Sunflower Newsletter: May 2015

Youth Statement at the 2015 NPT Review Conference
May 6, 2015
What the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits Seek to Accomplish
May 6, 2015
Show all

Sunflower Newsletter: May 2015

Share

Issue #214 – May 2015

Follow David Krieger on twitter

Click here or on the image above to follow NAPF President David Krieger on Twitter.

  • Perspectives
    • Hubris Versus Wisdom by David Krieger
    • Why Are We Planning to Walk across the DMZ? by Mairead Maguire
    • How to Avert a Nuclear War by James Cartwright and Vladimir Dvorkin
    • Statement of Principle in Support of the Lausanne Agreement
  • Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
    • Marshall Islands to U.S.: Keep Your NPT Promises
    • Marshall Islands Delivers Strong Message to NPT Review Conference
  • Missile Defense
    • Failed Missile Defense Programs Cost $10 Billion
  • Nuclear Insanity
    • Close Call During Cuban Missile Crisis
    • Nuclear Weapon Transporter Has Anger Management Issues
  • Nuclear Proliferation
    • U.S. Reveals It Has Known About Israel’s Nuclear Program for Over 50 Years
    • Pension Fund Blacklists Boeing for Work on Nuclear Weapons
  • Peace
    • Women’s Power to Stop War
    • 40th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War
  • Resources
    • NPT News In Review
    • This Month in Nuclear Threat History
    • Filling the Legal Gap
    • Worldwide Nuclear Modernization Programs
  • Foundation Activities
    • NAPF at the NPT Review Conference
    • Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest Winners
    • Paul Chappell Speaks at Site of the Dayton Peace Accords
    • Peace Poetry Awards: Deadline July 1
  • Quotes

 

Perspectives

Hubris Versus Wisdom

Humankind must not be complacent in the face of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.  The future of humanity and all life depends upon the outcome of the ongoing struggle between hubris and wisdom.

Hubris is an ancient Greek word meaning extreme arrogance. Wisdom is cautionary good sense.

Hubris is at the heart of Greek tragedy – the arrogant belief that one’s power is unassailable.  Wisdom counsels that no human fortress is impregnable.

Hubris says some countries can hold onto nuclear weapons and rely upon them for deterrence.  Wisdom, in the voice of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, says these weapons must be eliminated before they eliminate us.

To read more, click here.

Why Are We Planning to Walk Across the DMZ?

Almost two years ago, when Christine Ahn proposed international women peacemakers walk across the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) which separates North and South Korea as an important action to help support Korean women and men working for reconciliation and reuniting of Korean families, I couldn’t resist. This was an important first step in establishing a peace process in which women and civil community would be included.

Many people have asked, “Why are they planning to walk across the DMZ that separates North and South Korea?” Maybe the real question should be, “Why not?”

To read more, click here.

How to Avert a Nuclear War

We find ourselves in an increasingly risky strategic environment. The Ukrainian crisis has threatened the stability of relations between Russia and the West, including the nuclear dimension — as became apparent last month when it was reported that Russian defense officials had advised President Vladimir V. Putin to consider placing Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert during last year’s crisis in Crimea.

Diplomatic efforts have done little to ease the new nuclear tension. This makes it all the more critical for Russia and the United States to talk, to relieve the pressures to “use or lose” nuclear forces during a crisis and minimize the risk of a mistaken launch.

The fact is that we are still living with the nuclear-strike doctrine of the Cold War, which dictated three strategic options: first strike, launch on warning and post-attack retaliation. There is no reason to believe that Russia and the United States have discarded these options, as long as the architecture of “mutually assured destruction” remains intact.

To read more, click here.

Statement of Principle in Support of the Lausanne Agreement

We, the undersigned, encourage and support the ongoing negotiations process that in early April of 2015 resulted in the announcement of a historically significant “framework agreement” in Lausanne, Switzerland. This painfully negotiated initial agreement is between the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and those of the “P5+1″ world powers. Its aim is to resolve peacefully the chronic and dangerous dispute over the peacefulness of Iran’s nuclear energy (and technology) program. While we the undersigned may have different views about other matters, we deem the success of the “Lausanne Agreement” to be a significant and positive step forward (although modest and fragile) toward reduction of tension and violence in our interconnected world.

Nevertheless, we note in profound distress that the long diplomatic process which finally resulted in the Lausanne Agreement has many and diverse opponents, if not determined enemies. These foes (mainly in the U.S., in Israel, and even inside Iran) are trying to prevent the agreement from being finalized by the deadline of June 30, 2015. We believe that their strident and disruptive voices should be opposed nonviolently, by all well-intentioned persons and institutions. Why? Because in our opinion, human history is at a critical juncture in which the dream of a truly peaceful and just world, on our fragile “pale blue dot” (on which life is supposed to be thriving, as opposed to being further harmed every single day) is seriously imperiled. Thus, we, the undersigned, invite all people (and institutions) of good will to lend their support to this modest but significant peace process, in part by signing this petition and spreading its words far and wide.

To read the petition and sign your name, click here.

Nuclear Zero Lawsuits

Marshall Islands to U.S.: Keep Your NPT Promises

On April 9, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed its court-ordered Mediation Questionnaire in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the Mediation Questionnaire, the RMI cites a statement made by the U.S. Embassy in the Marshall Islands on February 5, 2015, which asserted that “the U.S. commitment to achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons is unassailable.” Taking the Embassy’s statement at face value, the RMI goes on to say, “If the U.S. were willing to demonstrate that commitment by calling for and convening negotiations for cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament under the NPT (which is the very relief sought by the Marshall Islands), then this case could have strong potential for a successful mediation.”

In subsequent court documents, it became clear that the U.S. did not accept the option for mediation in this appeal. The initial appeal brief from the Marshall Islands is due to the court on July 13, 2015.

Marshall Islands to U.S. – Keep Your NPT Promises,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, April 9, 2015.

Marshall Islands Delivers Strong Message to NPT Review Conference

 

On April 27, 2015, the first day of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum delivered a strong statement about the current state of nuclear affairs and the urgent need for the abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide.

De Brum said, “It should be our collective goal to not only stop the spread of nuclear weapons, but also to truly achieve the peace and security of a world without them, and thus end the cycle of broken promises…. After decades of diplomacy, the NPT’s defining purpose remains unfulfilled, and those who are unwilling to negotiate in good faith will be held to wider account.”

Tony de Brum, “Statement of Marshall Islands to the 2015 NPT Review Conference,” April 27, 2015.

Missile Defense

Failed Missile Defense Programs Cost $10 Billion

 

Numerous U.S. missile defense programs once portrayed as vital to national security have been mothballed or completely scrapped due to their unworkable nature. Once lauded, the weapon systems were eventually discovered to be ineffective and/or much more expensive than initially promised.

Retired Air Force General Eugene Habiger, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command, criticized the leaders of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for their repeated blunders. “They are totally off in la-la land,” he said.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon were the major contractors involved in the failed missile defense programs.

David Willman, “The Pentagon’s $10-billion Bet Gone Bad,” Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2015.

Nuclear Insanity

Close Call During Cuban Missile Crisis

 

Yet another close encounter with complete annihilation of the human race during the Cuban Missile Crisis has been revealed. U.S. missile officers stationed in Okinawa received a false order to launch nuclear-armed missiles on October 28, 1962. Nearly all of the redundancies and checks imposed upon launching a nuclear strike seemed to have been met and the “three-level confirmation process was taken step-by-step in accordance with a manual by comparing codes in the launch order and codes given to his crew team in advance. All of the codes matched.”

If the officers had followed protocol, they would have launched the missiles, which would have likely resulted in the initiation of a massive nuclear exchange between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Instead, the officer in charge decided to use logic and reason before following orders, leading to the eventual discovery that the order was a mistake.

Masakatsu Ota, “U.S. Veterans Reveal 1962 Nuclear Close Call Dodged in Okinawa,” Kyodo News, March 27, 2015.

Nuclear Weapon Transporter Has Anger Management Issues

 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s top auditor, the commander of a nuclear courier squad allegedly threatened to kill one of his colleagues. Senior officials did not learn about the allegations for five months. This same commander was also involved in physical altercations with other couriers on at least two other occasions.

The couriers are responsible for transporting nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear materials around the United States to various factories, storage sites and military bases.

R. Jeffrey Smith, “He Handles American Nuclear Weapons, Has Anger Issues,” The Daily Beast, April 10, 2015.

Nuclear Proliferation

U.S. Reveals It Has Known About Israel’s Nuclear Program for Over 50 Years

 

Despite denials for decades, the U.S. has finally declassified information affirming its knowledge of Israel’s nuclear program since 1960. When the United States first learned of Israel’s development, officials expressed immense “annoyance because Israeli officials at all levels repeatedly provided less than credible answers to U.S. questions about Dimona.” Included in the report are a myriad of other documents indicating dubious practices on the part of the U.S., Israel, the UK and even international agencies. Among these are:

  • A secret agreement between Israel and Norway for the sale of Norwegian heavy water to Israel (through the United Kingdom), transmitted by Oslo Embassy political officer Richard Kerry (father of current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry).
  • Reports that the Israelis had a secret nuclear reactor project that involved experiments with plutonium.
  • A telegram reporting on Finance Ministry official Addy Cohen’s statement that “we’ve been misbehaving,” and that the secrecy surrounding Dimona was unjustifiable, “a stupid mistake on the part of Israel.”
  • Messages about a role for the International Atomic Energy Agency in inspecting and safeguarding Dimona.

Avner Cohen and William Burr, “The U.S. Discovery of Israel’s Secret Nuclear Project,” The National Security Archive, April 15, 2015.

Pension Fund Blacklists Boeing for Work on Nuclear Weapons

 

Nordea Asset Management, the largest financial services group in Northern Europe, has blacklisted Boeing because of its work producing nuclear weapons. Sasja Beslik, head of corporate governance at Nordea, said, “Boeing is in the process of developing a new nuclear program, [which means] we cannot engage with them. These companies will not change their business models, because [nuclear] is too lucrative.” Beslik continued, “We do not believe that the development of new nuclear weapons is needed and we do not want to contribute to the expansion of this business as the potential use of [nuclear arms] is extremely damaging to mankind.”

Boeing is one of many companies that is listed as a “nuclear weapon producer” in the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report, produced by PAX. To see what companies and financial institutions are included in the report, click here.

Nordea Blacklists Boeing Over Nuclear Arms,” Financial Times, May 3, 2015.

Peace

Women’s Power to Stop War

 

Hundreds of women from 80 countries gathered in The Hague April 27-29 for the Women’s Power to Stop War conference. Organized by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in honor if its 100th anniversary, the conference addressed many important global issues.

One such issue is global military spending, which was estimated to be $1.8 trillion in 2014. Speaking at the conference, Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams said, “We have done things, we have banned landmines, we’ve banned cluster munitions … Anything can happen if we get up off our collective butt and work together. With an overarching goal then, however individuals contribute to that goal, we can change the world.”

Liz Ford, “Peace Activists at The Hague Decry $1.8tn Global Military Spend in 2014,” The Guardian, April 29, 2015.

40th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War

 

Forty years ago, on April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon, known today as Ho Chi Minh City. On May 1-2, a conference was held in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the anniversary and examine lessons learned during that time.

NAPF President David Krieger has written a letter to the Americans who died in the Vietnam War, which is one of many messages that will be delivered by Veterans for Peace to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day this year.

We Are Meeting the Pentagon on Battlefield of Memory,” Democracy Now, April 30, 2015.

Resources

NPT News In Review

 

Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, produces a newspaper during each Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. The News In Review contains summaries of debates, analysis and opinions, and is an excellent way to stay up to date on the daily proceedings whether you are attending the conference in New York City or not.

To read the News In Review, 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 May, including India’s May 18, 1974 nuclear weapon test, which marked the beginning of a dangerous nuclear arms race in South Asia.

To read Mason’s full article, click here.

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

Filling the Legal Gap

 

Reaching Critical Will and Article 36 have produced a brief report summarizing the gaps in existing treaty law related to nuclear weapons that could be filled by a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The “legal gap” regarding prohibition and elimination arises from various deficits in the regulation of activities involving nuclear weapons, as currently codified. The key legal gap that needs to be filled is the explicit prohibition of nuclear weapons and establishment of a framework for their elimination.

To read the report, click here.

Worldwide Nuclear Modernization Programs

 

Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project, delivered an informative presentation at the United Nations on April 28 as part of a side event sponsored by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. Kristensen’s presentation examined in depth the “modernization” programs of Russia and the United States, and provided overviews of the nuclear weapon activities of the other seven nuclear-armed nations (United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea).

To view Kristensen’s presentation, click here.

Foundation Activities

NAPF at the NPT Review Conference

 

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation was deeply involved during the first week of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York City. The conference, which began on April 27, continues through May 22. On the first day of the conference, NAPF held a side event in partnership with the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. The event, held during the lunch hour, featured Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, lead counsel in the U.S. lawsuit Laurie Ashton and NAPF President David Krieger.

In addition, NAPF representatives spoke on many other panels at the United Nations and in other locations around New York City. For example, David Krieger spoke at Soka Gakkai International’s Culture of Peace lecture series, while Rick Wayman spoke about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits following a screening of the documentary Nuclear Savage.

Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest Winners

 

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has announced the winners of the 2015 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest. The contest, which was open to people around the world, called for videos of up to 90 seconds on “The Imperative of Reaching Nuclear Zero: The Marshall Islands Stands Up for All of Humanity.”

To view the winning videos, click here.

Paul Chappell Speaks at Site of Dayton Peace Accords

 

When Paul K. Chappell, Peace Leadership Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, spoke on “Why World Peace Is Possible” at the annual conference of Southwestern Ohio Rotary District 6670 on April 18  in Dayton, Ohio, he found a willingness among the attendees to reconsider some long-held views.

One Rotarian commented, “I was changed. I went in thinking that peace was impossible. Left thinking there is a way to spread peace. Slow and steady, like curing polio.”

To read more about Paul’s trip to Dayton, click here.

Peace Poetry Awards: Deadline July 1

 

The deadline for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s annual Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards is July 1. The contest encourages poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit. The Poetry Awards include three age categories: Adult, Youth 13-18, and Youth 12 & Under. Cash prizes of up to $1,000 will be awarded to the winners.

Quotes

 

“Democracy has come to nuclear disarmament.”

Maritza Chan, Minister Counselor of Costa Rica, speaking at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference on May 4, 2015. To read Costa Rica’s full statement, click here.

 

“Pointing nuclear-tipped missiles at entire nations is an act of unprecedented moral depravity.”

Bernard Lown, co-founder of the 1985 Nobel Peace Laureate organization International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available in the NAPF Peace Store.

 

“Nuclear arms are weapons of the devil, which will not allow humans to live nor die as humans.”

Sumitero Taniguchi, an 86-year-old survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki, speaking at the Peace and Planet Conference in New York City.

 

“It’s just making sure that if we ever had to use them, they would actually explode.”

Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, explaining why the United States plans to spend at least $1 trillion over the next 30 years on a “modernization” program for its nuclear weapons, delivery vehicles and production facilities.

Editorial Team

 

David Krieger
Grant Stanton
Carol Warner
Rick Wayman


Comments are closed.