The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) just launched a groundbreaking report on the global financing of the nuclear weapons industry. This is a watershed moment for the movement to abolish nuclear weapons.
The comprehensive study, entitled Don’t Bank on the Bomb, identifies more than 300 banks, pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers in 30 countries with substantial investments in nuclear arms producers.
The 180-page report provides details of financial transactions with 20 companies that are heavily involved in the manufacture, maintenance and modernisation of US, British, French and Indian nuclear forces.
Divesting from Nuclear Weapons
In his foreword to the report, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu has called on financial institutions to “do the right thing and assist, rather than impede, efforts to eliminate the threat of radioactive incineration”, noting that divestment was a vital part of the successful campaign to end apartheid in South Africa.
“Today, the same tactic can – and must – be employed to challenge man’s most evil creation: the nuclear bomb. No one should be profiting from this terrible industry of death, which threatens us all.”
US Heavily involved in both financing and manufacturing nuclear weapons
Half of the companies involved in nuclear weapons work (named in the report) are based in the United States. These nuclear weapons producers include household words like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bechtel and Honeywell.
Of the 322 global financial institutions identified in the report that invest in nuclear weapons companies, 170 of them are based in the United States. Among them are financial giants like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, insurance companies like Allstate ("You're in good hands..."), and the world's largest Roman Catholic fraternal organization The Knights of Columbus (just who would Jesus bomb anyway???).
The vast U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure
As this report is being issued the U.S. government has been actively gearing up to modernize and expand both its nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Nuclear weapons infrastructure (including research and manufacturing facilities) are both in planning stages (Los Alamos Laboratories), in construction (Kansas City bomb plant), and completed (Y-12 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee), and that's just a partial listing.
The next generation ballistic missile submarine intended to replace the current Trident fleet (and is projected to operate through 2082 or later) is being planned, and would generate some serious investment I'm sure, considering a construction price tage of nearly $100 billion for 12 submarines.
Time to Occupy the Bombplex and its financiers
As the report Don't Bank on the Bomb makes clear, Wall Street is War Street. It is time to call for accountability by all these financial institutions. Nuclear weapons are not a sustainable investment strategy. One day they WILL be used should we continue to rely upon them as tools of foreign policy, and when that time comes it will be a dark day. The effects on the financial world will be unimaginable.
We the people must call for financial institutions to divest themselves of their investments in nuclear weapons. It is the only moral, ethical and (from a long term perspective) financially sound choice. Chapter 7 of the report tells us how we can challenge nuclear weapons investments.
Take action individually and collectively
Check out the Don't Bank on the Bomb Website where you can download the full report. Is your financial institution financing nuclear weapons? Find out, and then challenge them to do the right thing - DIVEST! Click here for ideas on what you can do.
Besides individual actions like writing to your financial institution and asking it to divest, consider larger group actions like shareholder resolutions. There is incredible power in numbers, and the Occupy movement continues to provide lessons for action.
It is criminal to profit from the production of the very weapons of our own destruction. Let's invest our hard-earned money in life, not death!
Don't Bank on the Bomb Website: http://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/
Don't Bank on the Bomb, full PDF Report: http://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/DivestmentReport.pdf