May 2010 he was imprisoned for a second time following his release, for three months, after being convicted of breaching his restrictions by speaking to foreigners and attempting to attend Christmas Mass in Bethlehem. Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience. He was held for 11 weeks under harsh conditions in solitary confinement in Ayalon Prison near Ramle in central Israel, in a special unit for dangerous prisoners and was able to leave his cell for only one hour every day. The prison authorities said they decided to place him there in order to protect him from attacks from other inmates.

The restrictions he has been subjected to since 2004 are not parole restrictions since Mordechai Vanunu served his full sentence. They are arbitrary and contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits arbitrary interference in the rights to freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of association and protects individuals from being punished again for the same offence.

Mordechai Vanunu had been previously held by Israel in solitary confinement for 11 years from 1986 in conditions that Amnesty International at the time called cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Facing an Even More Inconvenient Truth on Earth Day

Dear Friends (of the Earth),

Today, on Earth Day, people around the world are recognizing the planet that supports us. More than ever before, there is a recognition that the Earth and its life-giving systems are at (or very close to) a tipping point. There is a louder voice speaking for change... before it is too late to turn back.

And yet, there is an even more inconvenient truth that humanity ignores at its peril - the risk of nuclear war, either accidental or intentional. The question of turning back from the nuclear brink is barely uttered.

Even the most limited use of nuclear weapons in war - as has been documented in studies of limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan - would cause extraordinary environmental devastation and residual effects far beyond anything we would see from any other cause, and the probable collapse of civilization as we know it.

And yet, for all the talk of nuclear terrorism, the greatest risk posed by nuclear weapons is the continued deployment of nuclear weapons by the the United States and Russia on alert status, ready to launch on warning on the command of the president of either nation.

The world still bristles with nuclear weapons. Although we tend to focus on the reductions of global nuclear weapons from their peak (approximately 70,000 during the Cold War) to their current numbers (a little over 17,000), those that remain have extraordinary destructive potential.

For perspective, the warheads carried on Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles deployed on one U.S. OHIO Class (Trident) ballistic missile submarine (currently approximately half the full payload) are enough to destroy an entire continent and leave nothing but a radioactive wasteland.

These horrific weapons, which the U.S., Russia, and other nuclear-armed nations continue to hold up as tools of foreign policy, and for which these countries spend billions of dollars annually, can never be used. The results are unspeakable. Humanity and the Earth that sustains us are held hostage by this nuclear Sword of Damocles.

It is time for people everywhere, and particularly those who work so hard to protect the environment that sustains the balance of life, to call for concrete efforts by the governments of all nations to abolish nuclear weapons.

We have seen all too clearly that our governments, if left to their own devices, do not have the will to tackle these most pressing of problems facing humanity. 

It is up to us as citizens of this small planet to work together using every creative nonviolent method possible to convince our nations' leaders to begin the serious task of disarming and channeling the money wasted on nuclear weapons, and war making in general, to the challenges of building a sustainable world for future generations.

And that is my pledge this Earth Day. Join me.

Toward a sustainable world for all,

Leonard





Sunday, April 13, 2014

Los Alamos Study Group Announces Summer Intensive Action and Training Program

Please read the following important announcement from the Los Alamos Study Group!!!

Study Group summer intensive action and training program announced: “Humanity at the Crossroads: Disarmament, Human Security, and Environmental Sustainability”

Dear friends and colleagues –

In response to multiple and mounting threats to our civilization and the world’s ecosystems, the Study Group is announcing a summer intensive action and training program, which will run from May 26 through August 9 of 2014, our 25th year.

Our primary focus will be on nuclear disarmament, but this summer we will approach this struggle in the wider context of humanity’s converging crises rather than the usual nuclear security, arms control, and narrow “national security” context. While nuclear weapons discourse has largely stalled in the U.S. for a variety of reasons, it is nonetheless clear to us that progress in nuclear disarmament is an essential part of the transformation in national security urgently needed for survival. The “survival” part of the equation is poorly understood.

Over an 11-week period, participants will receive group training and individual mentoring while conducting specific projects for the Los Alamos Study Group and allied organizations in New Mexico and elsewhere.

Each project will make a significant difference and advance prospects for success in nuclear disarmament, climate protection, energy transition, and closely-related issues.

Some projects will have a research and communication focus; others an outreach, networking, and capacity-building focus. We have a suite of projects in mind but will not describe them here. Which projects we tackle will depend on the skills, interests, and experience of the participants. Most but not all projects will have a New Mexico component or emphasis.

This will be a total immersion experience, addressing serious issues. While it won’t be a holiday, there will be an emphasis on teamwork, camaraderie, and on building and deepening connections with allied organizations and the Los Alamos Study Group community. There will be plenty of time to discuss and reflect individually on the issues we are addressing, and our personal responses to them. Evenings, and an average of one weekend day each week, will be free. Work time, not including the mutual work we will do to support the summer’s community of activist-scholars, will average about 50 hours per week.

After the program, most participants will no doubt return to academic studies or to their careers and other responsibilities, enriched we hope by their experience with us. Some may remain, with us or with allied organizations.

The program is open to all adult ages (18 or older). We are aiming for a diversity of ages, skills, and backgrounds. Prior detailed issue knowledge is helpful but not required.

Participants will receive room, board, and (for U.S. citizens or work visa holders) a $500 stipend. Most work will take place at the offices of the Study Group. Housing will be at Greg and Trish’s home as well as at the homes of Study Group members in Albuquerque. You will need a laptop or tablet computer.

To apply, the first step is to send your resume or curriculum vitae to Trish.

If we don’t get enough qualified applicants in April we will cancel this program and try another approach! To proceed, we need a minimum of at least four (preferably six) participants with a workable mix of skills. Our upper limit is about ten.

Long-time members in New Mexico may enjoy joining with the group on social occasions and could make a significant volunteer contribution on specific projects, especially those involving outreach.

Participants can expect a very interesting, engaging, educational, challenging, and fruitful experience. This program is not a chance at that long-awaited vacation, but is a chance to enhance your knowledge, work with others in a cross-disciplinary, community-based setting, and make a real contribution.

Background on the Study Group is available on our website.

Sincerely,

Greg Mello and Trish Williams-Mello, for the Study Group

Monday, March 17, 2014

No "BLUNDERING" allowed with NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!!

Friends,

I don't know about you, but I get rather nervous when I hear - and we've heard plenty over the years - about incidents and accidents dealing with nuclear weapons or the systems that deliver them. Submarines running aground, ladders puncturing nose cones, cheating on tests, drunkeness... and WHAT?!?!?! Oh yes, accidental firing of torpedoes around nuclear submarines.

That's correct; over in the UK someone "accidentally" fired an unarmed (phew!!!) torpedo from a ship at a nuclear dockyard.  The torpedo was stopped by a conveniently placed storage container.  I'll let you imagine the possibilities here. Thankfully, no one was injured, and it made for quite a show for those fortunate to witness the spectacle.

It wasn't a nuclear weapon, although the accident occurred in a "high security" area where nuclear submarines are docked for maintenance.

But back to the central question here - There is always a risk, no matter how small it may be, of error with every human activity. And with nuclear weapons we need to ask the question, "Based on the likely severity of the consequences of any accident involving a nuclear weapon (or weapons), do we wish to take even the most infinitesimal risk that it presents?"

This and other questions relating to the risks of continuing to rely on the false security of nuclear weapons are certainly not being brought into any conversations governments are having about building new nuclear weapons (and delivery systems) or improving existing weapons systems.  These are questions that we ignore at our (humanity's) peril.

Looking back on the instances in which humanity stood on the brink of nuclear holocaust due to incidents involving system-related errors, it was human intervention that saved the day (and humanity). Ironically, it is also human interaction that could bring about humanity's end.

So, as you read the somewhat the humorous title, really consider the underlying issues it conveys.

There is no room for "blundering" around nuclear weapons, and humans have proven, through the ages, to be great blunderers!!!

Peace,

Leonard

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Oops! Royal Navy warship accidentally fires TORPEDO at NUCLEAR dockyard

Originally published Fri, March 14, 2014, in the Daily Express

A BLUNDERING Royal Navy warship has accidentally fired a TORPEDO at a nuclear dockyard.

Luckily the torpedo was an unarmed version used for testing Luckily, the torpedo was an unarmed version used for testing [SWNS]

HMS Argyll was moored at Devonport Naval base in Plymouth when the 9ft missile suddenly shot out of its starboard side during a training drill.

Workers watched in disbelief as the tube-shaped projectile flew 200 yards through the air before blasting a hole in a security fence and slamming into a storage container.

The 650-acre site is the sole repair and refuelling facility for Britain's nuclear submarines.

Luckily, the torpedo was an unarmed version used for testing, so it merely thudded into the metal container and did not explode.

Nobody was hurt but red-faced naval chiefs have now ordered a major investigation into the terrifying incident, which took place inside the base's high security area.


A source said: "The torpedo came shooting out of the side of Argyll and flew through the air before going straight through a security fence.

"It's carried on going before hitting a storage container. If anyone was inside it they would have a had a nasty shock - the whole side of the container was stoved in.

"Had the thing been armed it would have let out a 200-metre blast. You could be talking about a major loss of life.

"The Navy guys and the civilian dock workers are understandably appalled by what has happened.

"Someone has obviously pushed the button, presumably by accident - the big question is who."

The 650-acre site is the sole repair and refuelling facility for Britain's nuclear submarines [SWNS]

Had the thing been armed it would have let out a 200-metre blast. You could be talking about a major loss of life.

HMS Argyll is currently the oldest serving Duke Type 23 frigate in the Royal Navy having been launched in 1989.

However, the 4,900 tonne vessel underwent a £20million refit in 2009 to ensure her weaponry was at the cutting edge of naval warfare.

Its armaments include sea wolf anti-aircraft missiles, harpoon launchers, a 4.5 inch mk8 cannon and two twin 12.75 inch sting ray torpedo tubes.

The self-propelled torpedoes are armed with 45kg warheads to take out enemy submarines that they lock onto with acoustic homing sensors.

Argyll's sting ray tubes are normally below the surface of the water but it's understood they were exposed by the tide when the accident took place on Wednesday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Royal Navy said: "We can confirm an incident occurred onboard HMS Argyll on Wednesday 12th. The ship was alongside at Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth.

"During a training exercise, an inert Test Variant Torpedo unexpectedly jettisoned onto the wharf. There was no explosion and no casualties.

"An investigation is now under way to determine the cause of the incident. The torpedo is not an explosive hazard.

"The specific details of the incident are subject to further investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further.

"The result of the investigation will determine what actions will be necessary to avoid any repeat of this incident in the future.

"However, torpedo system test firing alongside in the naval base has been suspended subject to completion of the investigation."

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Original Source URL:  http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/464945/Oops-Royal-Navy-warship-accidentally-fires-TORPEDO-at-NUCLEAR-dockyard-in-Plymouth