Sunflower Newsletter: December 2015

December: This Month in Nuclear Threat History
November 30, 2015
How Our Naive Understanding of Violence Helps ISIS
December 10, 2015
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Sunflower Newsletter: December 2015

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Issue #221 – December 2015

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  • Perspectives
    • Paris: War Is Not the Answer by David Krieger
    • Former U.S. Defense Secretary Warns of Nuclear War, Nuclear Terror by Robert Kazel
    • Acceptance Speech at NAPF’s 2015 Evening for Peace by Setsuko Thurlow
  • Nuclear Disarmament
    • UN General Assembly to Vote on Nuclear Disarmament Resolutions
  • Nuclear Insanity
    • Russia Says Leak of Secret Nuclear Weapon Design Was an Accident
    • U.S. Launches Nuclear Missile off California Coast, Causing UFO Scare
  • War and Peace
    • Turkey Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet
  • Nuclear Modernization
    • Does Your Bank Finance Nuclear Weapons Production?
    • Huge Acquisition Costs Threaten Nuclear Modernization Plans
  • Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
    • Tony de Brum and People of the Marshall Islands Win Right Livelihood Award
    • A Ground Zero Forgotten
  • Resources
    • December’s Featured Blog
    • This Month in Nuclear Threat History
    • The Climate-Nuclear Nexus
    • We Are Many
  • Foundation Activities
    • The Art of Waging Peace Documentary
    • Give the Gift of Peace from the NAPF Peace Store
    • Humanize Not Modernize Tote Bags Now Available
    • Evening for Peace Video Now Available
  • Quotes

 

Perspectives

Paris: War Is Not the Answer

The attacks on innocents in Paris on November 13, 2015 were horrifying crimes, filling the city with grief and uniting people throughout the world in solidarity with the victims and with France.  These attacks were cold-blooded murders of innocent people, clearly crimes deserving punishment.  But when crimes are used as the impetus for war, the crimes and grief are multiplied and the toll of innocents increases to become the norm.  Surely, we must cry havoc, but we must also be wary of letting loose the dogs of war.

The attacks in New York on September 11, 2001 were also unspeakable crimes.  These attacks also stirred the sympathy and solidarity of the world, in this case for the United States, until the U.S. answered the attacks by letting loose the snarling dogs of war, first against Afghanistan and then against Iraq, a country having nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.  The leaders who perpetrated these wars also caused untold sorrow and death of innocents.  While perpetrators of the attacks in New York, including Osama bin Laden, have been tracked down and captured or killed, those U.S. leaders who committed the worst of the Nuremberg crimes, crimes against peace, particularly in Iraq, have never been brought to justice.

To read more, click here.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Warns of Nuclear War, Nuclear Terror

Although peace activists know it well, the average American is “blissfully unaware” that the likelihood of a nuclear attack inside U.S. borders has markedly increased for two reasons: serious deterioration in relations between American officials and their Russian counterparts and potential development by terrorists of improvised nuclear technology.

That was the warning delivered in November by William Perry, former U.S. secretary of defense, who told attendees in Chicago at the annual Clock Symposium sponsored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that intensified public information campaigns will be essential to enlighten a citizenry that’s become complacent and ignorant about the rising threat of catastrophe.

To read more, click here.

Acceptance Speech at NAPF’s 2015 Evening for Peace

I am delighted to be here tonight, and meet all of you, working hard for a peaceful and just world free of nuclear weapons. I am honored and humbled to receive your Award tonight. I am truly grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tonight I would like to share with you my personal testimony of surviving the atomic bombing as a child victim, and then living in North America advocating for the abolition of nuclear weapons. For the 70th anniversary of the bombings, it is appropriate to reflect upon and ponder the meaning of living in the nuclear age.

To read more, click here.

Nuclear Disarmament

UN General Assembly to Vote on Nuclear Disarmament Resolutions

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is urging countries to vote in favor of numerous nuclear disarmament-related resolutions on December 7.  ICAN is calling on governments to support resolutions in support of an open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament, the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the Humanitarian Pledge, and the ethical imperatives of a nuclear weapons-free world.

These four resolutions were adopted in the First Committee by a significant majority. Since the First Committee voted in November, nuclear-armed countries have pressured non-nuclear countries to abstain or vote against the resolutions.

To read the ICAN action alert and see how you can help, click here.

Nuclear Insanity

Russia Says Leak of Secret Nuclear Weapon Design Was an Accident

A Russian television station has broadcast a report that seemed to inadvertently reveal the design for a nuclear-armed drone submarine that could attack coastlines. The submarine has not yet been produced, and the Kremlin insists that the revelation was accidental.

The document said that the submarine would “defeat important economic objects of an enemy in coastal zones, bringing guaranteed and unacceptable losses on the country’s territory by forming a wide area of radioactive contamination incompatible with conducting military, economic or any other activities there for a long period of time.”

Many analysts believe that this information was leaked purposely as part of the heightened nuclear saber-rattling between Russia and the United States.

Andrew E. Kramer, “Russia Says Leak of Secret Nuclear Weapon Design Was an Accident,” The New York Times, November 12, 2015.

U.S. Launches Nuclear Missile off California Coast, Causing UFO Scare

On November 7, the U.S. Navy launched an unarmed Trident II D5 missile from a submarine off the coast of California just after dark. The resulting streak of light across the sky, which could be seen as far away as Arizona, caused many people to think they were seeing a UFO or a meteor.

The Navy does not announce tests of its nuclear-capable missiles in advance. The missile, which can carry nuclear warheads many times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed the city of Hiroshima, landed at a target in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The Navy later stated that the test was part of “a scheduled, ongoing system evaluation test.”

Emma Henderson, “‘UFO Over Los Angeles on Saturday Night Revealed to be Trident Missile Launched by U.S. Navy,” The Independent, November 11, 2015.

War and Peace

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet

On November 24, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that it claims was violating its airspace after repeated warnings went unheeded. Russia, on the other hand, claims that the aircraft was in Syria when it was shot down. Regardless of the exact location of the Russian jet, this military action has significantly raised the levels of tension between nuclear-armed rivals. Also, when the tables were turned and one of his own jets was shot down by Syria in 2012 over an air space violation, then Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan (now its president) complained: “Even if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack.”

Russia possesses approximately 4,500 nuclear weapons, while Turkey is part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is a nuclear-armed alliance. The United States stores approximately 60 nuclear weapons on Turkish territory under the auspices of NATO nuclear sharing.

Martin Hellman, who writes regularly about nuclear risk, wrote of this situation, “If we keep ignoring [nuclear] risk, eventually one of these provocative incidents will blow up in our faces. The time to recognize that danger and to start work on reducing the risk is now, not once a crisis exists.” You can read Hellman’s three-article series by clicking the link below.

Martin Hellman, “Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet: What Happens Next?,” Defusing the Nuclear Threat, November 24, 2015.

Nuclear Modernization

Does Your Bank Finance Nuclear Weapons Production?

Pax, a peace organization based in the Netherlands, has published a revised edition of the report “Don’t Bank on the Bomb.” The report examines in detail the records of companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons, as well as financial institutions that finance them.

While the majority of nuclear weapons funding comes from taxpayers in nuclear-armed countries, private sector investors also provide financing that enables the production, maintenance and modernization of nuclear arsenals.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation recently issued an action alert targeting State Farm, one of the many institutions that finance companies that produce nuclear weapons. Click here to take action by encouraging State Farm to stop financing nuclear weapons producers.

Huge Acquisition Costs Threaten Nuclear Modernization Plans

Michael McCord, Pentagon Comptroller, has said that the massive future costs of acquiring new nuclear weapon delivery systems will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next U.S. President. McCord estimates that by the year 2021, the U.S. will need to come up with at least $10 billion per year through 2035 in order to fulfill current plans to modernize its nuclear weapons, delivery systems and production facilities.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has published a new booklet entitled “Humanize Not Modernize” that outlines just some of the things that could benefit society instead of the $1 trillion that the U.S. intends to spend on nuclear modernization over the next 30 years. To read the booklet, click here.

Jordana Mishory, “McCord: Nuclear Modernization Bow Wave Is Biggest Acquisition Problem,” Inside Defense, November 13, 2015.

Nuclear Zero Lawsuits

Tony de Brum and People of the Marshall Islands Win the Right Livelihood Award

On November 30, Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, received the Right Livelihood Award in a ceremony at the Swedish Parliament. De Brum and the people of the Marshall Islands were given the award, commonly called the Alternative Nobel Prize, “in recognition of their vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honor their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law.”

To watch a video of de Brum’s award acceptance speech, click here.

To read more about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits, click here.

A Ground Zero Forgotten

Over the past 70 years, the Marshall Islands have faced numerous challenges. The United States tested 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958, resulting in incalculable damage to people and the environment that continues to this day. Lately, the realities of global climate change have been manifesting dangerously on the low-lying islands, with rising sea levels threatening their continued existence.

The Marshall Islands has not taken these challenges lightly. They are a leading voice in the movement to combat climate change, including at the international negotiations currently taking place in Paris. They are also proactively working to eliminate the nuclear weapons threat through the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits, which they filed in 2014 against all nine nuclear-armed nations.

Dan Zak, “A Ground Zero Forgotten,” Washington Post, November 29, 2015.

 Resources

December’s Featured Blog

This month’s featured blog is the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Their website, www.thebulletin.org, contains many distinct blogs, including Nuclear Notebook, Development and Disarmament Roundtable, Voices of Tomorrow, and many more.

To go to the site, click here.

This Month in Nuclear Threat History

History chronicles many instances when humans have been threatened by nuclear weapons. In this article, Jeffrey Mason outlines some of the most serious threats that have taken place in the month of December, including the December 5, 1965 incident in which a U.S. 4E Skyhawk fighter jet armed with a Mark 43 hydrogen bomb rolled off an aircraft carrier and fell into the Pacific Ocean. The hydrogen bomb was lost.

To read Mason’s full article, click here.

For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.

The Climate-Nuclear Nexus

Just in time for the global climate meetings in Paris, the World Future Council has published a new report entitled “The Climate-Nuclear Nexus.” The report, principally authored by Jurgen Scheffran of the University of Hamburg, considers how nuclear weapons and climate change have grave implications for global and human security, and how the two interact with each other.

For a rising number of people, the effects of these two threats are not a theoretical, future issue of concern. Behind the facts and figures are stories of real suffering from climate change and nuclear weapons programs. The people of the Marshall Islands, who are threatened by rising sea levels and are still heavily impacted by U.S. nuclear weapon testing from 1946-58, are a clear example.

To read the full report, click here.

We Are Many

A new documentary film entitled “We Are Many” will be screened in the coming weeks in New York and Los Angeles. The film, by Amir Amirani, chronicles the 2003 worldwide protests against the invasion of Iraq that were the largest global protests ever. On February 15, 2003, over 15 million people marched to protest the invasion of Iraq in over 800 cities around the world. The film unveils the drama, emotion, magnitude and stories of this historic day. To view a trailer of the film, click here.

The film will screen numerous times each day in New York from December 4-10, and in Los Angeles from December 11-17. For information and tickets to the New York screenings, click here. For information and tickets to the Los Angeles screenings, click here.

Foundation Activities

The Art of Waging Peace Documentary

NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell may soon have a new teaching tool available for the classroom and for non-violence activists everywhere: a documentary on The Art of Waging Peace.

Filmmaker Kent Forbes first heard about Paul when he gave a lecture at the University of Maine in 2012. “His talk really stuck with me,” said Forbes. “I was very intrigued by his original approach to the problem of war and by his unique qualifications.”

To read more about the documentary and to watch a teaser, click here.

Give the Gift of Peace from the NAPF Peace Store

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s online peace store has many great gifts for your peace-loving family and friends. From books to t-shirts, from sunflower “seeds of peace” to tote bags, you’re sure to find some meaningful and lasting gifts.

Order today and you’ll receive your items in time for the holidays.

Humanize Not Modernize Tote Bags Now Available

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s new campaign, “Humanize Not Modernize,” has just been launched. Over the next year, we will be letting you know specifically what could be done with the $1 trillion that the United States plans to spend modernizing its nuclear weapons, delivery systems and production infrastructure over the next three decades.

As part of this campaign, we have produced a limited number of “Humanize Not Modernize” reusable tote bags. They can be a great conversation starter about this important issue wherever you go. The bags are available for purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.

In addition, through December 31, if you donate $25 to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, we will send you a tote bag as a token of our thanks. If you donate $50 or more by December 31, we will send you two tote bags – one for yourself and one to give away.

Evening for Peace Video Now Available

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has published a video of our 2015 Evening for Peace, honoring Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and a dedicated campaigner for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Ms. Thurlow’s acceptance speech is also available as a written transcript here.

Quotes

 

“We condemn the billions of dollars that several nuclear weapons states are committing to spending to modernize their arsenals as well as the arms race such actions are stimulating.”

Statement from the 15th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which took place in Barcelona November 13-15, 2015.

 

“What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers.”

Pope Francis

 

“The hope of humankind is that compassion and compromise may replace the cruel and senseless violence of armed conflicts.”

Benjamin Ferencz, American attorney and prosecutor at the Nuremburg Tribunal. This quote appears in Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, available for purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.

Editorial Team

 

David Krieger
Carol Warner
Rick Wayman