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Religions unite in speaking out for nuclear disarmament, at Vienna conference

peace-doveFaiths United Against Nuclear Weapons TruthOut , 15 December 2014 By Julia RainerInter Press Service | Report Vienna - “Never was there a greater need than now for all the religions to combine, to pull their wisdom and to give the benefit of that combined, huge repository of wisdom to international law and to the world.”

The words are those of Christopher Weeramantry, former judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and its vice-president from 1997 to 2000, who was addressing a session on faiths united against nuclear weapons at the civil society forum organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on Dec. 6 and 7 in the Austrian capital.

Weeramantry strongly criticised the argument of those who claim that nuclear weapons have saved the world from another world war in the last 50 years.

He pointed to the ever-present danger represented by these weapons and said that on many occasions it had been luck that had prevented catastrophic nuclear accidents or the breaking out of a devastating nuclear war.

Noting that nuclear weapons “offend every single principle of religion,” Weeramantry was joined on the panel by a number of different religious leaders, including Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and peace activist, as well as Akemi Bailey-Haynie, national women’s leader of the Buddhist organisation Soka Gakkai International-USA……………….

Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and former Anglican Bishop, sent a video message to participants to express his deep solidarity and support for ICAN’s civil society forum initiative.

He argued that the best way to honour the victims of the incidents in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was to negotiate a total ban on nuclear weapons to ensure that nothing comparable could ever happen again.

Two of the session’s speakers, Ela Gandhi and Mustafa Ceric, also attended the Dec. 8-9 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

There, Ela Gandhi delivered a speech in the spirit of her grandfather who, she said, would have joined the movement to abolish nuclear weapons if still alive.

As Gandhi had dedicated his life to teaching humanity that there is a non-violent way of dealing with conflict, he even condemned nuclear weapons himself in 1946 when he said: “The atom bomb mentality is immoral, unethical, addictive and only evil can come from it.”

Pointing out that the mere existence of nuclear weapons leads to similar armament of rival countries, Ela Gandhi warned that these nuclear arsenals could destroy a chance for future generations to survive and have a prosperous life………

Religion played an important role at the conference, where many lobbying groups had religious backgrounds, and the opening ceremony was addressed by Pope Francis.

“I am convinced that the desire for peace and fraternity, planted deep in the human heart, will bear fruit in concrete ways to ensure that nuclear weapons are banned once and for all, to the benefit of our common home,” aid Pope Francis, expressing his hope that “a world without nuclear weapons is truly possibly.”

In a statement on behalf of faith communities to the final session, Kimiaki Kawai, Program Director for Peace Affairs at Soka Gakkai International (SGI), said: “The elimination of nuclear weapons is not only a moral imperative; it is the ultimate measure of our worth as a species, as human beings.”

He said that “acceptance of the continued existence of nuclear weapons stifles our capacity to think more broadly and more compassionately about who we are as human beings, and what our potential is. Humanity must find alternative ways of dealing with conflict.”http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28004-faiths-united-against-nuclear-weapons

December 17, 2014 Posted by | Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia boasts of The Right To Put Nuclear Weapons In Crimea

Russian-BearRussia: We Have The Right To Put Nuclear Weapons In Crimea Business Insider JEREMY BENDER Russia announced on Monday that it believes it has the full right to deploy nuclear weapons in the recently annexed Crimean peninsula.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Interfax news agency that since Crimea was now a part of Russia, Moscow had full rights to deploy nuclear weapons into the region.

Lavrov argues that Crimea can be treated just like any other part of Russia and can therefore host nuclear infrastructure. “Now Crimea has become part of a state which possesses such weapons in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,” says Lavrov. “In accordance with international law, Russia has every reason to dispose of its nuclear arsenal … to suit its interests and international legal obligations.”………

Technically, neither the US nor Russia can move strategic nuclear forces without verifying the deployment with the other country due to the 2010 New START treaty, which set a timeline for mutual cuts to the countries’ nuclear stockpiles. Any Russian movement of strategic nuclear weapons into Crimea (long-range, high-yield weapons, as opposed to tactical or battlefield nuclear warheads) without prior notification to the US would result in Russia violating the treaty. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/russia-we-can-put-nuclear-weapons-in-crimea-2014-12

December 17, 2014 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Air Force’s past and future dreams of Nuclear-Armed Drone Bombers

exclamation-Flag-USAAmerica Almost Had a Nuclear-Armed Drone Bomber, Medium.com, Adam Rawnsley
 on Dec 16 2014 Air Force wanted to remove the pilots from B-47s  Long before the CIA began sending missile-armed drones to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, U.S. Air Force officials mulled sending robotic aircraft against the Soviet Union.

Carrying nuclear bombs.

Starting in late 1949, Air Force officials kicked off what would become Project Brass Ring, an attempt to turn long-range B-47 Stratojet bombers into remotely-piloted nuclear-weapons delivery vehicles.

We learned about the Air Force’s quest to build an unmanned nuclear bomber—which the flying branch ultimately abandoned—from A History of the Air Force Atomic Energy Program: 1943–1953, a series of declassified internal studies on the Air Force’s early nuclear history………
the Air Force opted to end the research.

Until recently. Today the Air Force is shopping around for a new nuclear-capable Long Range Strike Bomber. There’s speculation that the plane could wind up being “optionally-manned”—that is, robotic with the flip of a switch. Much like Brass Ring’s B-47 six decades ago. https://medium.com/war-is-boring/america-almost-had-a-nuclear-armed-drone-bomber-e494e2e9a286

December 17, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US government planning to spend $1 trillion on upgrading nuclear weapons

burning-moneyThe nuclear money pit, The Economist  Does America really need a new plutonium production line? Dec 15th 2014 | LOS ANGELES THE RECENT sabre rattling by Vladimir Putin may have unwittingly done what the United States Congress has failed to do for decades: refocus attention—and billions of additional dollars—on overhauling America’s nuclear arsenal. The $585 billion defence bill for the next fiscal year sailed through the House of Representatives last week with broad bipartisan support, and then did the same in the Senate on December 12th, despite all the fractious squabbling over the $1.1 trillion government funding measure.
More pertinently, the $11.7 billion request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a branch of the Department of Energy that oversees nuclear weapons, naval reactors and nonproliferation activities on behalf of the military, represents a 4% increase over the previous year. The biggest chunk of that—covering work on modernising the country’s nuclear weapons—is to increase by 7%. All this at a time when mandated “sequestration” cuts are supposed to be reducing military spending.

All told, the federal government intends allocating up to $1 trillion to upgrade the country’s missiles, bombers and submarines over the coming decades. Continue reading

December 17, 2014 Posted by | - plutonium, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Vienna focus on the catastrophic risks of nuclear weapons, but UK and USA oppose moves for a disarmament timetable

world-nuclear-weapons-freeNuclear arms risks — a reminder, Japan Times, DEC 14, 2014 International efforts toward eliminating nuclear weapons in recent years have come to focus on the devastating consequences their use can have on humanity. The third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons was held on Dec. 8 and 9 in Vienna, following the first conference in Oslo in March 2013 and the second gathering in Nayarit in Mexico in February 2014.

Although the Vienna conference was unable to come up with a concrete timetable to get rid of nuclear arms, discussions at the meeting helped deepen understanding among participants of “the consequences and the actual risks posed by nuclear weapons,” according to the statement issued by Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s minister for foreign affairs and integration, who chaired the confeƒrence.

The meeting underscored all the more the need for both nuclear powers and nonnuclear states to make serious efforts to make the world free of the devastating weapons whose effects will put victims in affliction for decades to come.

The chair’s summation of the discussions by delegates from 158 nations, the United Nations, the Red Cross movement, civic organizations and academia stressed that the “scope, scale and interrelationship of the humanitarian consequences caused by a nuclear weapon detonation are catastrophic and more complex than commonly understood. These consequences can be large-scale and potentially irreversible.”

More than five years have passed since U.S. President Barack Obama put forward his vision of creating a world without nuclear weapons in his April 2009 speech in Prague. But little progress for nuclear disarmament has since been made, despite the signing of a new nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia.

Both countries are modernizing their nuclear weapons. ……..

The U.S. and the United Kingdom, both nuclear weapons states under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, attended the conference for the first time — itself a meaningful development.

But while the chair’s statement said the “only assurance against the risk of a nuclear weapon detonation is the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” the U.S. expressed opposition to a treaty banning nuclear arms, although it said its commitment to creating a nuclear weapons-free world is firm.

The U.K. also opposed prohibiting nuclear weapons at this moment or setting up a timetable for their elimination from security viewpoint………

Setsuko Thurlow, who was exposed to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the age of 13 and now lives in Canada, talked about her experience and suffering. She asked how long the world will continue to allow the nuclear powers to threaten lives on Earth and called for starting work immediately toward a nuclear arms ban treaty…….http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/12/14/editorials/nuclear-arms-risks-reminder/#.VI8q6NLF8nk

December 15, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hostilities escalate, but Russia rules out a pre emptive nuclear strike

flag_RussiaRussia Rules Out Pre-emptive Nuclear Attack But Will Strike When Provoked or Under Threat – Report International Business Times, By Erik Pineda | December 13, 2014  As reports came out that Russia under President Vladimir Putin is getting overly aggressive in Europe, per NATO claims, analysts begin to entertain fears of pre-emptive nuclear strike by the Kremlin.

The NATO leadership announced this week that Moscow is engaged in a high-level of military activities in the Baltic region, underscored by the 400 times that alliance jet fighters were scrambled this 2014 in response to incursions made byRussian military planes.

NATO declared that Russia’s recent actions “can be destabilising and potentially dangerous,” according to The Daily Mail.

Now the question begs: Will this bold display of power foreshadow the escalation of hostilities?

No pre-emptive strike

While the tense posturing between Russia and the West – the U.S. and NATO specifically, could potentially graduate into a shooting a war, the Kremlin, as dictated by its recently revised military doctrine, will not fire the first shot, according to a new report byRT.com.

“The renewed draft of the military doctrine would not have a reservation for preventive nuclear strikes on potential enemy,” the news site added, pointing to unnamed insiders from Russia’s Defence Ministry as sources.

It was indicated too in the same report that pre-emptive nuclear attack on specifically identified enemies was deliberated upon by the Russian military and political leaders but the option was not included in the doctrine that was finalised in 2010.

Russia, however, is not discounting the use of nuclear weapons, which they will be willing to rain down on deemed aggressors when provoked. “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in reply to strikes with nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction on its territory or on the territory of its allies,” the doctrine reportedly states………

Perceived threats

Not surprisingly, Moscow pinpoints Washington and its NATO allies as threats. “Russian foreign policy appears to be based on a combination of fears of popular protest and opposition to U.S. world hegemony,” writes Jonathan Masters, deputy editor for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Putin is apparently convinced that the U.S. and NATO is undermining Russia’s influence in the former Soviet Union republics, according to Masters, likely making the two as prime targets of Russia’s nuclear attack blueprint in the event World War III erupts.

To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:r.pineda@ibtimes..com.au

To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.com    http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/575843/20141213/russia-nuclear-attack-world-war-3-nato.htm#.VI8opNLF8nk

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Talk in Ukraine about reviving nuclear weapons

exclamation-Smflag-UkraineNuclear weapons revival talked about by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Inquisitr.com Dec. 14, 2014,The possibility of Urkaine’s nuclear weapons programs being revived has been discussed ever since it was claimed that Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons may have been moved into the Crimean Peninsula. Recently, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko answered questions on whether Kiev is willing to bring back their nuclear status in order to survive the confrontation with Vladimir Putin.

 In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Russian nuclear navy is currently being modernized at a rapid pace, and it’s believed a suspected Russian submarine may have been lurking in the English Channel. The threat of Russian nuclear weapons also has the Pentagon considering deploying ground-based U.S. nuclear cruise missiles to Europe.

Earlier this year, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Valerii Heletei claimed that Russia was threatening Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons.

“I am drawing attention to Russia’s threatening Ukraine with the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Heletei noted. “If we fail to defend Ukraine today, if the world does not help us, we will have to get back to the creation of such weapons, which will defend us from Russia.”

This alleged threat led to the discussion of restoring Ukraine’s nuclear weapons program by Heletei, but only if “the world does not help us.” Recently, both the House and the Senate in the U.S. Congress passed legislation that promised lethal aid to Ukraine. According to the Kiev Post, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke about Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs, he declared that Kiev would not pursue that option………..http://www.inquisitr.com/1677316/ukraine-nuclear-weapons-revival-talked-about-by-ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenko/#2ZO69ZkEBcQho87h.99

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Vienna Conference supports Marshall Islands Against Nuclear Weapons,

goliath-&-Marshall-IslesThe Marshall Islands case, which has received worldwide attention and support from many different organisations, is often referred to as “David vs. Goliath”…..: “The Marshall Islands is a small, gutsy country. It is not a country that will be bullied, nor is it one that will give up.

Civil Society Support for Marshall Islands Against Nuclear Weapons, truthout, Friday, 12 December 2014 10:00By Julia RainerInter Press Service Vienna – Ahead of the Dec. 8-9 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, activists from all over the world came together in the Austrian capital to participate in a civil society forum organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on Dec. 6 and 7.

One pressing issue discussed was the Marshall Islands’ lawsuit against the United States and eight other nuclear-weapon nations that was filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in April 2014, denouncing the over 60 nuclear tests that were conducted on the small island state’s territory between 1946 and 1958.

The location was chosen not only because it was an isolated part of the world but also because at the time it was also a Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands governed by the United States. Self-government was achieved in 1979, and full sovereignty in 1986.

The people of the Marshall Islands were neither informed nor asked for their consent and for a long period did not realise the harm that the testing would bring to the local communities. Continue reading

December 13, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s disgraceful militaristic bullying at Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

 The Naked Emperor Can’t See his Own Bare Ass US Attends then Defies Conference on Nuclear Weapons Effects COUNTERPUNCH, by JOHN LAFORGE VIENNA, Austria DECEMBER 10, 2014

A pair of conferences here this week have tried to raise public and government awareness of nuclear weapons.

The first, a Civil Society Forum put on by the Int’l Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, brought logo-ICANtogether non-governmental groups, parliamentarians, and activists of all stripes to try and boost morale and renew enthusiasm in efforts to ban the bomb.

About 700 participants spent two days delving into the ghastly health and environmental effects of nuclear war, the hair-raising frequency of H-bomb accidents and near detonations, and the horrifying impacts of bomb test fallout — and other human radiation experiments conducted without informed consent upon our own unwitting civilians and soldiers……..

A second conference of about 1,000 government representatives, NGOs and others followed the ICAN meeting. The “Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons” (HINW) was the 3rd in a series and your felonious Nukewatch reporter was somehow granted permission to attend the deeply stuffy affair.

After decades of negotiations over the numerical size of nuclear arsenals, the HINW meetings have finally faced the harsh ugliness and catastrophic health and environmental effects of nuclear weapons.

Expert witnesses spoke directly to 180 state governments about the ethical, legal, medical and ecological consequences of H-bomb detonations which are — in the language of diplomatic nicety — “foreseeable.” Then, scores of state delegates called on nuclear-armed countries (US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) to dissolve their reliance on the worst of our WsMD and see them abolished.

But the naked emperor can’t see his own bare ass……….

Immediately following harrowing personal testimonies from downwind bomb test victims, and a review by Ms. Olson of the science showing women and children to be far more vulnerable to radiation than men, the U.S. interrupted.

Although conveners explicitly directed participants to only ask questions, US delegate Adam Scheinman was the first at the mic and he declared flatly, “I will not ask a question but make a statement.” The bully then completely ignored the panel’s discussion of the brutal, gruesome, and long-term effects of nuclear weapons testing and use. Instead, in ringing non sequitur, the U.S.’s prepared remarks declared opposition to a nuclear weapons ban treaty..…..

The U.S.’s refusal to support (and its dismissal of) the movement for a nuclear weapons ban/treaty should be the story today, but corporate media can be counted on to regurgitate Obama’s encouragement of interminable negotiations to nowhere.

The desired result of its bombast is that the U.S. will momentarily divert attention from the indiscriminate, uncontrollable, widespread, persistent, radiological and genetically destabilizing impact of its nuclear weapons — and gotten television to pat it on the back merely for showing up and “listening.”

Indeed, after its usurpation of center-stage here — and after having ignored and then temporarily recast the subject of the conference — the U.S. may now leave the building and get back to its one-thousand-billion-dollar upgrade of infrastructure for producing 80 new H-bombs a year by 2020. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/10/us-attends-then-defies-conference-on-nuclear-weapons-effects/

December 13, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

If USA redeploys nuclear cruise missiles to Europe it will not make us safer

missile-risingRedeployment of nukes to Europe won’t increase US security – Moscow Rt, December 12, 2014  The possible redeployment of nuclear cruise missiles to Europe and other military steps mentioned by a US official over Russia’s alleged violation of a crucial arms control treaty won’t add to US security, but will increase tension, Moscow said………..Earlier this year, the US implemented several waves of sanctions and aborted cooperation with Moscow in a number of key areas over Russia’s alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

The INF Treaty is a key agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union which put a seal on the Cold War era.

It eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges, defined as between 500-5,500 kilometers (300-3,400 miles).

The two countries agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and conduct extensive on-site verification inspections. As a result, Moscow and Washington destroyed a total of 2,692 missiles. http://rt.com/news/214011-russia-us-nuclear-europe/

December 13, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Too much money at stake, for USA and UK to address the issue of depleted uranium and health

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Amazing!  The fact that depleted uranium is so cheap – in fact, free- and that it solves DOE’s problem of what to do with this radioactive trash  –   these practical and financial considerations apparently outweigh any concern for the health of America’s finest, let alone for the health of Iraqui civilians!

It will cost in the end,  care of sick soldiers, lawsuits from soldiers, lawsuits from Iraq.

But I suppose, by that time, the worthy decision makers in the Pentagon and the arms business will have passed away – leaving the bill for everyone’s grandchildren

Par for the course, in all matters nuclear.

depleted-uraniumDepleted Uranium: The New Agent Orange  Source: Jiang, George C.-T. and Aschner, Michael. “Neurotoxicity of Depleted Uranium: Reasons for Increased Concern.” Biological Trace Element Research. Vol. 110, 2006 Bellingcat, December 8, 2014 By Aliaume Leroy

 Between 1990 and 1991, the US and UK troops fired over 290 metric tons [1] of Depleted Uranium (DU) projectiles in Iraq and Kuwait. It was the first time that this type of ammunitions was used on the battlefield. The US military employed it in Afghanistan in 2001 and again in Iraq in 2003. It was however in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War that the controversy surrounding DU today developed. In the years following the war, the rate of cancers and malformations rose sharply in certain parts of Iraq. Furthermore, some American and British veterans started to experience a chronic multi-symptom disorder known as the Gulf War Syndrome.

On one hand, “misinformation disseminated by both the Iraqi government and the US Department of Defense has made analysis of DU’s impact difficult.”[2] On the other hand, the medias had the tendency to over-sensationalize the issue. Even worst was the fact that scientists themselves were caught in the midst of this politicization. On top of that, Iraq does not have the laboratory capacity to establish the existence of a direct link between DU and the health issues it is facing at the moment.[3]………..

DU has been used in various civilian and commercial fields: medicine, aviation, space and petroleum industry. Since it is 1.7 times denser that lead, it is used as ballast for commercial aircraft, ships, as well as satellites.[8] Another example of the civilian use of DU is in the medical industry where DU is employed in radiotherapy units as part of radiation shields.[9] However, the most fervent customers of DU have been the military-industrial complexes. “The United States began exploring, developing, and testing ways to employ depleted uranium in the early 1970’s in what were termed ‘kinetic energy penetrators’ and tank armor.”[10]As DU is extremely dense and pyrophoric, DU projectiles melt when they hit a hard target, sharpen and thus pierce the heavy armor.[11] Furthermore, the DU contained in shells ignites and aerosolizes upon impact, “forming tiny particles suspended in the air and dispersing them over an area.”[12] DU also becomes a very resistant material when it is mixed with other metals, like titanium, thus creating a shield for tank that no conventional weapon can penetrate……………

Interestingly, the US military’s true reason behind its choice of DU stems from an economic stance. DU is available in large stocks in the US. Currently, the Department of Energy (DoE) keeps “over 700, 000 metric tons of depleted uranium tails in about 63, 000 metal cylinders in storage yards at its Paducah, Kentucky, and Portsmouth, Ohio, enrichment plants.”[15] Furthermore, DU is free of charge since it is under the control of the DoE. This means that the US military does not have to spend money importing or producing other materials. DU is thus absolutely cost-effective: the military spends nothing and retrieves all the benefits. This practical mindset explains why the American government has so far refused to remove DU from its military arsenal. In light of the economic reason, the DU effectiveness argument appears to be nothing more than a justifying smoke screen. This view is reinforced by the words of Lieutenant Colonel M.V. Ziehmn of the Los Alamos Laboratory: “If no one makes the case for the effectiveness for DU on the battlefield, DU rounds may become politically unacceptable and thus, be deleted from the arsenal… I believe we should keep this sensitive issue in mind when after-action reports are being written.”[16]

The human body intakes DU in three ways: inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact. With DU ammunitions, the inhalation route is the most common. As stated earlier, DU projectiles aerosolize when they hit a target, projecting small particles all over an area, which then remain suspended in the air by wind or settle down on the soil for later resuspension.[17] Dermal contact is less important. DU does not penetrate the skin unless a fragment enters the organism. American and British veterans were exposed to DU through these two pathways: inhaling the particles or being wounded by DU shrapnel. However, the ingestion route should not be underestimated. Iraqi children playing in conflict zone are more likely to ingest DU because of hand-to-mouth activity. Furthermore, it is known that children are “10 to 20 times more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects than adults.”[18] This statement leads us to the following question: Does DU present health risks?………..

no one can deny today that DU did play a key role in aggravating the Iraqi health crisis.

DU ammunitions appear to be correlated with increased health risks. The various discordant claims and the politicization of the issue however impede the formulation of a conclusive and definitive statement. As Doug Rokke, a former Pentagon DU expert, eloquently puts it: “[DU] is the Agent Orange of the 1990s.”[28] More research is certainly needed to understand clearly DU’s impacts on health. Yet, the US army is still using DU despite the controversy that surrounds it and the fact that its efficiency has remained unaccounted for.

Why? Too much is at stake. If DU was found to be highly dangerous for the health and the environment, governments – mainly the US, UK, France, China and Russia – will be forced to remove this effective weaponry from their respective military arsenals and stop short nuclear plants (that uses enriched uranium): An unwanted scenario for those countries as well as for the defence and nuclear industries. https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2014/12/08/depleted-uranium-the-new-agent-orange/

 

December 10, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium | Leave a comment

America’s dangerous thinking about national security and nuclear weapons

America-eagleBeyond M.A.D.: Reviving Nuclear War, Huffington Post,6 Dec 14 

 Become a fan “Some of the key technocrats and scientists of the Cold War say the nation has become overly confident about its nuclear deterrence. The nuclear enterprise, they say, ‘is rusting its way to disarmament.'”

Let’s meditate on this irony — that disarmament, finally, means no more than growing old and weak and pathetic.

What brilliant Cold War Revival propaganda, masquerading, in the Los Angeles Timeslast week, as objective reporting. Let’s meditate on the dark chuckles of the Cold War technocrats, as they attempt to summon an extra trillion dollars or so from the national coffers to restore America’s nuclear weapons program to the glory of the 1960s and push on vigorously with the design and development of the next generation of nukes: our national strength, the foundation of our security. All that’s missing from the article — “New nuclear weapons needed, many experts say, pointing to aged arsenal” — is Slim Pickens screaming “Ya-hoo!” as he rides the bomb into human oblivion at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

The ostensible focus of the article, as well as a second article published two weeks earlier, both by Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan, is the decrepitude of the American nuclear arsenal, with its myriad sites and delivery systems hampered with out-of-date technology and indifferent maintenance, e.g.: “Today, the signs of decay are pervasive at the Pantex facility in Texas, where nuclear weapons are disassembled and repaired. Rat infestation has become so bad that employees are afraid to bring their lunches to work.”

Oh, the horror. Rats and nukes. Next up, Godzilla? Any serious challenge to nuclear weapons as the ultimate manifestation and symbol of national strength is absent from these articles; so is any rational account of the danger their hair-trigger presence poses to humanity — not to mention the insanity of their ongoing development.

For instance:

“John S. Foster Jr., former director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and chief of Pentagon research during the Cold War, said the labs should design, develop and build prototype weapons that may be needed by the military in the future, including a very low-yield nuclear weapon that could be used with precision delivery systems . . .” (emphasis added).

During the Cold War, the primary justification for our gargantuan nuclear arsenal was contained in the acronym M.A.D.: mutually assured destruction. No more world wars, boys and girls! With the Cold War superpowers in possession of the means to destroy the human race, the only wars we could wage were relatively small, proxy wars in Third and Fourth World countries.

“Those who like peace should love nuclear weapons,” said Kenneth Waltz, Cold War academic extraordinaire and founder of the school of neorealism (as quoted recently by Eric Schlosser in The Guardian). “They are the only weapons ever invented that work decisively against their own use.”

But seven decades into the nuclear era, mission creep is making its presence felt along with the rust and rats. Link low-yield nuclear weapons with a word like “precision” and their use in a real war starts to feel almost justifiable — and so much more satisfying, apparently, than simply maintaining a nuclear arsenal for the purpose of never using it. Threat is power in the abstract. But a mushroom cloud over Central Asia or the Middle East is power made manifest, especially if one lacks the mental and spiritual capacity to grasp the consequences……….

What seems desperately outmoded and nearing collapse isn’t our nuclear infrastructure but our thinking about national security. The United States of America, nation of Manifest Destiny, was built on conquest and exploitation. This is the basis of its inability to believe that security could be based on anything except near-absolute power and the reason why, in the corridors of political power, disarmament is synonymous not with sanity but neglect.

Unless the paradigm shifts and we redefine ourselves as a nation — and we redefine our relationship to other nations, including our alleged enemies — our future is nuclear weapons we can use. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-koehler/beyond-mad-reviving-nucle_b_6272094.html
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound (Xenos Press), is still available. Contact him atkoehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

December 8, 2014 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly calls on Israel to come clean and renounce its nuclear weapons

flag-UN-largeUN Resolution: Israel Must Renounce Nuclear Arms, abc news,UNITED NATIONS — Dec 2, 2014,  By ALEXANDRA OLSON Associated Press

  The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved an Arab-backed resolution Tuesday calling on Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and put its nuclear facilities under international oversight.

The resolution, adopted in a 161-5 vote, noted that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It called on Israel to “accede to that treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons” and put its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

The United States, Canada, Palau and Micronesia joined Israel in opposing the measure, while 18 countries abstained.

Israel is widely considered to possess nuclear arms but declines to confirm it…….http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/assembly-calls-israel-join-nuclear-treaty-27308456

December 4, 2014 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The spiralling costs of Britain’s Project Pegasus nuclear plant

missile-moneyflag-UKMoD orders review into spiralling cost of Project Pegasus nuclear plant The Independent, Mark Leftly, 30 Nov 14 The Ministry of Defence has ordered a review into the costs and construction timetable of a highly sensitive manufacturing plant that will enrich uranium for Trident nuclear missiles, amid fears the budget had spiralled out of control.

Project Pegasus, a £634m facility to be built at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire, is said to be struggling over costs and scheduling. The MoD had said that Pegasus would be completed between 2016 and 2020.

The AWE, which manufactures and maintains Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and the MoD played down the review, but a senior nuclear industry source said it was “extremely serious”. The source added: “Certainly, this is an issue that is going to run and run – and, don’t forget, the Government has a golden share, meaning it can re-procure the contract.”

The golden share is a tiny stake the Government has kept in AWE while a private sector consortium comprising the UK’s Serco and US engineering giants Lockheed Martin and Jacobs Engineering manages the site over 25 years. It permits the government of the day to outvote automatically the three main shareholders in order to protect the national interest. It also grants the MoD the power to strip the consortium of the deal……….

Dr David Lowry, a research policy consultant, has written to the Office for Nuclear Regulation to demand to know how it will cover the staff shortage. Colin Tait, the ONR’s principal inspector, acknowledged there is “increasing competition for scarce nuclear-competent engineers and scientists across the sector”, but said recruitment is yielding results.

Dr Lowry is concerned the shortage is occurring as the Government embarks on building a new fleet of nuclear reactors. “If the Government expands the new build nuclear programme, there would be more pressures on staff and even more stress on an already stressed nuclear regulator.”http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mod-orders-review-into-spiralling-cost-of-project-pegasus-nuclear-plant-9893206.html

December 1, 2014 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US troops for combat, in the event of ISIS getting nuclear weapons

Obama ‘Would Order’ US Troops Into Combat If ISIS Got Nuclear Weapon, abc news, Nov 17, 2014, By   President Obama has been unwavering and definitive in declaring he will not deploy U.S. ground troops into combat to fight ISIS militants. Period.

But for the first time since the start of then anti-ISIS offensive dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, the president volunteered a scenario which he said would change his mind.

“If we discovered that [ISIS] had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon, and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then, yes,” the president told reporters at a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, on Sunday. “I would order it.”

There is no indication that ISIS currently possesses or could easily obtain a nuclear weapon, officials say.

Still, Obama’s declaration of a nuclear weapon in the hands of ISIS is a noteworthy new “red line” – and a very high bar for a U.S. offensive role on the ground……..http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-order-us-troops-combat-isis-nuclear-weapon/story?id=26976710

November 19, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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