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History of Peace Ships on the oceans

text-historyA Peace Ship’s Challenge to Nukes, Consortium April 10, 2014In the 1950s, as the United States obliterated Pacific islands to test hydrogen bombs, anti-nuclear activists challenged this devastation by trying to sail a ship, The Golden Rule, into the test zone, a protest that helped create political pressure for a nuclear test ban, as Lawrence S. Wittner recalls.  By Lawrence S. Wittner

Is there an emotional connection between the oceans and the pursuit of peace?  For whatever reason, peace ships have been increasing in number over the past century. Probably the first of these maritime vessels was the notorious Ford Peace Ship of 1915, which stirred up more ridicule than peace during World War I.

Almost 40 years later, another peace ship appeared ―  the Lucky Dragon, a Japanese fishing boat showered with radioactive fallout from an enormous U.S. H-bomb explosion on March 1, 1954, in the Marshall Islands.  By the time the stricken vessel reached its home port in Japan, the 23 crew members were in advanced stages of radiation poisoning.  One of them died.

This “Lucky Dragon incident” set off a vast wave of popular revulsion at nuclear weapons testing, and mass nuclear disarmament organizations were established in Japan and, later, around the world. Thus, the Lucky Dragon became a peace ship, and today is exhibited as such in Tokyo in a Lucky Dragon Museum, built and maintained by Japanese peace activists.

Later voyages forged an even closer link between ocean-going vessels and peace.  In 1971, Canadian activists, departing from Vancouver, sailed a rusting fishing trawler, the Phyllis Cormack, toward the Aleutians in an effort to disrupt plans for a U.S. nuclear weapons explosion on Amchitka Island. Although arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard before they could reach the test site, the crew members not only mobilized thousands of supporters, but laid the basis for a new organization, Greenpeace.

Authorized by Greenpeace, another Canadian, David McTaggart, sailed his yacht, the Vega, into the French nuclear testing zone in the Pacific, where the French navy deliberately rammed and crippled this peace ship.  In 1973, when McTaggart and the Vega returned with a new crew, French sailors, dispatched by their government, stormed aboard and beat them savagely with truncheons.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, peace ships multiplied.  At major ports in New Zealand and Australia, peace squadrons of sailboats and other small craft blocked the entry of U.S. nuclear warships into the harbors.  Also, Greenpeace used the Rainbow Warrior to spark resistance to nuclear testing throughout the Pacific.

Even after 1985, when French secret service agents attached underwater mines to this Greenpeace flagship as it lay in the harbor of Auckland, New Zealand, blowing it up and murdering a Greenpeace photographer in the process, the peace ships kept coming.

Much of this maritime assault upon nuclear testing and nuclear war was inspired by an American peace ship, the Golden Rule. The remarkable story of the Golden Rule began with Albert Bigelow, a retired World War II U.S. naval commander.  Appalled by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, he became a Quaker and, in 1955, working with the American Friends Service Committee, sought to deliver a petition against nuclear testing to the White House……..

Even as test ban negotiations proceeded fitfully, leading to the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and, ultimately, to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996, the Golden Rule dropped out of sight. Then, in early 2010, the vessel was discovered, wrecked and sunk in northern California’s Humboldt Bay.

Contacted by historians about preserving the Golden Rule for posterity, officials at the Smithsonian Museum proved uninterested. But peace activists recognized the vessel’s significance. Within a short time, local chapters of Veterans for Peace established the Golden Rule Project to restore the battered ketch.

Thanks to volunteer labor and financial contributions from these U.S. veterans and other supporters, the ship has been largely rebuilt, and funds are currently being raised for the final stage of the project. Veterans for Peace hope to take the ship back to sea in 2014 on its new mission: “educating future generations on the importance of the ocean environment, the risks of nuclear technology, and the need for world peace.”

As a result, the Golden Rule will sail again, restored to its role as America’s most important peace ship.

Lawrence Wittner (, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is What’s Going On at UAardvark? (Solidarity Press), a satirical novel about campus life.


April 12, 2014 Posted by | history | Leave a comment

The historic peace ship, the Golden Rule, will sail again

the Golden Rule will sail again, restored to its role as America’s most important peace ship
The Remarkable Voyages of the Golden Rule, America’s Peace Ship CounterPunch, by LAWRENCE WITTNER, 9 April 14
“……….The remarkable story of the Golden Rule began with Albert Bigelow, a retired text-historyWorld War II U.S. naval commander.  Appalled by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, he became a Quaker and, in 1955, working with the American Friends Service Committee, sought to deliver a petition against nuclear testing to the White House.  Rebuffed by government officials, Bigelow and other pacifists organized a small group, Non-Violent Action Against Nuclear Weapons, to employ nonviolent resistance in the struggle against the Bomb.  After the U.S. government announced plans to set off nuclear bomb blasts near Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands―an island chain governed by the United States as a “trust territory” for the native people―Bigelow and other pacifists decided to sail a 30-foot protest vessel, the Golden Rule, into the nuclear testing zone.  Explaining their decision, Bigelow declared:  “All nuclear explosions are monstrous, evil, unworthy of human beings.”

Continue reading

April 10, 2014 Posted by | history, opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Uranium the real issue behind the Lockerbie bombing in 1988?

Bernt Carlsson lays down the lawThe man responsible for Namibia under international law, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, spoke about these  prosecutions.

It was on his way to the signing of the agreement at UN headquarters in New York, that UN Commissioner for Namibia Bernt Carlsson became the highest profile victim of the Pan Am Flight 103 crash at Lockerbie on 21st December 1988.

Following Bernt Carlsson’s untimely death in the Lockerbie bombing, the case against URENCO was inexplicably dropped and no further prosecutions took place of the companies and countries that were in breach of the United Nations Council for Namibia Decree No. 1.

highly-recommendedThe Downing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie: It was the Uranium, The Ecologist, Mystery continues to surround the 1988 downing of Panam Flight 103 at Lockerbie. Who did it, how, and why? UN Assistant Secretary-General and Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson Died in the Crash By Patrick Haseldine, 7 Jan 14  Patrick Haseldine is a former British diplomat who was dismissed by the then foreign secretary, John Major, in August 1989. He is often referred to as the “Emeritus Professor of Lockerbie Studies”.

After 25 years study of the topic Patrick Haseldine reveals the shocking truth…….

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, was Lockerbie’s highest profile victim, yet the authorities and the media never mention him. Why?

As comedian Kenneth Williams used to say: “I think the answer lies in the soil.”

More specifically, I believe the answer lies in the processed uranium ore (Yellowcake) that was illegally extracted from Namibia in the period 1976 to 1989. A TV documentary film in March 1980 described succinctly what was going on: Continue reading

January 8, 2014 Posted by | history, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 2 Comments

Comparing Fukushima nuclear meltdown to the Chernobyl one

Fukushima Meltdowns: A Global Conspiracy of Denial By William Boardman Global Research, Reader Supported News January 05, 2014 “…….Chernobyl 1986 and Fukushima 2011 are not really comparable  Chernobyl is the closest precedent to Fukushima, and it’s not very close. Chernobyl at the time of the 1986 electric failure and explosion had four operating reactors and two more under construction. The Chernobyl accident involved one reactor meltdown. Other reactors kept operating for some time after the accident. The rector meltdown was eventually entombed, containing the meltdown and reducing the risk. Until Fukushima, Chernobyl was considered the worst nuclear power accident in history, and it is still far from over (albeit largely contained for the time being). The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone of roughly 1,000 square miles remains one of the most radioactive areas in the world and the clean-up is not even expected to be complete before 2065.

At the time of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima plant had six operating reactors. Three of them went into meltdown and a fourth was left with a heavily laden fuel pool teetering a hundred feet above the ground. Two other reactors were undamaged and have been shut       down. Radiation levels remain lethal in each of the melted-down reactors, where the meltdowns appear to be held in check by water that is pumped into the reactors to keep them cool. In the process, the water gets irradiated and that which is not collected on site in leaking tanks flows steadily into the Pacific Ocean. Within the first two weeks, Fukushima radiation was comparable to Chernobyl’s and while the levels have gone down, they remain elevated.

The plant’s corporate owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), in turn effectively owned by the Japanese government after a2012 nationalization, began removing more than 1,500 fuel rod assemblies from the teetering fuel pool in November, a delicate process expected to take a year or more. There are additional fuel pools attached to each of the melted down reactors and a much larger general fuel pool, all of which contain nuclear fuel rod assemblies that are secure only as long as TEPCO continues to cool them. The Fukushima Exclusion Zone, a 12-mile radius around the nuclear plant, is about 500 square miles (much of it ocean); little specific information about the exclusion zone is easily available, but media coverage in the form of disaster tourism is plentiful, including a Google Street View interactive display.

Despite their significant differences as disasters, Chernobyl and Fukushima are both rated at 7 – a “major accident” on the International Nuclear Event Scale designed in 1990 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That is the highest rating on the scale, a reflection of the inherent denial that colors most official nuclear thinking. Designed by nuclear “experts” after Chernobyl, the scale can’t imagine a worse accident than Chernobyl which, for all its intensity, was effectively over as an accident in a relatively short period of time. At Fukushima, by contrast, the initial set of events was less acute than Chernobyl, but almost three years later they continue without any resolution likely soon. Additionally Fukushima has three reactor meltdowns and thousands of precarious fuel rod assemblies in uncertain pools, any of which could produce a new crisis that would put Fukushima clearly off the scale.

And then there’s groundwater. Groundwater was not a problem at Chernobyl. Groundwater is a huge problem at the Fukushima plant that was built at the seashore, on a former riverbed, over an active aquifer. In a short video, nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson makes clear why groundwater makes Fukushima so hard to clean up, and why radiation levels there will likely remain dangerous for another hundred years……..


January 7, 2014 Posted by | history | Leave a comment

Years of secret dumping radioactive trash into the sea,by US navy

Sailors on old warship dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste for years Tampa Bay Times, William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer 22 Dec 13  They asked the dying Pasco County man about his Navy service a half-century before. He kept talking about the steel barrels. They haunted him, sea monsters plaguing an old sailor.

“We turned off all the lights,” George Albernaz testified at a 2005 Department of Veterans Affairs hearing, “and … pretend that we were broken down and … we would take these barrels and having only steel-toed shoes … no protection gear, and proceed to roll these barrels into the ocean, 300 barrels at a trip.”

The Atomic Sailors Talk of Dumping Radioactive Waste at Sea

Not all of them sank. A few pushed back against the frothing ocean, bobbing in the waves like a drowning man. Then shots would ring out from a sailor with a rifle at the fantail. And the sea would claim the bullet-riddled drum. Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | history, oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Remembering UK’s Windscale Nuclear Disaster

The Windscale Nuclear Disaster, Today I Found Out, MELISSA DECEMBER 18, 2013 On the morning of Friday, October 11, 1957, workers at the nuclear reactor Windscale Pile 1 near Seascale, Cumberland, England, faced a terrible choice: allow a raging fire to burn itself out while it released dangerously high levels of ionizing radiation into the surrounding countryside; or, attempt to extinguish the conflagration with water, an option that could cause a hydrogen explosion (again, releasing dangerous levels of radiation, as well as blowing the workers to bits). Here’s the story of what they did:………


Still keen on getting their hands on the nuclear weapons designs, British leaders covered up the real cause of the accident and blamed it on Windscale’s heroic workers. The deceit was successful, and the U.S. shared its nuclear secrets with the British. Subsequent inquiries, by the BBC and others, have revealed that it was the government’s relaxed safety policies that were ultimately to blame.

Health wise, it was also a disaster. Although not on the scale with Chernobyl, the Windscale release of iodine-131, caesium-137 and xenon-133 are thought to have caused at least 200 cancer cases; it is believed that the numbers would be far higher were it not for the last-minute addition of the filters…….

December 20, 2013 Posted by | history, UK | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear missile launch code was unsafe for 20 years!

Atomic-Bomb-SmStarting World War III with just one finger: The secret U.S. nuclear missile launch code was kept terrifyingly simple for nearly 20 years – and even printed on a checklist – (GOOD PHOTOS) By DAILY MAIL REPORTER  29 November 2013 For nearly 20 years, the secret code to authorize launching U.S. nuclear missiles, and starting World War III, was terrifyingly simple and even noted down on a checklist.

From 1962, when John F Kennedy instituted PAL encoding on nuclear weapons, until 1977, the combination to fire the devastating missiles at the height of the Cold War was just 00000000. Continue reading

November 30, 2013 Posted by | history, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

President John F Kennedy speech on peace June 10 1963

Kennedy, John FCommencement Address at American University, June 10, 1963

“……….I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces.
It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn. ……….
I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war–and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament–and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitude–as individuals and as a Nation–for our attitude is as essential as theirs……..
First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable–that mankind is doomed–that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade–therefore, they can be solved by man……….
Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument for peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system–a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished. …….”

November 21, 2013 Posted by | history, USA | Leave a comment

The Cold War very nearly brought global nuclear catastrophe

Atomic-Bomb-Sm “Even though the cold war ended more than 20 years ago, thousands of warheads are still actively deployed by the nuclear-armed states,”   “We continue to face unacceptably high risks and will continue to do so until we have taken steps to abolish these exceptionally dangerous weapons.”.

text-historyHow a war game brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster Former classified documents show how close the Soviet Union came to launching an attack in 1983 The Guardian,  The Observer, Sunday 3 November 2013 Chilling new evidence that Britain and America came close to provoking the Soviet Union into launching a nuclear attack has emerged in former classified documents written at the height of the cold war.

Cabinet memos and briefing papers released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a major war games exercise, Operation Able Art, conducted in November 1983 by the US and its Nato allies was so realistic it made the Russians believe that a nuclear strike on its territory was a real possibility. Continue reading

November 4, 2013 Posted by | history, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Proud history of USA women holding back nuclear power industry

In their determination to publicize its hazards, the intervening women were pioneers alerting the American public to the scientific consensus that all radiation exposure is cumulative and damages cellular DNA.


text-historyNo Nukes and Intervening Women  Renee Parsons : 04/16/2012 In an era when Occupy Wall Street protestors are beaten and arrested like hardened criminals, more than 40 years ago in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, there was another organized protest movement that captured the nation’s attention as it spread from New Hampshire’s Clamshell Alliance to the Abalone Alliance in southern California..In the mid-to-late 1970s, massive civil disobedience and notably peaceful arrest of protestors were taking place from the tidewater of Virginia to the farmlands of Oklahoma against the construction and operation of commercial nuclear power reactors.

What is less well-known is that at the root of the controversy, prior to public demonstrations of opposition, were a handful of exceptional women, mostly “housewives” whose thankless work done at their dining room tables provided those demonstrators and an uninformed country with the true realities of the “peaceful” atom. Continue reading

October 17, 2013 Posted by | history, opposition to nuclear, Reference, women | Leave a comment

African Americans’ proud history against nuclear weapons

handsoffThe Civil Rights Movement and Nuclear Test Ban Treaty HUFFINGTON POST,    10/07/2013………..having the first African American president also advocate for nuclear disarmament should not come as a surprise. President Obama was simply following in the path of those before him. Indeed, since 1945, many in the African American community, including some of the most prominent black leaders in U.S. history, actively supported nuclear disarmament, often connecting the nuclear issue with the fight for racial equality and liberation movements around the world. And it was due, in part, to these black activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife, Coretta, that President Kennedy was able to pass the partial nuclear test ban treaty fifty years ago this week. Continue reading

October 8, 2013 Posted by | history, indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Stanislav Petrov who saved the world from nuclear holocaust

Happy Petrov Day! (How we narrowly avoided nuclear war on this day in 1983) Michael Graham Richard  27 Sept 13 The best kind of holiday Most of us alive today owe a debt to those who avoided nuclear war in years past, and sadly, there were many occasions when that was necessary. The Cuban Missile Crisis is a well-known example, with John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, and various other government officials on all sides playing a game of poker with the lives of hundreds of millions of people (if not billions, who knows how far things would’ve gone). We came so very close to the edge of the abyss before stepping back…


 That’s why anyone even a little bit concerned with the future of humanity – leaving a better world for their children – and about all other living creatures on the planet should be against nuclear weapons and in favor of taking concrete steps to reduce the chances of them ever being used. This can’t be swept under the rug. After all, what’s the point of building a better society and protecting the environment if, during a moment of folly, a few people in positions of power can kill us all?

Giving us a second chance Continue reading

September 28, 2013 Posted by | history, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What if USA’s nuclear bombs dropped in North Carolina HAD detonated?

Atomic-Bomb-SmThe Potential Nuclear Fallout in North Carolina, Mapped Atlantic Wire CONNOR SIMPSON 21 Sept 13 You’ve probably heard by now that the U.S. military nearly committed the biggest “oopsie daisy!” in history when they accidentally dropped two nuclear bombs near Goldsboro, North Carolina. But what if they did? Thankfully they didn’t detonate, but let’s imagine, just for a split second, that they did. This isn’t you typical Saturday morning exercise. There’s a certain macabre aspect to it investigation that can be hard to get over. Thousands of people would be dead, but it’s hard not to be at least a little curious to know how much of the U.S. would have been affected had the bombs gone off………

it would have been bad.

How bad, you ask? Well, by using the handy NukeMap3D created by Alex Wellerstein, we can determine how much destruction would have followed at least one atomic bomb dropping in North Carolina. The blast could have reached, with the wind blowing in the right direction, as far up the coast as New York City. Philadelphia and Washington would likely have been affected. This map is calculated with a 15 mile an hour wind and 100 percent fission:


That’s a lot of the east coast. The fallout would likely not fall in such a straight line. And depending on the weather, could bend in many directions and possibly stretch even further. This is all speculative, of course. Most importantly, thankfully, the bombs never detonated in real life.

We know about this ultimate close call thanks to investigate journalist Eric Schlosser. He unearthed this declassified document that details the incident in question through a Freedom of Information Act request while researching his new book, Command and Control, about the nuclear arms race.

September 23, 2013 Posted by | history, incidents, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Carolina was very nearly nuclear bombed by US military

exclamation-book-Command-and-ControlThe Time the U.S. Military Came This Close To Dropping a Nuclear Bomb on North Carolina Slate, By , Sept. 20, 2013 Remember fallout shelters? Air raid drills? Duck and cover?

At the height of the Cold War, Americans lived in perpetual fear of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. But perhaps we were afraid of the wrong side.

declassified document obtained by author Eric Schlosser sheds new light on the 1961 Goldsboro accident, in which a U.S. Air Force B-52 broke apart in midair over text-historyNorth Carolina, dropping a pair of Mark 39 nuclear bombs on the countryside below. The accident is not news, but just how close the military came to wiping out a swath of the Eastern Seaboard has long been debated. For years the military insisted that the hydrogen bombs were never in danger of detonating.

The secret document, written by a nuclear weapons safety supervisor in 1969 and first published by The Guardian today, makes it clearer than ever that was not the case. In fact, three of the four safety mechanisms on one of the bombs were unlocked in the course of the fall. By the time the bomb reached the ground, the only thing preventing it from detonating was a single, simple, low-voltage switch. A short-circuit of that switch as a result of the mid-air breakup—“a postulate that seems credible,” the supervisor writes—could have resulted in mass destruction.

The Mark 39 bombs, Schlosser notes in his new book Command and Control, were some 250 times as powerful as the device that the United States dropped on Hiroshima……..

September 21, 2013 Posted by | history, resources - print, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cuba’s abandoned unfinished nuclear power plant

Concrete Crypt for Communist Dreams: Cuba’s Unfinished Nuclear Power Plant By , Sept. 11, 2013 In 1976, Communist companions Cuba and the Soviet Union signed a deal to build a nuclear power plant in Juraqua. Construction on the first of two nuclear reactors began in 1983 with a target operational date of 1993. But a few years before the reactor’s scheduled completion, the USSR collapsed. The flow of crucial Soviet funds ceased, 300 Russian technicians went home, and Cuba was forced to suspend construction on its badly needed power plant.

Lacking nuclear fuel and without the primary components installed, the plant sat in limbo until December 2000, when Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Cuba. Putin offered Fidel Castro a belated $800 million to finish the first reactor. Despite Cuba’s reliance on imported oil for power, Castro declined. Project status: officially abandoned.

The unfinished plant, a huge, domed concrete structure, sits on the Caribbean coast, across the bay from the city of Cienfuegos.

September 13, 2013 Posted by | history, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment


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