Quotable

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel


Monday, December 24, 2012

A Wish for Humanity in the Season of Light

(Written by The Nuclear Abolitionist in December 2012.  With a nod to Clement Moore, the author of the poem "Twas the night before Christmas")

Twas the day before Christmas
and all through the morning
all the missiles were ready
to be launched on warning.

In subs and silos and bombers aplenty
warriors sat with their nukes at the ready.

In the capitols of all the nuclear powers
world leaders consulted in their ivory towers,
about how to maintain nuclear superiority
while keeping other nations well below parity.

Relations between nations were obviously strained
as the US and Russia kept playing their games.
Talk of disarmament continued to fissile
while weapons makers continued to build missiles.

The risk of nuclear war continues to increase
while pentagon planners refuse to cease
making lunatic plans with increasing urgence
using outdated models like nuclear deterrence.

The Prince of Peace would be coming soon
with humanity at the edge of impending doom.
After decades of living under the Sword of Damocles
humanity had not brought the nuclear menace to its knees.

Courageous people kept sounding the alarm
While humanity ignored their warnings of harm.
How long can this madness continue to go on
as nations continue to rely on the bomb?

Now the mist is lifting, it is Christmas Morn.
The world is spared from the nuclear storm.
The Baby is born away in a manger
and Peace is the watchword in our time of danger.

The angels sing out with prophetic voice,
Disarm, Disarm, is the only sane choice.
We must disarm hearts before all the weapons
Or build them again we will as it happens.

Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to All Peoples
May the clarion call ring out from the steeples.

May the people demand the nonviolent choice
and around the world speak out in one voice
for an end to the violence within our souls
that will bring to us all such unspeakable tolls.

A wish for humanity in this Season of Light,
Nonviolence to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho... Who's Next???

Friends,

With all the hand-wringing about Iran developing nuclear weapons (and North Korea developing missiles with which to deliver them) and thus vying for membership in the ever so exclusive nuclear club, one has to wonder who will be next. 

There have been rumblings from various countries singing the praises of nuclear weapons.  There have even been statements from some in Japan claiming the need to develop nuclear weapons.  What madness is this?

Perhaps a more appropriate question is - Just who (or what countries) are leading the rest of the world, like lemmings, toward the omnicidal cliff???

The U.S. and Russia still have vast nuclear arsenals.  Sure, they are much smaller than they were at the height of the Cold War.  And yet, what both nations have kept are the premier weapons. In the case of the U.S. those weapons would be the warheads mounted on Trident submarine launched ballistic missiles and those on the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Besides the sophistication of the weapons themselves, it appears that most, if not all, the major nuclear powers are modernizing not only their weapons and delivery systems, but also the infrastructure that develops, builds and maintains them.

Just in the U.S. we have built (or are building) brand new facilities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee (Y-12), Kansas City.  Others are in planning.  Besides "life extension" programs for warheads, submarines and more, the Navy is planning to build twelve new ballistic missile submarines.

It should then come as no surprise that other nations ponder going nuclear.  After all; who (or what country) is going to mess with a nuclear-armed nation?  Of course those of us involved in the effort to build a nuclear weapons-free world know that it's not that simple.  The more weapons there are and the longer they exist, the greater the chance of one big nuclear mess (also known as a nuclear holocaust).

And just as an aside - Why are we screaming about North Korea shooting off missiles when the U.S. regularly tests (unarmed) Trident and Minuteman III missiles every year??? Can you say "HYPOCRISY???"

Talk about a horrible role model!!!  But I digress.

Perhaps Tom Lehrer's timeless song "Who's Next" can provide some perspective as people start contemplating digging bomb shelters.  It may not be a song of the holidays, but what the heck; give it a chance.  It's truly a classic of the nuclear age.

Should the major nuclear powers continue on their current path with respect to nuclear weapons I might have to start a contest to guess Who's Next.  The grand prize could be a custom bomb shelter.  It would certainly come in handy if we continue arming ourselves to death. 

Peace (Please!!!),

Leonard

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Dream of a Nuclear Weapon's Free Middle East

Friends,

With last week's overwhelming United Nations General Assembly vote to grant non-member observer state status for Palestine - the US and Israel were two of nine members voting no - still warm, the US and Israel were once again joined at the hip for a number of votes this week.

Once again, the US and Israel were in the minority on Monday for votes on draft resolutions including one on depleted uranium munitions and another decreasing operational readiness of nuclear weapon systems. 

Then came the resolution (that passed) on non-proliferation in the Middle East.  You guessed it - The elephant in the closet not only voted against the resolution, but Israel's representative pointed fingers at Iran and Syria "due to the clandestine activities [of Iran and Syria] in contravention of their NPT obligations."  Of course, Israel isn't even a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and no one has been more "clandestine" in its nuclear weapons activities than Israel (OK, so maybe North Korea).

The vote on Non-Proliferation in the Middle East: 180 - Yes, 2 - No, 2 - Abstain.  I shouldn't have to tell you who the two "No" votes were.



This YouTube video has not only Israel's statement on the non-proliferation resolution, but also Iran's and Syria's responses.

That the community of nations is speaking out clearly for non-proliferation and disarmament is important.  It is time to bring all pressure to bear on all nuclear weapons states - and not just signatories to the NPT - to begin good-faith negotiations on a binding nuclear weapons convention.

Of course no progress toward a nuclear weapons-free Middle East can be made without Israel's participation.  To even begin the conversation necessitates some serious closet cleaning.  The US needs to clean out not only its own closet, but Israel's as well. It is the responsibility of the US to open the conversation and debate on Israel's nuclear weapons, and it needs to begin now!

The US needs to stop rubber stamping UN votes regarding Israel.  Otherwise, the dream of a nuclear weapons-free Middle East will remain just that - a dream.

Towards a nuclear weapons-free world,

Leonard

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Friends,

Every now and then I go back and watch this video (see below) to remind myself just how much additional ionizing radiation the world's nuclear powers have added to our small planet since 1945.  That there are clear reasons, including the additional radiation burden, to ensure that no nation tests nuclear weapons ever again should be obvious.

The United States is one of few nations that have not yet ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. The CTBT was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 10, 1996.

The CTBT will formally enter into force after 44 designated “nuclear-capable states” have deposited their instruments of ratification with the UN secretary-general. So far, 183 states have signed and 157 have ratified the treaty. Yet of the 44 specified countries, India, Pakistan, and North Korea still have not signed, and only 36 have ratified the treaty.


The history of nuclear weapons testing is one of human suffering and environmental degradation.  Additional testing would only start this cycle once again, as well as lead to more nuclear weapons.

Help move the CTBT to full ratification.  Sign The ATOM Project Petition and let the world's leaders know you demand an absolute end to nuclear-weapons testing.

Towards a nuclear-weapons free world,

Leonard

Source URL for the YouTube video: http://youtu.be/LLCF7vPanrY 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Finally - An Award for Preventing (Nuclear) War!!!

Picture a smartly uniformed military officer, bristling with medals and ribbons for participation and valor in war.  Then try to picture that same individual receiving a medal for preventing a war.  But not just any war... the ultimate world ending kind - Full Scale Thermonuclear War between the Soviet Union and the U.S.  

On Sept. 26, 1983, Stanislov Petrov, then an officer at a Soviet nuclear early-warning system command center, went well beyond his direct responsibilities (which were to simply report incoming missiles to his superiors).  Petrov carefully (yet quickly) analyzed the situation he was seeing on his radar screen and chose to ignore the report rather than blindly accepting the raw data.

Had Petrov instead passed on the "obvious" information, his superiors would have most likely ordered a retaliatory strike, and World War III would have begun.  What if another officer had been sitting in Petrov's chair that day???

The implications are obvious.  Whether the Cuban Missile Crisis or any of the countless incidents over the past nearly seven decades, nearly every one could have resulted in the end of life as we know it.  In each case people intervened and made decisions that were either counter intuitive or against established rules.  But it was people, and not technology, that brought humanity back from the brink.

And so, an individual who most likely saved the world (or at least gave it a reprieve) will finally be recognized - not for bravery under fire, but for preventing the ultimate fire.  Although he's not being recognized by his own country's military, it is nevertheless a well-earned recognition.

To learn Petrov's full story, read the article below.

************

Soviet Officer Wins Award for Preventing Nuclear War

In RIA NOVOSTI, 11/16/2012

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20121116/177521732.html?utm_source=Paulo%27s+Corner+Daily+Nuclear+News+Digest&utm_campaign=8c19eadbf7-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email

MOSCOW, November 16 (RIA Novosti) – A retired Soviet lieutenant colonel whose self-control prevented a nuclear war from being triggered by a long-classified accident in 1983 was named on Friday a recipient of a German anti-war prize.

Stanislav Petrov, 73, won the fourth Dresden-Preis (Dresden Prize), which comes complete with a check for 25,000 euro ($32,000), prize organizers said on their website, Friendsofdresden-deutschland.com.

The prize is to be bestowed at a ceremony in Dresden on Feb. 17, the anniversary of the Dresden bombing in 1945, the organizers said.

Ironically for a military officer, Petrov shot to fame for ignoring his direct responsibilities. The officer served at a command center of the Soviet nuclear early-warning system outside Moscow, which reported the launch of five nuclear missiles from US territory on Sept. 26, 1983.

Cold War tensions were riding high at the time, boosted by the Soviet Union’s fears about the US Strategic Defense Initiative – “the Star Wars program” – and the international incident caused by the Soviet air defense shooting down a Korean passenger plane earlier in September that year.

Petrov’s duty was to report the incoming missiles to his superiors, who were likely to order a snap retaliatory strike. However, he chose to ignore the report, ruling it an equipment malfunction and reckoning five missiles insufficient for a proper war.

His guess was right: an investigation proved the warning to be a false report by a monitoring satellite confused by sunlight reflecting off high-altitude clouds.

Petrov was neither promoted nor disciplined and continued his service, while the story remained classified until 1998. He later said he was denied an award because the incident was investigated by the officers responsible for the malfunction.

After the story was made public, Petrov received several international prizes. He has stubbornly denied all attempts to label him a hero, saying in an interview to The Moscow News in 2004 that “he was just doing his job, at the right place at the right time.”

The annual Dresden-Preis was incepted in 2010 and is awarded for anti-war effort. Recipients include the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, pianist Daniel Barenboim, active in promoting Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, and US war photographer James Nachtwey.

The United States had 13,100 strategic nuclear warheads as of 1983, and the Soviet Union 9,700.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bibi's Gone Bomby!!!

Israel continues to ratchet up nuclear tensions in the Middle East.

Yesterday the Associated Press announced that "attempts to find Arab-Israeli common ground on banning weapons of mass destruction from the Mideast have failed, and high-profile talks on the issue have been called off."

Today we learned that because "much of Iran’s Fordow enrichment site near the city of Qom is now deep underground in a 'zone of immunity' safe from conventional air strikes," Israel could be considering "the use of ballistic missiles carrying small tactical nuclear warheads."

It is deeply disturbing that Israel might remotely consider such a plan.  It is a well known fact that the U.S. supplied Israel with conventional bunker buster bombs (GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators) in 2011.  What is yet unknown is whether Israel possesses nuclear bunker busters (such as the B61-11 nuclear bunker buster in the U.S. arsenal).  It is safe to say that Israel is technologically capable of producing such a weapon.


Using such a weapon on deeply buried targets in Iran would be disastrous.  Even a low yield weapon with the ability to penetrate deep underground would still blow out a massive crater of highly radioactive material, spreading lethal radiation over a large radius from the target.  The depths reached by the most effective earth penetrating weapon simply cannot contain the resulting nuclear explosion. According to the Federation of American Scientists, "Even a 0.1 KT burst must be buried at a depth of approximately 230 feet to be fully contained."

Furthermore, because the material kicked up into the atmosphere by a nuclear bunker buster would be more directly exposed to the intense radiation emanating from the underground explosion, the resulting fallout would be much more highly radioactive than the fallout from an above ground detonation. The radioactive contamination could very well reach major population centers, and even spread to other countries.

Should Israel use even a single nuclear weapons against Iran, it would become a pariah state.  The use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity.  Besides the immorality of it, the International Court of Justice in 1996 determined that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law."

It is obscenely ironic that Israel might consider using nuclear weapons of any sort against a sovereign nation that does not even have nuclear weapons.  There is absolutely no sane argument for their use against Iran by any stretch of the imagination.  Israel is the only state in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons, and does not abide by any treaty, in particular the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin (aka "Bibi") Netanyahu, should be called to account and should immediately and publicly declare a no first strike policy regarding nuclear weapons. 

The Middle East needs to become a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, and NOT a Radioactive Wasteland.  And since Israel is the only nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East, it would seem that the responsibility lies with Israel to lead the way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eliminate Land Based Missiles Now!

 
STOP PROVOCATIVE TESTING OF
MINUTEMAN III MISSILES
A rehearsal for the apocalypse.

TEST FLIGHT SCHEDULED ON NOVEMBER 14, 2012
FROM VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE

Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are on 24/7 hair-trigger alert in silos in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. They carry thermonuclear warheads at least eight times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

THESE LAND-BASED NUCLEAR MISSILES SHOULD BE DECOMMISSIONED IMMEDIATELY
  • They are located in fixed silos, making them easy targets for attack;
  • There is an incentive to “use them first or lose them”;
  • The high-alert status of these weapons could lead to accidental nuclear war;
  • The U.S. government consistently criticizes other countries for conducting missile tests;
  • These tests are dangerous to the target country, the Marshall Islands;
  • Testing these missiles encourages other countries to develop and test their own missiles and nuclear weapons.
TAKE ACTION!

Join us at www.wagingpeace.org/goto/vandenberg to ask the president to stop these provocative nuclear missile tests and to decommission these missiles immediately.

Protest at 12 noon on Tuesday, November 13 at the corner of State & Anapamu in Santa Barbara.

The Air Force tests missiles under the cover of darkness.
We are protesting them in the light of day.
Let’s stop this danger to humanity.
 
 
www.wagingpeace.org – (805) 965-3443


Friday, November 2, 2012

Time to Debunk Deterrence Doctrine

DETERRENCE!!!  The American Heritage Dictionary defines deterrence as, "measures taken by a state or an alliance of states to prevent hostile action by another state." The Random House Dictionary, in sync with the nuclear age, defines it as "the act of deterring, esp. deterring a nuclear attack by the capacity or threat of retaliating." Finally, the American Heritage Dictionary of Cultural Literacy calls deterrence, "a military capability sufficiently strong to discourage any would-be aggressor from starting a war because of the fear of retaliation. (See balance of terror.)" Phew!!!

As deterrence evolved during the Cold War with the United States and Soviet Union aiming tens of thousands of nuclear weapons at each other, one can certainly understand the balance of terror that existed. The Cold War ended, and with it went any reason for deterrence. The threat of the Communists taking over the world (the dominant paradigm in which those of us growing up in those days were indoctrinated) was done, finished, kapput!

Not so quick!!!  The U.S. and Russia still maintain the vestiges of deterrence with huge nuclear arsenals ready to launch (on warning): land-based missiles, along with their submarine launched counterparts (TRIDENT in the U.S.) hiding beneath the deep blue seas. Yes, we could launch them if we think someone has launched missiles towards us, or we could launch in a preemptive strike to destroy a nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure. Either way, it's not a pretty picture.

 As It is ever so hard to give up that which we have held on to so strongly for so long, a concept on which politicians and military planners have staked their careers (and our lives) for nearly seven decades. And so deterrence lives on, and is given new meaning in an increasingly meaningless context. As with any long-held belief, we must find new reasons to hang on to it.

It is in this context that David Ochmanek, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development, said (in 2009) that "the nation should continue to view nuclear deterrence as broadly capable of preventing both conventional and unconventional conflict."  In response to reporters' questions at a session with the Defense Writers Group, he said that, "It's probably unwise to draw artificial distinctions between what nuclear weapons deter and don't deter... I think it's better to think about the deterrent qualities of our force in a more holistic way."  

Hmmm... It just might be a bit of a stretch applying the concept of holism in the context of omnicidal weapons. Whatever people's perception of deterrence might have been previously, we live in a different world, a world in which any number of nuclear weapons mean nothing to some, and may or may not present a deterrent in many circumstances among nations. Might it be time to commit the concept of deterrence to the historical trash bin and pursue a different path - in which we develop relationships that involve more than ensuring our access to resources - in dealing with other nations. As for terrorists, the way to prevent a nuclear disaster is to ensure that nuclear materials don't get into their hands.

I have only scratched the surface of a discussion of deterrence, and I encourage people to engage in a much deeper discussion (and debate) of the subject.  Too much is at stake here.  In fact, the very survival of life as we know it on this small planet is at stake.  As David Krieger notes in Ten Serious Flaws in Nuclear Deterrence Theory, deterrence is not foolproof, and "Its failure would be catastrophic." The other nine flaws in David's article are also pretty compelling indictments of deterrence theory.

Albert Einstein once said that "no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." And THAT will be one of our greatest challenges - to create a new level of consciousness that will allow people to see nuclear abolition as an opportunity and not a liability.  Only then will we be able to move beyond archaic concepts (like deterrence) that perpetuate our nuclear addiction and bring us closer, once again, to the precipice.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

We must learn the lessons of the past!!!

Today is the 50th anniversary of what is arguably one the most significant days in the history of the human race.  On October 28, 1962 the confrontation known as the Cuban Missile Crisis quietly ended.  Based on an agreement between U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, nuclear armed missiles in Cuba, Turkey and Italy were dismantled and sent home.  The end of the world was (narrowly) averted.

This is a fitting time to assess where we are 50 years after those tense 12 days in October when the world came closer to nuclear annihilation than at any other time.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament puts it clearly, bluntly and succinctly: 

"50 years on from the Cuban missile crisis, we have still not learned the lessons of this grim period of human history... the bleak reality is that we have not moved forward" said Hudson. "In fact, with global nuclear proliferation accelerating and with countless billions being poured into the modernisation of nuclear weapons systems, we are taking dangerous, irresponsible steps backwards."

"Spending on nuclear weapons worldwide will top $1 trillion in the next decade, and with the spread of nuclear technology through civil nuclear programmes, the risks of nuclear terrorism and further states developing nuclear weapons are manifold."

"A Nuclear Weapons Convention is the only rational way forward. States must reassess their blind commitment to maintaining nuclear arsenals and genuinely work towards their legal obligations as signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: to negotiate in good faith towards disarmament."

"Reductions of stockpiles are an essential part of the process, and we have seen some progress through the START agreement between the US and Russia. But with the US alone set to spend around $700bn on nuclear weapons over the next decade, this is only the tip of the iceberg."

"To pass on genuine peace and security to future generations, we cannot afford to ignore the lessons of the past."

Indeed, we have not learned the lessons of the past, and we therefore prepare to make them again.  Today, just as most every other day in recent months, we sit wringing our hands over Iran's nuclear intentions while the U.S. and Russia deploy vast arsenals of operational nuclear weapons on alert status, ready to launch. 

While Iran may or may not develop a single nuclear weapon, the two largest nuclear powers stand ready each day to launch accidental or intentional nuclear war.  Both the U.S and Russia continue to build up their nuclear weapons capabilities.  We are moving into a new nuclear age, creating the conditions for a new Cold War, and greatly increasing the probability of accidental or intentional nuclear war and the subsequent end of life as we know it.

Although neither U.S. Presidential candidate has publicly articulated the tremendous threat posed by nuclear weapons, one of these men will end up in The White House for the next four years, what will arguably be a critical time in the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons. 

Will the next occupant of the Oval Office have the courage to forge a path toward disarmament, leading the way for the rest of the world, or a path towards disaster???  Let's hope he has learned the lessons of history, and takes to heart what President Kennedy once said before the United Nations General Assembly (and I take some liberty with paraphrasing):

"Humankind must put an end to nuclear weapons — or nuclear weapons will put an end to
us."

50 years later, thermonuclear armed missiles sit in underground silos (and in submarine launch tubes) on alert, ready to launch in short order, awaiting the President's command to launch "on warning").  When will be the next "crisis"???  Isn't it time to end this madness???

Do something NOW to create a nuclear weapons free world. Go to the Nuclear Abolitionist Blog and pick one or more of the many current actions (from Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace Action, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and more) on the right hand column and advocate for a nuclear weapons free world. 

###

Editor's Note: Kennedy's actual (and full) quote was, "Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."

Also read The Missile Crisis That Never Went Away, By Steven Starr, David Krieger and Daniel Ellsberg

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Charges against Vandenberg 15 dropped!!!

Contact: John Amidon jajaja1234@aol.com 518-312-6442; Louie Vitale lvitale33@yahoo.com 415-823-6665; Leah Bolger LeahBolger@comcast.net 541-207-7761; David Swanson, david@davidswanson.com 202-329-7847.

Charges Dismissed Against Nuclear Missile Launch Protesters

Charges were dismissed on Wednesday in federal court in Santa Barbara, Calif., against fifteen people, including four members of Veterans For Peace, who were scheduled to face trial on Wednesday as a result of their nonviolent protest of nuclear warheads at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The 15 had been arrested on February 25th for protesting the launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Video: http://youtu.be/sGYVee9yW9Y

The Veterans For Peace facing trial were Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg of Berkeley, Calif.; Fr. Louie Vitale of Oakland, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev.; John Amidon of Albany, N.Y.; and Mark Kelso of Las Vegas, Nev.

The district attorney moved to dismiss all charges. Two of the defendants, John Amidon and Toby Blome, wanting to raise their concerns about the Minuteman III missiles in court, offered motion not to dismiss. The judge sided with the district attorney.

Some of the same people will be among those protesting again on November 13th when another missile test is scheduled:
http://www.facebook.com/events/464316103593122

McGregor Eddy, one of the defendants, called the dismissal a victory. "The military," she said, "wants to avoid drawing attention to thermonuclear warheads that serve no purpose and cost a great deal of money. Many young people don't even know about these nuclear weapons. When we say 'nukes' they think of nuclear power."

February 25th nonviolent direct action at Vandenberg
Fr. Louie Vitale agreed, calling the dismissal "a great victory." Vitale added, "I've been on trial here several times and always lost. This was a victory. And we'll be there in November to protest the next launch."

Vitale said that the public in Santa Barbara had learned a great deal through the work of the coalition formed around this protest and near-trial, including with the help of David Krieger and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

At 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday, October 16th, a free public event called "Putting U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies on Trial: A Forum with the Vandenberg 15" was held at Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, Calif. Speakers included Daniel Ellsberg, Fr. Louie Vitale, Cindy Sheehan, and David Krieger. The event was cosponsored by Code Pink, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Nevada Desert Experience, Progressive Democrats of Santa Barbara, Veterans for Peace, Western States Legal Foundation, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Santa Barbara).
"We were protesting a rehearsal of a holocaust," said Ellsberg. "Every minuteman missile is a portable Auschwitz." Video of Ellsberg: http://youtu.be/E-s0_JI8Dp4

"We have 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles on high alert," said Amidon. Despite hundreds of near-disasters due to human and mechanical mistakes over the years, these nuclear-armed missiles could be sent by a U.S. president in 13 minutes or less. Thirteen minutes, with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment, would bring the world as we know it to an end. Minuteman III missiles would not, and nothing can, prevent retaliation. Even without retaliation, their unilateral use would ruin the earth's atmosphere -- all over the earth. The missiles' only function is to kill others in a process that kills us too."

"An easy immediate step toward sanity," Amidon continued, "would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch. This would increase our security by reducing the likelihood of an accidental or unauthorized launch. Those intent on achieving nuclear doomsday could rest assured that U.S. submarines and bombers would remain able to complete that job many times over.

"A second needed and obvious step that would also work wonders for our federal budget would be to decommission these missiles. We are also calling for a cancellation of the November 14, 2012, missile (thermonuclear warhead delivery systems) test at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This will save between $20 to $30 million for this one launch."
RootsAction.org has set up an online action page through which people can email the government on this topic:
http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6741

Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Court may drop charges against Vandenberg 15

I have just learned that the government has requested the Court to dismiss all charges against the Vandenberg 15 related to their February 25th protest at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Tomorrow morning, Monday, October 17th, the Vandenberg 15 were scheduled to stand trial in Federal court at 1415 State Street, Santa Barbara, Calif.

The fifteen nuclear resisters were arrested on February 25th for protesting the test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Video: http://youtu.be/sGYVee9yW9Y

The defendants will hold a press conference outside of the United States Bankruptcy Court (1415 State Street, Santa Barbara) at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, October 17. They will discuss their views on the government’s action and what comes next in the movement to stop the testing of thermonuclear warhead delivery vehicles and eliminate land-based missiles.

While the fifteen resister's intention in going to court was to put the U.S. Government's nuclear weapons policies on trial.

As David Krieger, one of the Vandenberg 15, has stated, "Current US nuclear weapons policy is illegal, immoral and runs a high risk of resulting in nuclear catastrophe. We cannot wait until there is a nuclear war before we act to rid the world of these weapons of mass annihilation. The US should be the leader in this effort, rather than an obstacle to its realization. It is up to the court of public opinion to assure that the US asserts this leadership. The time to act is now." (Read Putting U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies on Trial in the Court of Public Opinion)

"We were protesting a rehearsal of a holocaust," said defendant Daniel Ellsberg. "Every minuteman missile is a portable Auschwitz." Video of Ellsberg: http://youtu.be/E-s0_JI8Dp4

Defendant John Amidon said, "We have 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles on high alert. Despite hundreds of near-disasters due to human and mechanical mistakes over the years, these nuclear-armed missiles could be sent by a U.S. president in 13 minutes or less. Thirteen minutes, with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment, would bring the world as we know it to an end. Minuteman III missiles would not, and nothing can, prevent retaliation. Even without retaliation, their unilateral use would ruin the earth's atmosphere -- all over the earth. The missiles' only function is to kill others in a process that kills us too."

The 450 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with thermonuclear warheads and deployed in hardened silos are an archaic, first strike, Cold War weapons system.  It is time to retire these dinosaurs and re-evaluate (and change) our nation's nuclear weapons policies.  The Vandenberg 15 hope to make this case at very least in the court of public opinion.

More to come following tomorrow's press conference!

Friday, October 12, 2012

(Nuclear) Bombs or Bread: Who Decides???

In a response to recent "threats" made by North Korea, the U.S. State Department said that the country should "tend to the needs of its citizens rather than boasting about its missiles,"

I don't know of many people who would argue that the people of North Korea would be better served by their "leaders" if they were to spend less on their military - especially on nuclear weapons - and spend more on the true needs of its people.

That being said, isn't it the duty of every government - especially one that is supposed to be "of the people, by the people, for the people" (thanks to Abe Lincoln for the reminder) - to "tend to the needs of its citizens?"

As the State Department spokeswoman was going on about North Korea's (nuclear) missile ambitions, the U.S. Air Force was continuing its preparations for the test launch of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile scheduled for November 13th from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Of course this is only a test launch, so the missile will carry a "dummy" warhead. If it was one of the 450 Minuteman III missiles sitting in silos scattered around the U.S. on alert and ready to launch in short order on the President's command it would be carrying a thermonuclear warhead of up to 475 kilotons!

But these are not the only missiles that the U.S. has deployed every day. A number of the 14 Trident (Ohio class) ballistic missile submarines patrol the world's oceans carrying the Trident II D-5 ballistic missile. Each Trident sub carries 24 missiles, each currently armed with four thermonuclear warheads, each warhead with a yield of 100 or 475 kilotons. They are also on alert, ready to launch on command.

Current U.S. Navy plans call for construction of 12 new submarines that will carry the current Trident missile. The existing W-76 (100 kiloton) warheads for the Tridents have been undergoing a "Life Extension Program." In this program the warheads undergo a "refurbishment" process in which they are improved.

So what does all this have to do with North Korea or taking care of the needs of our nation's citizens??? Well, the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the nation's nuclear infrastructure has cost trillions of taxpayer dollars since the beginning of the nuclear age. Just the construction of the 12 new submarines I mentioned will cost $99 billion or more (according to the Congressional Budget Office); and with operations and maintenance - $350 billion over the fleet's lifetime.
And it is not only North Korea that has hungry citizens. According to Feeding America, "In the United States, more than one out of five children lives in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 16.7 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition – unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life." And that's just "children." 

The overarching questions beneath this issue are - What kind of security is our continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons and their use as a tool of foreign policy providing the people of the U.S., or the rest of the world for that matter? What message(s) does our continuing testing of missiles, refurbishing of weapons, building new nuclear weapons facilities, and planning new nuclear weapons delivery vehicles (eg., submarines) send to countries like North Korea? And, is it even conscionable on any level to spend hundreds of billions on nuclear weapons when so many people cannot afford food, shelter, education and health care???

So long as those in charge (whether in a totalitarian state or declared democracy) continue to be rooted in fear, blinded by power and beholden to special interests, they will also be blind to the needs of the people. 

No "enemy" will ever be defeated by the use of nuclear weapons.  Instead, the result will be unimaginable death and suffering (on both sides of any nuclear exchange).  Martin Luther King Jr. summed up the potential when he said (and it rings as true today as it did a half century ago):
In our day of space vehicles and guided ballistic missiles, the choice is either nonviolence or nonexistence.
Indeed, it is time for all those who should represent the interests of the people to do just that.  War is not the answer, and war fought with nuclear weapons is unconscionable.  Disarmament will not come easy, but if all leaders of the nuclear powers (starting with the U.S. and Russia) do not begin a sincere effort toward that worthy goal we will continue down a dangerous path that will lead to no good end. 

Beyond the question of bombs or bread, it is truly a matter of nonviolence or nonexistence.

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For a good look at U.S. nuclear weapons spending check out Exploding Budgets, by Joe Cirincione, at Time.com: http://nation.time.com/2012/10/10/exploding-budgets/ 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just Say NO to New Trident Plans!!!

The United States Navy has released its final decision on plans to build a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines.

The announcement, made in a news release earlier this month, informs us that the Ohio class submarines with their Trident II D-5 thermonuclear armed missiles, the crown jewel of the nation's nuclear weapons systems, are going to sail on well into the future. With the expected lifespan of the new subs we can expect them to be deployed quite probably to the end of this century (humanity should survive so long under the threat of nuclear annihilation).

The Navy plans to build 12 of the new Ohio class ballistic missile subs, each with 16 launch tubes to carry thermonuclear ballistic missiles.

The Trident nuclear weapons system is the most destructive force in the world.  "A single Trident submarine is the sixth largest nuclear nation in the world all by itself," according to Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander, Submarine Group 10. 

Each of the warheads (up to 8 per missile) on a Trident missile are capable of incinerating hundreds of thousands of human beings and causing unimaginable suffering to the survivors of the immediate blast, heat and radiation unleashed in a matter of seconds. 

There are not enough burn beds available in the entire world's hospital inventory to treat the countless victims in the zone in which people would suffer massive third degree burns (in addition to other serious injuries).

The really big question in all this is, "Would any use of nuclear weapons involve a single warhead, or even missile for that matter?  Should any use of nuclear weapons initiate even a limited nuclear war, all bets are off!!!

Even a limited exchange of nuclear weapons would cause widespread fallout and the associated, immediate and long-term health effects - mutations, cancers, birth defects, and much more - would affect millions of human beings.

Furthermore, even a "limited" nuclear war, unleashing just 100 nuclear warheads of the size of the Hiroshima bomb (15 kilotons) would cause global famine.  Each Trident submarine, in extreme contrast, is estimated to currently deploy nearly that many thermonuclear warheads of either 100 or 475 kilotons yield!

Nuclear weapons are truly the gravest threat facing humanity, just as they have been for nearly seven decades.  As a retired public health professional I see it as the greatest global public health threat facing our shared planet.

Rather than working with other nations towards nuclear disarmament, the U.S. continues to build up not only its nuclear weapons infrastructure and weapons, but (with the plan to build new subs) also the systems that deploy those weapons.  This sends a dangerous, threatening message to both the nuclear and nuclear-capable nations.  The result is a burgeoning new nuclear arms race!

The promises made in President Obama's famous Prague speech are now distant, hollow, rhetorical echoes.  We must remind the President of his promises.  We must demand that our elected leaders, in both The White House and Congress, work in the interests of the people and not a deeply entrenched Military-Nuclear-Industrial Complex.

Should the Navy succeed in building a new fleet of Ohio class submarines, it will be one of the final nails (if not THE nail) in the proverbial coffin for global nuclear disarmament.  This must not stand!

We need every one's voice in the call to disarm!  In response to the cheer leading article in the Washington Post about the U.S. "overhauling" its "aging" nuclear arsenal, Catherine Thomasson, the president of Physicians for Social Responsibility wrote a concise response.

The Washington Post article, Aging U.S. nuclear arsenal slated for costly and long-delayed modernization, does not remotely question the government's premise that the U.S. must move forward with a sense of urgency to confront a "decrepit, neglected... aging nuclear weapons complex."

Brand new facilities either in construction or completed at Y-12, Kansas City, along with ongoing construction at Los Alamos; completely "refurbished" W76 thermonuclear warheads (deployed on Trident submarine launched ballistic missiles); just to mention a few key projects.  "Decrepit" and "neglected" just don't seem to be the right words to describe the nation's current nuclear weapons complex.

Thomasson, in her Op/Ed response sums up the situation.  It is all about the people who allegedly represent us "appeasing special interests with little regard to our long-term national security or the fiscal health of the country." They do so at humanity's peril!

NO NEW TRIDENT!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CTBT... What's in a Name???

Friends,

The 16th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) passed yesterday with little, if any, fanfare.

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, but it has not yet entered into force.

When the treaty opened for signatures on September 24, 1996, it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states.  Since then the number of countries to have ratified the treaty has grown to 157.  Of the countries yet to sign, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force (Note: The U.S. has signed but not ratified). 

Preparing for the world's first
nuclear weapons test, "Trinity".
There are a number of arguments both for and against U.S. ratification of the CTBT.  All other arguments aside, a strong case can be made that ratification by the major nuclear powers - Russian ratified the treaty in 2000) - would set an international standard that would push other nuclear-capable countries like North Korea, Pakistan, and India to sign.

The U.S. has set far too many conditions to be met for it to ratify the CTBT, and beyond that continues to engage in what many consider to be its own nuclear weapons testing, albeit nothing resembling the full scale nuclear weapons tests of yesteryear. 

The tests in question are what the U.S. refers to as "nonexplosive" or "subcritical" nuclear tests. 

"Scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico scrutinized plutonium activity under high pressure and heat levels like those of a detonating nuclear bomb, the National Nuclear Security Administration personnel said. The Z machine can generate X-rays of unparalleled intensity to mimic the fusion reactions of nuclear warheads, the sources indicated." (GSI, Sept, 21, 2012)
A rose (or skunk cabbage) by any other name...  The U.S., just last month, conducted the sixth of these "nonexplosive" plutonium trials.  What is next?  When is a test not a test???

As the U.S. keeps pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into its nuclear weapons infrastructure to design, build ("refurbish"), test, maintain and deploy the most modern nuclear force anywhere, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty languishes, awaiting the final ink.

The U.S. should be leading the way to disarmament, and in the case of the CTBT it is far too late for that; 157 other nations have already led the way.  That being said, it is not too late for the U.S. to follow their lead and demonstrate that it is part of a community of nations working together for the sake of future generations.  There is little downside.

It is high time to finally ratify the CTBT!!!

Click here to demand an end to all nuclear weapons testing!

Peace,

Leonard

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References:

Wickipedia on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whitewashing Fukushima (by Harvey Wasserman)

Wikipedia defines "whitewashing as  "a metaphor meaning to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data.[1] It is especially used in the context of corporations, governments or other organizations." 

Harvey Wasserman's essay titled Whitewashing Fukushima, published at EcoWatch on September 4, 2012 reminds me of the many inextricable links between nuclear weapons and nuclear power, in this case the whitewashing that governments (and industries involved) apply to both.

It is ever so important that we who are focused on abolishing nuclear weapons be in solidarity with our comrades working on the nuclear power side. 

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Whitewashing Fukushima, By Harvey Wasserman

With every atomic reactor disaster comes the inevitable whitewash.
Harvey Wasserman
And Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal has just painted a tragic new coat over the radioactive wasteland of atomic flim-flam

Its Panic at Fukushima speaks volumes to a nuclear power industry now crumbling at the core. It fits an historic pattern.

When yet another radioactive leak emits from the local nuke—no matter how serious—the official response is hard-wired to include the phrase “no danger to the public.”

When serious structural cracks surface at reactors like Ohio’s Davis-Besse or Crystal River, Florida, safety concerns are invariably dismissed with well-funded contempt.

As with fatally flawed steam generators at California’s San Onofre, if it can make an extra buck, the industry will run these reactors into the ground, safety-be-damned. Protected by federal taxpayer insurance and the bankruptcy laws, they know even a catastrophic disaster need not trouble their bottom line.
  
When earthquakes rattle reactors in Virginia and Ohio, or threaten others near New York City and Los Angeles, the public is “never in danger.” Likewise a generation of Japanese heard for decades that reactors at Fukushima and Kashiwazaki were “perfectly safe.”

But, now that earthquakes have hammered them both, we know who pays.

At Three Mile Island, there was “no melting of fuel” until, nine years later, robotic cameras showed there certainly was.

“Nobody died” at Three Mile Island until epidemiological evidence showed otherwise. (Disclosure: In 1980 I interviewed the dying and bereaved in central Pennsylvania, leading to the 1982 publication of Killing Our Own).

Three Mile Island was a “success story” for industry apologist Patrick Moore, whose accounting skills apparently include cheerily alchemizing a $2 billion liability from a $900 million asset.

Likewise, the Soviet Union said not to worry as Chernobyl spewed lethal radioactive clouds across Europe and into the jet stream that contaminated the entire northern hemisphere. One “scientist” said the fallout would “improve” human health in downwind Ukraine and Belarus, where stillbirths, malformations and birth defects still run rampant.

The Soviet Union is now dead…except in the hearts of a corporate media still parroting the Politburo lie that only 31 people died at Chernobyl, rather than the million-and-counting that now seems likely.
For Fukushima, the inevitable Murdoch whitewash comes from a one-time Koch-funded climate skeptic named Richard Muller. He says Fukushima has harmed virtually no one except the nuclear industry, which the Japanese people have all but shut.

Muller’s article occupies a parallel pro-nuclear universe. Virtually devoid of actual fact, it is meticulously dissected by SimplyInfo in a brilliant primer on the health impacts of a truly apocalyptic nightmare that is far from over.

Entitled The Truth vs. the Wall Street Journal, SimplyInfo’s dissection is deja vu all over again. he once-prestigious Journal disgraces itself in vintage Murdoch style with some truly embarrassing errors and anachronisms. Simply and briefly:

1. The Journal astonishingly minimizes the death toll at Hiroshima and Nagasaki using speculative data that has been discredited for decades. It ignores the findings by Japanese scientists that Fukushima has (thus far) spewed nearly 30 times as much radioactive cesium as did the Bombings;
 
2. The Journal’s totally discredited averaging assumptions say Fukushima’s fallout will nicely administer uniform minimal doses for everyone. But the fallout has gone global. Plutonium, cesium, strontium and other killer isotopes tend to come down in clumps and clusters, heavily dosing some while missing others. As at TMI, Chernobyl and now Fukushima, woe be to the unlucky masses who get rained on;
 
3. The averaging argument jumps off the rails with pregnant women, as well as small children, the elderly, the biologically sensitive. At TMI, the owners’ advertising compared the fallout to a single x-ray for everyone in the area. But a doubled childhood leukemia rate has long been linked to a single x-ray administered to a fetus in utero. Pregnant women exposed to these small doses must brace for the worst.
 
4. The Journal admits that Fukushima was not designed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake and 50-foot tidal wave. The quake’s epi-center was more than 100 miles offshore, but all three Fukushima reactors operating at the time melted and exploded. Diablo Canyon, San Onofre, Indian Point are no safer. Nearby fault lines could reduce them and others to rubble, followed by emissions whose death toll would be virtually impossible to calculate.
 
5. The Journal has published a heavily edited rebuttal from Michael Mariotte of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service pointing out that sea-ward winds saved Japan—including Tokyo—from suffering far heavier doses. But like Chernobyl, Fukushima’s radiation has long since reached our shores, with a serious potential death toll.
 
Fukushima erupted 66 years after Hiroshima/Nagasaki, 32 since Three Mile Island, 25 after Chernobyl. The atomic industry seems defined by a reverse learning curve.

Perhaps it could heed Jeffrey Immelt, president of General Electric, who warns that nuclear power has no economic future. GE’s brand is all over Fukushima. Small wonder Immelt wants to join Siemens et. al. in a green-powered Solartopian future, built on renewable technologies like wind, solar and bio-fuels.

No verbal contortions can ever cleanse what Forbes Magazine long ago branded “the largest managerial disaster in American history.” No error-filled whitewash will ever convince our bodies that radiation is good for us.

While Rupert Murdoch helps paint a happy face on a dying industry, we continue to pay with our money and our lives.

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Source URL: http://ecowatch.org/2012/whitewashing-fukushima/

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Memory of Anne Montgomery: "Let the Children Live"

Dear Friends,

In the long, hard struggle for a just, nonviolent, peaceful world there are participants who dedicate their lives so fully to the service of others - truly to all humanity - that they shine (in a humble way) bright as the noonday sun.

Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, who passed away yesterday, is one of those extraordinarily bright spirits.  Her every breath, every step, every word, every action embodied the deepest spirit of love and compassion.  Her nonviolent spirit poured from her and touched so many in this world. 

Anne's work for a just, peaceful world is not over.  It lives on in each of us who were touched by her life. 

From Christian Peacemaker Teams to Plowshares actions, Anne put her life on the line so that others may live.  This photo is a small tribute to what dwelled in the depths of Anne's huge heart.

Sr. Anne, August 7, 2010, at a vigil at the Kitsap Mall, Silverdale, WA,
during Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action's weekend
commemorating the Hiroshima & Nagasaki atomic bombings.

Even on a grey, wet Pacific Northwest afternoon (photo above) Sr. Anne's beautiful spirit shined forth for anyone who would look into her eyes.

May we continue the good struggle toward a nuclear weapons free world for the sake of future generations. 
 
"LET THE CHILDREN LIVE."

You can read about Anne's life in the Memoriam to Anne at the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Reflections, information on Anne's funeral, and more at Disarm Now Plowshares.

Click here to read Fr. John Dear's interview with Anne.

In Peace,

Leonard

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Declaration of the 2012 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs

2012 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs

Declaration of the International Meeting

Sixty-seven years after the US atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, about 20,000 nuclear weapons are still threatening the very survival of the human race. This threat must be rooted out as soon as possible. We call on people around the world to work together to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. The accident of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011 has brought the horror of the nuclear dangers into sharper relief. We extend our solidarity with all nuclear victims.

Throughout the world, people are taking actions demanding their freedom and dignity, opposing social inequality and poverty, and for an end to war and occupation. In Japan, which has suffered the tragedies of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Bikini, actions of citizens demanding zero nuclear power plants are developing on an unprecedented scale since the outbreak of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident, to the level of shaking the entire nation. The voices of the citizens are changing the course of the future of countries and the world.

The call for “No More Hibakusha, No More Hiroshimas and Nagasakis” is heard around the world in this development. The intense desire of the civil society, expressed by signatures collected on streets, in workplaces and campuses, is meeting positive responses in the international politics.

The present situation calls for a drastic strengthening of peace movement and public support. The NPT Review Conference in 2010 reached an agreement to achieve the “peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”. The focus now is on the implementation of this agreement. With the start of the preparatory process for the next NPT Review Conference in 2015, many non-nuclear-weapon states governments are resolved to move the situation forward. Sixteen nations, including Non-Aligned and New Agenda Coalition states as well as NATO members, together made an appeal for a ban on nuclear weapons, focusing on the humanitarian dimension of the use of nuclear weapons. It is time now that the civil society, local governments, the United Nations and national governments should join forces to open a door of a “world without nuclear weapons”.

The use of nuclear weapons can never be justified for any reason whatsoever. One nuclear bomb, if used, would cause catastrophic consequences, which the Hibakusha called a “hell on earth”. It is a crime against humanity and civilization. The disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where people could not live as humans or die as humans, continue to warn the human race of that. The serious consequence of the nuclear power plant accident also shows how inhumane it is to use nuclear energy for military purpose. Nuclear weapons and humans cannot coexist. Retaining such weapons is morally unacceptable.

Inhuman and immoral as they are, nuclear weapons are to be banned by law and eliminated. We call for the start of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention, to establish the rule of law. In the UN General Assembly, 130 countries voted in support of the resolution for it, and the NPT Review Conference in 2010 called on all countries to make “special effort” to establish a “framework” to create a “world without nuclear weapons”. The agreement should be honored and implemented.

With public opinion for a total ban on nuclear weapons growing, there is a strong resistance to maintain nuclear arsenals. Some nuclear powers and their allies insist on their “nuclear deterrence” and maintain their nuclear alliance and “nuclear umbrella”. The highly expensive modernization of nuclear weapons continues. In no sense does nuclear arsenal guarantee peace or security. They should face up to the reality that the nuclear deterrence policy has actually helped nuclear proliferation accelerate. Only when nuclear deterrence doctrines are overcome, can the “peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” be achieved. Peace movements and public support will play the key role here. It is important that an international conference on a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as set out by the NPT Review Conference, should achieve a good success. We support the call for the signing of the protocol of the South East Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty by the nuclear weapon states. We oppose NATO’s nuclear doctrine and interventionism and demand the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from Europe. We support the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula.



Lasting peace and security cannot be achieved by force. We oppose the use or threat to use forces and demand the resolution of all conflicts by diplomatic and peaceful means. We support a world order of peace based on the UN Charter and other instruments of international law. We oppose foreign military bases and demand their withdrawal. In solidarity with the effort for independent and democratic changes in the Middle East countries, we call for a peaceful solution of the problem in Syria without outside military intervention. We demand a peaceful and diplomatic solution on the problems on Iran.

In order for the Japanese government to take actions commensurate to the only A-bombed country, the role of the Japanese peace movement is becoming ever more important. We extend our support and solidarity to the movements for the abrogation of the Japan-US “secret nuclear arrangements”, which allow nuclear weapons to be brought into Japanese territories; for the strict observance of the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles”; for establishing a nuclear weapon-free Japan; the opposition by the people of Okinawa and other communities involving local authorities to the deployment of the dangerous US new transportation aircraft Osprey and to the deployment or port calls of US nuclear-powered warships; the movement demanding the removal of the Futenma base in Okinawa and other US military bases in Japan and for defending and having fully operated Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

The accident of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP has brought the danger of nuclear power plant into clear view. The procurement of the energy sources for sustainable development, without relying on NPP and without thus leaving the danger to the future generations is the necessity. We work for the eradication of the nuclear damage stemming from each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle. Noting the link between nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants, we oppose the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, the accumulation of plutonium and the military use of nuclear energy. We express our solidarity with the idea for a nuclear-free world.

We propose the following actions worldwide:

-- Let us build up international opinion demanding the start of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention by collecting signatures in support of the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons” and many other actions. Let us develop campaigns in different countries and regions in demand for the removal of nuclear weapons and for nuclear free zones.

-- Let us further develop our effort to make known to the public the consequences of the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki through A-bomb photo exhibitions. The truth on the suffering from the A-bombs renders every excuse on nuclear weapons meaningless. Let us strengthen support and solidarity with the Hibakusha, from which the World Conference against A and H Bombs and its movement started. Struggling against cover-up or underestimation of the effects of nuclear damage, we will strengthen solidarity with all nuclear victims. Let us work in solidarity with the movements for support of the victims of Agent Orange and other war atrocities.

-- We will develop solidarity with a broad range of movements for a shift from nuclear power to renewable energy resources. No more nuclear victims of any kind is a shared desire of the movements against nuclear weapons and for zero nuclear power plants. Let us keep building these movements to open the way to a future with no more nuclear damage.

We oppose disparity of wealth and growing social inequality. Hands in hands with all people who stand for freedom, democracy and demilitarization, working against hunger, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and for the resolution of social injustices, drastic cuts in military spending and armament, for the improvement of social welfare, human rights, protection of global environment, overcoming of patriarchal structure and for the rights and equal social status of women, let us open a door to a nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world.

With the Hibakusha, and with the young generation who bear the future, let us make strides forward.

August 4, 2012
International Meeting
2012 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Were the Atomic Bombings Necessary?

As we prepare to commemorate the anniversaries or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there are many questions we might ponder.  One of the most fundamental questions is "Were the atomic bombings necessary?"  In the following essay David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, challenges the conventional understanding that the use of atomic bombs was responsible (and necessary) for ending the war. 

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Were the Atomic Bombings Necessary?

by David Krieger July 30, 2012

On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered and World War II was over. American policy makers have argued that the atomic bombs were the precipitating cause of the surrender. Historical studies of the Japanese decision, however, reveal that what the Japanese were most concerned with was the Soviet Union’s entry into the war. Japan surrendered with the understanding that the emperor system would be retained. The US agreed to do what Truman had been advised to do before the bombings: it signaled to the Japanese that they would be allowed to retain the emperor. This has left historians to speculate that the war could have ended without either the use of the two atomic weapons on Japanese cities or an Allied invasion of Japan.

The US Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that, even without the use of the atomic bombs, without the Soviet Union entering the war and without an Allied invasion of Japan, the war would have ended before December 31, 1945 and, in all likelihood, before November 1, 1945. Prior to the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US was destroying Japanese cities at will with conventional bombs. The Japanese were offering virtually no resistance. The US dropped atomic bombs on a nation that had been largely defeated and was trying to surrender at the time of the bombings.

David Krieger
Despite strong evidence that the atomic bombings were not responsible for ending the war with Japan, most Americans, particularly those who lived through World War II, believe that they were. Many World War II era servicemen who were in the Pacific or anticipated being shipped there believed that the bombs saved them from fighting hard battles on the shores of Japan, as had been fought on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. What they did not take into account was that the Japanese were trying to surrender, that the US had broken the Japanese codes and knew they were trying to surrender, and that, had the US accepted their offer, the war could have ended without the use of the atomic bombs.

Most high ranking Allied military leaders were appalled by the use of the atomic bombs. General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Europe, recognized that Japan was ready to surrender and said, “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” General Hap Arnold, commander of the US Army Air Corps pointed out, “Atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.”

Admiral William Leahy, Truman’s chief of staff, put it this way: “The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. In being the first to use it, we adopted an ethical standard common to barbarians of the Dark Ages. Wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

What Truman had described as “the greatest thing in history” was actually, according to his own military leaders, an act of unparalleled cowardice, the mass annihilation of men, women and children. The use of the atomic bombs was the culmination of an air war fought against civilians in Germany and Japan, an air war that showed increasing contempt for the lives of civilians and for the laws of war.

The end of the war was a great relief to those who had fought for so long. There were nuclear scientists, though, who now regretted what they had created and how their creations had been used. One of these was Leo Szilard, the Hungarian émigré physicist who had warned Einstein of the possibility of the Germans creating an atomic weapon first and of the need for the US to begin a bomb project. Szilard had convinced Einstein to send a letter of warning to Roosevelt, which led at first to a small project to explore the potential of uranium to sustain a chain reaction and then to the Manhattan Project that resulted in the creation of the first atomic weapons.

Szilard did his utmost to prevent the bomb from being used against Japanese civilians. He wanted to meet with President Franklin Roosevelt, but Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. He next tried to meet with the new president, Harry Truman, but Truman sent him to Spartanburg, South Carolina to talk with his mentor in the Senate, Jimmy Byrnes, who was dismissive of Szilard. Szilard then tried to organize the scientists in the Manhattan Project to appeal for a demonstration of the bomb rather than immediately using it on a Japanese city. The appeal was stalled by General Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, and did not reach President Truman until after the atomic bombs were used.

The use of the bomb caused many other scientists to despair as well. Albert Einstein deeply regretted that he had written to President Roosevelt. He did not work on the Manhattan Project, but he had used his influence to encourage the start of the American bomb project. Einstein, like Szilard, believed that the purpose of the U.S. bomb project was to deter the use of a German bomb. He was shocked that, once created, the bomb was used offensively against the Japanese. Einstein would spend the remaining ten years of his life speaking out against the bomb and seeking its elimination. He famously said, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.  This essay was originally published at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation website (http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/db_article.php?article_id=381)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mayors say Cut Nukes, Redirect Funds to Cities' Urgent Needs

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously adopted a strong, comprehensive, new Mayors for Peace resolution at its 80th annual meeting on June 16, 2012.  The resolution calls for U.S. leadership in eliminating nuclear weapons (globally) and redirecting nuclear weapons spending to meet the urgent needs of cities. Following is the full text of the resolution.

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CALLING FOR U.S. LEADERSHIP IN GLOBAL ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAWEAPONS AND REDIRECTION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS SPENDING TO MEET THE URGENT NEEDS OF CITIES

1. WHEREAS, more than two decades after the end of the Cold War, nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons, over 95% of them in the arsenals of the United States and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to cities and people everywhere; and

2. WHEREAS, recent studies show that a nuclear war involving no more than 100 Hiroshima sized bombs used on populated areas—less than 0.5% of the global nuclear arsenal—could have catastrophic effects on the global climate leading to a precipitous drop in average surface temperatures, reduction of the ozone layer, and a shortened agricultural growing season resulting in global famine leading to the starvation of up to one billion people; and

3. WHEREAS, in an historic November 2011 resolution, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement emphasized “the incalculable human suffering that can be expected to result from any use of nuclear weapons, the lack of any adequate humanitarian response capacity and the absolute imperative to prevent such use;” found it “difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of international humanitarian law;” and appealed to all States “to pursue in good faith and conclude with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legallybinding international agreement;” and

4. WHEREAS, President Obama rightly said in Prague, “One nuclear weapon exploded in one city ... no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences might be—for our global safety, our security, our society, our economy, to our ultimate survival,” and the 2010 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) affirmed, “It is in the U.S. interest and that of all other nations that the nearly 65-year record of nuclear non-use be extended forever,” the NPR nonetheless retained the option to initiate nuclear warfare when under conventional attack, explicitly rejected reducing the high-alert status of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles, and retained the capability to deploy U.S. nuclear weapons on tactical fighterbombers and heavy bombers, including at NATO bases in Europe, while proceeding with a modernization of the bombs carried on those planes; and

5. WHEREAS, President Obama submitted a plan to Congress in 2010 projecting investments of well over $185 billion by 2020 to maintain and modernize U.S. nuclear weapons systems, including construction of new nuclear warhead production facilities and an array of new delivery systems, and subsequent annual budgets have provided for funding at this level; and

6. WHEREAS, in 2011, the United States spent $711 billion on its military, 41% of the world total and twice as much as the next 14 countries combined, including China, Russia, six NATO allies and three major non-NATO allies; and

7. WHEREAS, the continuing economic crisis is forcing mayors and cities to make ever deeper cuts in critical public services; and

8. WHEREAS, cuts to federal programs such as Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs) and the Home Investment Partnership program (HOME) have forced cities, local agencies and non-profits to lay off staff, reduce or eliminate services, delay infrastructure projects and reduce program benefits to low and moderate income families; and

9. WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted resolutions in 2004, 2006 and each year since, expressing strong support for Mayors for Peace, its 2020 Vision Campaign and its Cities Are Not Targets project, and the 2010 and 2011 resolutions called for deep cuts in nuclear weapons spending and redirection of those funds to meet the needs of cities; and

10. WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a second resolution at its 2011 annual meeting, “Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Needs;” and

11. WHEREAS, Mayors for Peace announced on September 21, 2011, the United Nations (UN) International Day of Peace, that its membership had surpassed 5000 and now has over 5250 cities in 153 countries and regions, including more than half of the world’s capital cities and over 190 U.S. members; and

12. WHEREAS, in his address to the 2011 U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognized the importance of Mayors for Peace and the support of the USCM, declaring, “I welcome the resolution you will adopt at this conference, in particular its reiteration of support for my five-point [nuclear disarmament] plan,” and concluding, “The road to peace and progress runs through the world’s cities and towns;”

13. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors reaffirms its call on the President of the United States to work with the leaders of the other nuclear armed states to implement the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament forthwith, so that a Nuclear Weapons Convention or a comparable framework of mutually reinforcing legal instruments can be agreed upon and implemented by 2020, as urged by Mayors for Peace; and

14. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to terminate funding for modernization of nuclear warheads, delivery systems, and production facilities, to slash spending on nuclear weapons well below Cold War levels, and to redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities; and

15. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for the withdrawal of all tactical U.S. nuclear weapons from foreign soil and the immediate standing down of all nuclear forces on high-alert as steps to ensure that non-use of nuclear weapons is extended until global non-possession is achieved; and

16. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on its members to raise public awareness about the ongoing dangers and costs of nuclear weapons by organizing public displays of the “5000 Member Milestone” Hiroshima – Nagasaki poster exhibitions in their City Halls, and encourages its members to join Mayors for Peace Executive City Montreal’s “Minute of Silence – Moment of Peace” global initiative by observing a minute of silence at 12 noon on September 21, 2012, the UN International Day of Peace, and posting photos and videos of events in their cities to a dedicated internet platform; and

17. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses its continuing support for Mayors for Peace; pledges to continue assisting in the recruitment of new members; and supports USCM representation at General Conferences of Mayors for Peace in Hiroshima and Nagasaki every four years and annual Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign General Meetings; and

18. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors agrees to take up this matter at its 81st Annual Meeting in June 2013, and that mayors shall remain engaged in this matter until cities and citizens throughout the world are no longer under the threat of nuclear annihilation, whether by accident, design or by global famine resulting from catastrophic climate change caused by a limited nuclear exchange wherever it may occur in the world.

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