Issue #207 – October 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.|
U.S. Nuclear Policy: Taking the Wrong Road
On September 21, 2014, the International Day of Peace, The New York Times published an article by William Broad and David Sanger, “U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms.” The authors reported that a recent federal study put the price tag for modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal at “up to a trillion dollars” over the next three decades.
All this emphasis on modernizing the nuclear deterrent force may be good for business, but ignores two important facts. First, nuclear deterrence is only a hypothesis about human behavior that has not been and cannot be proven to work. Second, it ignores the obligations of the U.S. and other nuclear-armed states to pursue negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament.
To read more, click here.
Making the Connection: The People’s Climate March and the International Day of Peace
Climate change and world peace will each be highlighted on September 21, the International Day of Peace. In our nuclear armed, temperature rising, resource depleting world these issues are intricately related and represent the greatest threats to our planet. It is not coincidence that they be highlighted together. We must make the connection between peace on the planet and peace with the environment. Sunday’s Peoples Climate March will empower citizens the world over to demonstrate the will of the people and demand action as global leaders convene in New York on Tuesday for the U.N. Climate Summit.
As our planet warms, causing severe droughts and weather conditions, crop losses at home and around the world, conflict ensues as competition for finite resources develops. Entire populations and countries are at risk with rising sea levels. Climate change is a catalyst for conflict.
To read more, click here.
Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
Small Island Country Attempts to Hold Hegemon to Its Promises
Leslie Thatcher, editor of Truthout, interviewed NAPF President David Krieger about the Marshall Islands’ Nuclear Zero Lawsuits.
The interview focuses on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the breaches of the NPT that are the basis for the lawsuits, the history of U.S. nuclear weapon testing in the Marshall Islands, and what individuals can do to support the courageous action of the Marshall Islands.
Leslie Thatcher, “Small Island Country Attempts to Hold Hegemon to Its Promises,” Truthout, September 11, 2014.
Tony de Brum Speaks About Lawsuits
In an interview at the People’s Climate March in New York City, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum explained why the Marshall Islands (RMI) is suing the nine nuclear-armed nations. According to de Brum, the lawsuits seek a “nuclear-free world,” one which RMI has a “moral and legal mandate” to pursue. “It is incumbent on us,” says de Brum, “to make a statement to the world and remind our development partners…to own up to their promises to reduce nuclear weapons.”
To watch the video, click the link below.
“Why We’re Suing Nuclear Nations – Interview with Tony de Brum,” YouTube / Ecological Options Network, October 1, 2014.
Hearing on U.S. Motion to Dismiss Scheduled for October 10
The first court hearing around the Nuclear Zero lawsuit filed by the Marshall Islands against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court is scheduled to take place on October 10 in Oakland, California. The hearing will address the Motion to Dismiss, filed by the United States in July 2014.
For those interested in reading the background documents in this case, they are:
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
U.S. Plans Massive Nuclear Weapons Modernization Program
Since a deal was struck with Senate Republicans in 2010, the Obama administration has been ramping up the modernization of U.S. nuclear weapons programs, despite campaign promises to the contrary. The cost is projected to be up to $355 billion over the next decade. Many proposals have come up against obstacles, such as the discovery of a fault line underneath the proposed plutonium facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Beyond the refurbishing of nuclear weapon facilities, the Obama administration is also planning to build 12 new missile submarines, 100 new bombers, and 400 land-based missiles, all with nuclear capabilities. These proposed additions to the United States’ arsenal have been projected to cost up to $1.1 trillion dollars to complete. The size and scope of these nuclear projects have concerned officials inside and outside of the administration. Despite all of this, the Obama administration insists that its current course does not conflict with longstanding international legal obligations to negotiate and achieve total nuclear disarmament.
William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, “U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms,” The New York Times, September 21, 2014.
New Mexico Nuclear Waste Dump in Extended Shutdown
The Department of Energy has announced that a nuclear waste facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico will remain closed until 2016. Known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the facility stores nuclear waste 2,000 feet underground in storage drums. In early February, a truck caught on fire in the underground component of the facility, causing workers to suffer from smoke inhalation. Several days later, a faulty storage drum ruptured, spreading radiation throughout the facility. At least 22 workers were exposed to radiation. The site has been closed ever since, and the estimated costs before reopening are estimated to total over $500 million.
John R. Emshwiller, “New Mexico Nuclear Waste Dump Expected to Remain Closed Until 2016,” The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2014.
Nuclear Arms Race
Russia Tests Nuclear Missile
Russia successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting targets up to 5,000 miles away. This test was one of many conducted on the Bulava missile, and follows the trend of increased military activity since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine. The missile is capable of carrying 6-10 nuclear warheads of up to 100 times the explosive yield of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan.
The 39-foot, 40-ton missile was successfully launched from a submarine in the White Sea to a target in Russia’s far east. Admiral Chirkov, Naval Commander-in-Chief, has stated that two more launches will be carried out in October and November of this year.
“Russia Successfully Tests Nuclear Missile, More Planned: Naval Chief,” Reuters, September 10, 2014.
U.S. Tests Nuclear Missile
On September 23, the U.S. Air Force conducted a test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It came two days after the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21) and three days before the official UN Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Sept. 26). Clearly this timing was meant to send a message, and it is not a message of peace.
Though the Air Force Global Strike Command contends that the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system, this test is yet another example of the continuation of decades of psychological and physical terror the U.S. has imposed upon the people of the Marshall Islands.
David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a consultant to the Marshall Islands on the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits, commented, “The officials at Vandenberg say the purpose of the test is to ‘validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapons system.’ This means the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of a weapons system capable of destroying civilization. The Air Force is only doing its job: practicing for the destruction of the human species. Instead of launching missiles we should be leading negotiations to rid the world of weapons of mass annihilation.”
“U.S. Nuclear Missile Test: Timing Is Everything,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, September 22, 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 October, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and nuclear tests by many different countries.
To read Mason’s full article, click here.
For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.
Security Without Nuclear Deterrence
Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret.), has published an updated e-book version of his book Security Without Nuclear Deterrence.
The nuclear-armed nations and their allies cite nuclear deterrence as the primary justification for maintaining nuclear weapons. Its fallacies must therefore be exposed and alternatives offered if they are to be eliminated.
As a former operator of British nuclear weapons, Commander Green chronicles the history, practical difficulties and dangerous contradictions of nuclear deterrence. He offers instead more credible, effective and responsible alternative strategies to deter aggression and achieve real security.
Click here for more information on the e-book, available through Amazon.com.
Tri-Valley CAREs Video Contest
Tri-Valley CAREs, a nonprofit organization based in Livermore, California, is holding a video contest entitled “Six Decades of Nuclear Bombs: Tell Us Why a Clean Environment Is Important to You.”
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of the United States’ two nuclear weapons design and research laboratories. Every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal was designed at either Livermore or Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico.
Operating this lab in Livermore, California for six decades has taken a serious toll on the local environment. In fact, the Lab has released over 1 million curies of radiation into the local environment (approximately the same amount that was deposited on the people of Hiroshima from the atomic bomb in 1945).
Tri-Valley CAREs invites you to create a video in 2 minutes or less about the impacts of nuclear weapons on the environment in Livermore. Three cash prizes are available for the top videos.
For more information, click here.
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.
NAPF at Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will be well represented at the upcoming conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell will deliver a keynote address on the first day of the conference. NAPF Director of Programs Rick Wayman and social media consultant Shai Ford will present a workshop on the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits.
This year’s conference will take place at the University of San Diego on October 17-18. For more information, click here.
Poetry Contest Winners
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has announced the winners of its annual Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards. The contest has three categories: Adult (over 18); Youth (ages 13-18); and Youth (12 and under).
The contest encourages poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit. To read this year’s winning poems, click here. For more information on the 2015 poetry contest, click here.
Rendez-vous Ottawa will take place on October 25-26 at the University of Ottawa. The conference will introduce the global conversation about the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons to a North American audience and give participants the tools needed to spread the word and join the work towards a ban on nuclear weapons. Topics include the impact of nuclear weapons, our ability to respond to a nuclear detonation, legal and political roads to disarmament, the humanitarian approach to disarmament, campaigning skills and more.
NAPF Director of Programs Rick Wayman will be a speaker at the event. For more information, click here.
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.
For more information about the Evening for Peace, click here or contact the Foundation at (805) 965-3443.
“Over the last 23 years, we have shown that it is possible to live in peace and friendship without possessing a single nuclear warhead. Our weapon has been mutual trust and respect, transparency and confidence building.”
— Erlan Idrissov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, speaking on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (September 26).
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always.”
— Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), who was born on October 2. This quote is featured in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, available in the NAPF Peace Store.