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By name withheld
[Note: Names have been withheld because two of CPT's Depleted Uranium (DU) delegation partners had their tires slashed or punctured while the delegation was in the Jonesborough area.]
Working for a worthy cause, forming relationships with people with common convictions, and experiencing occasional large or small victories is a fine life. But I am an activist not only because I support causes passionately, but sometimes, because I feel driven to oppose wrongs that have ugly, tragic consequences.
I had come to Jonesborough, Tennessee, as part of the third Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation to that town. The first two had collected soil and water samples and sent them for scientific analysis. The results clearly showed that Aerojet Ordnance Tennessee, a munitions manufacturer, was polluting the soil and water with uranium. Our delegation was there in alliance with the local Appalachian Peace Education Center, to acquaint the locals with the results. We also wanted to let them know the tragic effects uranium weapons are having around the world. Tuesday, 16 July was one of the days when I came face to face with the consequences of war, what I am here opposing. That morning, I met a former Aerojet Ordnance Tennessee (AOT) employee. Convinced that AOT was damaging his health, he became involved in an unsafe working conditions strike. AOT terminated him.
I met a clinical psychologist who works with veterans who have been through close combat and special operations. She spoke of how they were changed into efficient killing machines and how, after returning, they didn’t fit in with society. The violence they had seen or perpetrated manifested in violence against others and themselves, including twenty-two suicides per day. The psychologist’s job is to deprogram them. Their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will never be healed; the psychologist only helps veterans manage their symptoms well enough to function in society. She said the only way to cure PTSD is to eliminate war.
Then I met a young woman who was married to an engineer at AOT. Once, when she was meeting him at the plant, she used a restroom. When she emerged, her husband told her that the restroom was “dirty,” meaning radioactive. Soon, she was getting sick more often. Before long, a doctor diagnosed her with Common Variable Autoimmune Deficiency. Every Thursday, she, and her daughter, who received the same diagnosis, receive infusions of expensive Immunoglobulin G. The mother’s life expectancy has been shortened considerably. She didn’t mention her daughter’s life expectancy.
The horrors of war are diverse. While affiliated with North Texas for Justice and Peace, the Crawford Peace House, Camp Casey, and the Peace Farm, I worked with the mother who came to Texas to ask President Bush for what noble cause her son died in Iraq and heard the tragic stories of the mothers, fathers, and siblings who joined her. I have met soldiers, who chose prison over having to return to Iraq and kill, and the one who chose legal asylum in a Canadian church over prison. These stories from Iraq and from Jonesborough give me a new determination to fight the military-industrial complex.
We've managed to outgrow or to come within sight of outgrowing cannibalism, slavery, blood feuds, duels, capital punishment, child labor, tar and feathering, the stocks and pillory, wives as chattel, the punishment of homosexuality, and listening to Rush Limbaugh. To various degrees, these practices -- and many others -- have been eliminated or reduced and stigmatized.
While the stupidest practice ever created -- the mass killing known as war -- remains, we've seen most of the world ban poison gas, land mines, cluster bombs, biological weapons, depleted uranium, napalm, white phosphorous, and other disgusting weaponry. But the worst weapon of all remains, and the treaty requiring its reduction and elimination is completely ignored.
We've begun learning to avoid long-lasting environmental damage. We try not to poison our fruit trees or our grass or our rivers. But when it comes to damage that lasts longer than humanity has existed, we go right on producing it. And in so doing, we contribute to a slowly building crisis that could soon slip out of humanity's control and eventually remove humanity from existence. Meanwhile, Pandora's Propaganda tells us that nuclear energy -- the same stuff that proliferates the weaponry -- will help the earth's climate rather than hurting it.
Uh huh. And blood-letting and lobotomy will heal what ails you.
Except that they won't. And we've come to admit and accept that and to move on. We don't fund lobotomies. Why must we fund nuclear energy? And don't say: because television can replace lobotomies but will never reproduce Fukushima.
Here's something you can do to help: Set up a screening of this new film: The Ultimate Wish: Ending the Nuclear Age.
The Ultimate Wish is the wish for a world without nukes. This is a film that connects Fukushima to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here we watch a survivor of Nagasaki meet a survivor of Auschwitz. And it strikes us with crystalline clarity that they are both victims of incredible stupidity and cruelty. We completely set aside the fact that the holocaust was created by bad German lies about a master race while the dropping of the bombs was created by good U.S. lies about ending World War II and starting the Cold War. The politics fades, and we're left with the human species treating itself as even ants would never treat their fellow ants.
In The Ultimate Wish, produced by Robert Richter and Kathleen Sullivan, we see nuclear survivors in classrooms speaking with young people. One teacher asks the students to close their eyes. She drops a single ball bearing into a metal pan, the noise meant to represent all the bombs of World War II, all the bullets, all the grenades, even the two nuclear bombs. Then, to represent the nuclear weapons now in existence, she dumps a whole noisy bag of ball bearings.
A large coalition has issued the following appeal:
Do you want to reach thousands on August 9 with our message on the need for the Obama administration to engage in multilateral negotiations now for a nuclear free future?
Thousands will see the message below on all of our Facebook pages and Twitter accounts on August 9 at 11:02 a.m., the time the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki:
Aug 9 1945 US A-bombed Nagasaki. Pres #Obama: Speak out at Sept 26 UN Nuclear Disarmament Summit! #NoMoreNagasakis http://nuclearfreefuture.org
How do you join the Thunderclap? Click on this link http://thndr.it/13ioRhC and sign up.
And on August 9 the message will automatically be sent to all your friends and supporters.
Not a bad idea, huh? Try to reach some of your non-friends and non-supporters too.
UPDATE: Link for the film: http://www.newday.com/films/
Do you want to reach thousands on August 9 with our message on the need for the Obama administration to engage in multilateral negotiations now for a nuclear free future?
Thousands will see the message below on all of our Facebook pages and Twitter accounts on August 9 at 11:02AM, the time the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki:
Aug 9 1945 US A-bombed Nagasaki. Pres #Obama: Speak out at Sept 26 UN Nuclear Disarmament Summit! #NoMoreNagasakis http://
How do you join the Thunderclap?
Click on this link http://thndr.it/13ioRhC and sign up. And on August 9 the message will automatically be sent to all your friends and supporters.
We need 100 people to sign up in the next 10 days for the message to be automatically posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Join and spread the word by sharing this email and posting the message below on Facebook.
Let President Obama know that US must participate in the UN 9/26 Nuclear Disarmament summit, if we are going to abolish nuclear weapons.. Sign up for a Nuclear Free World Thunderclap here http://thndr.it/13ioRhC
In order for the Thunderclap to happen we must sign up 100 participants by August 9 at 11:02 AM.
If 100 people have at least 200 friends on Facebook and 50 followers on Twitter we would reach 25,000. Plus if 10 of their friends do the same...you do the math!
For a more peaceful and just world,
U.S. Mayors Call for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Peaceful Spending
Monday the US Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted this Mayors for Peace resolution (PDF)
CALLING FOR U.S. LEADERSHIP IN GLOBAL ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND REDIRECTION OF MILITARY SPENDING TO DOMESTIC NEEDS
WHEREAS, in April 2009, President Barack Obama declared in Prague, “as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it. So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” and
WHEREAS, in November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly established a working group open to all member states “to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons,” and scheduled for September 26, 2013, the first ever summit-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to nuclear disarmament; and
WHEREAS, adherence to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons commits each State Party “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”; and the U.S. Conference of Mayors has regularly adopted resolutions since 2004 calling for the commencement of comprehensive nuclear disarmament negotiations, as put forth by the UN Secretary General in his “Five Point Proposal,” to be concluded and implemented by 2020, as proposed by Mayors for Peace; and
WHEREAS, an historic conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, hosted in Oslo in March 2013 by the government of Norway and attended by representatives of 127 states, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and civil society, including Mayors for Peace, highlighted three key points relevant to mayors as first responders:
“It is unlikely that any state or international body could address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation in an adequate manner and provide sufficient assistance to those affected.
The historical experience from the use and testing of nuclear weapons has demonstrated their devastating immediate and long-term effects. While political circumstances have changed, the destructive potential of nuclear weapons remains.
The effects of a nuclear weapon detonation, irrespective of cause, will not be constrained by national borders, and will affect states and people in significant ways, regionally as well as globally”; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses its deep concern that both the May session of the new UN disarmament working group and the Oslo Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons took place without the participation of the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, including the United States; and WHEREAS, nearly a quarter of a century has passed since the end of the Cold War, yet an estimated 17,300 nuclear weapons, 94% of them in the possession of the United States and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity; and
WHEREAS, the threatened first use of nuclear weapons remains at the heart of U.S. and Russian national security policies, and nuclear tensions in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and on the Korean peninsula remind us that the potential for nuclear war is ever present; and
WHEREAS, the Administration’s FY 2014 budget request of $7.87 billion for Department of Energy Nuclear Weapons Activities represents an increase of nine percent above the 2012 enacted level – in inflation-adjusted dollars, the highest amount ever, and funds increases for nuclear weapon life extension programs that will result in upgrades to missile and bomber-based warheads, construction of a new uranium processing facility, tritium production and plutonium manufacturing and experimentation, and other programs to sustain the existing stockpile; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Defense has requested an additional $12 billion in FY 2014 to maintain and modernize nuclear weapons delivery systems including a new nuclear–capable heavy bomber, development of a replacement Ohio class submarine by 2031, and extension of the service life of the nation’s 450 Minuteman 3 ICBMs or their replacement in coming decades with new nuclear-armed ballistic missiles; and
WHEREAS, the Air Force plans to spend more than $1 billion over the next six years to develop a guided tail kit to increase the accuracy of the B61 nuclear bomb, and the Pentagon plans to spend a total estimated at more than $336 billion on the new F-35 joint strike fighter, a variant of which will be mated with the more accurate guided B61 bomb based at NATO bases in Europe,
significantly increasing the capability of the non-strategic U.S. nuclear force, and making it more difficult for the Russian military to accept reductions of its own inventory of non-strategic nuclear weapons; and
WHEREAS, the Administration’s budget request calls for a 23 percent increase for nuclear weapons research, manufacturing and maintenance over the next five years; and
WHEREAS, nuclear weapons spending is emblematic of Pentagon spending, which has grown by 50% in real dollars in the last 12 years, not including war spending, and nearly all of the “cuts” up for debate are only reductions in the growth rate; and
WHEREAS, in 2012, during a time of continuing domestic financial hardship, the U.S. spent $682 billion on its military, as much as the next 11 top spenders combined, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the world total; and
WHEREAS, our nation’s deep economic crisis can only be addressed by adopting new priorities to create a sustainable economy for the 21st century; and
WHEREAS, as the country was coming out of a long recession, the budget sequester enacted in March is imperiling the economic recovery in cities, with cuts to federal programs such as Community Block Development Grants, Section 8 Housing Vouchers, and Head Start forcing cities, local agencies and non-profits to lay off staff, reduce or eliminate services, delay infrastructure projects and reduce program benefits to low and moderate income families; and
WHEREAS, Mayors for Peace membership has surpassed 5,600 member cities in 156 countries, speaking on behalf of more than one billion citizens, and is approaching 200 U.S. members; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted resolutions in 2010, 2011 and 2012 calling for deep cuts in nuclear weapons spending and redirection of those funds to meet the needs of cities, and adopted an additional resolution in 2011, “Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Needs”;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on President Obama to reaffirm his determination, expressed in Prague, to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons by speaking at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament on September 26, 2013 and endorsing the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal on Nuclear Disarmament; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. government to demonstrate good faith by participating in the August session of the UN disarmament working group by helping “to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons,” and by supporting extension of the working group’s mandate beyond 2013; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. government to demonstrate good faith by participating in the follow-on conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons to be hosted by Mexico in early 2014; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the President and Congress to reduce funding for modernization of nuclear weapons systems, to reduce nuclear weapons spending to the minimum necessary to assure the safety and security of the existing weapons as they await disablement and dismantlement, and redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the President and Congress to reduce military spending and to reinvest those funds in programs to address the dramatic increase in poverty and inequality in our country; take emergency measures to repair the social safety net and protect Social Security and Medicare; create jobs, retrain displaced workers, including military contractors, rebuild deteriorating physical infrastructure, invest in new technologies for a sustainable energy future, and aid local government to restore and maintain vital public services, reemploying teachers, police, firefighters and other workers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses its continuing support for and cooperation with Mayors for Peace
Resolution No. 56
Submitted by: (as of June 21, 2013)
The Honorable Donald L. Plusquellic
Mayor of Akron (OH)
The Honorable Ed Pawlowski
Mayor of Allentown (PA)
The Honorable John Hieftje
Mayor of Ann Arbor (MI)
The Honorable Tom Bates
Mayor of Berkeley (CA)
The Honorable Matthew T. Ryan
Mayor of Binghamton (NY)
The Honorable Henrietta Davis
Mayor of Cambridge (MA)
The Honorable Mark Kleinschmidt
Mayor of Chapel Hill (NC)
The Honorable Satyendra Singh Huja
Mayor of Charlottesville (VA)
The Honorable Franklin T. Cownie
Mayor of Des Moines (IA)
The Honorable Michael A. Tautznik
Mayor of Easthampton (MA)
The Honorable Kitty Piercy
Mayor of Eugene (OR)
The Honorable Ed Malloy
Mayor of Fairfield (IA)
The Honorable Joy Cooper
Mayor of Hallandale Beach (FL)
The Honorable Alex Morse
Mayor of Holyoke (MA)
The Honorable Mark Stodola
Mayor of Little Rock, (AR)
The Honorable Paul Soglin
Mayor of Madison (WI)
The Honorable John Stefano
Mayor of New Haven (CT)
The Honorable David J. Narkewicz
Mayor of Northampton, MA
The Honorable Chris Koos
Mayor of Normal (IL)
The Honorable Frank Ortis
Mayor of Pembroke Pines (FL)
The Honorable Michael Brennan
Mayor of Portland (ME)
The Honorable Gayle McLaughlin
Mayor of Richmond (CA)
The Honorable Ardell Brede
Mayor of Rochester (MN)
The Honorable Stephen Cassidy
Mayor of San Leandro (CA)
The Honorable Helene Schneider
Mayor of Santa Barbara (CA)
The Honorable Bruce R Williams
Mayor, Takoma Park (MD)
The Honorable Neal King
Mayor of Taos Ski Valley (NM)
The Honorable Richard D. Schneider
Mayor of South Pasadena (CA)
The Honorable Laurel Lunt Prussing
Mayor of Urbana (IL)
The Honorable Geraldine Muoio
Mayor of West Palm Beach (FL)
By Francis A. Boyle
I have now had the chance to read Obama’s Report on Nuclear Employment Strategy of the United States, that just came out on Friday, June 21, 2013. The critical passage can be found on page 5:
“The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review established the Administration’s goal to set conditions that would allow the United States to safely adopt a policy of making deterrence of nuclear attack the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons. Although we cannot adopt such a policy today, the new guidance re-iterates the intention to work towards that goal over time.”
In other words, “nuclear deterrence” is not now and has not been the policy of the Obama administration going back to and including their 2010 Nuclear Posture Review as well. Since “nuclear deterrence” is not now and has never been the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons policy from the get-go, then by default this means that offensive first-strike strategic nuclear war fighting is now and has always been the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons policy. This policy will also be pursued and augmented by means of “integrated non-nuclear strike options.” Id.
6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912; 301-270-6477; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nirs.org
Terrific news from southern California today: early this morning Southern California Edison sent out a press release announcing the permanent shutdown of the two remaining reactors at San Onofre! Here is the press release, and here is the first AP story on the shutdown.
Follow NIRS on Facebook, Twitter, and/or our website (info on all below) for updates today.
That brings the U.S. down to 100 operable reactors--time to get that to double figures (and then single figures)!
Congratulations of Friends of the Earth, Nuke Free California, and all the grassroots groups who worked so hard and relentlessly to make this day happen!
Ask your Mayor to co-sponsor a bold new resolution, Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Domestic Needs”!
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the nonpartisan association of U.S. cities with populations over 30,000, will be considering this resolution at its June 21 – 22 annual meeting in Las Vegas. The resolution’s lead sponsor is Mayor Donald Plusquellic of Akron, Ohio, a past President of the USCM. Mayor Plusquellic is also a Vice-President of Mayors for Peace, an international association lead by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with over 5,600 members in 156 countries - 197 in the U.S. As of June 4, there are six additional co-sponsors.
The USCM has regularly adopted resolutions since 2004 calling for the commencement of comprehensive nuclear disarmament negotiations to be concluded and implemented by 2020, as proposed by Mayors for Peace. For the past three years, the USCM has also called for deep cuts in nuclear weapons spending and redirection of those funds to meet the needs of cities, and in 2011 adopted an additional resolution, “Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Needs.”
This year’s resolution breaks new ground by combining all of these elements in a comprehensive package. The resolution is a fact-filled educational resource that can be used at the local level as an excellent organizing tool! Read the resolution here.
Help us get as many co-sponsoring mayors as possible! Your mayor does not have to be a member of Mayors for Peace to be a sponsor, but this is a great opportunity to ask her/him to join.
Ask your mayor to endorse the resolution! You can download a terrific “Dear Colleague” letter from Mayor Plusquellic here. Please have your mayor send an e-mail message stating her/his desire endorse to both Akron Deputy Mayor Rick Merolla at RMerolla@akronohio.gov AND to me at email@example.com by COB June 20.
To find out if your mayor is a member of Mayors for Peace and see what year the city joined, click here.
If your mayor is not a member of Mayors for Peace, ask her/him to join! It’s easy. For instructions, click here.
Still have questions? Need help? Contact me! - Jackie Cabasso, Mayors for Peace North American Coordinator; Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation;Convener, UFPJ Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security Working Group
By Ann Wright
The city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee and its neighbor Knoxville, are government towns. Oak Ridge has been called “the closed city,” reminiscent of government cities in the old Soviet Union that were closed to the public because of sensitive weapons production and other activities Soviets wanted to keep from prying eyes. In the case of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the U.S. government wants to keep the production of nuclear bombs and their components away from public scrutiny.
Oak Ridge is a tough place to challenge the biggest employer in the area, a southern town where dissent is abnormal and prejudices of all sorts run deep in the culture and heritage.
By Stephen C. Webster - Raw Story
An 83-year-old nun who broke into a Tennessee depleted uranium storage facility in 2012 and splashed human blood on several surfaces, exposing a massive security hole at the nation’s only facility used to store radioactive conventional munitions, was convicted Wednesday and sentenced to a term of up to 20 years in prison.
The only regret Sister Megan Rice shared with members of her jury on Wednesday was that she wished 70 years hadn’t passed before she took direct action, according to the BBC. She and two other peace activists, 64-year-old Michael Walli and 56-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, were convicted of “invasion of a nuclear facility” in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, even though investigators admitted they did not get close to any actual nuclear material.
The three activists are part of a group called “Transform Now Plowshares,” a reference to the book of Isaiah, which says, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares. They shall learn war no more.” All three face individual sentences of up to 20 years, along with a litany of fines.
As they invaded the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a perimeter fence was cut, several surfaces were spray-painted, banners were hung and activists read from the Bible. They also spread human blood on several surfaces, saying its use was symbolic, meant to remind people “of the horrific spilling of blood by nuclear weapons.”
“The shortcomings in security at one of the most dangerous places on the planet have embarrassed a lot of people,” the activists’ attorney, Francis Lloyd, told members of the jury according to the BBC. “You’re looking at three scapegoats behind me.”
Sister Rice has been arrested between 40 or 50 times committing acts of civil disobedience, according to The New York Times, including once in Nevada after she physically blocked a truck at a nuclear test site.
Depleted uranium munitions like the kind stored at the facility Sister Rice targeted are blamed for some of the worst birth defects and soaring cancer rates seen in post-war Iraq, particularly in the city of Fallujah following the siege of 2004, in which U.S. soldiers killed thousands of civilians.
The city has never recovered, particularly from the use of depleted uranium munitions, and to this day residents suffer from health effects “worse” than those seen following the nuclear detonations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to a study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
“I believe we are all equally responsible to stop a known crime,” Sister Rice said from the witness stand, according to quotes published by her group. She called herself a “citizen of the world” and reportedly smiled as the verdict was read.
This video is from ABC News, aired August 2, 2012.
It took a jury about 2 ½ hours to find the three protesters guilty of a charge of sabotaging the plant and second charge of damaging federal property in July the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July.
Defense attorneys said in closing arguments that federal prosecutors had overreached in the charges because of the embarrassment caused by the break-in.
By Dave Lindorff
Willie James Sauls is unlikely to see the outside of a prison. Last fall a court in the state of Texas sentenced this 37-year-old man to 45 years in jail. His crime: he snatched the purse from an old woman.
Thyroid abnormalities have now been confirmed among tens of thousands of children downwind from Fukushima. They are the first clear sign of an unfolding radioactive tragedy that demands this industry be buried forever.
Two years after Fukushima exploded, three still-smoldering reactors remind us that the nuclear power industry repeatedly told the world this could never happen.
And 72 years after the nuclear weapons industry began creating them, untold quantities of deadly wastes still leak at Hanford and at commercial reactor sites around the world, with no solution in sight.
Radiation can be slow to cause cancer, taking decades to kill.
I just had to share the following remarkable speech (which a friend sent to me) given last November by Steven Leeper, head of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation (whose unique background explains his insights). How do these compelling points get spread to high school and college students?
U.S. Working Group for Peace & Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific Statement in Response to Third DPRK Nuclear Explosive Test
1.We come from diverse backgrounds and hold a range of analyses (or perspectives) approaching the proposed North Korean nuclear weapons test and the further militarization of Asia and the Pacific.
Activists from a local peace group blocked the main gate and staged a die-in at the Navy’s West Coast Trident nuclear submarine base for more than a half hour in an act of civil resistance to nuclear weapons.
Nearly fifty people participated in Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday, January 19, 2013.
Under the theme “We Are One,” the day focused on Dr. King’s commitment to nonviolence and his opposition to war and nuclear weapons.
The day’s activities included a viewing of a video about King’s 1967 sermon in opposition to the Vietnam war. That followed with a
discussion of the sermon’s relevance in the context of today’s unending wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and the effects on the poor and disenfranchised in the US, as well as the entire world. Participants also participated in nonviolence training, education about the Trident nuclear weapons system and the Bangor submarine base, and preparations for the vigil and nonviolent direct action planned for the afternoon at Bangor.
By Kourosh Zaibari
By Dave Lindorff
I was asked earlier this week by an reporter for PressTV, the state television network in Iran, if I could explain why the US political system seemed to be so dysfunctional, with Congress and the President having created an artificial budget crisis 17 months ago, not “solving” it until the last hour before a Congressional deadline would have created financial chaos, and even then not solving the problem and instead just pushing it off for two months until the next crisis moment.
The NGO conference entitled "The Middle East without Weapons of Mass Destruction - the Way Forward Civil Society Input" was held on December 14-16 in Helsinki, Finland. It was hosted by the Peace Union of Finland. Yayoi Tsuchida, assistant general secretary of the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) took part in it on behalf of the International Peace Bureau (IPB).
Gar Smith discusses his new book, Nuclear Roulette: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth, which has a foreword by Jerry Mander and Ernest Callenbach. Gar Smith is editor emeritus of Earth Island Journal, a Project Censored award-winning investigative journalist, and cofounder of Environmentalists Against War.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!
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Our so-called self-government rarely agrees with what we tell pollsters, and yet it does what it does with our acceptance. We may have fallen for the pretense that we're powerless. Our ignorance and xenophobia should never be underestimated as explanations for what we do. But consider the following public policy and then tell me the clearest explanation isn't that we all want to rush our arrival at death's door.
Not only do we spend over half of public discretionary funds on war preparation without a particular war in mind, but we spend a huge chunk of that on weapons we can never use without destroying life on the planet, including in our own country, including if we use those weapons and nobody else retaliates. The earth has one atmosphere, and if we wreck it with nuclear weapons, it won't matter that we've done so on another continent.
We put these evil, useless, apocalyptic weapons on ships and sail them as close as possible to the most dangerous spots on earth. Then we threaten war with the countries they're floating next to. We stick them on planes and fly them around the skies. Despite hundreds of near-disasters due to human and mechanical mistakes over the years, we spread these weapons (and the energy technology that is closely related to them) to more and more countries. We ignore our treaty obligation to disarm and falsely accuse a nation that has no nuclear weapons yet of violating the treaty, building hostility and the likelihood of war.
The nuclear weapons on planes and ships make nuclear missiles on land obsolete. The United States has 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles. They are easily targeted. And should they all be destroyed, and should we want to seize the opportunity to all hurry up and die together, the bombs on planes and ships could do the job many times over.
Yet the land-based missiles in the United States are not only still sitting there ready to serve no purpose whatsoever, but they're on high alert. These nuclear-armed missiles could be sent by a U.S. president in 13 minutes or less. Thirteen minutes, with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment, would bring the world as we know it to an end.
President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor was about to wake him up in the middle of the night to inform the President that 220 Soviet nuclear missiles were headed our way, when he learned that someone had stuck a game tape into the computer by mistake. Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years -- so far.
Minuteman III missiles would not, and nothing can, prevent retaliation. Even without retaliation, their unilateral use would ruin the earth's atmosphere -- all over the earth. The missiles' only function is to kill others in a process that kills us too.
Is that what we want? I'm not imagining we have a democracy. I'm not discounting the power of financial corruption. I'm not suggesting that we are all driven by the same lust for power that moves elected officials and their staff. But look at popular opinion. War is exciting. Peace is dull. Oil drilling is sexy. Solar panels are lame. Storms are cool. Safety and survival are not fashionable at all. We have 450 missiles whose sole purpose is to kill us all. They cost us a fortune every year, while we whine and moan about money as if it were all that mattered. And where is the resistance? It's in a handful of activists.
You don't want to die, you say? Freud was a freak? You don't envy penises or intend your accidents or think the slightest little bit about Bill Clinton when you see a cigar? O.K. I'm thrilled to hear it. Go ahead and prove me wrong.
An easy immediate step toward sanity would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch. This would increase our security by reducing the likelihood of an accidental or unauthorized launch. Again, those intent on achieving nuclear doomsday could rest assured that U.S. submarines and bombers would remain able to complete that job many times over.
A second obvious step that would also work wonders for our federal budget would be to decommission these missiles.
You don't have to click the links above. You don't have to help end this end-game policy. But don't come crying to me that you want to live. I'll not be inclined to believe it.
Charges were dismissed on Wednesday in federal court in Santa Barbara, Calif., against fifteen people, including four members of Veterans For Peace, who were scheduled to face trial on Wednesday as a result of their nonviolent protest of nuclear warheads at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The 15 had been arrested on February 25th for protesting the launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Video: http://youtu.be/sGYVee9yW9Y
The Veterans For Peace facing trial were Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg of Berkeley, Calif.; Fr. Louie Vitale of Oakland, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev.; John Amidon of Albany, N.Y.; and Mark Kelso of Las Vegas, Nev.
The district attorney moved to dismiss all charges. Two of the defendants, John Amidon and Toby Blome, wanting to raise their concerns about the Minuteman III missiles in court, offered motion not to dismiss. The judge sided with the district attorney.
Some of the same people will be among those protesting again on November 13th when another missile test is scheduled:
McGregor Eddy, one of the defendants, called the dismissal a victory. "The military," she said, "wants to avoid drawing attention to thermonuclear warheads that serve no purpose and cost a great deal of money. Many young people don't even know about these nuclear weapons. When we say 'nukes' they think of nuclear power."
Fr. Louie Vitale agreed, calling the dismissal "a great victory." Vitale added, "I've been on trial here several times and always lost. This was a victory. And we'll be there in November to protest the next launch."
Vitale said that the public in Santa Barbara had learned a great deal through the work of the coalition formed around this protest and near-trial, including with the help of David Krieger and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
At 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday, October 16th, a free public event called "Putting U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies on Trial: A Forum with the Vandenberg 15" was held at Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, Calif. Speakers included Daniel Ellsberg, Fr. Louie Vitale, Cindy Sheehan, and David Krieger. The event was cosponsored by Code Pink, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Nevada Desert Experience, Progressive Democrats of Santa Barbara, Veterans for Peace, Western States Legal Foundation, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Santa Barbara).
"We were protesting a rehearsal of a holocaust," said Ellsberg. "Every minuteman missile is a portable Auschwitz." Video of Ellsberg: http://youtu.be/E-s0_JI8Dp4
"We have 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles on high alert," said Amidon. Despite hundreds of near-disasters due to human and mechanical mistakes over the years, these nuclear-armed missiles could be sent by a U.S. president in 13 minutes or less. Thirteen minutes, with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment, would bring the world as we know it to an end. Minuteman III missiles would not, and nothing can, prevent retaliation. Even without retaliation, their unilateral use would ruin the earth's atmosphere -- all over the earth. The missiles' only function is to kill others in a process that kills us too."
"An easy immediate step toward sanity," Amidon continued, "would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch. This would increase our security by reducing the likelihood of an accidental or unauthorized launch. Those intent on achieving nuclear doomsday could rest assured that U.S. submarines and bombers would remain able to complete that job many times over.
"A second needed and obvious step that would also work wonders for our federal budget would be to decommission these missiles. We are also calling for a cancellation of the November 14, 2012, missile (thermonuclear warhead delivery systems) test at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This will save between $20 to $30 million for this one launch."
RootsAction.org has set up an online action page through which people can email the government on this topic:
Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war. ##
Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.