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Global opinion poll: people want diplomacy with North Korea, not war

International Gallup poll: Diplomacy rather than war with North Korea http://www.dw.com/en/international-gallup-poll-diplomacy-rather-than-war-with-north-korea/a-40861749

Diplomacy not bombs, negotiations not sanctions: Those were the findings of a new opinion poll on the North Korean crisis. It was published as the anti-nuclear ICAN group was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The message to politicians, including those in America, is: Take more time to pursue diplomacy and find a peaceful solution to the crisis in North Korea,” said Kancho Stoychev, chairman of the Zurich-based Gallup International Association (GIA), a global network of opinion polling institutions.

Stoychev says the fact that results from the Gallup snap poll were published on the same day the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was simply a coincidence. “It was not our intention. But perhaps that will help foster a more cautious approach to dealing with the crisis,” said Stoychev in a DW interview.

In all, some 17,107 people from 14 countries — the USA and Russia among them — participated in the Gallup poll, which was carried out between September 20 and October 1. Chinese citizens, however, did not take part. Why? Stoychev says that pollsters are prohibited from conducting snap polls in China for political reasons.

Fear of a nuclear catastrophe

The poll consisted of two questions: How likely do you think it is that North Korea will use nuclear weapons? And: Do you favor continued diplomatic efforts to find a solution, or do you think a military solution is necessary? The poll did not ask whether respondents thought that the White House also posed a threat.

The result of the poll was clear: Despite sustained provocations from Pyongyang, the vast majority of those questioned were in favor of continued diplomatic negotiations (see chart). Johnny Heald, GIA’s scientific director, is convinced that the unpredictable personality of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un greatly influenced the result. “A military approach to dealing with a leader possessing nuclear warheads and who has tested long-range missiles seems far too risky to most people,” said Heald.

Black box North Korea

Fear of Pyongyang is indeed deep-seated. In the USA, 46 percent of respondents said that they thought the use of nuclear weapons was likely. In Germany that number was 48 percent, and it was 51 percent in Pakistan. The greatest fear of nuclear war was registered in Vietnam, at 54 percent.

Tellingly, those who feared such a scenario least were North Korea’s closest neighbors. Only 35 percent of South Korean respondents said they feared an attack, and only 23 percent of Russians voiced such concerns.

Gallup director Stoychev said: “Russia could definitely be hit by a North Korean missile, but so far Pyongyang has shown no aggression toward Russia.” He also offered an answer to the mystery of South Korean calm, explaining that the country has been living under threat of attack for decades and has simply gotten used to the situation.

Japan wants a tougher approach

In Japan, however, 45 percent of those polled thought that a North Korean nuclear attack was possible. “The Japanese people have been in a state of alarm since a medium-range missile flew over the country in September,” says Stoychev.

That is also the reason that a large number of Japanese citizens support a military solution to the conflict (see chart). Some 49 percent of Japanese and Pakistani respondents say they support military action against North Korea.

Kancho Stoychev says he understands the sentiment, but adds that he does not think such a move would have much chance of success. Instead, he points to the tedious yet eventually successful nuclear deal that was completed with Iran in 2015.

“For me, the Iran nuclear deal is a good example. Negotiations with the international community took a long time, but in the end there was a deal. And ultimately, Iran ended it nuclear weapons program.”

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October 9, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | 1 Comment

Donald Trump says ‘Only one thing will work’ to rein in North Korea

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his nuclear weapons are a “powerful deterrent” which guarantee North Korea’s sovereignty, hours after US President Donald Trump said “only one thing will work” in dealing with the isolated country…..

The president and his chief diplomat have sent differing signals about the US approach to North Korea in recent weeks. Last weekend, Mr. Trump tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korea. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Mr. Trump wrote. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/donald-trump-says-only-one-thing-will-work-to-rein-in-north-korea/news-story/8d62aff66eb4a5190f50260d4bd23ae3

October 9, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

UK govt should now rethink its view on nuclear weapons

Recent news means we should change our perspective on nuclear weapons Independent UK , Robert Forsyth, 8 Oct 17  Caroline Lucas spelled out on Saturday 7 October what the PM should now do about nuclear weapons. To which I would add that the PM’s first and immediate action should be to rescind her statement that she is prepared to carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes.

Such an action, or even the threat of doing so, is in contravention of Nuremberg and Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter and a 1996 ruling by the International Court of Justice and therefore places our Trident submarine commanding officers in an impossible position as to whether they should carry out such an order, bearing in mind they are not absolved of responsibility by the military chain of command. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/recent-news-means-we-should-change-our-perspective-on-nuclear-weapons-a7988846.html

 

October 9, 2017 Posted by | depleted uranium, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

North Korea Nuclear Test leaves Chinese city shaken

October 9, 2017 Posted by | China, North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sri Lanka enforces UN resolution on nuclear and biological weapons

 Colombo Gazette 7 Oct 17 The Government has issued a gazette against the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and other related activities in line with United Nations regulations…….

Any person who or group or entity which manufactures, acquires, possesses, develops, transports, transfers or uses nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery within Sri Lanka, will be seen as committing an offence under these regulations and shall on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding twenty years or a fine not exceeding five million rupees or both such fine and imprisonment.

Any person who or group or entity which participates in manufacturing, acquiring, developing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery as an accomplice or assists or finances them commits an offence under these regulations and shall on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding one million rupees or both such fine and imprisonment.

A person shall not make available any funds, other financial assets and economic resources and financial or other related services directly or indirectly to, or for the benefit of, a person, group or entity to manufacture, acquire, develop, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery or for the purposes to proliferate nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon related materials…….

There shall for the purpose of these regulations, be a Competent Authority who shall be appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Minister assigned the subject of Defence. (Colombo Gazette) http://colombogazette.com/2017/10/07/government-issues-gazette-against-nuclear-chemical-weapons/

October 9, 2017 Posted by | India, politics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Donald Trump and the very disturbing “mad man” strategy

Among serious strategists, “madmen” are not afraid to fail, or blow up the world and themselves. That is not their preferred outcome, but they are prepared to take massive risks for specific purposes.
President Donald Trump seems not to know this history, nor do most of his advisers. He appears, however, drawn to the same strategy as Nixon. Trump has many incentives to try and convince foreign adversaries that he is “mad,” in hopes that they will back down from long-standing defiant behaviors without heavy costs to the United States. He wants big victories with small sacrifices—a good “deal”—and nuclear threats call out as the obvious instrument.
Kim will continue to defy Trump and make the president look like a “dotard”—a wise word choice. A failed bluff is indeed worse than no bluff at all. Trump will not be willing or able to follow through on his nuclear threats, but he will divert attention with new threats in other places, perhaps in Iran. That is his standard mode of behavior. The president will continue to make empty promises, fail to deliver, and then start again. That is his true madness
DONALD TRUMP AND THE ‘MADMAN’ PLAYBOOK ,  WIRED 
AS THE THREATS exchanged between the leaders of the United States and North Korea escalatePresident Donald Trump’s rhetoric seems to draw from the “madman” playbook employed by President Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War. Trump should not expect the results to be any better, and they might be much worse. American leaders should be extremely wary of the risks of flagrant nuclear brinksmanship.

The paradox of American nuclear power is that the nation’s overwhelming arsenal is almost unusable. The damage created by a single nuclear strike would be so great, it would undermine most American strategic purposes. The public revulsion, even from Washington’s closest allies, would make the United States a global outcast. And American nuclear action would justify others contemplating the same, tearing apart 50 years of global non-proliferation efforts.

These are the circumstances that motivated Chinese leader Mao Zedong to call the United States a “paper tiger” during the Cold War. Mao never took American nuclear threats against his country seriously, as he proved when he attacked US soldiers on the Korean Peninsula, in Indochina, and in other settings. Mao believed that nuclear weapons constrained the United States more than its adversaries. President John F. Kennedy agreed, and began a process of broadening American conventional capabilities (“flexible response”) to create non-nuclear options for combatting aggressors, like Mao.

President Richard Nixon inherited the unwinnable conventional war in Vietnam that Kennedy’s flexible capabilities facilitated. Nixon recognized that military options below the nuclear level enabled self-destructive quagmires, as the country sent thousands of soldiers to fight communists in distant, inhospitable lands. The “Nixon Doctrine” promised to reduce the use of American conventional forces. The president looked for a way to rely more heavily on nuclear weapons, converting their overwhelming firepower into diplomatic and military leverage, without actually irradiating foreign territories.

 The destructive power of nuclear weapons remained out of proportion with American political aims, and foreign leaders continued to doubt American will to use them, but Nixon was determined to make his biggest bombs into better bullying tools. As he told Henry Kissinger and other advisers on numerous occasions, he would convince American adversaries that he had strong “guts,” and personal “will in spades” to get tough where predecessors had backed down

Nixon had to show that the limits on how his predecessors thought about nuclear weapons did not apply to him. He was prepared to think about the unthinkable. He would be less predictable and more experimental. He would act a little “mad,” or at least create uncertainty about whether he still followed the accepted rules of behavior for the leader of the free world.

Among serious strategists, “madmen” are not afraid to fail, or blow up the world and themselves. That is not their preferred outcome, but they are prepared to take massive risks for specific purposes. To be mad is not to be irrational. There is a steely rationality in the willingness to combine extreme force with potential suicide. The madman strategist is ready to press the nuclear button if the adversary doesn’t back down. The adversary will give in, according to the logic, because the potential damage is just too devastating, and he thinks the madman might be serious.

During the Cold War, leading American game theorists modeled this behavior. Noble Prize-winning economist Thomas Schelling called it the “threat that leaves something to chance.” Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame spoke of the “political uses of madness.” Henry Kissinger worked closely with Schelling and Ellsberg during his two decades at Harvard University, and he brought this thinking to the White House.

In the first year of the Nixon administration, Kissinger and the president implemented a madman strategy to scare the Soviets into helping the United States extricate itself victoriously from Vietnam. …..

The Nixon-Kissinger madman strategy failed because Soviet and North Vietnamese leaders, like Mao Zedong in China, recognized that the United States had much more to lose than gain from turning the Vietnam War into a nuclear conflict. Nixon could make Indochina unlivable, but he could not save the South Vietnamese government, or America’s reputation as a bulwark of freedom, by feigning madness. All the major actors saw through Nixon’s bluff.

President Donald Trump seems not to know this history, nor do most of his advisers. He appears, however, drawn to the same strategy as Nixon. Trump has many incentives to try and convince foreign adversaries that he is “mad,” in hopes that they will back down from long-standing defiant behaviors without heavy costs to the United States. He wants big victories with small sacrifices—a good “deal”—and nuclear threats call out as the obvious instrument……..

Like Nixon, Trump wants his adversary to fear he might be mad. He hopes that will prompt Kim to back down. As in the past, however, there is no reason to believe that will happen. …….

Kim will continue to defy Trump and make the president look like a “dotard”—a wise word choice. A failed bluff is indeed worse than no bluff at all. Trump will not be willing or able to follow through on his nuclear threats, but he will divert attention with new threats in other places, perhaps in Iran. That is his standard mode of behavior. The president will continue to make empty promises, fail to deliver, and then start again. That is his true madness. https://www.wired.com/story/donald-trump-madman-strategy-north-korea-nuclear-weapons/

October 9, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Shining a light on St Louis’ radioactive waste landfill scandal

ST. LOUIS PREPS FOR “CATASTROPHIC” NUCLEAR EVENT  http://armydotmil.com/st-louis-preps-for-catastrophic-nuclear-event/

BY ARMYDOTMIL ON Beneath the surface of a St. Louis-area landfill lurk two things that should never meet: a slow-burning fire and a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste, separated by no more than 1,200 feet.
Manhattan Project Fallout: St. Louis’ Nuclear Legacy Unravels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F268n_LcUH0

RESIDENTS OF ST. LOUIS ARE ONLY BEGINNING TO SEE THE SYMPTOMS OF YEARS SPENT LIVING AMONGST RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL. IT WAS REVEALED THAT NUCLEAR WASTE WAS SECRETLY DUMPED IN THE SUBURBS UNDER A CLOAK OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOLLOWING THE COLD WAR, AND NOW THE EPA IS TRYING TO DOWNPLAY THE POTENTIAL CATASTROPHE THAT SMOLDERS UNDERNEATH THE SURFACE.
EPA Does NOTHING as Nuclear Waste Calamity Inches Closer

BY ARMYDOTMIL ON  TYT Politics Reporter Jordan Chariton spoke with Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel, two St. Louis-area mothers who are fighting to have nuclear waste removed from a site due to its unknown proximity to an underground chemical fire.

To offer your help, email: westllakemoms@gmail.com    http://armydotmil.com/epa-does-nothing-as-nuclear-waste-calamity-inches-closer/

October 9, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Dispelling false statements about the Iran Nuclear Deal

False Assumptions About the Iran Nuclear Deal  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/opinion/false-assumptions-about-the-iran-nuclear-deal.html, On Oct. 15, the Trump administration will for the third time have to decide whether or not to certify that my country, Iran, is complying with Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the nuclear deal that was reached in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

First, some of the agreement’s opponents claim that the J.C.P.O.A. is “the worst agreement the United States has ever entered into with another country.” This ignores an important truth: The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement between Tehran and Washington. In fact, it isn’t even a multilateral deal that requires ratification in either Congress or the Iranian Parliament. It is, instead, a United Nations Security Council resolution. (Indeed, this explains why the deal continues to have wide support from the other Security Council members, as well as from Secretary General António Guterres.)

A second false assumption is that the deal is meant to dictate Iran’s policies in matters unrelated to our nuclear program. This has never been the case. It was always clear that the path to reaching a nuclear deal meant setting aside other geopolitical concerns. Anyone involved in the years of talks that led to the J.C.P.O.A. can attest to this. For example, even as Russia and the United States disagreed on many other issues in the Middle East, they were able to work together at the negotiating table.

Reports now indicate the Trump administration wants to tie the nuclear agreement to Iran’s missile program, a move that would go far beyond the J.C.P.O.A.’s intended purpose. Security Council Resolution 2231, which incorporates the nuclear deal, “calls upon” Iran to not work on “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” But my country is not seeking to develop or acquire nuclear weapons and this carefully negotiated language does not restrain us from developing conventional military deterrence technology that so many other countries possess. The fact that Iranian missiles are designed for maximum precision proves that they are not designed for nuclear capability, as such delivery vehicles need not be precise in targeting.

A third false assumption is that there is a “sunset clause” in the deal, suggesting that in a decade Iran will be free of inspections or limits on its nuclear program. While it’s true that some provisions regarding restrictions will expire, crucial aspects of inspections will not. Moreover, the deal establishes that some six years from now — assuming all participants have fulfilled their obligations — Iran should ratify the Additional Protocol on Nuclear Safeguards, part of the Nonproliferation Treaty. This would subject my country to an extensive I.A.E.A. inspection process. Iran will continue its nuclear program for energy and medical purposes as a normal member of the international community and signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty after the period of years written into the J.C.P.O.A.

We Iranians — like all nations involved in adopting the deal, the international community and nonproliferation experts — recognize that the nuclear agreement was an important diplomatic accomplishment and it remains a credit to the international nonproliferation regime. Among the seven countries that negotiated the nuclear agreement, only America finds the deal’s adoption controversial.

What the president and Congress decide to do about recertification is, ultimately, a domestic matter. But if the United States wants to remain credible in future multilateral negotiations, it cannot go against the international consensus and attempt to scuttle past diplomacy whether as political retaliation against a previous administration, or as part of a constant reassessment of American national interests.

Gholamali Khoshroo is Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

First, some of the agreement’s opponents claim that the J.C.P.O.A. is “the worst agreement the United States has ever entered into with another country.” This ignores an important truth: The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement between Tehran and Washington. In fact, it isn’t even a multilateral deal that requires ratification in either Congress or the Iranian Parliament. It is, instead, a United Nations Security Council resolution. (Indeed, this explains why the deal continues to have wide support from the other Security Council members, as well as from Secretary General António Guterres.)

A second false assumption is that the deal is meant to dictate Iran’s policies in matters unrelated to our nuclear program. This has never been the case. It was always clear that the path to reaching a nuclear deal meant setting aside other geopolitical concerns. Anyone involved in the years of talks that led to the J.C.P.O.A. can attest to this. For example, even as Russia and the United States disagreed on many other issues in the Middle East, they were able to work together at the negotiating table.

Reports now indicate the Trump administration wants to tie the nuclear agreement to Iran’s missile program, a move that would go far beyond the J.C.P.O.A.’s intended purpose. Security Council Resolution 2231, which incorporates the nuclear deal, “calls upon” Iran to not work on “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” But my country is not seeking to develop or acquire nuclear weapons and this carefully negotiated language does not restrain us from developing conventional military deterrence technology that so many other countries possess. The fact that Iranian missiles are designed for maximum precision proves that they are not designed for nuclear capability, as such delivery vehicles need not be precise in targeting.

A third false assumption is that there is a “sunset clause” in the deal, suggesting that in a decade Iran will be free of inspections or limits on its nuclear program. While it’s true that some provisions regarding restrictions will expire, crucial aspects of inspections will not. Moreover, the deal establishes that some six years from now — assuming all participants have fulfilled their obligations — Iran should ratify the Additional Protocol on Nuclear Safeguards, part of the Nonproliferation Treaty. This would subject my country to an extensive I.A.E.A. inspection process. Iran will continue its nuclear program for energy and medical purposes as a normal member of the international community and signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty after the period of years written into the J.C.P.O.A.

We Iranians — like all nations involved in adopting the deal, the international community and nonproliferation experts — recognize that the nuclear agreement was an important diplomatic accomplishment and it remains a credit to the international nonproliferation regime. Among the seven countries that negotiated the nuclear agreement, only America finds the deal’s adoption controversial.

What the president and Congress decide to do about recertification is, ultimately, a domestic matter. But if the United States wants to remain credible in future multilateral negotiations, it cannot go against the international consensus and attempt to scuttle past diplomacy whether as political retaliation against a previous administration, or as part of a constant reassessment of American national interests.

Gholamali Khoshroo is Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

First, some of the agreement’s opponents claim that the J.C.P.O.A. is “the worst agreement the United States has ever entered into with another country.” This ignores an important truth: The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement between Tehran and Washington. In fact, it isn’t even a multilateral deal that requires ratification in either Congress or the Iranian Parliament. It is, instead, a United Nations Security Council resolution. (Indeed, this explains why the deal continues to have wide support from the other Security Council members, as well as from Secretary General António Guterres.)

A second false assumption is that the deal is meant to dictate Iran’s policies in matters unrelated to our nuclear program. This has never been the case. It was always clear that the path to reaching a nuclear deal meant setting aside other geopolitical concerns. Anyone involved in the years of talks that led to the J.C.P.O.A. can attest to this. For example, even as Russia and the United States disagreed on many other issues in the Middle East, they were able to work together at the negotiating table.

Reports now indicate the Trump administration wants to tie the nuclear agreement to Iran’s missile program, a move that would go far beyond the J.C.P.O.A.’s intended purpose. Security Council Resolution 2231, which incorporates the nuclear deal, “calls upon” Iran to not work on “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” But my country is not seeking to develop or acquire nuclear weapons and this carefully negotiated language does not restrain us from developing conventional military deterrence technology that so many other countries possess. The fact that Iranian missiles are designed for maximum precision proves that they are not designed for nuclear capability, as such delivery vehicles need not be precise in targeting.

A third false assumption is that there is a “sunset clause” in the deal, suggesting that in a decade Iran will be free of inspections or limits on its nuclear program. While it’s true that some provisions regarding restrictions will expire, crucial aspects of inspections will not. Moreover, the deal establishes that some six years from now — assuming all participants have fulfilled their obligations — Iran should ratify the Additional Protocol on Nuclear Safeguards, part of the Nonproliferation Treaty. This would subject my country to an extensive I.A.E.A. inspection process. Iran will continue its nuclear program for energy and medical purposes as a normal member of the international community and signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty after the period of years written into the J.C.P.O.A.

We Iranians — like all nations involved in adopting the deal, the international community and nonproliferation experts — recognize that the nuclear agreement was an important diplomatic accomplishment and it remains a credit to the international nonproliferation regime. Among the seven countries that negotiated the nuclear agreement, only America finds the deal’s adoption controversial.

What the president and Congress decide to do about recertification is, ultimately, a domestic matter. But if the United States wants to remain credible in future multilateral negotiations, it cannot go against the international consensus and attempt to scuttle past diplomacy whether as political retaliation against a previous administration, or as part of a constant reassessment of American national interests.

Gholamali Khoshroo is Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

First, some of the agreement’s opponents claim that the J.C.P.O.A. is “the worst agreement the United States has ever entered into with another country.” This ignores an important truth: The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement between Tehran and Washington. In fact, it isn’t even a multilateral deal that requires ratification in either Congress or the Iranian Parliament. It is, instead, a United Nations Security Council resolution. (Indeed, this explains why the deal continues to have wide support from the other Security Council members, as well as from Secretary General António Guterres.)

A second false assumption is that the deal is meant to dictate Iran’s policies in matters unrelated to our nuclear program. This has never been the case. It was always clear that the path to reaching a nuclear deal meant setting aside other geopolitical concerns. Anyone involved in the years of talks that led to the J.C.P.O.A. can attest to this. For example, even as Russia and the United States disagreed on many other issues in the Middle East, they were able to work together at the negotiating table.

Reports now indicate the Trump administration wants to tie the nuclear agreement to Iran’s missile program, a move that would go far beyond the J.C.P.O.A.’s intended purpose. Security Council Resolution 2231, which incorporates the nuclear deal, “calls upon” Iran to not work on “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” But my country is not seeking to develop or acquire nuclear weapons and this carefully negotiated language does not restrain us from developing conventional military deterrence technology that so many other countries possess. The fact that Iranian missiles are designed for maximum precision proves that they are not designed for nuclear capability, as such delivery vehicles need not be precise in targeting.

A third false assumption is that there is a “sunset clause” in the deal, suggesting that in a decade Iran will be free of inspections or limits on its nuclear program. While it’s true that some provisions regarding restrictions will expire, crucial aspects of inspections will not. Moreover, the deal establishes that some six years from now — assuming all participants have fulfilled their obligations — Iran should ratify the Additional Protocol on Nuclear Safeguards, part of the Nonproliferation Treaty. This would subject my country to an extensive I.A.E.A. inspection process. Iran will continue its nuclear program for energy and medical purposes as a normal member of the international community and signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty after the period of years written into the J.C.P.O.A.

We Iranians — like all nations involved in adopting the deal, the international community and nonproliferation experts — recognize that the nuclear agreement was an important diplomatic accomplishment and it remains a credit to the international nonproliferation regime. Among the seven countries that negotiated the nuclear agreement, only America finds the deal’s adoption controversial.

What the president and Congress decide to do about recertification is, ultimately, a domestic matter. But if the United States wants to remain credible in future multilateral negotiations, it cannot go against the international consensus and attempt to scuttle past diplomacy whether as political retaliation against a previous administration, or as part of a constant reassessment of American national interests.

Gholamali Khoshroo is Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

ICAN’s message to Australia: sign nuclear weapons ban treaty

Nobel Peace Prize winners ICAN urge Australia to sign nuclear weapons treaty   http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/10/07/nobel-peace-prize-winners-ican-urge-australia-sign-nuclear-weapons-treaty An Australian-born group that was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize says Australia needs to join global efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.

A Victorian-born international group that was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize says it’s a shame the Australian government has not signed the treaty banning nuclear weapons that led to its award.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was launched in Victoria’s Parliament House 10 years ago.

On Friday in Oslo the organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its work to achieve a treaty-based ban on nuclear weapons.

It comes at a time when the world is watching the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and the rhetoric of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as the US threat to tear up the Iran nuclear deal.

ICAN describes itself as a coalition of non-government organisations in more than 100 countries. It was launched internationally in Vienna in 2007.

The organisation worked on negotiations for the Treaty on the United Nations Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by 122 countries in July.

However, the treaty was shunned by nuclear powers the US, Britain, Russia and China. Australia also did not sign the treaty.

“It is a matter of deep regret that the Australian government has thus far refused to join the treaty, and boycotted the conference to negotiate it,” the group said in a statement on Saturday.

ICAN says Australia led a small group of nations who tried to derail efforts in 2016 to secure a UN mandate to launch treaty negotiations.

“Our government’s belief that nuclear weapons, for a select few, are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament,” the group said.

ICAN hopes the federal government will change its stance on nuclear weapons given Australia’s commitment to other treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munition.

“For the sake of our collective security, the government must now embrace the global ban on nuclear weapons.

“Greater public pressure is needed, along with enlightened leadership.”

ICAN founder Tilman Ruff AM says being awarded the Nobel Prize was “quite humbling” and “unbelievably joyful”.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The message for nuclear disarmament- from determined Catholic nuns

Anti-war nuns to bring message of nuclear disarmament  https://www.stripes.com/news/us/anti-war-nuns-to-bring-message-of-nuclear-disarmament-1.491495#.WdqS44-CzGg By DEBBIE KELLEY | The Gazette | Associated Press October 7, 2017 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As political tensions mount over North Korea’s ballistic missile testing, two elderly Roman Catholic nuns who have spent decades sounding the plea for peace say they are more hopeful than ever that nuclear weapons — not the world — will be annihilated.

“We trust, we believe, we know that we are well on the way to a nuclear-free world and future,” said Sister Ardeth Platte, a Dominican nun.

Platte, 81, and Sister Carol Gilbert, 69, live at the Catholic Worker-affiliated Jonah House in Baltimore. They gained attention in Colorado in the past for pouring blood on a nuclear missile silo in Weld County and anti-war civil disobedience at Colorado Springs military bases.

Fifteen years later, they are returning to deliver the message that nuclear disarmament is at hand.

“We’re in an extremely dangerous time,” Platte said. “A strike could be launched from Colorado within 15 minutes and go 7,000 miles to its target within half an hour. It would be total devastation.”

At 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, they’ll present to Peterson Air Force Base personnel a copy of the new United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

They’ll repeat the action at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 10 at Schriever Air Force Base.

“We want the citizens of Colorado to know about this treaty,” Gilbert said. “The treaty would make nuclear weapons illegal.”

“We’re coming as peacemakers and peace advocates, to teach and show our concern,” Platte said. “Our politicians could be heroes of these times, if they start working with nations rather than against nations.”

Leading up to the Colorado Springs events, Platte and Gilbert will conduct a vigil at the N-8 missile silo in Weld County, where in October 2002 they poured blood on a Minuteman III missile loaded with a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb, one of 49 high-trigger nuclear weapons stored in Colorado. Their action symbolized taking it offline.

They were convicted of sabotage and received harsh sentences: 41 months for Platte and 33 for Gilbert.

In September 2000, Platte, Gilbert and three other Catholic nuns were arrested for civil disobedience at Peterson Air Force Base and jailed. The charges were subsequently dropped. They’ve also served time in other states for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.

Prison provided the opportunity to do their best Christian ministry, Gilbert said. “We feel it is the closest that we can be with the poor of this country because jails and prisons are warehouses for the poor,” she said. “You learn people who have nothing are so generous in sharing, you learn what a waste the prison industrial complex is.”

The work of Platte and Gilbert has been “very significant,” said Bill Sulzman, founder of Colorado Springs-based Citizens for Peace in Space, an activist group that opposes the use of space for war-related activities.

“It’s unique in the sense that it’s primarily a moral argument against nuclear weapons and the phenomenon of modern-day war,” he said. “Not supporting it is one thing, actively opposing it is another.”

As part of a non-governmental organization, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the nuns attended a United Nations conference in New York, when on July 7, 122 countries — two-thirds of the 193-member states — adopted the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. It’s the first legally binding multilateral agreement for nuclear disarmament in 20 years.

The treaty came after months of negotiations, which the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, North Korea and other nations did not attend.

To date, 53 countries have signed the treaty, and three ratified the document, which prohibits developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing and stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of such weapons.

The treaty opened for signatures at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 20; the Vatican was the first to sign and ratify the treaty. The agreement would become law 90 days after at least 50 countries ratify it.

The sisters are optimistic that the treaty is the weapon needed to abolish nuclear capability.

“I’ve been working on this issue for 50 years, and this is the greatest hope I’ve had,” Platte said. “We finally have a tool, a treaty that declares criminality to the possession and threat of using nuclear weapons.”

Even if the United States, Russia and other countries with nuclear warheads never get on board, “it won’t matter because there will be great pressure by other nations,” Platte said. “People are much wiser as we come closer and closer to nuclear holocaust.”

The tactic has worked in the past, she said. At one time there were 70,000 weapons of mass destruction worldwide, now there are 15,000-16,000, due to disarmament.

“This is just the beginning of the implementation — we have gained real momentum,” Platte said.

The atomic bombs the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945 were small compared to today’s weapons of mass destruction, the sisters said.

If a nuclear war were to happen now, “that is the elimination of the planet,” Platte said.

Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not universally prohibited. Biological weapons, chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions are banned under international law.

“We believe that the way to solve nations not having nuclear weapons is the total elimination,” Platte said. “It’s time to get rid of them.”

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret tragedy of Britain’s nuclear bomb tests

ground crews who washed down planes that flew through the cloud soon began falling sick and low levels of radiation were detected all over Australia.

In 2007 it was found nuclear veterans had the same DNA damage as Chernobyl survivors.

Wives had three times the normal numbers of miscarriage and children 10 times more birth de­­­fects. 

The secrets behind Britain’s first atomic bomb – and the heartbreaking aftermath The detonation of the plutonium bomb in 1952 was hailed a national success, but many of the servicemen involved were left permanently damaged by the fallout BY SUSIE  BONIFACE, MIRROR UK, 6 OCT 2017 

A blinding flash, an eerie silence, and then the sky cracked.

The sound reached those wat­ching at the same time as the blast – a scorching 600mph wind carrying with it the long, grumbling roar of the worst weapon known to humankind.

It was 65 years ago this week – 9.30am local time on October 3, 1952 – that Britain detonated its first nuclear bomb .

Winston Churchill was jubilant, the scientists bursting with pride. But on a tiny island off Australia the cost of the radioactive fallout from Operation Hurricane had yet to be counted.

Many of the servicemen present that day went on to suffer heartbreaking consequences.

Royal Engineer Derek Hickman, now 84, was there. He says: “We had no pro­­tective clothing. You wore shorts and sandals and if you remembered your bush hat, that was all you had.” The blast took place on HMS Plym, an old frigate anchored 300 yards off Trimouille, one of the Monte Bello islands. Troops and scientists lived and worked for months on a small fleet that accompanied her on her final mission.

Derek remembers: “They ordered us to muster on deck – I was on HMS Zeebrugge – and turn our backs to the Plym. We put our hands over our eyes and they counted down over the Tannoy.

“There was a sharp flash and I could see the bones in my hands like an X-ray. Then the sound and the wind and they told us to turn and face it. We watched the mushroom cloud just melt away. They gave us five photos as a memento.

“All that was left of the Plym were a few pieces of metal that fell like rain and her outline scorched on the sea bed.”………

In 1951 Aus­­tralia agreed the blast could take place at Monte Bello.   ….

Thousands of UK and Aussie servicemen saw the mushroom cloud dis­­perse before dozens of planes flew through it to collect dust samples.

The press had been given a viewing tower 55 miles away. The Mirror announced: “This bang has changed the world”.

No official statement was made until October 23 when PM Churchill told the Commons: “All concerned are to be warmly congratulated on the successful outcome of an historic episode.”

But ground crews who washed down planes that flew through the cloud soon began falling sick and low levels of radiation were detected all over Australia.

James Stephenson, 85,remembers being given an unexplained posting to Aber­­­gavenny. The former Royal Engineers soldier says: “We went for train­­ing and they started weeding us out, re­­­moving lads they thought were Communist sympathisers or not up to it.

“Nobody told us what it was about. When we embarked in Portsmouth we had to load machinery ourselves, they wouldn’t let the dockers do it.”James left with the first wave of vessels in January 1952. They were fol­­lowed six months later by HMS Plym carrying the bomb.

Derek explains: “It was a plutonium bomb – the dirtiest. A few years later I went to the doctor and mention­­­ed Monte Bello.

“He asked if I was mar­­ried. I said ‘Yes’ and he replied ‘My advice is ne­­­­v­­­er have children’. He wouldn’t say why.”

It was a warning Derek, now living alone in Crediton, Devon, couldn’t ignore. He says: “My wife wanted children and in the end I walked away from the marriage.

“She never blamed me but it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. Since then I’ve discovered my friends’ wives suffered many miscarriages and their children had deformities.

“It’s given me a small comfort that at least we avoided that.”

In 2007 it was found nuclear veterans had the same DNA damage as Chernobyl survivors.

Wives had three times the normal numbers of miscarriage and children 10 times more birth de­­­fects. James, from Taunton, Devon, had two healthy children. But he was lucky.

He says: “I know people whose children were born with organs outside their bodies. It made me worry about my grandchildren. Thank God they’re fine.”

Hurricane had an explosive yield of 25 kilotons – 15 kilotons had flattened Hiroshima and killed 126,000. But less than four weeks later the US detonated a hydrogen bomb 400 times more powerful than Hurricane.

The UK was back out in the cold and would not be accepted at the nuclear top table until 1958 when it finally developed its own H-bomb.

In all 22,000 servicemen took part in Britain’s nuclear tests which ended only in 1991. Derek and James are among the 2,000 or so who survive and are still coming to terms with the chain reaction unleashed at Monte Bello.

James says: “Nobody really knew what they were doing, not us or the scientists. It was just a job we had to do.”

The Monte Bello islands are now a wildlife park but visitors are warned not to stay for more than an hour or take home the fragments of metal that can still be found – radioactive pieces of a long-forgotten Royal Navy warship that unleashed a hurricane. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/secrets-behind-britains-first-atomic-11300935

Thousands of UK and Aussie servicemen saw the mushroom cloud dis­­perse before dozens of planes flew through it to collect dust samples.

The press had been given a viewing tower 55 miles away. The Mirror announced: “This bang has changed the world”.

No official statement was made until October 23 when PM Churchill told the Commons: “All concerned are to be warmly congratulated on the successful outcome of an historic episode.”

But ground crews who washed down planes that flew through the cloud soon began falling sick and low levels of radiation were detected all over Australia. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/secrets-behind-britains-first-atomic-11300935

October 9, 2017 Posted by | health, Namibia, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ignoring the danger of ionising radiation: nuclear waste dumping in the sea

The idea that nuclear pollution can be rendered safe by extreme dilution has been proven wrong

radioactive materials bioaccumulate. A worm can contain 2,000 to 3,000 times higher levels than its environment. The worm is then eaten by another marine animal, which gets eating by another, and so on. At each step, the radioactive level rises. Barbey has identified reproductive defects in sea crabs, caused by radioactive contamination, and these genetic defects are passed on to future generations of crabs.

Are we to believe the same is not happening in humans, who are at the top of the food chain?

The fact of the matter is that a certain number of cancer deaths are considered acceptable in order to keep costs for the nuclear waste industry down. The question no one has the answer to is: At what point do the deaths begin to outweigh the cost-savings of the nuclear industry?

As to where such cost-benefit considerations came from in the first place, the filmmakers identify the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)

the nuclear industry is hardly operating for the benefit of the many.

The Rarely Discussed Reality of Radioactive Pollution https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/10/07/radioactive-pollution-exposure.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20171007Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM16

Story at-a-glance

  • For decades, the common method of nuclear disposal was to dump plutonium-filled steel barrels into the ocean. Today, many if not most of these barrels have corroded and disintegrated, releasing radioactive material into the environment
  • “Versenkt und Vergessen” (Sunk and Forgotten) investigates what happened to the barrels of nuclear waste, and how radioactive material is disposed of today
  • In 1993, nuclear waste dumping into the ocean was banned worldwide, yet the ocean remains a primary dumping ground for radioactive waste
  • Instead of ditching barrels overboard, the nuclear waste industry built pipes along the bottom of the sea, through which the radioactive material is discharged directly into the open sea
  • Cancer deaths are considered acceptable to keep costs for the nuclear waste industry down. According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection, this cost-benefit consideration is part of Epicurus’ utilitarian ethics, which states that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

By Dr. Mercola

A rarely addressed environmental problem is radioactive pollution from nuclear waste disposal. For decades, the common method of nuclear disposal was to simply dump plutonium-filled steel barrels into the ocean. Continue reading

October 9, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Native Americans warn against nuclear waste dumping at Yucca Mountain

Warnings from First Americans: Insidious Changes Are Underway that Will Affect Us All, In These Times, BY STEPHANIE WOODARD , 5 Oct 17, The worst mass shooting in recent years. Escalating threats of nuclear war. Catastrophic hurricanes. Calamities and fear rock the nation these days. Meanwhile, public servants are chartering private jets, and the president’s frenzied tweetstorms create yet more chaos and division. As the tweeter-in-chief seeks sycophantic praise (or anything to divert our attention from Robert Mueller’s accelerating investigation), serious policy changes have been proposed, or are underway, in numerous aspects of American life.

For an update, Rural America In These Times spoke to Native Americans—people whose survival requires being extremely well informed about what all branches of the federal government are up to. From their vantage point as sovereign entities with direct government-to-government relationships with the United States, the tribes have a unique perspective on issues including voting rights, the economy, the extractive industries’ hold over this administration and more.

In each case below, they explain how powerfully and comprehensively this administration’s misguided policies would impinge on each and every one of us. After all, “everything is connected,” as Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Barbara Durham puts it.

Fire on the mountain

Kim Jong-un can relax! We have already nuked ourselves and are looking into a great way to poison ourselves even more with radioactive waste. In June, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry suggested using the Nevada National Security Site, aka the Nevada Test Site, as an interim waste dump and at the same time reopening licensing procedures for nearby Yucca Mountain. Under Perry’s plan, the mountain, revered as a sacred site by area tribes, would eventually become the permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive material.

The waste would travel via roads and railroads through communities throughout the country as it made its way to Nevada. Once it arrived, its home would be deep inside the earthquake-prone mountain. The DOE’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project admits that Yucca Mountain may be shaken by “ground motion” and that “beyond-the-design” events could collapse the waste facility.

The Timbisha Shoshone government blasted the Perry proposal, citing the groundwater contamination that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said will likely occur, even without earthquakes. …….

The United States faces one more very large barrier at Yucca Mountain, adds Bob. In 1863, Shoshone tribal heads and United States representatives signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley, which declared friendship between the parties and guaranteed the tribes a homeland that encompasses most of Nevada and massive chunks of Idaho, Oregon, California and Utah. The federal government seemed to forget all about the agreement for decades, though of course there were distractions—the Civil War, Lincoln’s assassination, the Sioux defending their homelands and more. After the United States woke up to the gigantic gap in the national map, it tried unsuccessfully for decades to pay off the Shoshone tribes.

“We respect the treaty,” says Bob. “And we don’t want the nuclear waste.”

DOE offers one bright spot in all the controversy: According to the FEIS, Yucca Mountain is “highly unlikely” to erupt as a volcano.

This land is whose land?

The Trump administration is trying to shovel vast and pristine portions of the United States into the maw of the extractive industries, such as mining concerns and fossil-fuel companies…..

Equality redefined

It’s not just Russians anymore. Attacks against voting rights are proliferating beyond Putin’s pals hacking into state election systems or manipulating public opinion via social media. With the Trump administration’s all-out assault on ballot-box access, non-Natives are getting a taste of what Native people have long experienced, according to OJ Semans, the Rosebud Sioux executive director of Four Directions, a nonprofit that advocates for equal rights.

“To put it bluntly,” Semans says, “as the Trump administration chips away at the ability to cast a ballot, you non-Natives are becoming as ‘equal’ as we are.”……..http://inthesetimes.com/rural-america/entry/20583/tribal-sovereignty-economy-environment-voting-rights-extractive-industry

October 9, 2017 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Kim Yo Jong, younger sister of Kim Joug-un, promoted to high government position in North Korea

Kim Jong-un promotes younger sister amid war of words with Donald Trump, KIM Jong-un has just given his sister a promotion. But behind the scenes, she has been pulling the strings for years.AAP and Reuters, News Corp Australia NetworkOCTOBER 9, 2017

NORTH Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promoted his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to a higher position in the one-party state, state media reports.

Kim Yo Jong, along with three other functionaries, was appointed as an “alternate member” of the politburo at a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Saturday in Pyongyang, according to state media.

The Central Committee is one of the leadership committees of the party, consisting of the politburo, the highest executive organ, as well as the secretariat.

Kim Yo Jong, according to South Korean media, is 30 years old. Since inheriting power from his father in 2011, Kim Jong-un has placed his younger sister in various positions to strengthen the position of the family within the country’s leadership.

There has been speculation since 2014, when Kim Yo Jong rose to a deputy department head of the Central Committee, that she could be further elevated in the leadership hierarchy and greater assist her brother in government affairs.

It is believed that Kim Yo Jong manages her brother’s public appearances.

Her promotion indicates she has become a replacement for Kim’s aunt, Kim Kyong Hee, who had been a key decision maker when former leader Kim Jong Il was alive….

The appointment of his sister comes as Kim says his nuclear weapons are a “powerful deterrent” which guarantee North Korea’s sovereignty, hours after US president Donald Trump said “only one thing will work” in dealing with the isolated country.

Mr Trump did not make clear as to what he was referring, but his comments seemed to be a further suggestion that military action was on his mind…….http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/kim-jongun-praises-north-koreas-nuclear-program-after-trump-tweet/news-story/03ef240f97886189d48c511472943667

October 9, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics | Leave a comment

Financial facts are killing nuclear power

Rising Costs Slow The Growth Of Nuclear Power, Oil Price 

But the story is an illustration of the blind alley in which nuclear power finds itself. The debate is one that is being (or will be) enacted in many other countries that rely on nuclear power as part of their energy mix.

 Eight years behind schedule, HPC should have come on stream by the end of this year, but is not now likely before 2025 at the earliest (and probably later even than that distant date).

In the meantime, repeated delays have added to the costs.

A Rising Price Tag

Now estimated at £19.6 billion ($26 billion), it would be one of the most expensive structures ever built in the U.K. Last year, the British government pushed the financial risk onto French power generator and owner-to-be of the plant EDF Energy as part of a dealthat has already settled on an eyewatering £92.50/MWhr fee for power produced, index linked for 35 years, the Financial Times reported.

Since that part of the agreement was made in 2013, inflation has pushed that figure to over £100/MWhr, the Financial Times reported, compared to offshore wind at £60/MWhr and unsubsidized new natural gas generation at even less.

Never mind the rights and wrongs on how an inept series of U.K. government politicians and civil servants got lobbied into agreeing to such a position. The fact remains no one, probably not even EDF themselves — and certainly not their shareholders — really wants the project to go ahead….

October 9, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment