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Catholic Archbishop at UN urges immorality of nuclear weapons, and of militarising space

UN nuncio denounces nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, Oct 15, 2021by Catholic News Service, UNITED NATIONS — The world’s leaders “cannot allow” themselves to be “spectators to violence and war, to brothers killing brothers, as if we were watching games from a safe distance,” Archbishop Gabriele Caccia told a U.N. committee session discussing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction Oct. 13.

“The lives of peoples are not playthings. We cannot be indifferent onlookers,” the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations added.

The archbishop, quoting Pope Francis’ encyclical “Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship,” also stressed that world leaders should never forget the people who “who have suffered the effects of atomic radiation or chemical attack

He also reiterated the pope’s assessment about the immorality not only of using, but also of possessing nuclear weapons, “since the intrinsic intentionality of having nuclear weapons is the threat to use them.”

It is time for nuclear weapon stockpiles to “be definitively capped,” he emphasized.

“Our world is so interconnected that all nuclear weapons, wherever they may be, must be eliminated in the shortest feasible time, lest accident or miscalculation lead to catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences,” he said. ……………

He also stressed the need to not lose sight of the threat of “dirty bombs” or radiological weapons and the need for measures to prohibit the use of radiological materials as weapons.

In his final remarks, he emphasized that “the Holy See wishes to state its conviction that outer space should remain the peaceful domain that it has been thus far in human history. While certain military uses of that environment have been deployed, such as communications, navigation and monitoring, these are also critical for peaceful purposes.”

He said that to weaponize space, “either by deploying weapons, or by attacking space objects from the ground, would be extremely dangerous” and urged the negotiation of measures “so that the outer space environment remains safe for all of us.”………..

The archbishop also noted the needs of island countries for help — and the urgency of listening to their appeal — in protecting their environment and ecosystems from the effects of climate change.

October 18, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Vatican concerned over deal for Australian nuclear-powered subs

Vatican’s Cardinal Parolin concerned over deal for Australian nuclear-powered subs, Sep 22, 2021 by Catholic News Service ROME — Plans by the United States and Great Britain to give Australia the technology needed for nuclear-powered submarines go counter to global disarmament efforts, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state…….

“One cannot but be concerned” by the announcement made in mid-September by U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the cardinal said.

Parolin, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union and Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, were speaking Sept. 22 at a conference on “Christian Values and the Future of Europe” sponsored by the European People’s Party…………..

September 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Jane Goodall still has hope for humanity. Here’s why

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 11: Dr Jane Goodall poses for a photo at Taronga Zoo on October 11, 2008 in Sydney, Australia. Goodall, the world renowned primatologist, has acknowledged the breeding and work research carried out by the Chimpanzee Group at Taronga Zoo over recent years. (Photo by Robert Gray/Getty Images)

How a tree, a dog and a chimpanzee taught Jane Goodall to hold on to hope
ABC Radio National /  By Karen Tong and Meredith Lake for Soul Search 11 Sept 21,

Throughout her life, acclaimed ethologist Jane Goodall has witnessed an array of environmental destruction, from deforestation to the loss of biodiversity to the catastrophic effects of climate change.

But despite this, Dr Goodall still has hope. Lots of it.

“I saw places that we had utterly destroyed, covered with concrete, but give nature a chance and she’ll reclaim it,” she tells RN’s Soul Search.

“I saw animals on the very brink of extinction, [but] because people care, they’ve been given another chance.”

This outlook has not come easily, and Dr Goodall credits it to a collection of “teachers” in life who have given her lessons of “humanity and hope.”

Five of these most important “teachers” include a reading tree, her first dog and – of course – her beloved chimps…………………

Hope for the future

Dr Goodall is still pushing boundaries as a conservation leader and activist – and she’s still cultivating an extraordinary capacity for curiosity, wonder and hope.

“I can’t wave a magic wand, but I can spend all my effort in trying to get everybody to realise that if we get together, if each one of us does what we can to make a difference every day, we start moving away from the doom and gloom,” she says……

September 11, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Irradiated man kept alive for nuclear research

Paul Richards
, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, 10 Sept 21

Although most of Hisashi Ouchi’s body had been completely destroyed, including his DNA and immune system, the doctors kept him alive as a human experiment.They kept him alive for a total of 83 days until he died of multiple organ failures.

During those 83 days, Hisashi Ouchi underwent the first transfusion of peripheral stem cells, as well as several blood transfusions and skin transplants.However, neither the transfusions or transplants could keep his bodily fluids from leaking out of his pores.

During the first week of experiments, Hisashi Ouchi had enough consciousness to tell the doctors“I can’t take it anymore… I am not a guinea pig…”but they continued to treat him for 11 more weeks. The nurses caring for him also recorded the narcotic load to abate pain was not enough to give him relief. At the time of recording his death, his heart had stopped for 70 minutes and the doctors chose this time not to resurrect him.

UNBREAKABLE RECORD To this day, Hisashi Ouchi holds the record for the most radiation experienced by a surviving person, however, this is not an accomplishment that his family likely celebrates.

The case of malpractice by these doctors is extremely horrific and one of the greatest examples of human torture of the 20th century.Thankfully, medical professionals values, would not be superseded by the nuclear state, so this record in all probability will never be broken._____________More on why the accident happened:…/abs/10.1080/00963402.2000.11456942 from

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Nuclear ”ethics” – fatally ill man kept alive against his will, in the cause of nuclear research

In 1999 an accident at a Japanese Nuclear Power Plant caused one of its technicians, Hisashi Ouchi, to be exposed to high levels of radiation. He was kept alive for 83 days, against his will, by doctors so they could use his body to study the effects of radiation on humans.Hisashi Ouchi was one of three employees of the Tokaimura nuclear plant to be heavily impacted by the accident on 30 September 1999.

The Man Kept Alive Against His Will

How modern medicine kept a ‘husk’ of a man alive for 83 days against his will Colin  Aneculaese  27 July 2020, Radiation has always been a subject of great interest for many scientists. Since its discovery and weaponisation, many have looked into its impact on living organisms, especially humans. As a result, many living being suffered at the hands of those who sought to find the real impact of radiation on living beings. Throughout the years this experimentation was mainly focused on animals as it would be unethical to test such a thing on humans.

Outside of major nuclear events such as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the meltdowns of nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants, the effect of radiation on humans could not be tested. As such after the 1999 Tokaimura nuclear accident, many scientists jumped at the opportunity to study the victims of such a high amount of explosion to radiation. Out of all the victims of the disaster, the case of Hisashi Ouchi stands out.

Tokaimura nuclear plant

Hisashi Ouchi was one of three employees of the Tokaimura nuclear plant to be heavily impacted by the accident on 30 September 1999. Leading up to the 30th of the month the staff at the Tokaimura nuclear plant were in charge of looking after the process of dissolving and mixing enriched uranium oxide with nitric acid to produce uranyl nitrate, a product which the bosses of the nuclear plant wanted to have ready by the 28th.

Due to the tight time constraints, the uranyl nitrate wasn’t prepared properly by the staff with many shortcuts being used to achieve the tight deadline. One of these shortcuts was to handle the highly radioactive produce by hand. During their handling of the radioactive produce while trying to convert it into nuclear fuel (uranyl nitrate is used as nuclear fuel) for transportation the inexperienced three-man crew handling the operation made a mistake.

During the mixing process, a specific compound had to be added to the mixture, the inexperienced technicians added seven times the recommended amount of the compound to the mixture leading to an uncontrollable chain reaction being started in the solution. As soon as the Gamma radiation alarms sounded the three technicians knew they made a mistake. All three were exposed to deadly levels of radiation, more specifically Ouchi receiving 17 Sv of radiation due to his proximity to the reaction, Shinohara 10 Sv and Yokokawa 3 Sv due to his placement at a desk several meters away from the accidents. When being exposed to radiation it is said that anything over 10 Sv is deadly, this would prove to be true in this instance.

The fallout of radiation

Shinohara, the least affected out of the two who received a deadly dose of radiation, lasted 7 months in hospital until 27 April 2000. The technician died of lung and liver failure after a long battle against the effects of the radiation he endured. During his, 7-month stay at the University of Tokyo Hospital several skin grafts, blood transfusions and cancer treatments were performed on him with minimal success. Shinohara’s time at the University of Tokyo Hospital would be much less painful than Ouchi’s.

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

How to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Sign the nuclear weapons treaty

How to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Sign the nuclear weapons treaty,, DIANE RANDALL, 23 Aug 21,

Every August for the past 76 years we have marked the anniversary of the bombings of Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To date, the bombs dropped on the two cities three days apart in 1945, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands (mostly civilians) in the blink of an eye, have been the only use of nuclear weapons in combat. The strike cannot be ignored or overlooked. It should not be forgotten.

But I look forward to another anniversary, one that celebrates something that has not yet happened. I look forward to celebrating, year after year, the complete abolishment of nuclear weapons and to a world free of atomic bombs.

It is a small miracle that nuclear weapons have not been used again, despite being tested extensively, with at least nine nations possessing them. Small miracles, however, are no substitute for sound policy.

As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is a threat of use or the possibility of an accident with these weapons that harbor devastating destruction. These threats can be eliminated by banning all nuclear weapons.   

Yes, some may view this as unrealistic wishful thinking. No-one who lived through, witnessed or has any knowledge of the unparalleled destruction wrought upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki could possibly think nuclear weapons should be used again.

As Quakers, we have consistently called for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of war. Quakers, along with millions of people worldwide, support the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first international pact to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons. To date, it’s been signed by 86 countries, offering an aspiration for the complete elimination of these weapons.

However, no nuclear power, including the United States, has signed it.

It is equally true that the world has seen little if any peace since those tragic days in August 1945. Yes, thankfully, nuclear weapons have not been used. But that is no comfort for those on either side who died in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other lethal military confrontations. People who died fighting for their country, or the uncountable civilian casualties we call “collateral damage,” are no less meaningful than those who perished in the nuclear bombings.

What can be done about the mind-numbing amount of death and destruction we willingly unleash across the globe, too often with the intention to dominate others?

Stop funding nuclear weapons and cut the Pentagon budget is the most obvious answer. President Biden has already requested $US753 billion for both the Pentagon and the nuclear weapons budget, and the Senate Committee on Armed Services has offered an extra $US25 billion on top of that request.

Is there no better use for those funds? During a deadly new wave and resurgence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, isn’t the production and distribution of vaccines across the globe a more worthy choice for taxpayer funds? This would be a productive way to make the world a safer place rather than bombs, fighter planes, tanks, drones and guns.

As a faith community with a long tradition of working to prevent nuclear war and the ever-increasing threat of arms proliferation, Quakers know this is about a lot more than money. We are trying to save something much more important than that human life.

Progress has been made in reducing nuclear weapons since the Cold War; however we should continue to lead the way for all nuclear armed nations to ban these weapons forever. Our very existence is at stake. We have a moral obligation to make certain nuclear weapons should never be used again.

When that dream comes to fruition, it will be a day long worth marking.

Diane Randall is the general secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a national, non-partisan Quaker lobby for peace, justice and the environment. 

August 24, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Four ways in which political leaders can violate human values in the cause of war

War, Herbicides and Moral Disengagement  By Robert C. Koehler,  Common Wonders, 11 Aug 21

And the least secret agent of all . . . Agent Orange!

On August 10, 1961, the United States, several years before it actually sent troops, started poisoning the forests and crops of Vietnam with herbicides. The purpose: to deprive our declared enemy, the commies of Ho Chi Minh, of food and ground cover that allowed them to trek from North to South. It was called, innocuously, Operation Ranch Hand.

”’…………….war is insane — and growing ever more so. The military establishment isn’t just brutal and cruel. It is so advanced in the technology of lethality that its capable of destroying the world. Hasn’t the time come to defund war — completely! — and rethink how we deal with conflict?

…….. Here’s a starting place, thanks to psychologist Albert Bandura, as quoted by Russell P. Johnson in an essay published by the University of Chicago Divinity School. In essence, Bandura has sought an answer to the Question. What gives political leaders the wherewithal to violate basic human values — established moral standards — and perpetrate the inhumanity of war?

He calls the phenomenon of doing so “moral disengagement” and posits four forms that this behavior takes:

1. Euphemistic labeling: We may drop bombs and kill dozens or hundreds or thousands of civilians, including children, but the action is described by the lapdog media as, simply, an “airstrike.” We may torture Iraqi detainees but it’s not such a big deal when we call it “enhanced interrogation.” We may poison the jungles of Southeast Asia, but what the heck, there’s Jed Clampett leading the way in “Operation Ranch Hand.” The list of military euphemisms goes on and on and on.

2. Advantageous comparison. If the enemy you’re fighting is evil — and he always is — the actions you take to defeat him, whatever they are, are ipso facto justified. The alternative is doing nothing, a la Neville Chamberlain, appeasing Hitler. Violent response to evil — carpet-bombing Hamburg or Tokyo, nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki — is not simply justifiable but the essence of morally necessity.

3. Displaced responsibility. I was just following orders, cries the Buchenwald guard. I did what I was told. As Johnson writes: “Decisions are made and justified without anyone ever having the sense of a moral threshold being crossed.” Indeed, “an entire society can rely on displacement of responsibility to shield themselves from moral scrutiny.” A pernicious side effect of this is known as “moral injury.” Once a soldier is out of the military, the justification for killing someone may completely vanish; the result is a high suicide rate among vets.

4. Attribution of blame. They made us do it! “One’s actions are treated as mere reactions, caused not by one’s own decisions but by the actions of the enemy,” Johnson writes. “. . . If our actions are excessive or barbaric, it is the other side’s fault for driving us to such extremes.” When both sides in the conflict resort to this, which is almost always the case, Bandura calls the result “reciprocal escalation.” The war gets increasingly bloody.

Agent Orange Awareness Day, as I noted, was Aug. 10. I think we should spend the rest of the year honoring War and Dehumanization Awareness Day.

August 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Jesuit Steve Kelly has done jail time for protesting nuclear weapons. He’s willing to do it again.

Jesuit Steve Kelly has done jail time for protesting nuclear weapons. He’s willing to do it again. America Magazine,  Kevin Clarke, August 06, 2021  Steve Kelly, S.J., is trying to remain “discreet” about his precise whereabouts just now—it seems there is a warrant out for his arrest. He had already explained to the judge who freed him in April after nearly three years behind bars: He had—and has—no intention of cooperating with any of the stipulations of his supervised release. It took him no time at all to begin pushing against those stipulations.

He was ordered to report at a federal probation office within 72 hours of his release. He has not done so. It is the kind of obstinance that is likely to get a fellow sent back to jail sometime. Father Kelly is on probation after serving time for his most recent acts of civil disobedience in protest of the U.S. nuclear weapons regime

If he is “just incidentally arrested” at a demonstration or picked up during a traffic stop, he expects to be dragged back to a Georgia federal court, where he would face an additional four to 15 months behind bars. Father Kelly seems completely at peace with the prospect.

“I kind of make like a monk when I’m in jail,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to be in there for life, of course, but it’s not a big price to pay, at least for myself.”

A member of Kings Bay Plowshares 7, Father Kelly was convicted for his part in a protest at the Kings Bay Navy base in St. Marys, Ga., home port for six of America’s 14 Ohio-class nuclear submarines. These each carry 24 Trident nuclear ballistic missiles.

If he is “just incidentally arrested” at a demonstration or picked up during a traffic stop, he expects to be dragged back to a Georgia federal court, where he would face an additional four to 15 months behind bars. Father Kelly seems completely at peace with the prospect.

“I kind of make like a monk when I’m in jail,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to be in there for life, of course, but it’s not a big price to pay, at least for myself.”

Wire-cutting in Georgia

He recalls that “the bunker is lit up and double-fenced and guard-towered like a prison…[and] patrolled by Marines with lethal mandates.”Instead of receiving a reward for revealing the incredibly poor security at one of the nation’s premier nuclear weapons storage sites, they were promptly arrested.

Like other Kings Bay Plowshares 7 protesters, Father Kelly declined to apply for bail, waiting behind bars for trial. That meant at his sentencing in Octoberhe was released for time served.

Among the court orders he is ignoring, Father Kelly is declining to pay his share of $33,000 in restitution ordered for the damage at the submarine base: “Why would we want to pay for such idolatry?” he asks. “I’m indigent and I’m itinerant, so I’m just not going to allow donated money to pay for nuclear weapons.”

Paying the restitution and accepting the court supervision seem the path of least resistance. Why risk the additional jail time?

“This is the same authority that has been legitimizing nuclear weapons, so I just cannot in conscience cooperate,” he says.

“My beef is with the U.S. policy of nuclear weapons, so I am a political prisoner. Now, I’m not going to be recognized as a political prisoner by the Bureau of Prisons, nor the executive branch, probably by any branch of the U.S. government, but I still have to assert that; I have to humanize myself,” Father Kelly says.

“I assert my innocence; I assert the political nature of it, and I’m a conscientious objector to all that nuclear weapons represent.”

August 7, 2021 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Activist priest believes that ”the days of nuclear weapons are numbered”

Jesuit Steve Kelly has done jail time for protesting nuclear weapons. He’s willing to do it again. America Magazine,   Kevin ClarkeAugust 06, 2021
 ”……………..Father Kelly considers the effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons very much of this time and this place. “This is the same kind of thing that took place in the previous century when we did away with slavery,” he says. “Anyone [then] would have told you, ‘Wow, no, slavery is here to stay. It’s an economic reality that has been around for thousands of years. You’re not going to undo this.’”

He believes that nuclear weapons will one day soon be similarly recognized as “God’s nightmare.” There has, in fact, been much recent progress on ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Through a number of treaties over decades that have eliminated entire classes of nuclear weapons, the United States and Russia (and its predecessor Soviet Union) made huge reductions in the number of nuclear weapons in their arsenals. From a Cold War high of more than 70,000 nuclear warheads, that mutual global arsenal has been reduced to about 14,000 weapons. The United States alone reduced its arsenal by 87 percent, from 32,000 warheads in 1967 to about 4,000 operational and reserve weapons today.

Last year, the United Nations ratified an abolition treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons as a moral and existential affront. The abolition movement has failed, so far, to persuade any of the nine members of the nuclear weapons club to completely abandon their programs, but Father Kelly remains optimistic about Plowshares’ odds in this countercultural fight.

He notes the movement of the church under Pope Francis away from what had been a qualified acceptance of nuclear deterrence to an absolute rejection of the moral acceptability of any possession of nuclear weapons. “We knew that the church was very much opposed to nuclear weapons,” he says, “but to be able to have something that official, that coordinated, to be able to speak with one voice is just a tremendous help.”

Father Kelly says he maintains tremendous hope that “people will pick up this mission” when and if he finally concludes his activism for peace.

“That’s what it’s going to take, I think. The politicians will follow the people,” he says.

“Maybe I might not see it in my lifetime, but I think the days [of nuclear weapons] are numbered.”

August 7, 2021 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Moral Intelligence or Nuclear War, by Robert C. Koehler

“To declare that nuclear weapons can only “legally” be used in retaliation for a nuclear strike hardly leaves me feeling safe. Are we left with a world continually at war with itself, with our best hope being that all future wars will be waged legally and politely?”

Moral Intelligence or Nuclear War, by Robert C. Koehler — Rise Up Times

Moral Intelligence or Nuclear War, by Robert C. Koehler,  

We can no longer create a wasteland and call it peace.  

By ROBERT C. KOEHLER  Common Dreams  Rise UpTimes July 15, 2021  

Let’s dance at the border! One of these days, something will give—the rich, the powerful will suddenly look around cluelessly. What’s happening? Awareness will sweep across the planet: We are one, and life is sacred. This consciousness will even invade political life and what I call moral intelligence will find political traction.

This won’t mean that life suddenly becomes simple—anything but! The politics of today, nationally and internationally, is simple: somebody wins, somebody loses; war is inevitable, there are always several on the horizon, and the primary consequence of every war that is waged is that it spurs more wars, a fact that remains officially unnoticed; only some lives matter, those that don’t are collateral damage, illegal aliens or simply the enemy; nuclear weapons (ours, only ours) are justified, necessary and must be continually upgraded; national borders, however arbitrary, are sacred (the only thing that’s sacred); if these norms are challenged, the best response is mockery and cynicism.

The game of war has been going on sufficiently long—a dozen millennia or whatever—and is at its stopping point.

Transcending this mindset requires facing life in all its complexity, which is a necessary part of our personal lives. But could it be that facing the endless complexity of life is also politically possible? This seems to be the question I’ve been given to ponder—and cherish—as I step into my elder years. Come on! Politics requires simplistic public herding, does it not? You can’t steer a country without an enemy.

As a peace journalist, I usually begin by focusing on the media.   Consider this recent Washington Post piece regarding the use of nuclear weapons. Even though the article is critical of the Trump administration, which in 2018 “expanded the role of nuclear weapons by declaring for the first time that the United States would consider nuclear retaliation in the case of ‘significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” the article remains trapped, I fear, in linear, conventional thinking………..

the assumption that “the public” (whatever that is) would be focused on vengeance after a horrific cyberattack is simplistic, to say the least. The public—you, me, and perhaps everyone on the planet—would be in shock, wounded and grieving, and would be primarily focused on healing, help and the heroism of the many who gave their lives in rescue efforts. When I recall the days right after 9/11, what I think about are people lined up to donate blood, not shaking their fists in cartoonlike demands for vengeance against whomever.

But to slide such an assumption—the public is impulsive and stupid—into an article about nuclear weapons removes the possibility of bringing a larger awareness to the discussion, a public awareness that nuclear weapons should never be used and, indeed, should not exist, in our hands or anyone else’s. The Post appears not to want to go that far,….

I fear there are far deeper realities loose in the world: a military-industrial complex that will do whatever it can to prevent the world from transcending war; the possibility of a president in political trouble, seeing war (even the nuclear button) as a solution; and the hidden forces of the deep state, exerting pressures on political leaders the public will never know about.

To declare that nuclear weapons can only “legally” be used in retaliation for a nuclear strike hardly leaves me feeling safe. Are we left with a world continually at war with itself, with our best hope being that all future wars will be waged legally and politely?

Regarding nukes, the Post notes, the Obama administration’s guidance document declares that “the United States “will not intentionally target civilian populations or civilian objects.” And a former head of the U.S. Strategic Command under Obama told the Post the command had developed nuclear delivery “tactics and techniques to minimize collateral effects.”

“Minimized collateral damage” is a phrase you’d use only in regard to people whose lives didn’t matter. And if the weapons involved are nuclear, it sounds like a grotesque lie. All of which intensifies my outrage: We are one, and life is sacred. The game of war has been going on sufficiently long—a dozen millennia or whatever—and is at its stopping point. We can no longer create a wasteland and call it peace. The wasteland it is in our power to create is Planet Earth.

I know the human species has what it takes to reach beyond its artificial borders and refuse to let this happen. The time for the best of us to emerge is now.

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The space tourism plans of Bezos, Musk and Branson are morally reprehensible,

Ben Bramble sets out a problem that ought to be so obvious – that this space travel push is a wasteful, and even childish example of the rich boys club doing its thing –   Bezos, Musk, Gates, Branson  etc trying to outdo each other  

But there is a more sinister side to space travel and space research –   the national rivalries, started with Donald Trump’s plan for a Space Force –     nuclear reactors, nuclear-powered rockets, and nuclear weapons in space.   Those billionaires are all too well connected with NASA and this space military push. The thought of a nuclear war in space is horrendous.   But what else could possibly go wrong?

The space tourism plans of Bezos, Musk and Branson are morally reprehensible, The Age, Ben Bramble, 5 July 21.

With billionaires Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson soon to send paying customers into space, members of US Congress are askingwhether and how to regulate commercial spaceflight. But there is a more basic question: Should there be such an industry in the first place?

Supporters of such an industry, such as Republican Kevin McCarthy, cast these billionaires as modern-day Wright brothers, innovating commercialspaceflight in a way governments either can’t or won’t. While billionaires will be the first in space, they say, soon everyone will get their chance.

But this is clearly not feasible any time soon, given Earth’s environmental crises. It is unsustainable for humans to keep consuming resources at the rate we currently are, let alone if space tourism were to become commonplace. The fact that a product can be made cheap enough for many people to afford it does not show that it is environmentally sustainable for many people to actually consume it.

Still, you might say, what could be wrong with commercial spaceflight reserved for the ultra-wealthy? This wouldn’t significantly worsen our environmental crises.–

But there is something morally distasteful in the extreme about space tourism exclusively for the ultra-wealthy when so many people on Earth are in such great need. Going into space, in full view of the many billions of humans who are struggling on a daily basis, is a little like enjoying a pop-up Michelin star meal in front of a homeless shelter.

This is not to decry all luxury goods. But there is something particularly objectionable about spending so much money on a fleeting experience for oneself and others, who are already among the best off on the planet, when so many cannot even make ends meet (through no fault of their own).

At present, there seems a clear tendency to reserve moral criticism for people who cause bad things or who set out to harm others. Such behaviour is certainly bad and merits criticism. But we should feel grumpy also at people for failing to help others when they easily can. Those who display an indifference to the plight of others or who are too wrapped up in themselves and their own self-serving projects are morally criticisable even if they are not the cause of others’ suffering. While it is true that Bezos has recently become a major sponsor of the environment, much more is needed. Every dollar spent on sending billionaires into space is money that could have been used instead to help save the planet or bring others out of poverty.

It is worth adding that many billionaires have contributed to Earth’s problems. Our environmental crises are largely due to excessive consumption, something that companies such as Amazon have played a major role in making possible, affordable and accepted……….

Bezos has said that one of his reasons for founding his company Blue Origin is that “we’re now big compared to the size of the planet”. Like Musk, he thinks we need to look beyond Earth to survive our present crises. But this is far too premature. We can still save the Earth. But to save it, we’re going to have to re-engineer our consumer cultures and economies. This, and not space tourism, is the great engineering challenge of the 21st century. I’d like to see these billionaires use their brilliant minds to help save the Earth, rather than flee it. If this means smaller growth for their own companies, so be it. …..

July 5, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, space travel | 1 Comment

Should Bill Gates be viewed as a man of character and a trusted adviser to world leaders?

Gates’ reputation and practices are now open to further questions and scrutiny.

Billionaire Bill Gates’ Alleged Relationships With Women While Married Raise Questions About His Character, Forbes, Jack Kelly, Senior Contributor  17 May 21,  Bill Gates, the multibillionaire cofounder of Microsoft, was viewed and mostly respected by the public as a nerdy, brainy and awkward guy. In the tech community, it was different. Gates was feared. Rivals saw him as brutal and ruthless.

The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division accused Microsoft of running a monopoly and filed suit—United States v. MicrosoftCompetitors were knocked out of business. His childhood best friend and cofounder, Paul Allen, claimed Gates “conspired with Microsoft’s first chief executive, Steve Ballmer, to reduce his co-founder’s stake,” while he was “recovering from treatment for lymphoma.” 

Extolling Gates’ cultivated persona of a well-meaning billionaire, Times Magazine wrote in March 2020, “Late on Friday, cofounder and original chief executive officer Bill Gates, the man most closely identified with the world’s largest software maker, said he will leave the company’s board to devote more time to his charitable foundation, which is is playing a key role in global health initiatives and expanding into new areas like climate change.” The takeaway from this type of fawning reporting belied the real man. 

The real story, according to the Wall Street Journal,  was far different than initially reported. “Microsoft Corp. board members decided that Bill Gates needed to step down from its board in 2020 as they pursued an investigation into the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate.”  

An investigation initiated by Microsoft’s board of directors determined that Gates had to go. After decades helming the software company, Gates resigned before the board finished its probe.  …………..

Gates became a fixture on the news, weighing in on Covid-19, vaccines and a wide array of other global matters. His past take-no-prisoners approach to business at Microsoft was forgotten. He transformed into a new persona of a caring, well-meaning philanthropist. 

In fairness, Gates has accomplished great work through his foundation and efforts. He may have saved and improved millions of lives around the world through his philanthropic endeavors.

It appears, in hindsight, that this may have been some sort of attempt for redemption, atoning for past actions. Sadly, moving forward, in light of these allegations, Gates’ reputation and practices are now open to further questions and scrutiny.

May 18, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

The radiation danger to astronauts- cancer, heart disease -an ethical problem

“These are all crucial studies to be conducted in order to really understand the risks we’re exposing astronauts to,” says Meerman. “Therefore, we believe we are not there yet and we should debate whether it is safe to expand human space travel significantly

March 9, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference, Religion and ethics, space travel | Leave a comment

Heroism of Fukushima’s nuclear emergency workers

France Info 7th March 2021, For four days and four nights in March 2011, hundreds of workers tried, sometimes risking their lives, to contain the damage from the earthquake
and tsunami that destroyed the Japanese nuclear power plant.

”……….March 11, 2011, 3:27 p.m. The ocean begins to hit the enclosure of the nuclear power plant. A first wave about 4 meters high crashes against the dike. But ten minutes later, a wave some 15 meters high swept over Fukushima Daiichi. The doors of the turbine buildings are not watertight: the generators, electric meters and batteries are flooded. Vehicles and rubble litter the roads. Two operators who had gone to watch the machines in the basement of reactor building 4 drowned.

On the second floor of the earthquake-resistant building, all the lights go out. It’s pitch black in this windowless building. Worse, the measurement indicators no longer work. Impossible to know the temperature and the pressure inside the reactors, therefore to know if the emergency cooling systems are still functioning. However, if the water level in a reactor drops, the fuel rods heat up and can melt until they pierce the concrete enclosure and cause a major nuclear disaster.

“We were left speechless”
“At that time, it was astonishment. We were all so devastated that we were left speechless,” recalls Masao Yoshida during an audition transcribed in A story of Fukushima (PUF editions), by Franck Guarnieri and Sébastien Travadel. The scarce information is communicated to the two external crisis units which are set up 250 km away, in Tokyo. One at the headquarters of Tepco, the company that operates the plant; the other at Kantei, the residence of the Prime Minister.

The teams take action. Two solutions are being considered for cooling the reactors: using diesel engine fire pumps or fire trucks which are already on the site. In the absence of a measuring system, the employees concentrate first on Reactor 2. What they do not know is that the back-up system is operating there. The emergency is actually located in reactor 1. Around 6 p.m., its heart begins to melt inside the containment……..

The teams take action. Two solutions are being considered for cooling the reactors: using diesel engine fire pumps or fire trucks which are already on the site. In the absence of a measuring system, the employees concentrate first on Reactor 2. What they do not know is that the back-up system is operating there. The emergency is actually located in reactor 1. Around 6 p.m., its core begins to melt inside the containment.
That’s when they were most irradiated”
Among employees, fear of radiation escalates. “The state of Reactor 1 scared young people,” said Ryuta Idogawa, one of the plant’s reactor pilots, in an interview with Yuki Kobayashi, a doctoral student in science and engineering of risky activities. Despite the danger, however, it is necessary to choose men to open the valves of the reactors manually.

Around 4 am, the injection of fresh water, stored on site in the event of a problem, is finally launched into reactor 1. “When we saw water coming out of the pipe and reaching the reactor, we all yelled, ‘Yes!’ and raised our fists in the air “, tells the Telegraph * Kazuhiko Fukudome, one of the firefighters involved in the accident. Workers are constantly refueling the trucks to operate the water pump. “I think that’s when they were most irradiated,” admits Masao Yoshida.

……… “We sent men and it exploded”

March 13, 2011, 2:42 a.m. While the situation in reactor 1 appears to have stabilized, it is the turn of the reactor 3 emergency cooling system to cease functioning. New operations must be relaunched, but fatigue begins to be felt. “How long can we continue to work without ever sleeping? The answer is 36 hours. That’s the limit for all men,” said Takeyuki Inagaki, group leader at the plant, in an interview with Yuki Kobayashi. This duration has just been reached by the employees, fed on rice bars and instant noodles. Even Masao Yoshida dozes off.

However, new operations resume before sunrise. Reactor 3 must be ventilated and cooled. After a few hours of hard work amidst the debris, the workers succeed in hooking up new pumps and watering the building to prevent overheating. Several of them are exposed to doses of radioactivity greater than 100 millisieverts (mSv), according to the Japanese nuclear safety agency, or five times more than the annual dose authorized in France for employees in the sector.

March 14, 2011, 11:01 a.m. A new explosion, even more impressive than the first, resonates in the heart of the plant. “HQ! HQ! It’s terrible! We have a problem on site number 3!” shouts Masao Yoshida, in a recording of the Crisis Staff. This time, it is the reactor building 3 which is blown up because of the hydrogen. The manager has to face his decisions: “I was sorry. We weren’t sure, but we thought it would not explode right away. We sent men and it exploded,” he admits. .

“Right after the explosion, when I learned that there were about 40 missing, I really iexpected to die. myself.”

Masao Yoshida, director of the plant before a commission of inquiry.
The explosion ultimately caused no death, but a dozen injured. It also has an immediate consequence for the plant: the destruction of the emergency cooling system of reactor 2. “I think that is the moment when I hit rock bottom. I saw us all dead,” says Masao Yoshida. On this Monday morning, the teams are overwhelmed. “I will never forget that afternoon. My stomach ached as if a block of lead was left there,” recalls group leader Takeyuki Inagaki.

”I ask you to sacrifice your lives”
In the middle of the afternoon, the director begins to envisage an evacuation of the few hundred non-essential employees of the plant. He orders that coaches be ready to leave in case of further complications. But shortly before 8 p.m. the hard work of the workers paid off. The injection of sea water begins in reactor 2. Reluctant to any evacuation of the employees, the Prime Minister addresses them during a night videoconference: “I ask you to sacrifice your lives.”
March 15, 2011, 6:14 a.m. It has been four days since the disaster struck, and employees must continue their endless battle against the elements. This time, it is a leak in the enclosure of reactor 2 which causes an explosion and damages reactor 4. Luckily, the explosion does not cut off the seawater cooling system of the first three reactors. The exhausted workers managed to stabilize these time bombs and contain what could have turned out to be a much more deadly disaster.

“There is a special bond between us. I cannot express it in words. I imagine that it is the camaraderie that can be between soldiers in time of war, will tell the Guardian later * l One of the engineers, Atsufumi Yoshizawa. In our case, the enemy was the nuclear power plant. And we fought it together. ” This Tuesday, reinforcements will finally arrive from the surrounding power plants to restore power supplies and build protective structures. The closed-door hell of Fukushima Daiichi power plant workers is over.

March 8, 2021 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy proponents downplay its unresolved moral and ethical concerns

Nuclear energy, ten years after Fukushima,  Nature, Ali Ahmad & Francesca Giovannini, 4 Mar 21,      ” …………..Many academics have cast nuclear power as an inevitable choice if the planet is to limit global warming1. But, given the environmental and social concerns, others are more circumspect, or remain opposed2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 2018 special report on global warming, acknowledged a possible role for nuclear energy in limiting global temperature rise, but highlighted the crucial role that public acceptance will have in boosting or derailing investments.

Safety and cost are frequently highlighted as the central challenges for the nuclear industry. New technologies are tackling these issues, but such reactors might not become commercialized until mid-century. That time frame could render them obsolete, as competing technologies such as solar and wind energy (plus storage) become increasingly dominant3.

In our view, a larger problem looms: the opaque, inward-looking and inequitable ways in which the nuclear sector has long made technology and policy decisions. Hence, two crucial questions concerning the future of nuclear energy need to be asked. First, can and will the sector ever overcome public disapproval? Second, are its benefits worth the risks and costs to people and the environment?……………
 much of the support for nuclear energy focuses almost exclusively on its techno-economic characteristics, downplaying unresolved moral and ethical concerns. Proponents often fail to consider inequalities in how the benefits and risks of nuclear technologies are distributed at the local, regional and global scale. Nor do they consider who is left out of the decision-making processes about what to build, or who will be most affected by problems that arise7.
Nearly three-quarters of all uranium production globally, for instance, comes from mines that are in or near Indigenous communities, for example in the United States and Australia. These mines, left unremediated after use, have poisoned lands and peoples, and upended traditional ways of life (see Nuclear waste is similarly mired in equity concerns, given that long-term repositories will probably be sited far from communities that have typically benefited from the production of nuclear electricity. The nuclear industry often presents the problem of waste storage as having known technical solutions. The reality of exactly where it should go, and how, is still highly contentious.
In stark contrast, the ‘Green New Deals’ proposed in several countries explicitly aspire to wealth redistribution, social fairness and environmental equity. In the United States and other countries where such discussions have emerged, public support for nuclear energy is mixed.

The nuclear sector has consistently failed to engage meaningfully with the public over such concerns. This failure can be traced back to the 1960s and 1970s. Psychological studies of risk at that time described the public as affective, irrational and neglectful of probability in its assessments of risk, and called on the nuclear industry either to accept and design for the public’s perceptions of risk or to educate the public8.

Industry chose the latter path, typically attempting to engage the public only at the final stages of plant regulation and focusing on educating the public with the industry’s own view of risk. This is a straightforward, quantitative equation that multiplies the probability of disaster and consequence. It often avoids or ignores the public perspective. For example, many people are willing to accept risks that are voluntary or familiar — such as flying, smoking or driving a car — against risks that are unfamiliar and over which they have little control. For involuntary risky activities, most individuals tend to de-emphasize probability and require higher levels of safety and protection for their comfort.

The industry’s mode of engagement with the public has led to an antagonistic expert–public divide. Fukushima, for example, left an undeniable mark on the public psyche. But the nuclear industry consistently plays down the disaster by focusing on the fact that it did not cause any direct casualties. Although no human deaths resulted directly from the accident, disruptions to livelihoods, social ties and irreversible damage to ecosystems have been significant. An estimated 165,000 people were displaced, and, a decade later, some 43,000 residents are unable to return to their home towns9. Industry risk assessments capture the economic impacts of such issues, but usually fail to capture the harder-to-quantify collateral damage to people’s lives and the environment………

March 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment