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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
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Music by Duke Ellington.
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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.
Videos by David Martin
As citizens of the world we have been watching with awe, inspiration and great concern as masses of Indian people have risen up to confront the corrupt partnership of the Indian government and nuclear industry at the Koodankulam and Jaitapur nuclear sites. We have joined in solidarity with the organizers of this movement to resist the nuclear madness in India and in our respective homelands. The US/Indian nuclear partnership has been forced on India through a neocolonial relationship that is demanding the nuclearization of this important strategic ally to the US military industrial machine.
We understand that the plight of the Indian people is our plight as we fight back against the same nuclear madness forced on us by completely corrupted governments. Over 6,000 people face prison for their non-violent opposition to the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, India. We stand in solidarity with the tens of thousands of people that are risking their lives to say NO! We stand in solidarity with the fisherman that have lost their lives trying to protect their ocean from the threat of radioactive poisons and the thousands of fishermen that continue to resist. We stand in solidarity with the people of India who have stopped eating in a hunger strike to draw attention to their struggle for a nuclear free future!
By Dave Lindorff
That’s the takeaway from the goofy address by the right-wing, Cheltenham,PA-raised, MIT-educated Israeli prime minister to the United Nations General Assembly Thursday.
By Andrew Kishner of NuclearCrimes.org
In mid-September 2012, revelations that the U.S. had conducted two controversial Z-Machine shots, one on August 27th and another 'sometime between April and June' in 2012, provoked condemnation from two Japanese Hiroshima-based organizations. (The Z Machine, which is operated by the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the nuclear weapons stockpiling arm of the Energy Department, discharges huge bursts of electromagnetic energy, including incredibly strong X-rays, and has been used six times since 2010 on plutonium fuel). The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in traditional fashion, reset its 'Peace Watch Tower' to reflect the most recent of the two Z-Machine 'shots.' The tower has two clocks: one marking the days since the bombing of Hiroshima and the other marking the days since the last nuclear test. The curators consider a Z-Machine 'shot' on plutonium a 'nuclear test.'
By Dave Lindorff
There is a massive deception campaign in the US, and in its global propaganda, which seeks to portray the United States as a poor set-upon nation that would like world peace but just has to keep a military stationed around the globe to “police” all the world’s “trouble spots.”
Remarks at protest at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the International Day of Peace, 2012
Our government likes to lie to us about nuclear weapons. This poor impoverished nation halfway around the world is about to nuke us. No, that one is. The result, of course, is mass murder. But there's another result potentially even worse. We begin to think there's something wrong with being terrified of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. There isn't. This stuff should scare the hell out of us. And the arrogant lunacy of imagining that even an honest and accountable authority, much less our government, could set up a commission to regulate the winds of hell and deadly substances with a half-life as long as the age of the Earth must give us serious pause.
|When:||September 21, 2012 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm|
11545 Rockville Pike
Rally NO NUKES NO WAR!! / Occupy The NRC @ 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, This will include a peaceful protest outside the building and a public meeting inside the building if possible. This Rally will have a NO NUKES/NO WAR theme and is taking place on what the United Nations has designated as the International Day of Peace or “Peace Day”. Speakers will address radiation and public health, the NRC’s reclassifying of depleted uranium to be used for weapons making, uranium mining and enrichment, nuclear weapons and war, and the relationship between the nuclear energy industry and the war machine. Confirmed speakers for this historic demonstration include Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, Sierra Club environmental justice organizer and native Rights Activist Robert Tohe, Congressional Fellow for the Physicians for a
National Health Program Dr. Margaret Flowers, War is a Crime.org peace activist David Swanson, Its Our Economy activist Kevin Zeese and grassroots voices from across the country from Vermont Yankee to Indian Point to North Anna to Palisades to Davis Besse to Fermi to Hanford to San Onofre and beyond! The rally will also address the NRC’s reclassifying of depleted uranium to be used for weapons making, uranium mining and enrichment, nuclear weapons and war, and the relationship between the nuclear energy industry and the war machine. 2pm – 5pm (confirmed)
"The technology which created the Bomb cannot be separated from the horror which the Bomb created."
Washington D.C. (September 18, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced opposition to legislation expected to be considered on the House floor tomorrow. H.R. 5987 will establish a new National Park celebrating the technological achievement of the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret endeavor to develop the atomic bomb, which was subsequently used on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were killed as a result of the atomic bomb attack. According to CBO, the park will cost as much as $21 million over five years.
"The technology which created the Bomb cannot be separated from the horror which the Bomb created. The celebration of the technology of the Bomb bespeaks a moral blindness to its effects, which include not only the devastation of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the ten trillion dollar cold war between the U.S. and Russia, and the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons which today hang as swords of Damocles over the world.
“At a time when we should be organizing the world toward abolishing nuclear weapons before they abolish us, we are instead indulging in hideous admiration at our cleverness as a species. The Bomb is about graveyards, not National Parks," said Kucinich.
As the Coalition Against Nukes prepares for a series of events in Washington, D.C., September 20-22, including a Capitol Hill rally, a Congressional briefing, a fundraiser at Busboys and Poets, a ceremony at the Museum of the American Indian, a rally at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a film screening, and a strategy session, the time seems ideal to take in the wisdom of Gar Smith's new book, Nuclear Roulette: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth.
Most dangerous indeed, and most useless, most inefficient, most destructive, and dumbest. How does nuclear energy make the human species look like the stupidest concoction since the platypus? Let me count the ways:
1. After the mining, processing, and shipping of uranium, and the plant construction, maintenance, and deconstruction, a nuclear plant only produces about as much energy as went into it -- not counting the need to store the only thing it actually produces (radioactive waste) for hundreds of thousands of years -- and not counting the sacrifice of areas of the earth, including those poisoned with uranium, which has a half life of 4.5 billion years and causes lung cancer, bone cancer, and kidney failure.
2. Wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal have far better net energy ratios.
3. If nuclear power actually worked against climate change, that fact would not be useful, because there is no way enough nuclear power plants to significantly contribute to the required difference could be built quickly enough.
4. If nuclear power plants could be built quickly enough, that wouldn't matter, because the financial cost is prohibitive. Only with multi-billion-dollar bailouts from the government can a tiny number of nuclear plants be considered for construction at all. The sainted Private Marketplace of Freedom will never touch nuclear construction on its own -- or insure it. And the small number of jobs created by the "Job Creator" lobbyists who push for the generous public loan guarantees mostly show up in Japanese and French nuclear companies, thus depriving the whole enterprise of its anti-foreign-oil xenophobic appeal. (Not to mention, most of the uranium used in U.S. nuclear plants comes from abroad just like oil.) Deconstructing the plants when they grow too old to operate costs so much that the job is routinely and recklessly put off -- and that doesn't count the fairly common expense of compensating the victims of accidents.
5. The nuclear industry is in debt up to its ears already, without our feeding its habit any longer. For example, Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation has dumped 1.7 trillion gallons of contaminated waste into unlined trenches. The latest plan to try to deal with the mess comes with a $12.3 billion price tag.
6. Even if nuclear power worked when it worked, it's remarkably unreliable. Between 2003 and 2007, U.S. nuclear plants were shut down 10.6 percent of the time, compared to 1 or 2 percent for solar stations and wind farms.
7. Nuclear power produces greenhouse gases in the mining, production, deconstruction, shipping, and waste storage processes. It also discharges 1000 degree Fahrenheit steam directly into the atmosphere. Considering the entire fuel cycle, a nuclear reactor burning high-grade uranium produces about a third as much carbon dioxide as a gas-fired power plant. As high-grade uranium runs out, low-grade ore will result in a nuclear plant producing just as much carbon dioxide as a gas plant.
8. Climate change may have reached a tipping point. Radioactivity could as well. Birds and insects near Chernobyl are adapting. Humans, too, may be beginning to evolve within the Radiocene era to which the earth has been condemned.
9. Climate change limits nuclear energy, as the heat forces plants to shut down for lack of cool water.
10. The Three Mile Island disaster killed birds, bees, and livestock. Pets were born dead or deformed. In humans, cancer, leukemia, and birth defects spread. Chernobyl gave cancer to about a million people. Fukushima looks to be far worse. Meltdowns and other major malfunctions are common, in the United States and abroad. Gar Smith documents dozens. The worst nuclear disaster in the United States was in Simi Valley, California, and no one was told about it. The rates of disease and death led residents to investigate. I shouldn't use the past tense; the disaster is still there and not going anywhere in the span of human attention.
11. The rate of break downs and failures thus far is very likely to grow as nuclear plants age. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), subservient to the nuclear profiteers, is drastically reducing safety standards.
12. In the normal course of proper nuclear power production, the water, air, and earth are poisoned.
13. The NRC publicly dismisses concerns about earthquakes, but privately panics. Earthquakes are on the rise. Fracking may cause even more of them. Fukushima should scare us all; but closer to home, a plant at Lake Anna, in Virginia, was shut down by an earthquake last year, possibly caused by fracking, and the first response was the publication of lies about the damage.
14. If anticipated solar flares (or anything else) collapse power grids, nuclear plants could overheat, melt down, or explode.
15. An average nuclear plant produces 20-30 tons of high-level waste and 70 tons of low-level waste per year. No proven long-term storage site exists. If one ever does, we won't know what language to post the warning signs in, as no human language has lasted a fraction of the time the nuclear waste will remain deadly.
16. When a country develops nuclear energy, as the United States encouraged Iran to do in my lifetime, it brings that country very close to developing nuclear weapons, which has become a leading excuse for launching and threatening wars. It doesn't help for the CIA to give Iran plans for building a bomb, but ridding the world of that sort of stupidity is just not within our reach. Ridding the world of nukes needs to take priority.
17. There is no purpose in a nation developing nuclear weapons if it wants to target an enemy that possesses nuclear power plants. Sitting duck nuclear catastrophes waiting to happen -- by accident or malice -- exist in the form of nuclear power plants within 50 miles of 108 million people in the United States. Nuclear reactors could have been somewhat protected by being built underground, but that would have cost more. Haruki Murakami, a Japanese novelist, commented on Fukushima: "This time no one dropped a bomb on us. . . . We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives."
18. The latest designs in nuclear reactors don't change points 1-17.
19. The Associated Press in 2011 found that, "Federal regulators [at the NRC] have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them."
20. Helping to shake the nuke habit would take 30 seconds and be ridiculously easy, and yet many won't do it.
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.
Then there are the accidents, of all variety. Nuclear submarines of the sort now looking for trouble in the Persian Gulf have been known to collide with other ships. At least eight nuclear submarines (one French, two American, and five Russian) are known to be rotting at the bottom of the sea, leaking uranium and plutonium. In 2003 the U.S.S. Hartford, a nuclear powered submarine, hit a rock on a tiny island north of Sardinia. The area is now highly radioactive.
In 1961 a U.S. B-52 with two nukes on board blew up over Faro, North Carolina. One of the bombs, with a parachute to slow it down, was found. Five of the six fuses designed to prevent full nuclear detonation had failed. The other nuclear bomb buried itself 20 feet deep in the ground, lighting up the sky like daylight. The military deemed that one hard to dig out, and left it there. And there it sits. This little mishap involved bombs that were each 250 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. The commander of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, Lt. Jack B. ReVelle, remarked, "How close was it to exploding? My opinion is damn close. You might now have a very large Bay of North Carolina if that thing had gone off."
In 1956, a B-47 carried two nuclear capsules from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, headed to a refueling over the Mediterranean, but never arrived and was never found. In 1958, a B-47 crashed into an F-86 during a combat simulation off the coast of Georgia, near Savannah. A nuclear weapon was jettisoned over water and never found.
On January 17, 1966, a U.S. B-52 carrying four live hydrogen bombs smashed into a tanker during midair refueling over Spain. Two of the bombs were blown apart like dirty bombs scattering radioactive particles all over Palomares, Spain. The United States dug up 1,400 tons of radioactive Spanish dirt and took it to Aiken, South Carolina., where the Savannah River Site has been producing nuclear weapons material, trying to dispose of the waste, and radiating people for over half a century, and where radiation was even recently detected coming all the way from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.
This was just after the U.S.S. Ticonderoga sailed from Vietnam to Japan with a nuclear-armed airplane on board and accidentally dropped the plane, complete with nuclear bomb and pilot, to the bottom of the ocean, where they remain.
Then, in 1968, another U.S. B-52 with four nukes on it crashed in Greenland. Three of the bombs exploded, while the fourth has yet to be found. It's among 11 nuclear bombs the United States admits to having lost over the years. That's not counting the ones it's temporarily lost and recovered. In August 2007, a U.S. crew accidentally (or as part of a secret plan; and I'm not sure which is worse) flew six live nuclear bombs from North Dakota to Louisiana and left them sitting there unguarded until the ground crew noticed.
Oh, and if you doubt that these people will arm unmanned drones with nukes just because the drones tend to crash and malfunction, you haven't yet begun to grasp the sort of madness we're dealing with.
The really good news is that more and more nations have nuclear weapons, and even more have nuclear power, which puts them close to having nuclear weapons. The thing to remember about every one of these nations, is that they screw up too, through bad luck, stupidity, rage, or madness. Baharul Haq was an Air Vice Marshall in Pakistan involved in security for Kahuta, Pakistan's main nuclear weapons facility. Later, his son, Faisal Shahzad, claiming the motivation of outrage at U.S. drone killings, tried to blow up a bomb in Times Square, New York. What if Faisal and his father had been on closer terms? Should the fate of New Yorkers really have to depend on such luck?
Nuclear weapons testing on the Marshall Islands produced babies born looking like jelly fish. Nuclear weapons use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed like nothing had ever killed before. On October 22, 1964, and again two years later, the U.S. government exploded nuclear bombs underground in Mississippi, and then put up a sign asking people not to dig in the area. Uranium mining of the sort the profiteers now want to reopen in Virginia has spread cancer through every community it's touched. And the use of depleted uranium weapons has likely contributed to thousands of deaths and birth-defects in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and among members of the U.S. military and their families, not to mention the weapons' producers in places like Jonesborough, Tennessee. The United States has also sold DU weapons to 29 other countries.
What Are You Going to Do About It?
There are three barriers to ridding the world of nuclear weapons. First, our governments don't represent us and will have to be compelled to act when and if we get our act together.
Second, people imagine we're safer spreading nukes around the globe by the thousands than we would be eliminating them while a few rogue non-state terrorists hang onto some. This is crazy, of course. An arsenal of nukes doesn't discourage a terrorist. Nor can it discourage a state any more than can the non-nuclear weapons capable of complete devastation.
Third, people fantasize that there are advantages to nuclear energy that outweigh the problem of its technological vicinity to nuclear weaponry. There are not. Nuclear energy barely reproduces the amount of energy it takes to build and operate the plants; the waste materials cannot be put anywhere safe for 250,000 years; and the inevitable accidents pose such a risk that no private "free-market" insurance company will take it on -- only taxpayers' misrepresentatives in government are willing to pick up the tab. Nuclear energy is how India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea got nuclear weapons. It's also Israel's and the United States' excuse for threatening Iran. Uranium radioactive waste is among the horrible things being dumped by the West off the lawless coast of Somalia. The results of such dumping include attacks on Western ships by angry "pirates." The pirates are generally explained to be hating us for our freedom.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich is hosting a Congressional briefing, Thursday, September 20, 2012, on the medical effects of radiation exposure, and the health threats presented by our nation's nuclear power plants, nuclear fleet, and the on-going tragedy in Fukushima, Japan. There will be expert testimony from Physicians for Social Responsibility and others. Ask your senators and representative to attend.
The ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Prior to this disaster, the regulators in Japan said they had all possible safety measures in place. Our Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has said the same thing about our 104 aging nuclear power plants, 23 of which have the same flawed design as in Fukushima.
Nuclear disasters are not unique to Japan. Chernobyl killed and sickened many, as did Three Mile Island on a smaller scale. A nuclear plant in Virginia was damaged by an earthquake last year.
If you're in the Washington, D.C., area, the Coalition Against Nukes invites you to a series of events September 20-22, including a Capitol Hill rally, the Congressional briefing, a fundraiser at Busboys and Poets, a ceremony at the Museum of the American Indian, a rally at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a film screening, and a strategy session. http://coalitionagainstnukes.org
The nukes have got to go, or we do. This planet's not big enough for both.
By Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo)
On the occasion of the 16th Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), we extend the warmest greetings of solidarity to you, and through you to the people each of you represent, from the movement against atomic and hydrogen bombs working in Japan, the only A-bombed country in the world.
By Alice Slater
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), formed in 1961 during the Cold War, is a group of 120 states and 17 observer states not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. The NAM held its opening 2012 session yesterday under the new chairmanship of Iran, which succeeded Egypt as the Chair.
Significantly, an Associated Press story in the Washington Post headlined, “Iran opens nonaligned summit with calls for nuclear arms ban”, reported that “Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi opened the gathering by noting commitment to a previous goal from the nonaligned group, known as NAM, to remove the world’s nuclear arsenals within 13 years. ‘We believe that the timetable for ultimate removal of nuclear weapons by 2025, which was proposed by NAM, will only be realized if we follow it up decisively,’ he told delegates.”
Yet the New York Times, which has been beating the drums for war with Iran, just as it played a disgraceful role in the deceptive reporting during the lead-up to the Iraq War, never mentioned Iran’s proposal for nuclear abolition. The Times carried the bland headline on its front page, “At Summit Meeting, Iran Has a Message for the World”, and then went on to state, “the message is clear. As Iran plays host to the biggest international conference …it wants to tell its side of the long standoff with the Western powers which are increasingly convinced that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons”, without ever reporting Iran’s offer to support the NAM proposal for the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2025.
Surely the most sensible way to deal with Iran’s nascent nuclear weapons capacity is to call all the nations to the table to negotiate a treaty to ban the bomb. That would mean abolishing the 20,000 nuclear bombs on the planet—in the US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel—with 19,000 of them in the US and Russia. In order to get Russia and China to the table, the US will also have to give up its dreams of dominating the earth with missile “defenses” which, driven by corrupt military contractors and a corporate- owned Congress, are currently being planted and based in provocative rings around Russia and China.
The ball is in the U.S. court to make good faith efforts for nuclear abolition. That would be the only principled way to deal with fears of nuclear proliferation. The US must start with a genuine offer for negotiations to finally ban the bomb in all countries, including a freeze on further missile development. It should stop beating up on Iran and North Korea while it hypocritically continues to improve and expand the US arsenal, with tens of billions of dollars for new weapons laboratories and bomb delivery systems, and fails failing to speak out against the nuclear activities of other nations such as the enrichment of uranium in Japan and Brazil and the nuclear arsenal of Israel.
From Dennis Kucinich
Washington D.C.(August 8, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who has led the effort in Congress to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants, today issued the following statement after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it will suspend licensing and relicensing of nuclear power plants until the NRC can find a way to deal with nuclear waste disposal.
“We have had half a century to find a good solution to the problem of nuclear waste, and we are no closer now than we were in the 1960s. That is because there is no ‘good solution.’ We will never be able to find a risk-free method of storing nuclear waste.
Peace activists stopped traffic briefly while other activists leafleted at the Navy’s West Coast Trident submarine base.
Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent action held a peaceful early morning vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate as Navy and civilian employees entered the base. The vigil commemorated the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Trident submarine base at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, Washington, contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons. Each of the 8 Trident submarines at Bangor carry as many as 24 Trident II(D-5) missiles, each capable of carrying up to 8 independently targetable warheads. Each nuclear warhead has an explosive yield up to 32 times the yield of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
|Resisters (from left to right): Betsy Lamb, George Rodkey & Ann Havill
(photo by Leonard Eiger)
A total of 16 persons engaged in the blockade. All were issued citations at the scene for “Walking on roadway where prohibited” and released. Those cited were Tom Rogers, Poulsbo, WA; Cindy Sheehan, Vacaville, CA; Marion Ward, Vancouver, WA; Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA; Mal Chaddock, Portland, OR; Ann Havill, Bend, OR; Betsy Lamb, Bend, OR; Bernie Meyer, Olympia, WA; Leonard Eiger, North Bend, WA; Constance Mears, Poulsbo, WA; Gordon Sturrock, Eugene, OR; Brenda McMillan, Port Townsend, WA; Mack Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Gilberto Z Perez, Bainbridge Island, WA; George W Rodkey, Tacoma, WA and Elizabeth Murray, Bellingham, WA.
|Anne & David Hall Leafleting (photo by Berd Whitlock)|
|Each leaflet had an origami crane attached
(photo by Berd Whitlock)
Monday’s vigil, nonviolent direct action and leafleting were the culmination of a weekend of events at Ground Zero Center. Participants commemorated the anniversaries of the atomic bombings and celebrated 35 years of Ground Zero’s resistance to the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Participants had the opportunity to hear from Ground Zero co-founders Jim and Shelley Douglass, persistent peace activist Cindy Sheehan, and the (pepper sprayed) face of Seattle Occupy Dorli Rainey.
The weekend included nonviolence training, letter writing to elected officials, action planning, a vigil at the Kitsap Mall and a screening of the documentary “In My Lifetime.” The film, a presentation of the Nuclear World Project, is intended to help people develop an understanding of the realities of nuclear weapons.
Additional events were associated with the Ground Zero weekend.
Ground Zero's Glen Milner organized this year’s Peace Fleet, a flotilla of boats that sailed into Seattle’s Elliott Bay on August 1st to meet the U.S. Navy fleet in a protest against militarism.
Activists representing Physicians for Social Responsibility, Washington Chapter, arrived at Ground Zero on Saturday during the Bike to the Bomb bicycle ride. Bike to the Bomb protests the use of nuclear weapons against the people of Japan, and spotlights the massive nuclear arsenal stored and deployed at Bangor.
Participants in the 2012 Pacific Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free Future, which began in Portland, Oregon on July 22nd, also arrived at Ground Zero on Saturday to participate in the weekend’s activities. The walk is organized by Buddhist monks from Bainbridge Island, and carries a message of hope for peace and a nuclear free world.
|All 16 who blocked the roadway today. (photo by Berd Whitlock)|
For nearly thirty-five years Ground Zero has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.
Six Peacemakers Arrested at the Pentagon to Commemorate the 67th anniversary of the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
By Jay Kvale
(Speech prepared for Hiroshima Commemoration ceremony at Lake Harriet Peace Garden in Minneapolis on Monday, August 6th, 2012.)
Sixty-seven years ago this morning a single B-29, the Enola Gay, appeared over Hiroshima and dropped the first atomic bomb. The incredible blast destroyed most of the city and killed about 60,000 people almost immediately; about 80,000 more died in subsequent months and years from deadly radiation.
Three days later another B-29, Bock's Car, dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing about 20,000 people almost immediately and about 60,000 more in subsequent months and years from radiation.
People became terrified that the world would descend into a new age of nuclear war and barbarism with the advent of these lethal weapons. But courageous diplomacy, treaties, and good fortune have averted a Nuclear Holocaust for two-thirds of a century.
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.
By Ed Kinane
The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki belong always before us. The agony of those two cities must remain our dark beacon.
Hiroshima/Nagasaki wasn’t so much about targets as about audiences. We – or rather, the very highest reaches of the US government – annihilated a couple hundred thousand nameless, unarmed, undefended human beings to warn the world: “Don’t mess with us; we run things now.”
Thanks to its atomic prowess – showcased at H/N – for over 65 years the US has been able to hold the planet hostage. It deploys nuclear blackmail to further its corporations’ grip on the world’s resources and markets. But such gunboat diplomacy has only partially succeeded.
The Soviets soon acquired the Bomb. For nearly four decades that other evil empire terrorized us here in our previously invincible Homeland. So the pitiless logic of proliferation made us all far less safe.
The Big Lie(s)
Susan Crane, one of the five plowshares activists who entered the U.S.
Navy's Pacific Trident Naval Base at Kitsap Bangor (NBKB) in Washington
State in November 2009 has been ordered to appear before Judge Benjamin
Settle at the U.S. District Court, Tacoma, Washington on July 23, 2012.
Crane has already served 15 months in prison. The government is seeking
revocation of Crane’s current additional 1 year term of supervised release,
alleging noncompliance with some of the terms of her supervised release.
Crane, a mother of two grown children, and a grandmother, maintains now, as
she did throughout her trial, that the five came to the Navy base to
peaceably state the truth “Disarm Now: Trident Illegal and Immoral.”
Crane said, “The eight Trident submarines deployed from NBKB constantly
threaten to unleash nuclear holocaust. Each of the 800 nuclear weapons
Please join this Occupy Nukes page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/174464619354032/?context=create
And see our Occupy Wall Street Declaration in Support of Nuclear Abolition and Disarmament
In just over two weeks, Squadron13 and nine folks from Waldport,
Eugene, Portland, plus Cindy Sheehan from California are heading North
to camp out right next door to the deadliest real estate in the world
and say NO to nukes. Yup, Squadron13 is going to Ground Zero Center
for Non-Violence in Poulsbo Washington again for the observance of the
Hiroshima/Nagasaki Anniversary, August 3-6. Their property is
ADJOINING the United States Naval Base Kitsap where there is
absolutely no official knowledge whatsoever of the nuclear bombs they
put into the 8 nuclear armed ballistic missile submarines, each of
them, capable of destroying the whole world, not to mention ruining
your whole day.
Let me tell you folks, "Flying Ovens" are not for baking cookies. Can
we put a stop to this crazyness? Help us try! We need to raise $600 to
get the Squadron13 activist loaded bus there and back. This even