Sunflower Newsletter: September 2018

By |2018-08-31T15:37:07-07:00August 31, 2018|

Issue #254 – September 2018

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Perspectives

  • Nuclear Abolition: The Road from Armageddon to Transformation by David Krieger
  • 2018 Nagasaki Peace Declaration by Tomihisa Taue
  • Two Minutes to Midnight by Setsuko Thurlow

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

  • U.S. Government Updating Nuclear Disaster Plans

Nuclear Disarmament

  • California Leads the Way in Support of Nuclear Disarmament
  • Pro-Disarmament Activists Make Arguments in Court

War and Peace

  • U.S. and North Korea Disagree on What Comes First
  • Netanyahu, at Israeli Nuclear Facility, Threatens Iran

Nuclear Insanity

  • Department of Energy Tries to Gut Oversight at Nuclear Weapons Facilities

Resources

  • The Nuclear Warheads 20 Miles from Seattle
  • Nuclear Weapons Expert Describes New Nuclear Arms Race

Foundation Activities

  • Evening for Peace to Honor Current Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Sadako Peace Day on August 6
  • Women Waging Peace
  • Peace Literacy Workshop in Maine

Take Action

  • BNP Paribas Is Banking on the Bomb

Quotes

Perspectives

Nuclear Abolition: The Road from Armageddon to Transformation

Nuclear weapons pose a grave threat to the future of civilization. As long as we allow these weapons to exist, we flirt with the catastrophe that they will be used, whether intentionally or accidentally. Meanwhile, nuclear weapons skew social priorities, create imbalances of power, and heighten geopolitical tension. Diplomacy has brought some noteworthy steps in curbing risks and proliferation, but progress has been uneven and tenuous. The ultimate aim of abolishing these weapons from the face of the earth—the “zero option”—faces formidable challenges of ignorance, apathy, and fatigue. Yet, the total abolition of nuclear weapons is essential for a Great Transition to a future rooted in respect for life, global solidarity, and ecological resilience. This will require an emboldened disarmament movement working synergistically with kindred movements, such as those fighting for peace, environmental sustainability, and economic justice, in pursuit of the shared goal of systemic change.

To read more, click here.

2018 Nagasaki Peace Declaration

It was on this day 73 years ago, at 11:02 a.m. on August 9. The explosion of a single atomic bomb in the blue summer sky reduced the city of Nagasaki to a horrific state. Humans, animals, plants, trees and all other forms of life were scorched to ashes. Countless corpses lay scattered all around the annihilated streets. The corpses of people who had exhausted themselves searching for water bobbed up and down in the rivers, drifting until they reached the estuaries. 150,000 people were killed or wounded and those who somehow managed to survive suffered severe mental and physical wounds. To this day they continue to be afflicted by the aftereffects of radiation exposure.

Atomic bombs are cruel weapons that mercilessly take away from humans the dignity to live in a humane manner.

To read more, click here.

Two Minutes to Midnight

Despite an initial de-escalation in the nuclear confrontation between the United States and North Korea, the world is still at the greatest risk of a nuclear catastrophe since the Cuban missile crisis. With an erratic American president in control of the U.S. nuclear button, the Doomsday Clock stands at 2 minutes to midnight.

One year ago, on July 7, 2017 at the United Nations, 122 countries took a bold, historic step when the delegates voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. I intuitively shared my euphoria with the spirits of those massacred indiscriminately in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 72 years before, to whom we made a vow that their deaths would not be in vain, that we would commit our lives to ensure that their suffering would not be repeated.

To read more, click here.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

U.S. Government Updating Nuclear Disaster Plans

Citing concerns over North Korea, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is updating disaster plans to account for large nuclear detonations over the 60 largest U.S. cities. “We are looking at 100 kiloton to 1,000 kiloton detonations,” chief of FEMA’s chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear branch, Luis Garcia, said.

Current FEMA guidance considers the likelihood of nuclear detonations between 1 and 10 kilotons, which was considered more likely in the aftermath of 9/11, when concerns about terrorist groups using an improvised nuclear device were high.

Dan Vergano, “The U.S. Government Is Updating its Nuclear Disaster Plans and they Are Truly Terrifying,” BuzzFeed News, August 24, 2018.

Nuclear Disarmament

California Leads the Way in Support of Nuclear Disarmament

In August, the California State Assembly and State Senate passed Assembly Joint Resolution 33, which calls on the federal government to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of national security policy, and spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war.

NAPF Deputy Director Rick Wayman testified at the State Capitol on August 14 in support of the resolution. He said, “Right now, we have a federal government that is choosing to spend over $100,000 per minute for the next 30 years on nuclear weapons upgrades. But it’s not just dollars that we’re squandering. Nuclear weapons are, simply put, indiscriminate mass killing devices. Any use would be illegitimate and wholly unacceptable.”

California Leads the Way in Support of Nuclear Disarmament,” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, August 28, 2018.

Pro-Disarmament Activists Make Arguments in Court

On August 2, 2018, a group of seven activists known as the Kings Bay Plowshares appeared in U.S. Federal Court in Brunswick, Georgia to argue that all charges against them be dropped. The peace activists set out six reasons why the charges of conspiracy, trespass, and two counts of felony damage to property should be dismissed.

They were arrested on April 4 after entering Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia. Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to deface weapons of mass destruction. They hoped to call attention to the ways in which nuclear weapons kill every day, by their mere existence and maintenance.

Bill Quigley, “Truth on Trial,” The Nuclear Resister, August 5, 2018.

War and Peace

U.S. and North Korea Disagree on What Comes First

U.S. President Donald Trump has decried North Korea’s lack of progress in getting rid of its nuclear arsenal. Following the Singapore Summit in June between Trump and Kim Jong-un, the U.S. began demanding that North Korea dismantle most of its nuclear arsenal.

However, Trump apparently told Kim at the meeting in Singapore that he would soon sign a declaration putting an end to the decades-old Korean War. Trump is believed to have made the same promise at the beginning of June during a meeting with Kim Yong Chol in Washington. The impasse over who will make the first move seems to be preventing further progress from being made.

Alex Ward, “Exclusive: Trump Promised Kim Jong-un He’d Sign an Agreement to End the Korean War,” Vox, August 29, 2018.

Netanyahu, at Israeli Nuclear Facility, Threatens Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility, where Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal was developed, to send a message to Iran. Netanyahu said, “Those who threaten to wipe us out put themselves in a similar danger, and in any event will not achieve their goal.” He continued, “Our enemies know very well what Israel is capable of doing. They are familiar with our policy. Whoever tries to hurt us – we hurt them.”

Israel maintains a posture of “strategic ambiguity,” and has never publicly admitted that it possesses nuclear weapons. However, the country is widely known to possess an estimated 80 nuclear weapons.

Alexander Fulbright, “At Nuclear Facility, Netanyahu Lobs Stark Warning at Iran,” Times of Israel, August 29, 2018.

Nuclear Insanity

Department of Energy Tries to Gut Oversight at Nuclear Weapons Facilities

Watchdog groups from across the U.S. nuclear weapons complex have pushed back against a new Department of Energy (DOE) order that severely constrains the oversight capacity of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB).

Members of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a national network of organizations that addresses nuclear weapons production and waste cleanup issues, hail the work of the DNFSB as a critical guard against DOE and National Nuclear Security Administration efforts to cut corners on safety.

Watchdog Groups Oppose DOE Attempt to Limit Oversight, Endanger Safety at Nuclear Facilities,” Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, August 27, 2018.

Resources

The Nuclear Warheads 20 Miles from Seattle

The Seattle Times has published a lengthy article about the estimated 540 nuclear warheads based at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, Washington. The article also examines the priorities of activists and explores why more young people have not become involved in the local campaign.

To read the full article, click here.

Nuclear Weapons Expert Describes New Nuclear Arms Race

Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, was featured in a recent Washington Post video and story about the new nuclear arms race.

To watch and read, click here.

Foundation Activities

Evening for Peace to Honor Current Nobel Peace Laureate

On October 21, 2018, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will honor the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s Executive Director, at the Foundation’s 35th Annual Evening for Peace.

ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to bring about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted at the United Nations in July of last year.

The event will take place in Santa Barbara, California. For more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities, click here or call the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation at +1 805-965-3443.

Sadako Peace Day

On August 6, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation held its 24th annual Sadako Peace Day commemoration at La Casa de Maria in Montecito, California. This was the first public event at La Casa de Maria since the catastrophic mudslides that devastated the retreat center and many other places in Montecito. Twenty-three lives were lost in the disaster. We reflected on the local situation, in addition to remembering the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and all innocent victims of war.

Photos, audio, and written transcripts of the event are available online. Click here to learn more.

Women Waging Peace

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has launched a new online campaign highlighting the outstanding work of women for peace and nuclear disarmament. Though progress is made every day, women’s voices are still often ignored, their efforts stonewalled and their wisdom overlooked regarding issues of peace and security, national defense, and nuclear disarmament.

Our first profile features Ray Acheson, Director of Reaching Critical Will. She is a fierce advocate and leading expert on nuclear disarmament and issues
of gender hierarchy relating to peace, justice and nuclear weapons.

Click here to read our interview with Ray.

Peace Literacy Workshop in Maine

From August 5-10, NAPF Peace Literacy Director Paul K. Chappell held a workshop entitled “Peace Literacy Skills and Leadership.” The workshop took place in Standish, Maine, on the campus of St. Joseph’s College, and was sponsored by Unity of Greater Portland, Maine. Over 30 activists, veterans, clergy, educators, and concerned citizens participated.

One workshop participant, Stephanie Plourde, said, “I have already used the workshop worksheets in a discussion with my son about mass shooters. The discussion, specifically about unmet/trauma-tangled needs, led us to look at other behaviors we are faced with and ask some thoughtful questions.”

To read more about the Peace Literacy summer workshop, click here.

Take Action

BNP Paribas Is Banking on the Bomb

BNP Paribas is a French bank, with operations in more than 70 countries. BNP Paribas recognizes that nuclear weapons are a problem, and even has a policy saying that the bank “does not wish to be involved in the provision of financial products and services or investments in companies involved in the manufacture, trade or storage of “controversial weapons”, or any other activity involving controversial weapons.”

Yet BNP Paribas still provides over $8 billion in loans and other financial services that support the production of nuclear weapons. That’s because their policy is leaky and full of convenient loopholes, such as the fact that the policy does not apply to companies that contribute to nuclear weapon programs only in NATO Member States. But it doesn’t matter which country has them. Every nuclear weapon is designed to cause catastrophic harm.

Together with our ICAN partner organizations around the world, led by PAX in the Netherlands, we are calling on BNP Paribas to stop investing in nuclear weapons. Click here to learn more and join this global action.

Quotes

 

“An alert and knowledgeable public can contribute greatly to convincing world leaders that a much better and safer world can be achieved by doing away with all weapons of mass destruction.”

Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General and 2001 Nobel Peace Laureate. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action, which is available to purchase in the NAPF Peace Store.

 

“The United States should lead a global effort at nuclear disarmament consistent with our vital interests and the cause of peace.”

Sen. John McCain, who died on August 25, 2018. This quote was from a speech that he gave while running for President in 2008. Many of his votes in the U.S. Senate did not reflect this rhetoric.

 

“If we do not change course quickly, we will inevitably encounter an incident where that first domino is tipped—triggering a sequence of unstoppable events that will mark the end of our time on this tiny planet.”

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the sixth United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose term ended on September 1, 2018. Click here for his full article in The Economist.

Editorial Team

 

Katie Conover
David Krieger
Carol Warner
Rick Wayman