Issue #219 – October 2015
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Reason Is Not Enough
Reason is not enough to halt the nuclear juggernaut that rumbles unsteadily toward catastrophe, toward omnicide.
The broken heart of humanity must find a way to enter the debate. The heart must find common cause with imagination. We cannot wait until the missiles are in the air with the sand falling through the hourglass. We must use our imaginations. We must listen to the sad stories of those who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki and imagine the force of the winds, the firestorms rushing through our cities, the mushroom clouds rising, the invisible radiation spreading. If we can’t imagine the death and destruction, we cannot combat it and we will never stop it.
To read more, click here.
Will the Nuclear Powers Also Play by the Rules?
When all is said and done, what the recently-approved Iran nuclear agreement is all about is ensuring that Iran honors its commitment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to develop nuclear weapons.
But the NPT—which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970—has two kinds of provisions. The first is that non-nuclear powers forswear developing a nuclear weapons capability. The second is that nuclear-armed nations divest themselves of their own nuclear weapons. Article VI of the treaty is quite explicit on this second point, stating: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
What has been the record of the nuclear powers when it comes to compliance with the NPT?
To read more, click here.
The UN: Are Development and Peace Empty Words?
Relentless militarism, underpinned by patriarchal capitalist structures and institutions, are at the root of today’s major security crises, from nuclear threats to the millions of refugees fleeing armed gangs and Syria’s bombed-out cities. As the UN General Assembly convenes in New York, governments need to take more responsibility for tackling the weapons, arms trade and conflicts that their policies have created and exacerbated.
The 2030 Agenda commits governments “to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence.” It declares: “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.” Yet despite this emphasis on peace and freedom from violence, the Agenda only includes one goal related to weapons – to significantly reduce illicit arms flows by 2030 (goal 16.4).
To read more, click here.
Pope Francis Speaks Out for Nuclear Disarmament
Pope Francis spoke out strongly in favor of peace and nuclear disarmament during his speech to the United Nations on September 25. In his highly-anticipated remarks, Pope Francis said, “There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.”
He also spoke about the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. He said, “The recent agreement reached on the nuclear question in a sensitive region of Asia and the Middle East is proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy. I express my hope that this agreement will be lasting and efficacious, and bring forth the desired fruits with the cooperation of all the parties involved.”
“Video: Pope Francis Speaks at the UN on Nuclear Weapons,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, September 25, 2015.
Anti-Nuclear Parliamentarian Elected as Leader of UK Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn, a long-time member of the UK Parliament, was elected as leader of the Labour Party in September 2015. Corbyn has a distinguished history of working for the global abolition of nuclear weapons, primarily with the UK-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Speaking recently at the Labour Party Conference, Corbyn said, “I don’t believe £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons taking up a quarter of our defense budget is the right way forward. I believe Britain should honor our obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and lead in making progress on international nuclear disarmament.”
Speaking to the BBC, Corbyn said, “I am opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.”
“Speech by Jeremy Corbyn to Labour Party Annual Conference 2015,” Labour Press, September 29, 2015.
U.S. and Iranian Presidents Speak About Nuclear Agreement at UN
U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani both spoke about the recent nuclear agreement in their remarks to the United Nations General Assembly on September 28. President Obama said, “For two years, the United States and our partners – including Russia, including China – stuck together in complex negotiations. The result is a lasting, comprehensive deal…. And if this deal is fully implemented, the prohibition on nuclear weapons is strengthened, a potential war is averted, our world is safer. That is the strength of the international system when it works the way it should.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “Today, a new chapter has started in Iran’s relations with the world. From the standpoint of international law, this instrument [the nuclear agreement] sets a strong precedent where, for the first time, two sides rather than negotiating peace after war, engaged in dialogue and understanding before the eruption of conflict.”
Click the links to read the full remarks of President Obama and President Rouhani.
North Korea Says It Is Bolstering Its Nuclear Arsenal
North Korea has announced that it is improving the quality and quantity of its nuclear arsenal in response to the “reckless hostile policy” of the United States and its allies.
North Korea has also announced plans to launch a satellite into orbit for scientific purposes. Many opponents of the North Korean regime view such satellite launches as a thinly-veiled attempt to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
Choe Sang-Hun, “North Korea Says It Is Bolstering Its Nuclear Arsenal,” The New York Times, September 15, 2015.
Japanese Government Reinterprets Peace Article in Constitution
Despite significant protest both in Japan and abroad, the Japanese legislature voted to reinterpret Article 9 of the constitution, which declares that the Japanese people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation.” The Article also pledges that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained” and that “the right of belligerency will not be recognized.”
The reinterpretation of Article 9 will allow for “collective self-defense” in conjunction with allied nations. Gensuikyo, the Japan Council Against A and H Bombs, has vociferously opposed the reinterpretation of Article 9. After the recent vote by the legislature, Gensuikyo said in a statement, “We are firmly determined to do our utmost to get the war laws repealed.”
Matt Ford, “Japan Curtails Its Pacifist Stance,” The Atlantic, September 19, 2015.
Russia Threatens Countermeasures if U.S. Deploys Modernized Nuclear Bomb in Germany
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, has said that Russia will be forced to take countermeasures if the United States deploys the modernized B61-12 nuclear bomb in Germany. According to recent German news reports, such deployment of U.S. nuclear bombs could take place as soon as the end of 2015.
Peskov stated, “This could alter the balance of power in Europe. And without doubt it would demand that Russia take necessary counter measures to restore the strategic balance and parity.”
The United States already deploys approximately 180 nuclear bombs in five NATO countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
Masha Tsvetkova and Katya Golubkova, “Russia Pledges Counter Measures if U.S. Upgrades Nuclear Arms in Germany,” Reuters, September 23, 2015.
U.S. Uranium Processing Facility Likely to Cost Over $10 Billion
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA), a watchdog group located near the Y-12 nuclear facility in Tennessee, has estimated that the planned Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) will cost at least $10 billion, despite government promises that it will not exceed $6.5 billion.
The Uranium Processing Facility has been plagued by mismanagement, runaway cost projections, and schedules that recede toward infinity. It continues, year after year, to be listed on the Government Accountability Office’s “High Risk Projects” list. Despite the problems, the UPF continues to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in the federal budget.
The proposed UPF would produce new secondaries for thermonuclear weapons, which greatly increase the explosive yield of nuclear weapons.
“Oak Ridge Bomb Plant Cost Soaring Toward $10 Billion,” Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, September 8, 2015.
Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
Tony de Brum and People of the Marshall Islands Win the Right Livelihood Award
Foreign Minister Tony de Brum and the people of the Marshall Islands will receive the 2015 Right Livelihood Award “in recognition of their vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honor their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
De Brum is co-agent of the Marshall Islands in the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits against the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations at the International Court of Justice. The Marshall Islands also filed a lawsuit against the United States in U.S. Federal Court. De Brum is also a leading voice in international climate negotiations, and will play an important role at the upcoming climate summit in Paris in December.
Commenting on the award, NAPF President David Krieger said, “Tony de Brum is one of the truly outstanding political leaders of our time. He is relentless in his pursuit of peace and justice. He and the people of the Marshall Islands have played an oversized role in the fight to end the nuclear weapons era – by going to court to hold the nuclear-armed countries to their nuclear disarmament obligations under international law. They have also played a major role in the fight to halt climate change. Minister de Brum and the people of the Marshall Islands are most worthy of the Right Livelihood Award and of the recognition being bestowed upon them.”
“Foreign Minister Tony de Brum and the People of the Marshall Islands Receive Right Livelihood Award,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, October 1, 2015.
Scottish Parliament Debates the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
On September 23, the Scottish Parliament held a debate about the Marshall Islands’ Nuclear Zero Lawsuits against the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations. The debate, initiated by Bill Kidd, a member of Scottish Parliament and Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, included contributions from members of numerous political parties.
Summing up the debate, Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said, “Although the case that the Republic of the Marshall Islands is bringing against the UK Government is a matter for the International Court of Justice, the Scottish Government can certainly sympathize with the Marshall Islands on the issue of nuclear weapons. Our history of nuclear weapons is of course different from that of the Marshall Islanders, as we have heard, but we share a common belief that there should be no place for nuclear weapons in our world today, and that there is an obligation on each and every nation to do all that it can to realize that vision.”
“Scottish Parliament Debates Nuclear Zero Lawsuits,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, September 23, 2015.
Amicus Letters of Support to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Two amicus letters of support have been submitted to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Marshall Islands’ position in their Nuclear Zero Lawsuit against the United States.
Three Nobel Peace Laureates – Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi – submitted a letter, along with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a UK-based organization.
The letters of support, along with all of the documents related to the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits, can be accessed at http://nuclearzero.org/in-the-courts.
October’s Featured Blog
This month’s featured blog is from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the United Kingdom. CND General Secretary Kate Hudson writes on issues of nuclear disarmament, peace and justice.
Recent titles on the blog include, “Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of Trident,” and “Why the Atom Bomb was Dropped on Japan.” To read the blog, 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 October, including the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which nearly led to nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
To read Mason’s full article, click here.
For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.
Toxic Remnants of War Network
The Toxic Remnants of War Network is a new civil society network working to reduce the humanitarian and environmental impact of pollution from conflict and military activities. The network connects NGOs, countries, institutions and independent experts engaged in work on the environment, humanitarian disarmament, public health and human rights.
To learn more about this new network, click here.
I Was Her Age
A new documentary by British filmmaker Emma Baggott follows a delegation of eight Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors who accompanied youth on a journey around the world to share the horrors of nuclear weapons and appeal for their prohibition and eradication. Created in collaboration with Peace Boat and Mayors for Peace, this film is freely available for educational use by citizens around the world.
To view the 33-minute film, click here.
Peace Poetry Contest Winners Announced
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has announced the winners of the 2015 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards. A panel of poets read through the many hundreds of submissions to declare winners in three age categories: Adult, Youth (13-18) and Youth (12 and under).
To read this year’s winning poems, click here. For more information about the 2016 poetry contest, click here.
Evening for Peace Honoring Setsuko Thurlow
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Annual Evening for Peace will take place on October 25, 2015 in Santa Barbara, California. The Foundation will present its Distinguished Peace Leadership Award to Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and an outspoken advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons. She is the recipient of the Order of Canada Medal, the highest honor for Canadian civilians, and is a Hiroshima Peace Ambassador. She is also a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Click here for more information about the Evening for Peace, including sponsorship opportunities, ticket information and details about this year’s honoree.
Peace Leadership in Europe
From a conference of international scholars to a group of international nine and ten year-olds, the work of the NAPF Peace Leadership Program moves into an ever-expanding world.
NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell gave the keynote address at the 2015 CMM Learning Exchange at the University of the Armed Forces in Munich, Germany. Paul Chappell shared from his CMM project: Literacy in the Art of Living, the Art of Listening, and the Art of Waging Peace. “To survive as a species in the twenty-first century and beyond, we must promote literacy in these often neglected arts. We must also promote literacy in our shared humanity. This is how we will evolve as a civilization, or we will perish. That is our only choice.”
Following the conference, Paul Chappell spent September 21, the International Day of Peace, speaking at United World College in Maastricht, in the Netherlands, an international school with more than 800 students from ages 2 to 18.
To read more about Paul’s recent trip to Europe, click here.
“There can be no safe hands for nuclear weapons. The humanitarian consequences of a possible detonation of a nuclear weapon, whether intentionally or accidentally, will be catastrophic for humanity.”
— Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, speaking on the opening day of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price.”
— Pope Francis
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see your shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”
— Helen Keller. This quote appears in Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, available for purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.