Issue #226 – May 2016
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What Is the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation?
A voice of conscience in the Nuclear Age. The Foundation views peace as an imperative of the Nuclear Age, believing that any war fought today has the potential to become a nuclear war of mass annihilation.
An advocate for peace, international law and a world without nuclear weapons. The Foundation not only educates but is a nonpartisan advocate of achieving peace, strengthening international law, and ending the nuclear weapons threat to humanity.
A community of committed global citizens. The Foundation is composed of individuals from all walks of life and all parts of the globe who seek to end the nuclear weapons threat to humanity and to build a more just and peaceful world.
To read more, click here.
Opportunity for Progress
Starting on May 2, the open-ended working group (OEWG) to take forward nuclear disarmament negotiations will meet for its second session in Geneva. During the May meetings, it is imperative that states focus their time on discussing elements for a treaty banning nuclear weapons and that they make concrete recommendations to the UN General Assembly in relation to moving forward with negotiations on such a treaty.
After a fruitful discussion in February, where the prohibition of nuclear weapons provided the key framework for debate and where states and civil society interacted in ways far superior to what we are used to seeing in most multilateral forums on disarmament, it is crucial that the next two weeks are used constructively. The purpose of this body is to “substantively address” and make recommendations to the UN General Assembly about “concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms” to achieve and maintain a nuclear weapon free world. With a significantly greater number of non-governmental organisations and academic institution participating this month, the bar for a fruitful and result-focused debate is raised and states will have to make use of this opportunity for a more focused debate defining elements and processes for the way ahead.
To read more, click here.
Take Three Gifts on Your Journey
The word is out.
You will visit Hiroshima in May.
In Hiroshima, nuclear weapons become real.
The possibility of destroying civilization
Visiting Hiroshima is an opportunity to lead the way back
Take three gifts to the world on your journey: your courage,
To read more, click here.
North Korea Denies It Offered to Stop Nuclear Tests
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong has denied that he offered to stop North Korean nuclear tests in exchange for a halt to U.S.-South Korean military exercises held on the Korean Peninsula.
The United States, South Korea and other countries have expressed concerns that North Korea is preparing for its fifth nuclear test, possibly in advance of its Seventh Party Congress in early May.
Elizabeth Shim, “North Korea Denies It Proposed End to Nuclear Tests,” United Press International, April 26, 2016.
India Takes to the Seas in the Nuclear Arms Race
India’s first nuclear-armed submarine, the INS Arihant, is currently undergoing trials at sea and will likely soon be actively deployed. The 100-member crew has been trained by Russian nuclear submarine specialists. In March 2016, India conducted two test launches of its K-4 submarine launched ballistic missile.
Deployment of a nuclear-armed submarine by India will give the country the third leg in a nuclear triad of land-based missiles, bomber aircraft, and submarines. This escalation in the nuclear arms race will undoubtedly be seen as a threat by India’s nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and China.
“Indian Navy Goes Nuclear: Country’s First Nuke Sub Undergoing Sea Tests,” Sputnik News, April 18, 2016.
Senator Submits “Poison Pill” Amendment in Attempt to Kill Iran Deal
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) attempted to introduce a “poison pill” amendment in the Senate’s FY2017 energy spending bill that would prevent the Obama administration from buying heavy water from Iran’s nuclear program. Under the nuclear deal reached last year between Iran and the “P5+1,” Iran is responsible for reducing its stock of heavy water by selling, diluting or disposing of it.
The legislation required 60 votes to move ahead in the Senate, but it only received 50.
Richard Cowan and Patricia Zengerle, “Iran Nuclear Deal Fight Threatens Senate Spending Bill,” Reuters, April 27, 2016.
Dutch Parliament Favors a Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons
On April 28, the Dutch Parliament held a debate on a national ban on nuclear weapons. The debate came about through a citizens’ initiative by PAX, ASN Bank and the Dutch Red Cross.
The result of the debate was that a vast majority of the House wants the Netherlands to start working internationally for a nuclear weapons ban. Bert Koenders, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, agreed to adhere to the wishes of the House at the UN’s Open Ended Working Group meeting on nuclear disarmament. This is particularly significant, as the Netherlands is one of five European nations where U.S. nuclear weapons are stationed under the auspices of NATO.
Krista van Velzen, a campaigner with PAX, said, “Up until now the Government didn’t think the time was right to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons. Today the Minister stated he would now actively pursue this. From now on the Netherlands will plead for start of these negotiations. This is a big step forward.”
Selma van Oostwaard, “Dutch Parliament: The Netherlands Needs to Negotiate an International Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty,” PAX, April 28, 2016.
Cambridge Divests from Nuclear Weapons Producers
On March 21, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Council voted unanimously to divest the city’s $1 billion pension fund from companies that finance or produce nuclear weapons. This was a collaborative effort, achieved with the cooperation of NGOs, academics and funders. The resolution is based on the information in the report “Don’t Bank on the Bomb,” produced by the Dutch organization PAX.
Commenting on the importance of this City Council vote, physicist Stephen Hawking said, “If you want to slow the nuclear arms race, then put your money where your mouth is and don’t bank on the bomb!”
Joseph Gerson, “Cambridge City Council Divests from Nuclear Weapons Production,” Truthout, April 11, 2016.
Second Tank May Be Leaking at Hanford
Officials are trying to determine whether a second massive underground tank is leaking at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state. Hanford has long struggled with leaks in underground tanks containing highly radioactive waste. Twenty-eight double-walled tanks were recently installed in the hope that they would prevent more leaks from occurring. However, officials have already discovered that one double-walled tank has leaked thousands of gallons from its primary tank into the annulus. It now appears that at least one additional double-walled tank is experiencing leaks.
Hanford, a sprawling site near Richland, WA, was used for years to produce plutonium for U.S. nuclear weapons. There are millions of gallons of highly-radioactive liquid waste stored in underground tanks. The site is near the Columbia River, a source of drinking water for millions of people in the Pacific Northwest.
While the United States continues to increase its budget for nuclear weapons maintenance, modernization and production, the budget for cleaning up existing environmental disasters at nuclear weapons facilities around the country has stayed flat year after year.
Nicholas K. Geranios, “2nd Hanford Tank May Be Leaking, Officials Say,” Associated Press, April 26, 2016.
Trillion Dollar Trainwreck
Despite lofty rhetoric about a world free of nuclear weapons, President Obama has launched what the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) calls the “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck.” That is the title of ANA’s new report on Obama’s massive plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.
Marylia Kelley, co-author of the report and Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs, said, “The United States is initiating a new nuclear arms race, because the other nuclear-armed states, of course, when they look at our modernization program, are now beginning their own. We need this to be rolled back.”
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Director of Programs Rick Wayman and intern Alexis Hill also contributed to the “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck” report. Click here to download a copy.
Amy Goodman, “Obama’s Trillion-Dollar Nuclear-Arms Train Wreck,” Democracy Now, April 15, 2016.
Sen. Feinstein Takes Aim at Nuclear Cruise Missile Funding
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has said that she will seek to stop funding for a Long Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise missile that “is unaffordable, and may well be unnecessary.” The U.S. currently plans to spend approximately $30 billion on this new cruise missile and nuclear warhead, which critics charge would be indistinguishable from a conventionally-armed cruise missile to an adversary.
Sen. Feinstein received an award from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability on April 19 for her outspoken work to stop funding for the LRSO. In accepting the award, she said, “I believe it is unnecessary…But most of all, I’m really concerned that the Defense Department may intend to actually use this particular nuclear cruise missile. In a letter sent two years ago, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall wrote the following: ‘Beyond deterrence, an LRSO-armed bomber force provides the President with uniquely flexible options in an extreme crisis.’ This suggestion — that nuclear weapons should be a flexible option — is alarming. It is a lowering of the threshold, and we must never do this.”
Aaron Mehta, “Feinstein Takes Aim at Nuclear Cruise Missile Funding,” Defense News, April 14, 2016.
Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
Another Kind of Nuclear Security Summit
In an article for Pressenza, Jacqueline Cabasso, Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation, summarized the March 2016 hearings at the International Court of Justice in the Marshall Islands’ nuclear disarmament cases against India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Ms. Cabasso wrote:
“The recent Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Obama in Washington, DC generated a goodly amount of hype, including some well-deserved criticism of its narrow focus on securing civilian highly enriched uranium (HEU) and other modest, voluntary steps aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons-useable nuclear and radiological materials. The Summit was silent on the huge stocks of HEU and plutonium in military programs and the more than 15,000 existing nuclear weapons possessed by States, including the Summit’s host – the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war.
“Another kind of nuclear security summit took place last month in The Hague, as the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands took on three nuclear-armed giants before the highest court in the world. Hubris and hypocrisy on one side, courage and vision on the other were on global display.”
Jacqueline Cabasso, “Another Kind of Nuclear Security Summit: The Marshall Islands vs. the Nuclear-Armed States,” Pressenza, April 9, 2016.
Urge President Obama to Visit Hiroshima
On April 11, 2016, John Kerry became the first sitting U.S. Secretary of State to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and lay flowers at the memorial cenotaph. Secretary Kerry’s words indicate that he was moved by the experience, calling it “gut wrenching” and “a stark, harsh compelling reminder…of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons.”
However, the United States continues to rely heavily on nuclear weapons and is planning to spend at least $1 trillion over the next 30 years to “modernize” all aspects of its nuclear arsenal, including the warheads, submarines, missiles, bombers, production facilities and command and control infrastructure.
Please encourage President Obama to visit Hiroshima when he is in Japan next month for the G7 Summit. Actions speak louder than words. That’s why we are encouraging President Obama not to come to Hiroshima empty-handed.
Send a message to President Obama today and encourage him to become the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, and to make significant substantive contributions to nuclear disarmament while he is there.
Letters to the Wall
If you have suffered through the Vietnam war, as a military veteran, a resister, a partner of a veteran, a child or a sibling of a veteran, or just as a caring citizen of the U.S., your voice is needed. On Memorial Day, May 30, Veterans for Peace will deliver letters to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) with heartfelt messages to those young men and women whose names are on The Wall.
Your note can be one paragraph long or many paragraphs. It can be written to a specific name on The Wall or just as a general cry out against war. Rest assured that your letter will be treated with the respect and caring it deserves — this ceremony is not a political action. It is an act of remembrance and grief.
You have until May 14 to write your letter and send it either as an email message to email@example.com or as a handwritten letter to Doug Rawlings, 13 Soper Road, Chesterville, Maine 04938.
Vote for Youth
For the next few weeks, you have an opportunity to support a dedicated group of young people around the world working for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition met in Hiroshima in August 2015, bringing 300 youth together to learn more about nuclear weapons issues, meet with hibakusha – survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing – and develop collaborative projects to achieve their common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
This Youth Summit and pledge has been chosen as one of ten semi-finalists out of over 4.5 million submissions in One Billion Acts for Peace, a United Nations-supported peace initiative organized by Peace Jam. Now through May 12, you can vote once a day for the Youth Summit online. The top five projects will receive a Hero Award in June from Rigoberta Menchu Tum, a Nobel Peace laureate from Guatemala.
Rick Wayman, our Director of Programs, was Co-Chair of the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition, and Josie Parkhouse, a former NAPF summer intern, was a core participant.
Your vote could make the difference in providing encouragement and visibility to this important emerging network of dedicated young people. Please take a moment to vote today, and every day through May 12.
May’s Featured Blog
This month’s featured blog is Wildfire >_. Articles are primarily written by Richard Lennane, Chief Inflammatory Officer for Wildfire. He will be very active, both on the blog and on Twitter, during the May session of the Open Ended Working Group in Geneva.
Recent titles include: “Canada’s Accidental Insight”; “A Grand Unified Treaty”; and “Norway Shows Us the Future.”
Keep up to date with news from Wildfire >_ at this link, and follow them on Twitter.
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 the May 17, 2014, “Bent Spear” incident, in which Air Force personnel caused $1.8 million in damage to a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile carrying a nuclear warhead.
To read Mason’s full article, click here.
For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.
Creating True Love at Home and Peace on the Planet
Martin and Dorothie Hellman have written a book entitled A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home and Peace on the Planet. The approach combines a concern for global issues with improving one’s marriage or other intimate relationship. The authors write of their own experiences implementing this approach. They found that working on both the personal and global dimensions simultaneously accelerated their progress on each of them.
The full book will likely not be published until June, but the authors have begun releasing chapters of the book in the past few weeks. You can access the first six chapters of the book at this link.
Ghosts of the Cold War
The United States has more than 1,500 nuclear warheads deployed on a “triad” of submarines, bombers, and land-based missiles. These doomsday weapons – the ghosts of the Cold War – were built to fight an enemy that no longer exists. Nonetheless, President Obama has approved plans to rebuild and maintain them all, with a price tag of about $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
One of them is a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile that will cost about $30 billion in taxpayer dollars – yet does nothing to protect us from 21st century threats like terrorism, cyber attacks and global warming.
A new Ploughshares Fund report calls on President Obama to cancel the new nuclear cruise missile, also known as the Long Range Stand-Off weapon or LRSO. It argues that the new missile is strategically unnecessary, extraordinarily expensive, and undermines US security.
To read the report, click here.
Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post
The lead letter to the editor of the Washington Post on April 19 was written by Rick Wayman, NAPF Director of Programs. In the letter, Wayman called on not only President Obama, but the leaders of all nine nuclear-armed nations to visit Hiroshima. He stressed not only the moral obligations to negotiate for nuclear abolition, but also the existing legal obligation to negotiate, and bring to a conclusion, negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
To read the letter, click here.
Peace Leadership in Europe
Peace Museum Vienna will host NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell on Thursday, May 19, for a “Peace Talk Evening” at 6:30 PM at the museum, located in the historic city centre. Recent presentations have included Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, president and founder of Youth for Human Rights International.
At Peace Museum Vienna, Paul Chappell will present his ground-breaking ideas on “Why Peace Is Possible” and “Why Our World Needs Peace Literacy.” Chappell will bring the seven forms of peace literacy to an international audience, to help educate us to solve the root causes of our problems rather than merely dealing with symptoms, and move us closer to ending war and waging peace.
To read more about this event in Vienna, click here.
What Is Your Legacy Going to Be?
What is your legacy going to be? Join us for a special presentation about the importance and the benefits of planning your legacy. Hear from our special guest, attorney Joe Green, on May 24 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm PDT. There are two ways you can participate:
To RSVP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-965-3443.
Video Contest Winners Announced
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has announced the winners of its 2016 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest. Dozens of contest entries were received featuring videos about why the United States and other nuclear-armed countries should “Humanize, not Modernize.”
First prize went to Konane Gurfield of San Diego, CA. Second prize went to Elias Reta of Stone Mountain, GA. Third prize went to David Kirk West of Medford, OR. Thanks to all who entered the contest and submitted their ideas about the need to #HumanizeNotModernize.
Winning videos can be viewed here.
Rick Wayman Receives Activist of the Year Award
On April 18, Rick Wayman, Programs Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, received the “Activist of the Year” award from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA). The award was presented at ANA’s “DC Days” on Capitol Hill, honoring Wayman’s “dynamic leadership in bringing the Marshall Islanders’ Nuclear Zero litigation to world attention, activating the next generation of peace leaders, and guiding ANA as board member and tech guru.”
Also honored at the event were Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA); Chuck Montano (whistleblower from Los Alamos National Laboratory); and Kay Cumbow (activist and organizer against nuclear waste in the Great Lakes region).
“War is an invention of the human mind. The human mind can invent peace with justice.”
— Norman Cousins (1915-1990), American author and peace activist. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available for purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.
“Within a single flash of light, Hiroshima became a place of desolation, with heaps of rubble, grotesquely wounded people and blackened corpses everywhere. The G7 Foreign Ministers walk on the ground where people’s bones are still being found. It is on this ground where thousands of people were instantly melted or vaporized. And yet the same governments continue to build their national security around these inhumane weapons and oppose efforts to prohibit them.”
— Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and member of the NAPF Advisory Council, commenting on the April 2016 visit to Hiroshima by Foreign Ministers of the G7, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.”
— Daniel Berrigan, a Catholic priest and peace activist, who passed away on April 30 at the age of 94. He played an instrumental role in inspiring the anti-war and anti-draft movement during the late 1960s as well as the anti-nuclear movement. Click here to read Fr. John Dear’s remembrance of Daniel Berrigan.
“In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”
— Julia Ward Howe, in her Mother’s Day proclamation of 1870.
“Where are those who will shatter the silence? Or do we wait until the first nuclear missile is fired?”
— John Pilger, a journalist and filmmaker, in a recent essay entitled “A World War Has Begun. Break the Silence.”