Issue #218 – September 2015
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Humanize, Not Modernize
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is now in its 33rd year of working for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons. We seek these goals for the people of today, and also for those of the future, so that they may have a healthy planet to live on and enjoy.
Science and technology have brought great benefits to humanity in the form of health care, communications, transportation and many other areas of our lives. An average person alive today lives a better and longer life than did kings and nobles of earlier times. Yet, science and technology have not been universally positive. They have also given us weapons capable of destroying civilization and most complex life on the planet, including that of our own species.
To read more, click here.
70 Years After Hiroshima, It’s Time to Confront the Past
In the United States, a repugnant remembrance is soon to be unveiled. The National Park Service and the Department of Energy will establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Unlike the memorials at Auschwitz and Treblinka, the United States seeks to preserve the history of the once top-secret sites at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford, where international scientists developed the world’s first nuclear bomb, as a sort of celebration of that technological ‘achievement’. Among the first so-called ‘successes’ of this endeavor was creating hell on earth in my beloved Hiroshima.
Former German President Richard von Weizeker once said, “We must look truth straight in the eye – without embellishment and without distortion.” The truth is, we all live with the daily threat of nuclear weapons. In every silo, on every submarine, in the bomb bays of airplanes, every second of every day, nuclear weapons, thousands on high alert, are poised for deployment threatening everyone we love and everything we hold dear.
How much longer can we allow the nuclear weapon states to wield this threat to all life on earth? Let us make the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the appropriate milestone to achieve our goal: to abolish nuclear weapons, and safeguard the future of our one shared planet earth.
To read more, click here.
Youth Pledge for Nuclear Abolition
Nuclear weapons are a symbol of a bygone age; a symbol that poses eminent threat to our present reality and has no place in the future we are creating.
Seventy years have passed since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and yet the existence of nuclear weapons continues to threaten every single person with the prospect of a cruel and inhumane death. For 70 years speeches have been made, statements issued and endorsed saying “never again,” and yet we are still held hostage by nuclear weapons. We, youth around the world, are mustering the courage to stand up and fulfill these decades-old promises of abolition. We need to eliminate this threat to our shared future and we urge you to join us, the Generation of Change.
It is time to take action.
To read the full pledge and to add your name, click here.
After the Iran Deal: How to Make the Most of the Next 15 Years
A major sticking point for universal support for the Iran deal is the worry expressed repeatedly by doubters and supporters alike, in the plethora of mainstream media coverage, that in 15 years Iran may have the capacity to break out and produce a nuclear bomb only one year after the deal expires. David Petraeus and Dennis Ross, Obama’s former Special Assistant on the Middle East, have actually suggested, in The Washington Post, that we should “put teeth” into the deal by threatening now that “if Iran dashes toward a weapon especially after year 15, that it will trigger the use of force.”
How much better would the public be served if the extensive reporting on the deal also provided the information we need on how we could beat Iran to the punch and honor our own obligations under the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate for the elimination of nuclear weapons?
To read more, click here.
Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
Nuclear Weapons Experts File Amicus Brief in Support of Marshall Islands Lawsuit
Four nuclear weapons experts have filed an amicus curiae brief in support of a lawsuit filed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands to compel the United States to meet its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The basic bargain of the NPT is that non-weapons states agreed to never acquire nuclear weapons, in exchange for which nuclear weapons states promised to enter into good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament. Ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate in 1970 made its provisions the law of the land under the U.S. Constitution.
The experts filing the brief are: Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists; Dr. James Doyle, a nuclear nonproliferation expert fired by the Los Alamos national lab after publishing a study arguing for nuclear weapons abolition; Robert Alvarez, a former Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, now at the Institute for Policy Studies; and Jay Coghlan, director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
This amicus curiae brief, along with other briefs, can be found online at www.nuclearzero.org/in-the-courts.
“Nuclear Weapons Experts File Amicus Brief in Support of Marshall Islands Lawsuit,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, August 12, 2015.
Marshall Islands Foreign Minister to Receive Nuclear-Free Future Award
Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), will receive the Nuclear-Free Future Award in the category of “Solutions.” De Brum has led efforts by RMI to get the nine nuclear-armed nations to fulfill their duties under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), including serving as a co-agent in groundbreaking lawsuits against them at the International Court of Justice. The Marshall Islands were the site of 67 U.S. atomic tests from 1946-58 that left the region contaminated with deadly radioactivity, forced the evacuation of entire islands, and caused long-lasting deadly health effects among the people of the RMI. Minister de Brum personally experienced the atomic detonations as a young boy including the massive 1954 Castle Bravo shot at Bikini Atoll, the largest of over 1,000 nuclear detonations by the United States. De Brum has been a resolute voice in calling for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.
The awards ceremony will take place in Washington, D.C. on October 28, 2015. For more information about the Nuclear-Free Future Award, click here.
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
Whistleblower Receives $4.1 Million Settlement
Justice has finally been served for Walter Tamosaitis, one of many Americans throughout the country who has been unfairly treated merely for doing their duty and for adhering to common dictates of morality. Fired after 44 years of exceptional service, Tamosaitis has finally found remuneration, after 5 years of waiting, in one of the largest known legal damages paid out to a nuclear whistle-blower. After the verdict, he said, “Hopefully, I have sent a message to young engineers to keep their honesty, integrity and courage intact.”
Although maintaining that it “strongly disagrees that it retaliated against him in any manner,” the Los Angeles-based AECOM’s plant design and construction failed to meet federal safety standards after Tamosaitis alerted federal officials. Now at the end of his nightmare tangling with the nuclear-powers-that-be, Tamosaitis said he will “wake up tomorrow morning and pinch myself to see if it is really over.”
Ralph Vartabedian, “Hanford Nuclear Weapons Site Whistleblower Wins $4.1 Million Settlement,” Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2015.
Congress to Conclude Deliberations on Iran Deal in mid-September
The 60-day period for Congress to review the nuclear deal, agreed to by Iran and the P5+1 in July, is coming to a close. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Action Alert Network provides U.S. residents the opportunity to send messages to their members of Congress to make their opinions heard on this important issue.
We encourage you to take action today and encourage your Senators and Representative to vote in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. To take action, click here.
Gorbachev Warns of New Nuclear Arms Race
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has warned of a new global nuclear arms race in an interview with Der Spiegel. Gorbachev said, “If five or 10 countries are allowed to have nuclear weapons, then why can’t 20 or 30? Today, a few dozen countries have the technical prerequisites to build nuclear weapons. The alternative is clear: Either we move towards a nuclear-free world or we have to accept that nuclear weapons will continue to spread, step-by-step, across the globe. And can we really imagine a world without nuclear weapons if a single country amasses so many conventional weapons that its military budget nearly tops that of all other countries combined? This country [the U.S.] would enjoy total military supremacy if nuclear weapons were abolished.”
Ishaan Tharoor, “Gorbachev Warns of New Arms Race,” New Zealand Herald, August 8, 2015.
China Tests New Type of Nuclear Missile
After conducting a flight test of its new intercontinental ballistic missile, China appears to be approaching deployment capability for its DF-41 road-mobile missile, which likely holds multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV).
Along with being less vulnerable to anti-ballistic missile systems, a single missile could annihilate multiple targets simultaneously and would enable use of cross-targeting techniques, which utilize more weapons for greater kill probability. India may already be responding to this threat, which means that Pakistan likewise will follow.
Zachary Keck, “China Tests Its Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon of All Time,” The National Interest, August 19, 2015.
U.S. Conducts Another Test of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
On August 19, the United States conducted a test launch of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, cynically commented, “When I think of the value these types of tests have played over the years, I think of the messages we send to our allies who seek protection from aggression and to adversaries who threaten peace. I also think about the American people we’ve sworn an oath to protect; people like my grandchildren who count on us to get this right. We can’t let them down.”
David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, criticized the United States’ ongoing tests of Minuteman III missiles. He said, “While the U.S. continues to develop and test launch its nuclear-capable missiles, the Marshall Islands is seeking a judgment against the U.S. and the other nuclear-armed nations for failure to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations under international law.”
Capt. Christopher Mesnard, “Minot Conducts ICBM Test Launch on 45 Year Minuteman III Anniversary,” Air Force Global Strike Command, August 19, 2015.
September’s Featured Blog
This month’s featured blog is “Global Justice in the 21st Century,” by Richard Falk. Falk is Senior Vice President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University.
Recent titles on the blog include, “The Nuclear Challenge: 70 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” and “Alliance Blackmail: Israel’s Opposition to the Iran Nuclear Agreement.” 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 September, including the September 11, 1957 fire that broke out in a plutonium processing facility at Rocky Flats near Denver, Colorado.
To read Mason’s full article, click here.
For more information on the history of the Nuclear Age, visit NAPF’s Nuclear Files website.
Revolution in You
Soka Gakkai International’s U.S. branch (SGI-USA) has produced a new music video entitled “Revolution in You.” The five-minute video showcases the talents of some of SGI-USA’s members in an inspiring format.
The video was played at the introduction of the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition in Hiroshima on August 30, and is available to watch on YouTube at this link.
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.
Click here for more information about the Evening for Peace, including sponsorship opportunities, ticket information and details about this year’s honoree.
International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition
Rick Wayman, NAPF’s Director of Programs, co-chaired the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition in Hiroshima, Japan, from August 28-30. The Summit included two days of intensive learning, planning and networking with 30 young leaders from 23 countries. Those two days were followed by a conference in which hundreds of young people from around the world gathered to learn more about the urgent need to abolish nuclear weapons and to collectively make a “youth pledge” to commit to working for nuclear abolition.
Click here for more information about the summit, including the youth pledge and video of the event.
Paul Chappell Named International Spokesperson for Peace Heroes Walk Around the World
NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul Chappell has been named international spokesperson for Peace Heroes Walk Around the World, an educational initiative developed by the Dayton International Peace Museum (DIPM) in Dayton, Ohio. The Museum, which facilitated a community-changing Peace Heroes Walk in Dayton last May, now plans to promote Peace Heroes Walk Around the World to cities across the United States and throughout other nations.
To read more, click here.
“The Chancellor is making a choice to essentially prioritize investment in nuclear weapons over the protection of the most vulnerable citizens of our country.”
— John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, criticizing UK Chancellor George Osborne for authorizing GBP 500 million of extra spending at the UK’s Faslane nuclear weapons base.
“Let’s be the generation that makes peace possible. This youth summit is sending a strong message to the world, that the youth are for peace and for a nuclear-free-world, and the world must listen.”
— Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, speaking at the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition on August 30, 2015.
“You can’t talk about the overall security environment in the Middle East unless you address the reality of Israel’s own nuclear status.”
— Avner Cohen, professor of nonproliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.”
— Maria Montessori (1870-1952), Italian educator. This quote appears in Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, available for purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.