You are hereNuclear
By Harvey Wasserman
More than 48,000 global citizens have now signed a petition at www.nukefree.org asking the United Nations and the world community to take charge of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Another 35,000 have signed at www.rootsaction.org . An independent advisory group of scientists and engineers is also in formation.
The signatures are pouring in from all over the world. By November, they will be delivered to the United Nations.
The corporate media has blacked out meaningful coverage of the most critical threat to global health and safety in decades.
The much-hyped “nuclear renaissance” has turned into a global rout. In the face of massive grassroots opposition and the falling price of renewable energy and natural gas, operating reactors are shutting and proposed new ones are being cancelled.
This lessens the radioactive burden on the planet. But it makes the aging reactor fleet ever more dangerous. A crumbling industry with diminished resources and a disappearing workforce cannot safely caretake the decrepit, deteriorating 400-odd commercial reactors still licensed to operate worldwide.
All of which pales before the crisis at Fukushima. Since the 3/11/2011 earthquake and tsunami, the six-reactor Daichi site has plunged into lethal chaos.
For decades the atomic industry claimed vehemently that a commercial reactor could not explode. When Chernobyl blew, it blamed “inferior” Soviet technology.
But Fukushima’s designs are from General Electric (some two dozen similar reactors are licensed in the US). At least four explosions have rocked the site. One might have involved nuclear fission. Three cores have melted into the ground. Massive quantities of water have been poured where the owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), and the Japanese government think they might be, but nobody knows for sure.
As the Free Press has reported, steam emissions indicate one or more may still be hot. Contaminated water is leaking from hastily-constructed tanks. Room for more is running out. The inevitable next earthquake could rupture them all and send untold quantities of poisons pouring into the ocean.
The worst immediate threat at Fukushima lies in the spent fuel pool at Unit Four. That reactor had been shut for routine maintenance when the earthquake and tsunami hit. The 400-ton core, with more than 1300 fuel rods, sat in its pool 100 feet in the air.
Spent fuel rods are the most lethal items our species has ever created. A human standing within a few feet of one would die in a matter of minutes. With more than 11,000 scattered around the Daichi site, radiation levels could rise high enough to force the evacuation of all workers and immobilize much vital electronic equipment.
Spent fuel rods must be kept cool at all times. If exposed to air, their zirconium alloy cladding will ignite, the rods will burn and huge quantities of radiation will be emitted. Should the rods touch each other, or should they crumble into a big enough pile, an explosion is possible. By some estimates there’s enough radioactivity embodied in the rods to create a fallout cloud 15,000 times greater than the one from the Hiroshima bombing.
The rods perched in the Unit 4 pool are in an extremely dangerous position. The building is tipping and sinking into the sodden ground. The fuel pool itself may have deteriorated. The rods are embrittled and prone to crumbling. Just 50 meters from the base is a common spent fuel pool containing some 6,000 fuel rods that could be seriously compromised should it lose coolant. Overall there are some 11,000 spent rods scattered around the Fukushima Daichi site.
Dangerous as the process might be, the rods in the Unit Four fuel pool must come down in an orderly fashion. Another earthquake could easily cause the building to crumble and collapse. Should those rods crash to the ground and be left uncooled, the consequences would be catastrophic.
Tepco has said it will begin trying to remove the rods from that pool in November. The petitions circulating through www.nukefree.org and www.moveon.org , as well as at rootsaction.org and avaaz.org, ask that the United Nations take over. They ask the world scientific and engineering communities to step in. The Rootsaction petition also asks that $8.3 billion slated in loan guarantees for a new US nuke be shifted instead to dealing with the Fukushima site.
It’s a call with mixed blessings. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is notoriously pro-nuclear, charged with promoting atomic power as well as regulating it. Critics have found the IAEA to be secretive and unresponsive.
But Tepco is a private utility with limited resources. The Japanese government has an obvious stake in downplaying Fukushima’s dangers. These were the two entities that approved and built these reactors.
While the IAEA is imperfect, its resources are more substantial and its stake at Fukushima somewhat less direct. An ad hoc global network of scientists and engineers would be intellectually ideal, but would lack the resources for direct intervention.
Ultimately the petitions call for a combination of the two.
It’s also hoped the petitions will arouse the global media. The moving of the fuel rods from Unit Four must be televised. We need to see what’s happening as it happens. Only this kind of coverage can allow global experts to analyze and advise as needed.
Let’s all hope that this operation proves successful, that the site be neutralized and the massive leaks of radioactive water and gasses be somehow stopped.
As former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata has put it: full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”
Harvey Wasserman is senior editor of the Columbus Free Press and www.freepress.org. He edits www.nukefree.org, where all factual material in this article can be linked. He hosts the Solartopia Green Power & Wellness radio show at www.prn.fm, and is author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth (Harvey Wasserman).
We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focussed on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.
Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.
Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.
The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.
Why is this so serious?
We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse.
Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool.Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.
Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific. Fresh reports show that Tepco has just dumped another thousand tons of contaminated liquids into the sea ( http://www.alternet.org/
The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four.
More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.
Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.
Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children.
The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible.
Just prior to the 3/11/11 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air.
Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.
Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.
According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.
The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.
Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.
Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.
Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”
Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers.
We have two months or less to act.
For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.
The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight.
Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor of the Columbus Free Press and www.frepress.org, where this was originally published. He edits www.nukefree.org. where the petition for global intervention at Fukushima is linked.
The apparent employment of chemical weapons in Syria should remind us that, while weapons of mass destruction exist, there is a serious danger that they will be used.
That danger is highlighted by an article in the September/October 2013 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Written by two leading nuclear weapons specialists, Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Federation of American Scientists, the article provides important information about nuclear weapons that should alarm everyone concerned about the future of the planet.
Nobel Laureate president defends unprovoked war against Syria: Obama Offers No Evidence Assad Ordered Syria Poison Gas Attack
By Dave Lindorff
In what NPR called “perhaps President Obama’s last best chance” to make his case for launching a war against Syria, the president tellingly didn’t make a single effort to present hard, compelling evidence to prove that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had been behind the alleged Sarin Aug. 21 attack on residents of a suburb of Damascus.
Not one piece of evidence.
The 2013 World Conference against A and H Bombs ended successfully on Aug. 9 in Nagasaki with the participation of about 7000 people coming from across Japan, which included 89 overseas representatives from 20 countries (representing 39 national organizations and 6 international/regional organizations, plus 7 national governments).
The following is the Declaration of the International Meeting adopted on August 5 in Hiroshima. This is the common will of overseas and Japanese participants in the International Meeting. We express our deep gratitude for your support for the success of the Conference.
Declaration of the International Meeting
Harry Truman spoke in the U.S. Senate on June 23, 1941: "If we see that Germany is winning," he said, "we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible."
Did Truman value Japanese lives above Russian and German? There is nothing anywhere to suggest that he did. Yet we debate, every August 6th or so, whether Truman was willing to unnecessarily sacrifice Japanese lives in order to scare Russians with his nuclear bombs. He was willing; he was not willing; he was willing. Left out of this debate is the obvious possibility that killing as many Japanese as possible was among Truman's goals.
A U.S. Army poll in 1943 found that roughly half of all GIs believed it would be necessary to kill every Japanese person on earth. William Halsey, who commanded the United States' naval forces in the South Pacific during World War II, thought of his mission as "Kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs," and had vowed that when the war was over, the Japanese language would be spoken only in hell. War correspondent Edgar L. Jones wrote in the February 1946 Atlantic Monthly, "What kind of war do civilians suppose we fought anyway? We shot prisoners in cold blood, wiped out hospitals, strafed lifeboats, killed or mistreated enemy civilians, finished off the enemy wounded, tossed the dying into a hole with the dead, and in the Pacific boiled flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts, or carved their bones into letter openers."
On August 6, 1945, President Truman announced: "Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British 'Grand Slam' which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare."Hiroshima was, of course, a city full of people, not an Army base. But those people were merely Japanese. Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey had told the New York Times: "Fighting Japs is not like fighting normal human beings. The Jap is a little barbarian…. We are not dealing with humans as we know them. We are dealing with something primitive. Our troops have the right view of the Japs. They regard them as vermin."
Some try to imagine that the bombs shortened the war and saved more lives than the some 200,000 they took away. And yet, weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan's codes and read the telegram. Truman referred in his diary to "the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace." Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor.
Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to "dictate the terms of ending the war." Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was "most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in." Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and "Fini Japs when that comes about." Truman ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6thand another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th. Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons. Then the Japanese surrendered.
The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that,"… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." One dissenter who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy agreed: "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."
Whatever dropping the bombs might possibly have contributed to ending the war, it is curious that the approach of threatening to drop them, the approach used during a half-century of Cold War to follow, was never tried. An explanation may perhaps be found in Truman's comments suggesting the motive of revenge:
"Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, and against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international law of warfare."
Truman doesn't say he used the bomb to shorten the war or save lives. He says he used the bomb because he could. "Having found the bomb we have used it." And he provides as reasons for having used it three characteristics of the people murdered: they (or their government) attacked U.S. troops, they (or their government) brutalized U.S. prisoners, and they (or their government) -- and this is without any irony intended -- oppose international law.
Truman could not, incidentally, have chosen Tokyo as a target -- not because it was a city, but because we (or our government) had already reduced it to rubble.
The nuclear catastrophes may have been, not the ending of a World War, but the theatrical opening of the Cold War, aimed at sending a message to the Soviets. Many low and high ranking officials in the U.S. military, including commanders in chief, have been tempted to nuke more cities ever since, beginning with Truman threatening to nuke China in 1950. The myth developed, in fact, that Eisenhower's enthusiasm for nuking China led to the rapid conclusion of the Korean War. Belief in that myth led President Richard Nixon, decades later, to imagine he could end the Vietnam War by pretending to be crazy enough to use nuclear bombs. Even more disturbingly, he actually was crazy enough. "The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes," Nixon said to Henry Kissinger in discussing options for Vietnam.
I just want you to think, instead, about this poem:
by Sherwood Ross
I am the Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
A graduate of Emory College, Atlanta,
Pastor of the Methodist Church of Hiroshima
I was in a western suburb when the bomb struck
Like a sheet of sunlight.
Fearing for my wife and family
I ran back into the city
Where I saw hundreds and hundreds fleeing
Every one of them hurt in some way.
The eyebrows of some were burned off
Skin hung from their faces and hands
Some were vomiting as they walked
On some naked bodies the burns had made patterns
Of the shapes of flowers transferred
From their kimonos to human skin.
Almost all had their heads bowed
Looked straight ahead, were silent
And showed no expression whatever.
Under many houses I heard trapped people screaming
Crying for help but there were none to help
And the fire was coming.
I came to a young woman holding her dead baby
Who pleaded with me to find her husband
So he could see the baby one last time.
There was nothing I could do but humor her.
By accident I ran into my own wife
Both she and our child were alive and well.
For days I carried water and food to the wounded and the dying.
I apologized to them: "Forgive me," I said, "for not sharing your burden."
I am the Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
Pastor of the Methodist Church of Hiroshima
I was in a western suburb when the bomb struck
Like a sheet of sunlight.
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