Issue #199 – February 2014
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An Open Letter to College and University Presidents
You are in a unique position of leadership to influence todays youth to achieve a better tomorrow for America and the world. I am writing to enlist your help in educating young people to understand the survival challenges that face humanity in the 21st century.
Education is driven by values. Young people must learn to live with reverence for life, as did Albert Schweitzer, and to support equitable and nonviolent solutions to social problems, as did Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Young people must be imbued with compassion, commitment and courage. They must learn to use their imaginations to find creative and cooperative solutions to the great issues of our time. And they must find joy in the process and take time to celebrate the miracle of living on the only planet we know of in the universe that supports life.
To read more, click here.
The Fragility of Our Complex Civilization
Cultural evolution depends on the non-genetic storage, transmission, diffusion and utilization of information. The development of human speech, the invention of writing, the development of paper and printing, and finally, in modern times, mass media, computers and the Internet: all these have been crucial steps in societys explosive accumulation of information and knowledge. Human cultural evolution proceeds at a constantly-accelerating speed, so great in fact that it threatens to shake society to pieces.
The great and complex edifice of human civilization is far too precious to be risked in a thermonuclear war. It has been built by all humans, working together. By working together, we must now ensure that it is handed on intact to our children and grandchildren.
To read more, click here.
Nukes Are Nuts: The Sequel
Nuclear weapons are monstrous and obscene explosive devices that have no function other than to threaten or cause mass annihilation. They kill indiscriminately and cause unimaginable suffering. The world knows well the death, destruction and lingering pain caused by these weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nuclear weapons could end civilization and have no place in a civilized society. Nukes are nuts!
To read more, click here.
US Nuclear Weapons Policy
Enhanced Military Capabilities of U.S. Nuclear Bomb
Over 2 1/2 years ago, the Federation of American Scientists claimed that the planned Life Extension Program for the B61 nuclear bomb would provide new military capabilities to attack targets with greater accuracy and less radioactive fallout. In January, former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, confirmed that the B61-12 would indeed have new military capabilities.
Critics claim that “the increased accuracy and lower yield options could make the B61-12 more attractive to use because of reduced collateral damage and radioactive fallout.” The development of the B61-12 contradicts the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which declared that Life Extension Programs for U.S. nuclear weapons would “not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities.”
Hans M. Kristensen, “General Confirms Enhanced Targeting Capabilities of B61-12 Nuclear Bomb,” FAS Strategic Security Blog, January 23, 2014.
Temporary Nuclear Deal With Iran Takes Effect
Under a short-term agreement that went into effect on January 20, the United States granted Iran “limited, targeted and reversible sanctions relief for a six-month period.” The deal, which will expire in July 2014, was the result of Tehran’s agreement to suspend its uranium fuel-enrichment and other parts of its nuclear program, and disable thousands of centrifuges.
However, Western nations, particularly Israel, remain skeptical of Iran’s long-term intentions. Iran continues to be adamant that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Rick Gladstone and Thomas Erdbrink, “Temporary Nuclear Deal With Iran Takes Effect,” The New York Times, January 20, 2014.
Strategic Deterrent Coalition
The newly formed Strategic Deterrent Coalition, led by Albuquerque business leader Sherman McCorkle, seeks to raise awareness of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and protect the massive budgets of these facilities. The coalition’s primary goal is to defend the nuclear triad (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine, and long-range bombers) against sensible proposals to eliminate one or more of its component parts in a post-Cold War world in which the U.S. and other nuclear-armed states are obligated to negotiate in good faith for Nuclear Zero.
Michael Coleman, “New Coalition Defends U.S. Nuclear Complex,” Albuquerque Journal, January 9, 2014.
Land-Based Nuclear Missile Officers in Multiple Scandals
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has begun a campaign to define and remedy troubles that plague the U.S. nuclear force. A progressively worsening scandal was revealed in January that started with missile officers around the country being investigated for illegal drug use. That investigation quickly grew to include accusations of at least 92 out of the 500 missile officers cheating on proficiency tests. Hagel has summoned top officials to the Pentagon and said he will form an expert group of military outsiders to perform a broader review of the U.S. nuclear force.
Secretary Hagel reported to top officials that “personnel failures within this force threaten to jeopardize the trust the American people have placed in us to keep our nuclear weapons safe and secure.” The problem, however, is not simply a personnel issue. It is the unnecessary and insane nuclear mission that is at the heart of the low morale of missile launch officers and their generals alike.
Robert Burns, “Hagel Vows to Get to Bottom of Nuke Missile Ills,” Associated Press, January 23, 2014.
North Korean Leader May Not Be Consistently Rational
Navy Admiral Samuel Lacklear, head of U.S. military forces in the Pacific, has expressed concern about Kim Jong Uns decision-making abilities, saying that the North Korean leader has made the Pacific region a “very dangerous place.”
Admiral Lacklear’s comments come after a series of actions, including the execution of Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, and increased military and nuclear productivity that has antagonized the U.S., raising fears and anxieties among senior military officials.
Rachel Oswald, “U.S. Commander: North Korean Leader May Not Be Consistently ‘Rational’,” Global Security Newswire, January 23, 2014.
National Cancer Institute to Study Health Effects of First Nuclear Test
After nearly seven decades, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is conducting a study to determine the health effects of the 1945 Trinity Site atomic test on New Mexico residents. The study is designed to determine the specific radiation doses to which the “Trinity downwinders” were subjected during the test. It was prompted by the conclusion of a 10-year study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found radiation levels at homes near the Los Alamos National Laboratory were almost 10,000 times the accepted levels.
NCI scientists will be focusing on the diets and lifestyles of New Mexico residents who were children at the time of the blast. The NCI study notes that diets are important in studying radiation levels because contaminated foods, including dairy products, can be a significant source of radiation.
Dennis J. Carroll, “Downwinders Welcome Study of Trinity Blast’s Impacts,” Santa Fe New Mexican, January 25, 2014.
60th Anniversary of Largest U.S. Nuclear Test
March 1 will mark the 60th anniversary of Castle Bravo, an atmospheric nuclear weapon test conducted by the United States near Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1954. The hydrogen bomb had a yield of 15 megatons, 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. It was the largest weapon ever tested by the United States.
Radioactive fallout from the explosion heavily contaminated Rongelap and Utirik atolls, but the residents of these islands were not evacuated for three days. A Japanese fishing vessel, the Lucky Dragon, was in the radioactive fallout path, which created a strong reaction against atmospheric nuclear testing among the people of Japan.
Rongelap Atoll continues to have high levels of radiation in many areas, and many Rongelap natives believe it is not yet safe to return to their homeland 60 years later.
For more information on the Castle Bravo test and its consequences, visit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization’s page here.
War and Peace
Latin American and Caribbean Nations Proclaim Zone of Peace
On January 28 and 29, the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) gathered in Havana, Cuba, to sign a proclamation of their region as a zone of peace.
The proclamation contains the nations’ “permanent commitment to solve disputes through peaceful means with the aim of uprooting forever threat or use of force in our region.” The proclamation also declares a “commitment of the States of the region to continue promoting nuclear disarmament as a priority objective and to contribute with general and complete disarmament, to foster the strengthening of confidence among nations.”
To read the full CELAC proclamation, click here.
Eight Ways You’re Wrong About Iran’s Nuclear Program
The National Interest has published a report by Yousaf Butt that debunks eight false assertions about Iran and its nuclear program.
The report begins, “Oft repeated but false assertions about Iran’s nuclear program – and the recent deal to tamp it down – may end up being more dangerous than the program itself. These wrong statements reinforce each other, get amplified in the media, and are fueling a march to military action.”
To read the full report, click here.
New Nuclear Disarmament Community Online
NAPF’s Geneva Representative, Christian N. Ciobanu, is developing a unique online nuclear disarmament community on Goodwall.org, “the social network to do good.” The social network will be officially launched on February 6, 2014, but the beta version is online now.
Members of the community can write, comment, follow posts and stories, and share them on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
To join Goodwall.org, click here. For further information, please contact Christian N. Ciobanu at email@example.com.
Banning Nuclear Weapons: A Pacific Islands Perspective
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), of which NAPF is a member, has published a new report entitled “Banning Nuclear Weapons: A Pacific Islands Perspective.” The report details the ongoing humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. March 1 will mark the 60th anniversary of the infamous “Bravo” nuclear test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which spread radioactive fallout over inhabited islands. From 1946 to 1996, at least 315 nuclear test explosions were conducted across the Pacific region by France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The author of the report, Nic Maclellan, said, “Pacific island nations – which understand all too well the horrific effects of nuclear weapons – are perfectly placed to play a leadership role in the process to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons, which will help ensure that no one else suffers as they have suffered.”
To download a copy of the report, click here.
Noam Chomsky to Deliver NAPF 2014 Kelly Lecture
Professor Noam Chomsky will deliver the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 13th Annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity’s Future on February 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara, California. Professor Chomsky will speak on “Security and State Policy.”
Tickets are sold out, but the lecture will be live audio streamed courtesy of KCSB. To listen to the lecture live at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time on February 28, go to kcsb.org. If you live in the Santa Barbara area, you can also tune in to KCSB on the radio at 91.9 FM.
Video of the lecture will be available as soon as possible following the event.
Peace Leadership Training in San Diego
From January 6-10, NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell presented his five-day Peace Leadership Training as a graduate course at the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences. Attended primarily by a select group of Ph.D. students and community activists, the course covered the type of leadership that is needed today, the type of leadership taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The course focused on nonviolence and new ways to wage peace.
To read testimonials from the course, click here.
For more information on Peace Leadership lectures and trainings, click here.
Mexico Conference on Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons
NAPF Director of Programs Rick Wayman, New York Representative Alice Slater and Geneva Representative Christian N. Ciobanu will attend the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, which is hosted by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They will attend the official government conference as observers, with many opportunities to speak with representatives of countries around the world who are concerned about this issue. They will also participate in strategy sessions with representatives of dozens of non-governmental organizations from around the world.
In January, NAPF sent out an action alert encouraging President Obama to send a U.S. delegation to the conference in Mexico. Thus far, the U.S. has played a negative role, discouraging countries from examining the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and actively choosing not to participate in such international forums. Click here to take action.
Nukes Are Nuts Video Contest Announced
NAPF’s 2014 video contest has officially launched. The contest is open to people of all ages around the world. To enter, make a video of 30 seconds or less about why you think nuclear weapons are nuts (as in “crazy”). Top videos are eligible for cash prizes and Nukes Are Nuts gear.
For more information and full contest rules, click here.
“To modernize your nuclear weapons stockpile and assure that they continue to stay secure and safe, it takes money, it takes resources.”
— U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
“The pressure is on for the U.S. to rebuild a cold war nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years…[but] as the threat goes down, we plan to spend more. In an age of budget constraint, it is hard to see how an increase in nuclear weapons spending is needed or aids American security.”
— Jon Wolfsthal, Deputy Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, in an essay on the Huffington Post.
“One man in the right makes a majority.”
— Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th U.S. President. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, edited by NAPF President David Krieger.