Obama Administration Sabotages Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference , 27 May 2015 By Joseph Gerson, Truthout “…..So much for President Obama’s commitment to a nuclear-weapons-free world.
With its decision on May 22 to block the adoption of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Conference’s consensus statement, the Obama administration gave the human species another hefty push toward nuclear catastrophe, shaking the foundations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
Why the sabotage? Well, for one thing, the draft text had the temerity to call for the convening of a conference within six months to prepare the way for a Middle East nuclear-weapons-and-weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone. It called for all parties to the NPT Review – read especially the United States – to fulfill previous Review Conferences’ promises to begin the process of creating the zone.
Though it doesn’t currently garner much media coverage, the danger of nuclear war is anything but an innocuous abstraction. Each of the nuclear powers is currently modernizing its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems. (US plans call for spending $1 trillion over the next 30 years for these nuclear weapons.) With NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders, and Russia’s responses in Ukraine and across Europe, we have entered a new era of confrontation between nuclear superpowers, which between them possess more than 90 percent of the world’s 16,400 nuclear weapons – weapons that have been exercised in posturing during the Ukraine war.
The situation isn’t much better in Asia and the Pacific. China’s second-leading official newspaper, Global Times, said in a May 25 editorial that “war was inevitable” between China and the United States unless Washington stopped demanding that Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in a disputed waterway (the South China/Western Philippine Sea). Those islands may be designed to host naval bases for China’s nuclear-armed submarines, in order to overcome the possibility of the US and Japan blockading China’s mainland ports. Plus, at a time when the US is deepening its military alliances and deploying first-strike-related “missile defenses” along China’s periphery, China has begun installing multiple warheads on its nuclear missiles……
the near-complete failure of this year’s Review Conference further undermines the credibility of the seminal treaty, leaving the world without even a minimal agreement about how to reduce, let along eliminate, the risk of nuclear annihilation. Continue reading
Nuclear testing victims dubious about commission http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/274486/nuclear-testing-victims-dubious-about-commission The head of an organisation representing victims of nuclear testing in French Polynesia says a commission set up to assess the aftermath of the testing could just be a charade.
It was set up by France’s defence minister, and will be made up of 24 members and chaired by the French High Commissioner in Papeete.
The director of Moruroa e Tatou, which represents victims of testing on the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, says 80-percent of the members suffer serious health conditions, including cancer.
Roland Oldham is questioning why more more evidence is needed.
“Why more more and more commissions…isn’t there enough proof now that it had a bad impact on the environment, and a bad impact on the health of polynesian people – itsn’t it enough proof?”
He says they will make themselves heard.
“As far as we’re concerned, we will be speaking with a very loud voice, because we have had enough of all these lies, of 40 years of lying, and if this commission’s just for another lie, then it’s just a waste of money and a waste of time.”
Mr Oldham says the first meeting will be held in two days.
Frozen in time: Cold war nuclear bunker built by panicking council chiefs revealed after 50 years, [good pictures] Mirror 24 MAY 2015 BY PAUL BRITTON The never-before-seen images of the safe room cast an eerie light on the tensions of the times….It was designed to act as a safe room to protect the town’s decision-makers and civic leaders from any nuclear attack or fall-out, reports the Manchester Evening News .
Thankfully it was never used, but many thousands of people have walked into the 200ft-high tower ever since without knowing what lies beneath their feet. Today the bunker, made up of subterranean corridors and rooms, is used for storage.
The different chambers, reinforced by concrete and brick, were part of the centre’s overall design. It opened in 1977 but the bunker wasn’t publicised.
The fascinating images reveal boxes of binary code tape, which would have been used to send messages to the government, still on the floor.
Abandoned telephones and an old exchange system also give a glimpse of how the post-apocalypse survivors would have kept in contact with the world.
Spare fuses and light bulbs are revealed and abandoned sinks, desks and chairs also give a glimpse of how office equipment has changed over 40 years.
The council said only a select few people would have gained entry should the sirens have sounded – senior councillors and officers, police chiefs, engineers, doctors and communications experts……..It’s understood that the government ordered the construction of thousands of underground complexes during the Cold War.
Most have been decommissioned. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/frozen-time-cold-war-nuclear-5752252
The final document of a landmark treaty review conference Friday would call on the U.N. secretary-general to convene the conference no later than March 2016, regardless of whether Israel and its neighbors agree on an agenda.
Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program.
A conference might force Israel to acknowledge it.
Discussions on the draft document are continuing after a request from Iran.
‘Weapons-ban treaty’ deleted from N-draft / NPT draft also leaves out call for Japan visits http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002170195 By Tetsuya Mizuno / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent 22 May 15
NEW YORK — The words “a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty” have been deleted from the president’s draft text on nuclear disarmament scheduled to be adopted at the ongoing review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Final draft documents, including the president’s The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference president, Algerian Ambassador Taous Feroukhi,draft text on nuclear disarmament, were distributed to countries participating in the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at U.N. headquarters on early Friday.
The deletion of the words “a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty” substantially toned down the resolution for nuclear disarmament from the initial president’s draft. A call for world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki was also not reinstated in the president’s draft text.
President of the conference Taous Feroukhi of Algeria was initially scheduled to distribute the final draft documents to each country Thursday night, but was delayed. The conference will seek to adopt the final draft documents unanimously on Friday.The president’s draft text says, “In light of the 70th year since the end of the tragic devastations of World War II” and incorporates the wording “interactions with and directly sharing the experience of people and the communities affected by nuclear weapons to know their humanitarian impact” as part of efforts to promote education of nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation.
These expressions were finalized as a result of discussions between Japan and China, according to sources.
The initial president’s draft included a call for world leaders and young people to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki as proposed by Japan and other countries.
Nuclear nations and nonnuclear nations were sharply at odds over nuclear disarmament. The wording “a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty” was deleted in consideration for nuclear powers.
The president’s draft text incorporates the establishment of a working panel to discuss a legal framework “for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons.” The working panel is intended to comprise both government representatives and private organizations.
The president’s draft text stipulates that “the Conference recommends that the open-ended working group conduct its work on the basis of consensus.” It also stresses “deep concerns pertaining to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.”
“It is in the interest of humanity and the security of all peoples that nuclear weapons never be used again,” it says.
Nonnuclear power nations have been calling for the insertion of a statement that countries will never use nuclear weapons in any circumstances, but this was ultimately not included in the president’s draft text due to opposition from France and other countries.
ISIS in nuke boast: We can get atomic bomb ‘within a year’ from corrupt officials, Express UK ISLAMIC State (ISIS) are poised to buy its first nuclear bomb “within a year”, the terror group claimed tonight. By TOM BATCHELOR, May 22, 2015 The jihadists are looking to get hold of an atomic weapon or thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate explosive.
The merciless organisation says it hopes to purchase a nuclear device “through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials” in Pakistan.
But it admits that obtaining the deadly weapon may be a challenge and says it would settle for a “few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive”. The chilling boast was made in the latest edition of its propaganda ‘magazine’ circulated to publicise the group’s barbaric aims.
ISIS says it has already seized “tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems” – and is now setting its sights on the ultimate dirty bomb.
The article reads: “Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table.
“The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wil?yah [powerful friends] in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region.”
“It’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago.
“And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That’s easy enough to make.” The propaganda piece, which is attributed to British hostage and journalist John Cantlie, also warns an attack by ISIS on the US would ridicule “the attacks of the past”……..However nuclear experts have cast doubts on claims to use an atomic weapon.
The United Nations nuclear agency has played down the threat, saying that the material ISIS could get hold of would likely be “low-grade” would not pose a major threat.
Missile Defense’ is Destabilizing by Bruce K. Gagnon http://space4peace.blogspot.com.au/“….The Global Network will carry this with us to Kyoto, Japan from July 29-Aug 2 for our 23rd annual space organizing conference that is being hosted by peace activists from across the Kyoto Prefecture.
The US recently deployed a ‘missile defense’ radar in Kyoto Prefecture and the Ukawa village has been resisting the deployment for some time. During the conference we will take a side trip to join the villagers in a protest against the radar that is being aimed at China.
The US is now deploying “missile defense’ systems throughout the Asia-Pacific on land and on-board Navy Aegis destroyers. These interceptors play an important role in US first-strike attack planning.
They are now deployed in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Guam, Australia, and the Philippines. Taken together these interceptor systems serve as a loaded gun pointed at the head of China. Beijing has responded by building more nuclear weapons to ensure they have a “survivable retaliatory capability” and have moved many of their more vulnerable land-based nuclear weapons onto submarines so they are harder to hit in a possible Pentagon first-strike attack.
The US Space Command has been annually war gaming such a first-strike attack on China and Russia for many years. In the computer war game the US fires weapons from space and through space in order to take out the “enemy” nuclear forces. Then when China or Russia attempt to fire their remaining retaliatory forces the US ‘missile defense’ systems are used as a shield against them giving the Pentagon a theoretical successful first-strike.
American Ships in South China Sea May Lead to War Between US, China It seems the United States has found another playground for its war games. The National Interest reported that Washington plans to send its military ships and planes to patrol areas in the South China Sea stirring up an already tense situation in the region, where several nations have competing territorial claims.
The Asia-Pacific Region might be on the verge of a military conflict, as the United States is trying to incite several nations, including Japan and the Philippines, to gang up on China over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Now is the time to eliminate all nuclear weapons http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/21/now-time-eliminate-all-nuclear-weapons As the review conference of the parties to the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons ends on Friday at the UN in New York, Amnesty International and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) believe that states must agree to initiate a process to create an international prohibition on and complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
Amnesty International and Ican oppose the use, possession, production and transfer of nuclear weapons, given their indiscriminate nature. We are opposed to the possession of nuclear weapons by any country, including permanent members of the UN security council, and share the concern of the parties to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) regarding the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. Nuclear weapons stand alone in terms of their extreme potential to be indiscriminate. Their use would invariably violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
The conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the 2015NPT review conference have highlighted that there is a legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. It is clear to us and to a growing number of states that a diplomatic process to prohibit the use, possession, production and transfer of nuclear weapons needs to commence urgently. This diplomatic process should proceed with all interested states, even if the nine countries that already possess nuclear weapons are not yet ready to join. We believe that the overwhelming majority of states would join this process, and that a prohibition on nuclear weapons is a humanitarian imperative.
Marek Marczynski Head of military, security and police, Amnesty International,Beatrice Fihn Executive director, Ican
Commenting on the possibility of Russian nuclear deployments, Breedlove said that the military alliance had not seen any changes recently.
“We have to be very clear – we have not seen direct evidence of any deployment of nuclear weapons [by Russia],” Breedlove told reporters.
Relations between NATO and Moscow deteriorated after Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the escalation of the crisis in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
In April 2014, the military alliance halted all practical cooperation with Russia, accusing Moscow of fueling the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly denied these accusations and, in turn, voiced concern over NATO’s military buildup close to its western borders.
North Korea says it has technology to make mini-nuclear weapons WP By Anna Fifield May 20 TOKYO — North Korea claimed Wednesday that it has been able to make nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a missile — a development that, if verified, would mark a major advance in the country’s military capabilities and the threat it can pose to the world.
Pyongyang has a habit of exaggerating its technical abilities, and the latest assertion comes amid widespread doubts about its purported test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile this month.
But Kim Jong Un’s regime is known to have been working simultaneously on a nuclear weapons program and missile technology, and analysts widely believe that it is just a matter of time until North Korea puts the two together through “miniaturization.”
The North’s National Defense Commission, or NDC — its top military authority, chaired by Kim — said it was able to make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile, designed to be fired at the mainland United States.
“It is long since [North Korea’s] nuclear striking means have entered the stage of producing smaller nukes and diversifying them,” a spokesman for the NDC said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency………http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pyongyang-says-it-has-technology-to-make-small-submarined-mounted-nuclear-warheads/2015/05/20/0e96d0bc-fec0-11e4-833c-a2de05b6b2a4_story.html
North Korea ‘not even close’ to meeting standards on nuclear weapons, says Kerry, Guardian, 28 May 15
Secretary of state says US is talking to China about boosting sanctions and highlights ‘grotesque’ public executions on whim of leader Kim Jong-un The US is talking to China about imposing further sanctions against North Koreaas the reclusive country is “not even close” to taking steps to rein in its nuclear weapons programme, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, has said.
Speaking on Monday in the South Korean capital, Kerry said Washington continued to offer North Korea the chance for an improved relationship in return for signs of a genuine willingness to end its nuclear programme.
“To date, to this moment, particularly with recent provocations, it is clear the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is not even close to meeting that standard,” Kerry told a joint news conference with the South Korean foreign minister, Yun Byung-se. “Instead it continues to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.”
North Korea is already under heavy US and UN sanctions for its missile and nuclear tests but Kerry said further penalties were being considered…….http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/18/north-korea-may-face-further-sanctions-john-kerry-indicates
Trident whistleblower says nuclear subs are insecure, unsafe and ‘a disaster waiting to happen’, Herald Scotland Sunday 17 May 2015 TRIDENT submarines are plagued by serious security lapses, beset by multiple safety blunders and are “a disaster waiting to happen”, according to a nuclear weapons engineer turned whistleblower who is now being hunted by the police. William McNeilly, who says he was on patrol with HMS Victorious from January to April this year, alleges that the Trident missiles it carries are vulnerable to a terrorist attack that “would kill our people and destroy our land”. Infiltrators have “the perfect opportunity to send nuclear warheads crashing down on the UK”, he claims.
He has written a detailed 18-page report called The Nuclear Secrets, which claims to lift the lid on the alarming state of the UK’s ageing and short-staffed nuclear deterrent. He went absent without leave from the Royal Navy last week, is on the run and expects to be arrested. “This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us,” he says. “We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public. If we don’t act now lives could be lost for generations.”
The risk was “extremely high”, he told the Sunday Herald. “My information comes from good sources and I have no reason to lie. If change isn’t made, a nuclear catastrophe almost certainly will happen.”
McNeilly’s report alleges 30 safety and security flaws on Trident submarines, based at Faslane on the Clyde. They include failures in testing whether missiles could be safely launched, burning toilet rolls starting a fire in a missile compartment, and security passes and bags going unchecked.
He also reports alarms being muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures being ignored and top secret information left unguarded.
“It’s just a matter of time before we’re infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist,” he says. “There were some people that I served with on that patrol who showed clear psychopathic tendencies.”
The Royal Navy has launched an investigation into McNeilly’s report, and is working with the civilian police to find him. It describes his criticisms as “subjective and unsubstantiated”, stressing that submarines never go to sea unless they are completely safe.
The SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson MP, is demanding a full explanation and action to rectify all the failings. “These revelations, if true, are extremely concerning. It reads as a nightmare catalogue of serious safety breaches,” he said.
“They add to what appears to be a chaotic, shambolic safety culture on these aged subs. Broken or faulty equipment with no spares leading to slapdash patch-up jobs have no place in the Navy and just shows how utterly stretched it is.”
Robertson added: “Failure to follow standard safety procedures is unacceptable in any workplace but on a Trident submarine on patrol it could result in extreme tragedy, not just for those on board but indeed for the entire planet.”
McNeilly claims that there was a “massive cover-up” of what happened when HMS Vanguard collided with the French nuclear submarine, Le Triomphant, in the Atlantic in February 2009. He quotes a senior officer who was on Vanguard at the time as saying: “We thought, this is it, we’re all going to die.”
The crash dislodged high-pressure air (HPA) bottles, he says. “They had to return to base port slowly, because if one of HPA bottle groups exploded it would have created a chain reaction and sent the submarine plummeting to the bottom.”
McNeilly also outlines a litany of equipment problems, including a seawater leak, a flooded torpedo compartment and defective toilets. A missile compartment was used as an exercise gym, he alleges, and the submarine speaker system was difficult to understand.
He insists that he has been careful about what he has said publicly in order to avoid prejudicing security. He repeatedly raised concerns with his superiors but they were ignored, he says………….
“Most people know the Trident programme is a disaster waiting to happen, but they never tell the public. You’re guaranteed to lose everything, if you talk. Career, money, everything you own, your freedom, contact with family and friends.
I believe it’s in the Prime Minister’s best interest to pardon me. Prosecuting someone for alerting the people and the government to a major threat isn’t a good image for someone who serves the people.
I raised my concerns about the safety and security of the weapon system through the chain of command on multiple occasions. My concern couldn’t have been any clearer. Not once did someone even attempt to make a change.
I strongly believe that the Prime Minister and most people that defended Trident have no idea about how dire the situation is. This is not the time to judge on what they did when they didn’t know. It’s about what they do now that they know”. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/trident-whistleblower-says-nuclear-submarimes-are-insecure-unsafe-and-a-disaster-wait.1431860917
US officials: ‘Saudis set to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan’, IBT By Yasmin Kaye May 17, 2015 Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times.
Sunni Arab states are increasingly concerned of the repercussions of a deal currently being negotiated between world powers and Shi’ite rival Iran, which they fear may still be able to develop a nuclear bomb.
The deal being negotiated between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany would see the Shi’ite nation curb its sensitive nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
“For the Saudis the moment has come,” a former US defence official told the Sunday Times last week.
“There has been a long-standing agreement in place with the Pakistanis and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward.”
‘This stuff is available to them off the shelf’
Another US official working in intelligence told the paper that “hundreds of people at [CIA headquarters] Langley” were working to establish whether Islamabad had already supplied the Gulf nation with nuclear technology or weaponry………….
- Saudi Arabia has financed substantial amounts of Islamabad’s nuclear programme over the past three decades, providing Pakistan‘s government with billions of dollars of subsidised oil while taking delivery of Shaheen mobile ballistic missiles.
“Given their close relations and close military links, it’s long been assumed that if the Saudis wanted, they would call in a commitment, moral or otherwise, for Pakistan to supply them immediately with nuclear warheads,” former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen told the Sunday Times.
A senior British military officer also told the paper that Western military leaders “all assume the Saudis have made the decision to go nuclear.”
“The fear is that other Middle Eastern powers — Turkey and Egypt — may feel compelled to do the same and we will see a new, even more dangerous, arms race.”
Lt.Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who helped develop Pakistan’s nuclear program, denied Islamabad had ever sent nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia or any other country in recent comments. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-officials-saudis-set-buy-nuclear-weapons-pakistan-1501733
If the nuclear states in the NPT are not addressing risks like these, never mind disarming as the treaty requires, some non-nuclear states could lose patience with their end of the bargain and go nuclear themselves.
North Korea missile test is the tip of world’s nuclear iceberg http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27519-north-korea-missile-test-is-the-tip-of-worlds-nuclear-iceberg.html#.VVUhbo6qpHw May 2015 by Debora MacKenzie Threatwatch is your early warning system for global dangers, from nuclear peril to deadly viral outbreaks. Debora MacKenzie highlights the threats to civilisation – and suggests solutions
Last week North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submerged submarine. It didn’t travel far, but it achieved its goal: exiting the water cleanly. Observers were surprised by North Korea’s success.
The missile copies an old Soviet model that had a range of 2400 kilometres and carried three nuclear warheads. North Korea has exploded three nuclear devices in underground tests in the last decade; whether it can build the more compact nuclear device required in a missile is unknown. But Kim Jong-un is producing weapons-grade uranium and plutonium as if he plans to use it.
The missile test took place as the 190 countries that belong to the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) were meeting in New York, in a regular, five-yearly review of its progress. Things aren’t looking good, and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are just the start.
The delegates in New York are meant to agree a joint statement by 22 May on what to do next. Reactions to a first draft last week suggest even that could be tough. Continue reading
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