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Elders say – Nuclear states must now act following G7 statement – Mary Robinson


As the G7 leaders release their Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament, The Chair of The Elders, Mary Robinson, stresses this must now lead to meaningful dialogue and action from nuclear states.

I welcome G7 leaders issuing their first separate statement reaffirming their commitment to a world without nuclear weapons. But these words must now be followed by meaningful action to realise that goal.

If G7 leaders are serious about their “Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament”, they need a concrete plan to implement that vision. At the same time, leaders must prioritise serious dialogue between nuclear states to reduce nuclear risks. Despite the difficulties, it is vital that the USA engage Russia on returning to implementation of New START, and on a successor agreement.

When I visited Hiroshima in March, I was reminded again of the terrible human cost of nuclear weapons. Japan showed leadership by holding its G7 summit there. G7 nuclear states now need to show leadership by acting on what was agreed.  


May 23, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

At a G7 summit high on ambition, nuclear disarmament takes a backseat to Zelensky’s diplomatic appeals

Picture above is from Zelensky’s previous visit to Washington, but it’s the same idea.

The Conversation, May 21, 2023 Donna Weeks, Professor of Political Science, Musashino University

Hiroshima, the site of this year’s G7 summit, is one of just a handful of places in the world that provides a stark reminder of the horrors of war.

The A-bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, for example, is one of few structures left standing in the neighbourhoods that were flattened by the atomic blast in August 1945. Around the city, there are also “survivor trees” from the blast and burn marks on temple stoneware and statues – reminders of how far and wide it radiated.

It is no surprise that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida chose Hiroshima as the setting for the 2023 G7 meeting. Not only are his electoral constituency and family roots located here, he is also an advocate of a nuclear weapons-free world.

And there were hopes the meeting could spur further action towards this ultimate goal of global nuclear disarmament. Kishida said ahead of the meeting,

I believe the first step toward any nuclear disarmament effort is to provide a first-hand experience of the consequences of the atomic bombing and to firmly convey the reality.

Ukraine takes priority

It wasn’t to be. Though the final communique from the summit did make a vague commitment toward a “Hiroshima Vision” for nuclear disarmament, it took a backseat to the main headline from the weekend – the continued global support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

An “unscheduled” visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky certainly raised the stakes for the summit at a critical time in the war.

On Friday evening, the leaders released a strongly worded, six-page statement on Ukraine, which reaffirmed their commitment “to stand together against Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine” and condemned “Russia’s manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the impact of Russia’s war on the rest of the world”.

But it was the potential impact of the in-person attendance that might amplify the otherwise rhetorical words of the summit leaders………………………

Zelensky’s opportunity to make a direct appeal to the leaders may end up being the key statement of the summit, distinguishing it from previous gatherings……………………………………………….

Inevitably, at each G7 Summit, there are calls for a review of its purpose. Originally an “informal” grouping of the world’s leading economies, it has become, like the UN Security Council, an institution of a different time. It is somewhat of an anachronism, no longer representative of today’s global economy.

…………………………………….. This summit will be most likely be remembered for Zelensky’s visit and the message it intended to send to Russia. But as leaders make their journeys home, wars will continue and all we are left with are the platitudes that will carry over to the next G7 Summit in 2024.

As for the ageing hibakusha, the survivors of the 1945 atomic bomb in Hiroshima, this may have been their last major opportunity to press for an end to nuclear weapons.

May 22, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Stronger Global Governance is the Only Way to a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

History News Network, by Lawrence Wittner, 21 May 23,

Lawrence S. Wittner is Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY/Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press)

It should come as no surprise that the world is currently facing an existential nuclear danger.  In fact, it has been caught up in that danger since 1945, when atomic bombs were used to annihilate the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Today, however, the danger of a nuclear holocaust is probably greater than in the past.  There are now nine nuclear powers―the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea―and they are currently engaged in a new nuclear arms race, building ever more efficient weapons of mass destruction.  The latest entry in their nuclear scramble, the hypersonic missile, travels at more than five times the speed of sound and is adept at evading missile defense systems. 

Furthermore, these nuclear-armed powers engage in military confrontations with one another―Russia with the United States, Britain, and France over the fate of Ukraine, India with Pakistan over territorial disputes, and China with the United States over control of Taiwan and the South China Sea―and on occasion issue public threats of nuclear war against other nuclear nations.  In recent years, Vladimir PutinDonald Trump, and Kim Jong-Un have also publicly threatened non-nuclear nations with nuclear destruction.

Little wonder that in January 2023 the editors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the hands of their famous “Doomsday Clock” at 90 seconds before midnight, the most dangerous setting since its creation in 1946.

Until fairly recently this march to Armageddon was disrupted, for people around the world found nuclear war a very unappealing prospect.  A massive nuclear disarmament campaign developed in many countries and, gradually, began to force governments to temper their nuclear ambitions.  The results were banning nuclear testing, curbing nuclear proliferation, limiting development of some kinds of nuclear weapons, and fostering substantial nuclear disarmament.  From the 1980s to today the number of nuclear weapons in the world sharply decreased, from 70,000 to roughly 13,000.  And with nuclear weapons stigmatized, nuclear war was averted.

But successes in rolling back the nuclear menace undermined the popular struggle against it, while proponents of nuclear weapons seized the opportunity to reassert their priorities.  Consequently, a new nuclear arms race gradually got underway.

Even so, a nuclear-free world remains possible.  Although an inflamed nationalism and the excessive power of military contractors are likely to continue bolstering the drive to acquire, brandish, and use nuclear weapons, there is a route out of the world’s nuclear nightmare.

We can begin uncovering this route to a safer, saner world when we recognize that a great many people and governments cling to nuclear weapons because of their desire for national security.  After all, it has been and remains a dangerous world, and for thousands of years nations (and before the existence of nations, rival territories) have protected themselves from aggression by wielding military might.

The United Nations, of course, was created in the aftermath of the vast devastation of World War II in the hope of providing international security.  But, as history has demonstrated, it is not strong enough to do the job―largely because the “great powers,” fearing that significant power in the hands of the international organization would diminish their own influence in world affairs, have deliberately kept the world organization weak.  Thus, for example, the UN Security Council, which is officially in charge of maintaining international security, is frequently blocked from taking action by a veto cast by one its five powerful, permanent members.

But what if global governance were strengthened to the extent that it could provide national security?  What if the United Nations were transformed from a loose confederation of nations into a genuine federation of nations, enabled thereby to create binding international law, prevent international aggression, and guarantee treaty commitments, including commitments for nuclear disarmament? 

Nuclear weapons, like other weapons of mass destruction, have emerged in the context of unrestrained international conflict.  But with national security guaranteed, many policymakers and most people around the world would conclude that nuclear weapons, which they already knew were immensely dangerous, had also become unnecessary.

Aside from undermining the national security rationale for building and maintaining nuclear weapons, a stronger United Nations would have the legitimacy and power to ensure their abolition.  No longer would nations be able to disregard international agreements they didn’t like.  Instead, nuclear disarmament legislation, once adopted by the federation’s legislature, would be enforced by the federation.  Under this legislation, the federation would presumably have the authority to inspect nuclear facilities, block the development of new nuclear weapons, and reduce and eliminate nuclear stockpiles.

The relative weakness of the current United Nations in enforcing nuclear disarmament is illustrated by the status of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  Voted for by 122 nations at a UN conference in 2017, the treaty bans producing, testing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, and using or threatening the use of nuclear weapons.  Although the treaty officially went into force in 2021, it is only binding on nations that have decided to become parties to it.  Thus far, that does not include any of the nuclear armed nations.  As a result, the treaty currently has more moral than practical effect in securing nuclear disarmament.

If comparable legislation were adopted by a world federation, however, participating in a disarmament process would no longer be voluntary, for the legislation would be binding on all nations.  Furthermore, the law’s universal applicability would not only lead to worldwide disarmament, but offset fears that nations complying with its provisions would one day be attacked by nations that refused to abide by it.

In this fashion, enhanced global governance could finally end the menace of worldwide nuclear annihilation that has haunted humanity since 1945.  What remains to be determined is if nations are ready to unite in the interest of human survival.

May 22, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia’s Atomflot added to U.S. sanctions list

FSUE Atomflot, the maintenance base for Russia’s fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers, can no longer buy products from, or do business with, U.S. or European Union entities.

By Thomas Nilsen Barents Observer 21 May 23

Located two short kilometers north of Murmansk, FSUE Atomflot was for three decades a major receiver of grants from Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Millions of Euros dedicated to nuclear- and radiation safety projects have helped Russia improve infrastructure and technology at this civilian site that partly has served as a transshipment hub for spent nuclear fuel from dump sites on the Kola Peninsula.

The United States on Friday announced FSUE Atomflot being added to the sanctions list, a move following a similar decision previously undertaken by the European Union in February………………………………………………. more

May 22, 2023 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Indonesia calls for destruction of the world’s nuclear arsenals.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN,  by Yoshiaki Kasuga, Naoko Handa and Tadao Onaga. Rizki Akbar Hasan contributed to this story. May 19, 2023 

BOGOR, Indonesia–Indonesian President Joko Widodo will call on the nuclear powers at the Group of Seven summit being held in Japan to destroy their nuclear arsenals.

In an exclusive interview with The Asahi Shimbun at Bogor on May 18, Joko said: “The Indonesian position is clear and firm. Nuclear weapons must be destroyed because they are a threat in the world.”

Joko and leaders of seven other non-member nations were invited to the G-7 summit that began May 19 in Hiroshima. 

“Hiroshima is the symbol of peace,” Joko said. “I’m very happy that the G-7 is held in Hiroshima. This is very important.”

Joko was due to arrive May 19 for his first visit to this western Japan city. He expressed an interest in visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum….

Indonesia, along with the other ASEAN nations, has signed the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone……..

Indonesia’s foreign policy is non-alignment and neutrality, which the government describes as “free and active.” For example, Jakarta has refused to take sides in the war between Russia and Ukraine, and Joko himself has met with both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin to promote dialogue between the two nations.

Joko became the first Asian leader to visit the two nations in June 2022.

Indonesia’s neutral stance means it has not gone along with economic sanctions against Russia pushed by the United States and adopted by Western allies.

“The war (has been in place) one year already and (sanctions have not proved) effective to stop the war,” Joko said. “Dialogue is very important, and it must continue to be maintained.”

He added that Indonesia was prepared to serve as a bridge between Russia and Ukraine.

“Indonesia stands ready to contribute to bridge the differences and the collective leadership required to end the war,” Joko said. “Peace must be reached as soon as possible because in the end, the people are the victims.”

Indonesia was invited to the G-7 summit because it is considered one of the leaders of the Global South, mainly developing nations located in the Southern Hemisphere……………..

Referring to growing confrontation between the United States and China in the Asia-Pacific region, Joko emphasized that Indonesia continues with its “non-bloc” stance.

“Many said that Indonesia is close with the United States,” the Indonesian president said. “Many also said that Indonesia is close with China. I want to say that both statements are correct. The United States and China are important partners of Indonesia, just like Japan.” ………………………

May 21, 2023 Posted by | Indonesia, politics international | Leave a comment

New UK sanctions on Russian energy to include Rosatom and nuclear energy 

The sanctions have been announced alongside the G7 Summit, where member states will discuss further action to limit Russian economic growth.

Power Technology By Florence Jones 19 May 23

he UK has announced a new wave of sanctions against Russia, as the G7 Summit begins in Japan this weekend.  

The sanctions will target companies connected to the theft of Ukrainian grain and the shipment of Russian energy, defying current sanctions. Further sanctions from G7 nations are also expected to be unveiled this weekend. 

According to the UK Government, the sanctions will affect 86 individuals and entities “connected to Russia’s capacity to fund and wage the war [in Ukraine]”.  

The sanctions will also affect companies connected to Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom, which supplies 20% of Russia’s energy. Rosatom also recieved sanctions from the US Government in February. The French state has also been under scrutiny for its connection with Rosatom due to a joint declaration of research cooperation signed in 2021. 

According to a statement from the government, sanctions will be placed on “Matex, which produces composite materials based on carbon fibre for Rosatom that could be used for military purposes, and Triniti, whose research and development into laser physics is directly funded by the Russian Federation’s State Defence Order”.  

Oleg Romanenko, a lead official at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which the UK Government suspects is colluding with the Russian Government, will also be impacted by sanctions. Sanctions will also impact 13 members of the Gazprom-Neft board of directors and five members of the Transneft board of directors. 

Other sectors that will be sanctioned by the UK include metals production, transport services, defence companies and banks. …………..

May 21, 2023 Posted by | politics international | 1 Comment

Pentagon seeks authority to transfer nuclear submarines (and costs) to Australia

Finally, the Pentagon is also asking Congress for permission to accept Australian payments to bolster the U.S. submarine industrial base. Australia has offered to make an undisclosed sum of investments in the U.S. submarine industrial base as part of AUKUS.

Defense News, By Bryant Harris and Megan Eckstein 17 May 23

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Defense asked Congress to authorize the transfer of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as part of the trilateral AUKUS agreement with the U.K.

Three legislative proposals, submitted on May 2 and first posted online Tuesday, would greenlight the sale of two Virginia-class submarines to Australia, permit the training of Australian nationals for submarine work and allow Canberra to invest in the U.S. submarine industrial base………………

“Importantly, the proposals spell out a clear path forward to facilitate the transfer of Virginia-class submarines to Australia while ensuring we have the necessary authorities to accept the Australian Government’s investments to enhance our submarine industrial base capacity and provide training for Australian personnel.” – Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee’s sea power panel

AUKUS stipulates that Australia will buy at least three and as many as five Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s as part of phase two of the agreement, giving Congress more than a decade to authorize the sale. This year’s proposal, which the Pentagon hopes will become part of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, asks that Congress approve just two of those submarines “without a deadline to consummate the transfers and without specifying the specific vessels to be transferred.”

The proposal argues that this “small amount of flexibility is necessary” since the transfers depend on Australian readiness to operate the submarines, which will involve developing Australia’s submarine industrial base through training and appropriate shipyard infrastructure.

To that end, a second legislative proposal would authorize U.S. defense service exports directly to Australia’s private sector in order to train its own submarine workers……..

Finally, the Pentagon is also asking Congress for permission to accept Australian payments to bolster the U.S. submarine industrial base. Australia has offered to make an undisclosed sum of investments in the U.S. submarine industrial base as part of AUKUS.

The Pentagon states in the legislative proposal that those funds would be used to “add a significant number of trade workers” that will help address “the significant overhaul backlog” for the Virginia-class submarine. Australian monies would also be used for “advance purchasing of components and materials that are known to be replacement items for submarine overhauls” and “outsourcing less complex sustainment work to local contractors.”

Congress is also making its own investments to expand the U.S. submarine industrial base as the Navy ultimately aims to build two Virginia-class and one Columbia-class submarines per year. Courtney helped secure $541 million in submarine supplier development and $207 million in workforce development initiatives as part of the FY 23 government funding bill.

Austal USA, the American subsidiary of Australia-based Austal, plans to open a new facility at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama to begin construction on nuclear submarine modules for General Dynamics’ Electric Boat shipyard in Connecticut, which produces both Virginia and Columbia-class submarines. Austal expects it will need 1,000 new hires in Mobile to staff that facility.

At Electric Boat, the prime contractor for the Virginia- and Columbia-class submarine programs, the hiring need will be even greater. The company currently employs more than 19,000 people, after hiring 3,700 new workers in 2022, according to local newspaper The Day. But the company needs to hire 5,750 new workers this year, to manage attrition and to help grow the workforce to about 22,000 to handle the increased workload.

The legislative proposal notes that Australian funds “would be applied to recruitment, training, incentivizing, and retention of key skilled trades, engineering and planning personnel in both nuclear and non-nuclear disciplines that are required by the additional AUKUS workload.”

May 19, 2023 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

At Hiroshima, Leaders Should Choose to End All Nuclear Threats

In January 2023, Biden and Kishida made a joint statement “We state unequivocally that any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine would be an act of hostility against humanity and unjustifiable in any way.”

The caveat that such a judgment applies only to Russia in Ukraine is stunning.

Facing Russia’s nuclear threats, the U.S. and its allies must not whitewash their own

Scientific American By Zia MianDaryl G. Kimball on May 17, 2023

At a meeting of the G7 nations this week in Hiroshima, the first city destroyed by the bomb, President Joe Biden and other leaders have a chance to begin addressing the long-standing problem of states threatening to use nuclear weapons. Russia’s nuclear threats of the past year in support of its invasion of Ukraine have flashed for all to see a core purpose of nuclear arsenals: coercion and intimidation. At this historic gathering, Biden and his counterparts need to act on Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s proposal that the G7 “demonstrate a firm commitment to absolutely reject the threat or use of nuclear weapons.”

To do so, the U.S. and its allies must acknowledge that any and all threats to use nuclear weapons, not just Russia’s, are unacceptable.

It is well known Hiroshima was destroyed without warning on August 6, 1945 by the U.S. Less familiar is that this devastation was followed that day by the first threat to use nuclear weapons. President Harry Truman threatened Japan “If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the likes of which has never been seen on this earth.” Another threat came on August 9 when a second atomic bomb had destroyed Nagasaki; Truman announced “We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan’s power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.”

All G7 states (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.) have condemned President Putin’s FebruaryApril and September 2022 threats of Russian nuclear weapons use. But like Russia those states themselves have chosen military strategies that depend on threats of nuclear weapon use.

statement from the G7 nuclear nonproliferation directors group, issued April 17, predictably asserts that, unlike Russia, their nations’ security policies “are based on the understanding that nuclear weapons, for as long as they exist, should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war and coercion.” Just as predictably, Russian officials claim Putin’s comments are simply a deterrent against direct U.S. or NATO military intervention in Ukraine.

Regardless of intent, the underlying nuclear logic is the same, however. It was described by defense intellectual Daniel Ellsberg in a famous 1959 lecture “The Theory and Practice of Blackmail.” Ellsberg observed:

“Nuclear weapons have one preeminent use in politics: to support threats. These threats recommend themselves, almost inescapably, as tools of policy not only to expansionist powers but to status quo nations.”  He expounded: “Call it blackmail, call it deterrence, call both … coercion: the art of influencing the behavior of others by threats. The key here of course is that with nuclear weapons we are dealing with threats of force.”

…………………………………………….. In 2017, backed by NGOs, a group of 122 nations at the U.N. agreed to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Among its binding obligations is “never under any circumstances to … use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” There are almost 100 signatories to the treaty so far. No nuclear-armed state has signed.

…………………….. In June 2022, at their first meeting, TPNW states declared that “any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations,” and condemned “unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances.” 

The scale of destruction implied by threats to use nuclear weapons is beyond any moral measure.  

In January 2023, Biden and Kishida made a joint statement “We state unequivocally that any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine would be an act of hostility against humanity and unjustifiable in any way.”

The caveat that such a judgment applies only to Russia in Ukraine is stunning.

If we are to avert catastrophe, the nuclear use policies of the United States and the other nuclear-armed states need to acknowledge that any and all threats to use nuclear weapons need to be treated alike. G7 leaders should look to a statement organized by the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction, endorsed by more than 1,000 scientists, which states that “any threat to use nuclear weapons, at any time and under any circumstances, is extremely dangerous and totally unacceptable.” It goes on to “call on all people and governments everywhere to clearly condemn all nuclear threats, explicit or implicit, and any use of such weapons.”

As a first step, President Biden, along with the other G7 leaders, all of whose countries either have nuclear weapons or rely on U.S. nuclear weapons being used on their behalf, should declare that the U.S. and its allies will act as they demand others do, and will accept being judged by the same standards they apply to others. They must accept, without any self-serving caveat, that any use of a nuclear weapon, by any state, under any circumstances, would be “an act of hostility against humanity and unjustifiable in any way.”

If G7 leaders choose, the Hiroshima summit can mark their turning away from seeking to justify their own nuclear threats as acceptable tools of policy. It is time for a human-centered standard for judging nuclear threats, one that holds regardless of those making the threats, their targets or the political goal.

May 19, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How the West, and Zelensky, derailed the Minsk Agreements between Ukraine and Russia

Adonis Cirillo, commenting on, 17 May 23

Everyone knows, or should know, that the ‘Western’ sponsored Maiden Revolution (coup d’état) KILLED Ukraine, and more than 14,000 of its own citizens since 18 Feb, 2014.

If you are undecided or uneducated to the events leading up to the West’s coup d’état, you may download & watch “UKRAINE ON FIRE” 2016 Oliver Stone documentary. (ED. note – Youtube has banned viewers from downloading this film, – but not pro-Ukrainian videos )

(you will see US Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland (the Maidan ‘midwife’), US Democrat & Republican Congressmen (e.g., Lindsey Graham), US Advisors (e.g., John Bolton), and NGO’s inside Ukraine before, during, and after the coup d’état)

If you continue to unwind history, you will discover that Ukraine of today is inextricably linked to the Bush/Gorbachev Agreements of 1989-90 and the subsequent Western Violations thereof (e.g., The continued expansion of US & NATO forces in Europe).

NOTE : Ex-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the Minsk Agreements “meant nothing” and claimed credit for giving Kiev enough time to militarize. – RT 17 June, 2022 | Ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Minsk accords were signed in order to “give Ukraine time” to make the country stronger – Zeit Newspaper 7 Dec, 2022 | Ex-French President François Hollande agreed with Merkel, saying that her comment was “right on this point.” … “It is the merit of the Minsk agreements to have given the Ukrainian army this opportunity,” – RT 30 Dec, 2022 | Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky took credit for derailing Minsk Agreements – RT 9 Feb, 2023

May 19, 2023 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s neighbors ready to pay off Zelensky to stop conflict – Seymour Hersh 17 May 23

EU nations have privately urged the president of the war-torn country to end the fighting, a US official told the veteran journalist.

Poland is leading a group of European nations that are secretly urging Vladimir Zelensky to find a way to settle the conflict with Russia, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh has reported, citing a “knowledgeable” American official.

According to US intelligence, other EU countries that want to see an end to the fighting include Hungary, Germany, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Hersh wrote in an article published on his Substack page on Wednesday.

“Hungary is a big player in this and so are Poland and Germany, and they are working to get Zelensky to come around,” the unnamed official claimed. Those countries have made it clear that “Zelensky can keep what he’s got if he works up a peace deal even if he’s got to be paid off, if it’s the only way to get a deal.”

By “keep what he’s got,” the source was referring to the Ukrainian president’s villa in Italy and interests in an offshore bank, Hersh clarified.

However, Zelensky has so far rejected the proposal, while other major European players – France and the UK – “are too beholden” to the Biden administration, which is continuing to back the Ukrainian leader, the official said.

One of the main reasons why Poland and the others want the conflict to end is because the burden of accommodating Ukrainian refugees has become too much for them, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wrote.

The problem for those countries “is how to get the US to stop supporting Zelensky,” Hersh’s source suggested.

He claimed that US intelligence is well aware that “Ukraine is running out of money and… that the next four or months are critical. And Eastern Europeans are talking about a deal.”

However, he added that “it’s not clear to the intelligence community what the president and his foreign policy aides in the White House know of the reality.”

The US is “still training Ukrainians how to fly our F-16s that will be shot down by Russia as soon as they get into the war zone. The mainstream press is dedicated to Biden and the war, and Biden is still talking about the Great Satan in Moscow while the Russian economy is doing great,” the official explained.

Russia has repeatedly stated that it’s ready to resolve the conflict at the negotiating table. However, it did not receive any proposals from Ukraine and its Western backers that it could consider reasonable.

Zelensky has been promoting his ten-point peace plan, which calls for Russian forces to withdraw to borders claimed by Ukraine, to pay reparations, and to submit to war-crime tribunals.

Moscow has rejected the plan as “unacceptable,” saying it ignores the reality on the ground and is actually a sign of Kiev’s unwillingness to solve the crisis through diplomatic means.

May 19, 2023 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Drink Fukushima water if it’s clean, South Korea tells Japanese officials

 South Korea’s opposition leader has challenged Japanese officials to
drink treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power
plant amid concerns over Tokyo’s plan to release the water into the sea.
Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, implored
Japanese officials to make good on their claims that the radioactive water
is filtered and safe to be released into the sea. There are fierce protests
from local fishing communities as well as neighbouring countries such as
South Korea, China, and the Pacific Island nations following concerns over
the consequences of releasing the water.

 Independent 16th May 2023

May 19, 2023 Posted by | politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

French Polynesia’s anti-nuclear organisation Association 193 criticises France for downplaying impact of tests

Walter Zweifel, RNZ Pacific Reporter 17 May 23

French Polynesia’s anti-nuclear organisation Association 193 has criticised the latest French report about the impact of the French nuclear weapons tests.

France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research evaluated additional declassified data from the tests at Mururoa and found that radiation from them had a minimal role in causing thyroid cancer.

The Association’s president, Father Auguste Uebe-Carlson, told the AFP news agency there was a tendency by the French state and the Institute to minimise the impact of the nuclear fallout.

He said the French Committee for the Compensation of Victims of Nuclear Tests refused to recognise the files of victims born after 1974, when the military carried out its last atmospheric test.

But Uebe-Carlson said there was an argument to also recognise cancer sufferers born since 1974.

According to Uebe-Carlson, the Institute would one day have to explain why there were so many cancers in French Polynesia.

He has repeatedly accused France of refusing to recognise the impact of the tests, instead using propaganda to say they were clean or a thing of the past.

He said health problems were now being attributed to poor diet and lifestyle choices.

Three years ago he said he carried out survey in Mangareva, which is close to the former weapons test sites, and found that from 1966 onward all families reported cases of still-born babies.

Call for release of scientific data

The president of the test veterans’ organisation Moruroa e tatou said the release of the scientific data was not enough.

Hiro Tefaarere told La Premiere it was “absolutely necessary” for his organisation to get from the French state the register of the cancer patients and cancer deaths during the testing period.

He said it was “imperative” that these files be given to Moruroa e tatou.

Tefaarere said this research, if the state agrees to release it, would give his organisation the essential elements to consolidate the complaints which have been filed.

President to take report into account

An assembly member Hinamoeura Cross, who suffers from leukemia, said she was outraged that reports were still being published downplaying the tests’ effects.

The new president, Moetai Brotherson, said he would take the latest report into account when he enters into discussions with the French government.

French Polynesia has for years been trying to get France to reimburse it for outlays for cancer sufferers.

Its social security agency CPS said since 1995 it had spent almost $US1 billion to treat 10,000 people suffering from cancer as the result of radiation from the tests.

In 2010, Paris recognised for the first time that the tests had had an impact on the environment and health, paving the way for compensation.

Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out almost 200 tests in the South Pacific, involving more than 100,000 military and civilian personnel.

Paris has refused to apologise or the tests, but President Emmanel Macron said France owed ‘a debt’ to French Polynesia’s people.

May 18, 2023 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Former world leaders urge G7 to get nuclear arms control back on track

Letter calls on US and Russia to isolate weapons agreements from other disputes

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor 18 May 23

A global array of former world leaders and defence ministers, nuclear experts and diplomats have called on the leaders of G7 countries at their meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, not to let progress on nuclear arms control continue to be the victim of growing geopolitical conflict, including the conflict between the west and Russia over Ukraine.

The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, who is from Hiroshima, chose the G7 venue to lend seriousness to his personal call to world leaders to at least agree a roadmap to resume nuclear arms control talks.

In February, Russia pulled out of the 2010 New Start treaty, a pact that sets limits on the deployed strategic nuclear arsenals of the world’s two largest nuclear powers, although Moscow said it would nevertheless abide by the limits for the moment.

Kishida intends to take world leaders arriving this week for the summit to the harrowing Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, where they will see graphic depictions of the US attack in 1945.

An open letter signed by six former heads of state, 20 cabinet-level ministers and experts from 50 different countries including China, Russia and the US lends momentum to Kishida’s G7 theme by saying the world needs more nuclear arms control, not less.

The letter says: “United States-Russia strategic stability talks are in limbo and the New Start treaty, which has played an indispensable role in ensuring reciprocal security, is now in question.

“As the only existing nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and Russia, the world’s two largest nuclear-armed countries, the treaty’s collapse or expiration without a replacement would threaten a destabilising arms race.”

Worsening big-power competition is making nuclear war more likely, the leaders warn, and “failure to agree on a new nuclear arms control framework to replace New Start before it expires in February 2026 would also make it more difficult to bring China, France and the United Kingdom into multilateral arms control, as all three are not ready to consider limits on their nuclear arsenals until the United States and Russia bring down their nuclear stockpiles”.

The letter was organised by the European Leadership Network and Asia-Pacific Leadership Network and signed by former world leaders, including Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico, Helen Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand and Ingvar Carlsson, the former prime minister of Sweden.

In Russia, the signatories include Alexei Arbatov, the director of the International Security Center at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations; Pavel Palazhchenko, the head of the international centre at the Gorbachev Foundation, and Sergey Rogov, who until March last year, was a member of the scientific council of the national security council and a former adviser to the Duma international affairs committee.

One of the most prominent signatories in China is Prof Chen Dongxiao, the president of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. China has been clear in warning Russia not to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict, a threat that has repeatedly been made by Moscow, including by transferring nuclear weapons to Belarus.

UK signatories include the former head of MI6 John Scarlett, the former foreign secretaries Malcolm Rifkind and David Owen, as well as the former defence secretaries Des Browne and Tom King.

The 256 signatories acknowledge they all have different views about geopolitical competition but say “we all agree that it is long past time to start prioritising nuclear arms control and taking unilateral, bilateral and multilateral actions”.

The letter urges Russia and the US to compartmentalise nuclear arms control and isolate it from other disputes by confirming that they will not exceed the New Start limits on deployed nuclear forces, which thus far have not been violated, as well as agreeing to remove the obstacles to full implementation of their New Start obligations.

It also calls for the resumption of the work of the Bilateral Consultative Commission, the body that agrees details of US and Russian inspections of each others’ military sites under the terms of the New Start treaty. The body has not met for nearly two years.

May 18, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

France holds up EU energy agreement over nuclear power

Paris withdraws support for renewable targets law as it seeks inclusion of hydrogen produced with atomic power Alice Hancock in Brussels and Sarah White in Paris 17 May 23

France is leading a coalition of countries holding up agreement on EU-wide targets for renewable energy, as it makes a fresh drive for better treatment of its nuclear industry. The move comes amid a broader pushback against the bloc’s climate agenda as the realities of what is required for the green transition become increasingly apparent. The EU’s 27 member states were due to agree an overall target of 42.5 per cent of renewable power in the bloc’s energy mix by 2030 on Wednesday.

But France, which relies on nuclear power for the majority of its electricity, signalled that it would not support the text, citing concerns that “low-carbon” hydrogen generated with electricity from atomic power plants would not be counted as part of the targets.

“It must be possible for nuclear-derived electricity to coexist with renewable electricity without discrimination,” a French diplomat said. The vote, which was pulled from the agenda of an ambassadors’ meeting at 11.30pm on Tuesday night, would have paved the way for the targets to become EU law following their approval in the European parliament.

……………………….. Other member states said that having the bloc’s two largest countries push for last-minute changes to green legislation set a dangerous precedent for the EU’s policymaking process and could affect its path to achieving an overall target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

The EU commission said it remained committed to a “rapid rollout” of renewable energy as a critical element of the bloc’s goal to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to reduce its dependence on Russian fuels. “The new rules need to be adopted and implemented as swiftly as possible.”……………………………

Six pro-nuclear countries, including the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary, followed Paris’s lead on Wednesday and withheld support for the directive. Meanwhile, anti-nuclear governments, including in Germany and Austria, have been strongly opposed to recognising nuclear power as a clean fuel. Earlier this week, Paris convened a meeting of ministers from 14 countries with nuclear energy capacity along with the EU’s energy commissioner, Kadri Simson…………………………………………….

May 18, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

France to host pro-nuclear meet to push for EU recognition of climate benefits

Yahoo Sport Kate Abnett and America Hernandez. Mon, 15 May 2023 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -France will host a meeting of ministers from 16 pro-nuclear European states on Tuesday aimed at coordinating expansion of atomic power and urging the EU to recognise its role in meeting climate goals for 2050, the country’s energy ministry said.

The meeting in Paris will include EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and representatives from 14 EU countries including France, Belgium and the Netherlands, plus Italy as an observer and the United Kingdom as a non-EU invitee………………………

Yves Desbazeille, director of EU lobby group Nucleareurope, will also give a presentation, including figures on potential job creation and investment.

A draft of the post-meeting statement seen by Reuters said the countries would encourage the commissioner to integrate nuclear energy into the EU’s energy policy by recognising nuclear alongside other green [?] energy technologies in EU decarbonisation goals.

The talks will cover the EU Net Zero Industry Act, the Hydrogen Bank, definitions of low-carbon hydrogen and hydrogen import strategies among other topics, the French official said.

The draft document also calls for the publication of an EU communication on small modular reactors.

……………………………. EU opponents of nuclear energy – among them Germany, which switched off its last reactors last month, Luxembourg and Austria – cite concerns including waste disposal and maintenance issues that have plagued the French fleet in recent years.

Austria and Luxembourg are taking the EU to court over its decision to officially label nuclear investments as “green”.

May 17, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment