Issue #208 – November 2014
|The Nuclear Zero Lawsuits are proceeding at the International Court of Justice and U.S. Federal District Court. Sign the petition supporting the Marshall Islands’ courageous stand, and stay up to date on progress at www.nuclearzero.org.|
We live in a time of war and in a world that sacrifices its children at the altar of violence.
President Eisenhower warned against the “military-industrial complex.” He might well have added, “military-industrial-academic-congressional complex.” All are implicated in the obscene sums spent on war and its preparation.
There are children growing up today who have never known peace. Can you imagine what this must be like?
To read more, click here.
How We Learned to Stop Playing With Blocks and Ban Nuclear Weapons
It is the responsibility of all NPT states parties to pursue effective measures for nuclear disarmament. Yet supporters of the step-by-step or building blocks approach seem unwilling to put these “blocks” in place themselves. Some of them host US nuclear weapons on their soil, without acknowledging their presence. Most of these states include nuclear weapons in their security doctrines via NATO, which has not taken a collective decision to reduce the role of this weapon of mass destruction in its military doctrine.
While the nuclear-armed states and their allies resist negotiations on the comprehensive elimination of nuclear weapons, the rest of the world can begin to establish the framework for this by developing a clear legal standard prohibiting these weapons for all. This will take courage. But it is a logical, feasible, achievable, and above all, effective measure for nuclear disarmament.
To read more, click here.
Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
Sean MacBride Peace Prize to the People and Government of the Marshall Islands
The International Peace Bureau (IPB), the 1910 Nobel Peace Laureate, will present its annual Sean MacBride Peace Prize to the people and government of the Marshall Islands. The award ceremony will take place on December 5 in Vienna, Austria. Foreign Minister Tony de Brum will accept the award on behalf of the Marshall Islands. IPB chose the Marshall Islands for this year’s award because of its courageous legal actions against the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations.
The event will take place on Friday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the Vienna University of Technology. The event is free and open to the public.
Click here to download a flyer for the event.
Next Steps in International Court of Justice Lawsuits
The Republic of the Marshall Islands, together with its international legal team, is hard at work on the next phase of the lawsuits before the International Court of Justice in the Hague. The United Kingdom, India and Pakistan are the three nuclear-armed nations that accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the court. Those three cases are moving forward. The other six nuclear-armed nations (United States, Russia, France, China, Israel and North Korea) do not recognize the jurisdiction of the court and are not required to have the case against them heard, although they have been invited to do so.
The next phase of the ICJ cases is “memorials,” which are in-depth arguments about the issues. The Marshall Islands will submit its memorial against Pakistan in December, against India in January, and against the United Kingdom in March. Each sued party will then have six months to reply to the memorial.
To stay up to date on the Nuclear Zero lawsuits, visit www.nuclearzero.org regularly.
Open Letter in Support of the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
In an open letter to the people and government of the Marshall Islands, 82 advocates of disarmament and human rights from 22 nations, including two Nobel Peace Laureates, endorsed the federal lawsuit and a parallel suit the Marshall Islands have filed in the World Court against all nine nuclear weapons nations.
“You, and any governments that choose to join you, are acting on behalf of all the 7 billion people who now live on Earth and on behalf of the generations yet unborn who could never be born if nuclear weapons are ever used in large numbers,” read the letter.
“Win or lose in the coming legal arguments, what you, and any who join you, will do has the deepest moral significance. …All people and all governments that have the welfare and survival of humanity and the planet at heart must support you wholeheartedly.”
Bob Egelko, “Marshall Islands’ Nuke Suit Against U.S. Gets Nobel Winners’ Support,” SF Gate, October 16, 2014.
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
Which U.S. President Cut the Most Nuclear Weapons?
According to a new report by Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, President George W. Bush cut the largest percentage of the U.S. nuclear arsenal of any U.S. president. During his two terms, he cut the nation’s arsenal in half. His father, President George H.W. Bush, while serving a single term, came in a close second with reductions of 41 percent. Together, Mr. Kristensen noted, the two men cut “a staggering 14,801 warheads from the stockpile.”
In contrast, President Obama has made only modest cuts to the U.S. nuclear arsenal and plans to implement major upgrades to its nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a Washington-based network of organizations (including the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation), recently condemned the administration’s plans as “the largest expansion of funding on nuclear weapons since the fall of the Soviet Union.”
William J. Broad, “Which President Cut the Most Nukes?” The New York Times, November 1, 2014.
Catholic Bishop: Do Not Modernize Nuclear Arsenal
Bishop Timothy Pates, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, has written a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz urging the United States not to move forward with its plan to modernize its nuclear forces.
Bishop Pates wrote, “The seeming indefinite reliance of the United States on a policy of nuclear deterrence, especially one that includes significant new investments in nuclear weapons, undermines President Obama’s stated goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Excessive spending on nuclear weapons also undermines long-term initiatives to promote human security.”
He also noted that the Catholic Church has called for a global ban on nuclear weapons since 1963, a goal reiterated by Pope Francis this year.
“Bishop Pates to Energy Secretary : Plan to Upgrade Nuclear Forces Undermines Quest for Disarmament,” U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, October 30, 2014.
Lawsuit Spotlights U.S. Charities that Fund Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Program
A federal lawsuit seeks immediate release of a closely held government report about how American branches of Israeli charitable and educational institutes fund secret nuclear weapons research and development programs.
The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy filed suit for the report in the DC District Court as part of a public-interest drive to obtain long overdue enforcement of the Symington and Glenn Amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. The laws prohibit U.S. foreign aid to nuclear weapons states such as Israel that are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Lawsuit Spotlights U.S. Charities that Fund Israel’s Secret Nuclear Weapons Program,” PR Newswire, October 28, 2014.
155 Nations Sign Statement on Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons
At the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, 155 nations signed on to the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons, representing about 80% of the world’s countries.
The statement reads in part, “It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again…. The only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons will never be used again is through their total elimination.”
The statement also cited the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons scheduled for December in Vienna and urged states with or without nuclear arsenals to take part. “We firmly believe that it is in the interests of all States to participate in that Conference,” it said.
“More Countries Back U.N. Statement on Nuclear Disarmament,” Kyodo News, October 20, 2014.
British Study Reveals High Birth Defect Rate
A peer-reviewed study by Dr. Christopher Busby, a University of Liverpool Fellow, has shown that British soldiers exposed to radiation during the 1950s were ten times more likely to bear children with defects. Veterans’ grandchildren are eight times more likely to be born with defects as well, and are twice as likely to develop childhood cancer. The Ministry of Defense has claimed otherwise in the past, noting “no statistical significance” in the existence of birth defects among veterans’ children compared to the greater population.
Susie Boniface, “Britain’s Nuclear Test Veterans Are the Victims of a Genetic Curse, New Research Reveals,” Mirror, October 18, 2014.
Military Industrial Complex
Weapons Companies’ Profits Soar Along with Global Conflict
Stocks of many major U.S. weapon manufacturers are trading at record prices, as conflicts around the world lead to an ever-increasing demand. Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank.
Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest “defense” company, reached an all-time high stock price of $180.74 on September 19, when Northrop and Raytheon also set records. General Dynamics, the parent company of Maine shipbuilder Bath Iron Works, traded at $129.45 on that day, up from $87.74 a year ago. That quartet of companies and Chicago-based Boeing accounted for nearly $105 billion in federal contract orders last year.
Richard Clough, “U.S. Defense Industry’s Profits Soaring Along With Global Tensions,” Bloomberg News, September 25, 2014.
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 November, including the “Training Tape Incident” in which the U.S. mistakenly believed it was under attack from Soviet nuclear missiles.
To read Mason’s full article, click here.
For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.
Third Edition of Speaking of Peace
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has published the third edition of Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action. The book, edited by NAPF President David Krieger, contains hundreds of inspirational quotes from throughout history.
The quotes are divided into ten chapters: Lessons of History; War; Peace; Nuclear Weapons / Nuclear War; Earth Citizenship; Human Spirit; Commitment to Life; Individual Power; Individual Responsibility; and Hope.
To order a copy of the new edition of Speaking of Peace from the NAPF Peace Store, click here.
UN General Assembly’s First Committee
Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, maintains a comprehensive record of statements and votes made at the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security.
Click here to read countries’ statements, review voting records on disarmament-related resolutions and read analysis by leading voices in civil society.
ICAN Civil Society Forum
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has announced a Civil Society Forum to take place in Vienna, Austria on December 6-7. The forum will take place in advance of a government conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, also in Vienna.
Representatives of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, along with many other campaigners, activists, experts, public figures and survivors, will gather to learn and to teach, to energize and be energized, to demonstrate our unity and to demand the end of the era of nuclear weapons. Over a packed but fun-filled two days, we will engage in discussions with the best and brightest voices in the humanitarian disarmament field, hear testimonies from inspirational individuals who know the meaning of courage, develop our campaigning and advocacy skills and, of course, get up to speed on the ins and outs of the humanitarian imperative to ban nuclear weapons.
To learn more about the Civil Society Forum and to register, click here.
31st Annual Evening for Peace
On November 16, 2014, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will host its 31st Annual Evening for Peace. This year’s Distinguished Peace Leader is Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the social justice organization CODEPINK and the international human rights organization, Global Exchange.
Medea Benjamin has been on the front lines for thirty years, shining light on the struggles of the world’s innocent and poor. She has written, “We have to build a movement that takes on the arrogance of power, the tyranny of greed, the politics of hypocrisy, the idolatry of national security, the cancer of hatred, racism, sexism, the hysteria of nationalism, the sin of torture, the crisis of the environment, the madness of war, and turn that all into a culture, a country, that shows love, compassion, caring for the planet, and with that, we have to lift the voices of the peacemakers.”
For more information about the Evening for Peace, click here or contact the Foundation at (805) 965-3443.
Peace Leadership in Maine
“The most important work in the world,” is how Tilla Durr, the daughter of famed civil rights activists Clifford and Virginia Durr, described the work of NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell during his recent visit to Maine. Durr attended both the two-day Peace Leadership Training in Bridgton, Maine, and Paul’s lecture at the University of New England (UNE) Center for Global Humanities in Portland, Maine.
“Paul does not just leave his audience with an intellectual understanding of the anatomy of aggression and the art of waging peace, but teaches us to see conflict as opportunity,” Durr commented about the training and the UNE lecture. “There was not a single person who attended who was not profoundly affected.”
To read more about Paul Chappell’s recent trip to Maine, click here.
NAPF Activities in Vienna
In addition to participating in the ICAN Civil Society Forum in Vienna (see Resources, above), David Krieger, Rick Wayman and Alice Slater of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will be involved in many other activities in Vienna, Austria, in early December.
On December 5, NAPF is co-sponsoring a public forum with the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. The forum will feature Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, NAPF President David Krieger, Phon van den Biesen of IALANA, and Marylia Kelley of Tri-Valley CAREs.
On December 8 and 9, the NAPF representatives will attend the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, hosted by the Foreign Ministry of Austria. Around 150 countries are expected to attend the conference.
“A debate on the renewal of the MDA would be used by some as an opportunity to raise wider questions concerning the possible renewal of the nuclear deterrent … and our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”
— A 2004 internal document from the UK Ministry of Defense, explaining why the Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA) between the United States and the United Kingdom continues to be renewed in secret every 10 years.
“Peace with a club in hand is war.”
— Portugese Proverb. This quote is featured in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, available from the NAPF Peace Store.