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After U.N. conference, nuclear disarmament advocates look to new strategies

Dennis Sadowski, Catholic Review, 11 Sept 22,

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Four weeks of debate — during a review conference for a treaty widely viewed as a cornerstone of nuclear disarmament — resulted in no consensus on how to move forward despite the efforts of the Holy See, disarmament advocates and non-nuclear nations

Russia blocked agreement on a final document late Aug. 26, the review conference’s final day, by objecting to paragraphs raising concerns about military activity around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

The 10th Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations headquarters in New York led to widespread consensus on numerous issues related to nuclear safety, but could not satisfy the Russian delegation’s objection even though the document did not mention Russia by name.

Maryann Cusimano Love, associate professor of international politics at The Catholic University of America, attended the conference as an expert consultant to the Holy See Mission at the U.N.

She told Catholic News Service that the Holy See’s participation in the review conference and its consistent voice in urging the world to abolish nuclear weapons was critical, especially at a time when fears remain that nuclear weapons may be introduced to the war in Ukraine

Early in the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear forces on alert, but has since backed off any suggestion that he would authorize the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

The review conference brought delegations from around the world to New York to discuss next steps toward fulfilling the treaty’s goal of the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. Originally scheduled for 2020, it was delayed three times because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the treaty’s provisions is a requirement that parties to it “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

Disarmament advocates say that not enough has been done to achieve that goal…………………………………..

Maryann Cusimano Love also said that while the Russian objection was the main focus coming out of the meeting, the 35-page draft document offered numerous other steps related to nuclear safety, reducing nuclear arsenals and protecting human life that conference delegates can pursue going forward.

………………………………. the 65 states that have signed the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, including the Holy See, released a statement voicing their disappointment over the outcome. They pledged their support for the treaty, saying it was a necessary step toward an eventual ban on nuclear weapons.

The ban treaty went into force in January 2021, but has not gained the support of any nuclear-armed nations.

Supporters of the ban treaty also expressed concern that the risk of the use of nuclear weapons in the world today remained high, “and the possibility of the catastrophic humanitarian impact … is looming ominously over us.”

“We are dismayed that this very fact has been used at the NPT review conference deliberations as reason against the urgently needed progress on nuclear disarmament, and to uphold an approach to security based on the fallacy of nuclear deterrence. This approach relies on the threat of the actual use of nuclear weapons and, hence, the risks of the destruction of countless lives, of societies, of nations, and of inflicting global catastrophic consequences,” the statement said…………………………………………… more https://catholicreview.org/after-u-n-conference-nuclear-disarmament-advocates-look-to-new-strategies/

September 19, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

John Queripel: The blind side to western wars and western war crimes

https://johnmenadue.com/john-queripel-the-blind-side-to-western-wars-and-western-war-crimes/, Pearls and Irritations, By P&I Guest Writers, Aug 22, 2022

The calls mount for the Russian leader to be dragged before a War Crimes Tribunal, while everyone from international sporting bodies to businesses and banks is busy sanctioning Russia. Yet, the three world leaders responsible for the illegal Iraq  war of 2003 have still not been held to account

One of the ideas, central to the thought of the Swiss founder of Analytical Psychology Carl Jung, was the shadow side. This is the side of our personalities we find unattractive which we, as a means of defence, then project onto others.

Jung asserted, it is not only individuals, but whole cultures, which are inclined to do this. Thus, in the years preceding the Nazi takeover, Jung spoke of Germany, caught in a cult of intellectualism, denying primal forces, projecting their unacknowledged dark side on to ‘the other.’ Of course, we know that the Nazis rose to power exploiting this projection of darkness to others, be they Communists, Romanies, Jews or homosexuals. The end of that journey was mass extermination in such places as Auschwitz.

It is very comforting but deeply dangerous to project our own darkness onto others, whom we then demonise. Currently most of those things, dark and evil in world politics, are being projected on to Russia, in particular their leader, Vladimir Putin, understood as ‘megalomaniac,’ ‘tyrant,’ and ‘war-monger.’ He may indeed be these things, but projection of these forces on to him saves us having to face up to their presence in ourselves.

The West, so vociferous in their criticism of Putin, cannot front up to the reality that it has been equally criminal in invading a sovereign state on concocted excuses. Unable to convince the U.N. Security Council, over what, even at the time, was a highly dubious claim that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction,’ which the then U.K. Prime Minister, Tony Blair claimed could reign down on British cities within 40 minutes, the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ chose to go to war.

The resultant destruction was horrendous. Though figures vary greatly, the highly reputable medical journal, ‘The Lancet’ estimated there were 654,965 excess deaths in Iraq from the time of the 2003 invasion to mid-2006 only. In that year, 2006 alone, the U.N. estimates the number of innocent civilians killed as totalling 34,452. The most potent image of the destruction wrought by that war is found in images of Fallujah after the allies had finished their bombing. Putin and the Russians still have a long way to go to reach that level of death and destruction.

The calls mount for the Russian leader to be dragged before a War Crimes Tribunal, while everyone from international sporting bodies to businesses and banks is busy sanctioning Russia. Yet, the three world leaders responsible for the illegal war of 2003 have still not been held to account. Nor were those bodies, now declaring their abhorrence to war, imposing sanctions against the Western nations guilty of the same aggressive invasion of a sovereign state. Having, trashed the ‘rules based international order,’ of which it so loves to speak, did the West not suspect that one like Putin would profit from such?

It is comforting to project one’s shadow side on another, but Jung asserted, it comes back to bite in a highly destructive way.

John Queripel is a Newcastle-based theologian, author, and social commentator 

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Macron that Ukrainian shelling of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant risks disaster

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his French counterpart Emmanuel
Macron that shelling of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power
plant in southern Ukraine, which he blamed on Kyiv, could result in a
large-scale disaster.

 Reuters 19th Aug 2022

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russia-says-putin-macron-hold-call-discuss-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-russian-2022-08-19/

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Seventy-five years after the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan, we remain perched on the precipice of unparalleled catastrophe.

Seventy-five years after the dawn of the nuclear age, we are as ready as ever to extinguish ourselves. The human race is clearly an evolutionary aberrant on a suicidal mission.

The Lessons We Haven’t Learned, The Progressive Magazine, BY HELEN CALDICOTT, AUGUST 3, 2020

In truth, the U.S. Department of Defense is a misnomer; it is actually the Department of War, Death, and Suicide. Hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money are spent annually by corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, and Raytheon Technologies Corporation to create and build the most hideous weapons of destruction.

Brilliant people employed by these massive corporations, mostly men, are deploying their brainpower to devise better and more hideous ways of killing.  

”……………………………… What rained down on those two Japanese cities seventy-five years ago was destruction on a scale never seen before or since. People exposed within half a mile of the atomic fireball were seared to piles of smoking char in a fraction of a second as their internal organs boiled away. The small black bundles stuck to the streets and bridges and sidewalks of Hiroshima numbered in the thousands.

A little boy was reaching up to catch a red dragonfly with his hand against the blue sky when there was a blinding flash and he disappeared. He turned into gas and left his shadow behind on the pavement, a haunting relic later moved to the Hiroshima Museum. A woman was running while holding her baby; she and the baby were turned into a charcoal statue.

In all, about 120,000 people were killed immediately by the two bombs, and tens of thousands more died later due to radiation exposure.

In 1957, when I was eighteen, I read a book by Nevil Shute, an English novelist who ended up in Australia. On the Beach described how the city of Melbourne awaited a deadly cloud of radiation from a nuclear war that was triggered by an accident in the northern hemisphere, killing everything. Men drank their last gin and tonics in the Melbourne Club while the government dispensed cyanide capsules so parents could kill their children quickly to avoid the agonizing symptoms of radiation poisoning.

At the time, I was in medical school, where I learned about radiation biology—the classic experiments of Hermann J. Muller, who in the 1920s irradiated Drosophila fruit flies inducing genetic mutations and morphological abnormalities. Concurrently, the United States and the Soviet Union were testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, bombarding huge populations with radioactive fallout.

In my naiveté, I couldn’t understand what these men thought they were doing because the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation were well known in scientific circles. Madame Curie had died of aplastic anemia secondary to radium, an alpha emitter polluting her bones; her daughter died of leukemia, and many of the early radiologists who exposed themselves randomly to X-rays died from malignancies.

Einstein wrote: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” Robert Oppenheimer, watching the world’s first nuclear explosion in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1945, muttered to himself, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.

The scientists knew that they had discovered the seeds of human destruction.

In my naiveté, I couldn’t understand what these men thought they were doing because the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation were well known in scientific circles. Madame Curie had died of aplastic anemia secondary to radium, an alpha emitter polluting her bones; her daughter died of leukemia, and many of the early radiologists who exposed themselves randomly to X-rays died from malignancies.

Einstein wrote: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” Robert Oppenheimer, watching the world’s first nuclear explosion in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1945, muttered to himself, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.

The scientists knew that they had discovered the seeds of human destruction.

A nuclear “exchange” between these two superpowers would take little over one hour to complete. A twenty-megaton bomb (the equivalent of twenty million tons of TNT) would excavate a hole three-quarters of a mile wide and 800 feet deep, converting all buildings and people into radioactive fallout that would be shot up in the mushroom cloud. Within six miles in all directions every living thing would be vaporized. Twenty miles from the epicenter, huge fires would erupt, as winds of up to 500 miles per hour would suck people out of buildings and turn them into missiles traveling at 100 miles per hour. The fires would coalesce, incinerating much of the United States and causing most nuclear power plants to melt down, greatly exacerbating radioactive fallout.

Potentially billions of people would die hideously from acute radiation sickness, vomiting, and bleeding to death. As thick black radioactive smoke engulfed the stratosphere, the Earth would, over time, be plunged into another ice age—a “nuclear winter,” annihilating almost all living organisms.

Seventy-five years after the dawn of the nuclear age, we are as ready as ever to extinguish ourselves. The human race is clearly an evolutionary aberrant on a suicidal mission. Our planet is in the intensive care unit, approaching several terminal events.

Will we gradually burn and shrivel life on our wondrous Earth by emitting the ancient carbon stored over billions of years to drive our cars and power our industries, or will we end it suddenly by creating a global gas oven?

The International Energy Agency said recently that we only have six months left to avert the effects of global warming before it is too late. Earlier this year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it’s ever been.

In truth, the U.S. Department of Defense is a misnomer; it is actually the Department of War, Death, and Suicide. Hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money are spent annually by corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, and Raytheon Technologies Corporation to create and build the most hideous weapons of destruction.

President Donald Trump is right when he says we need to make friends with the Russians, for it is Russian bombs that might well annihilate the United States. Indeed, we need to foster friendship with all nations and reinvest the trillions of dollars spent on war, killing, and death, saving the ecosphere by powering the world with renewable energy including solar, wind, and geothermal, and planting trillions of trees.

Such a move would also free up billions of dollars that could be reallocated to such purposes as providing free medical care for all U.S. citizens, along with free education, housing for the homeless, and care for those with mental illness.

The United States needs to rise to its full moral and spiritual height and lead the world to sanity and survival. I know this is possible because, in the 1980s, millions of wonderful people rose up, nationally and internationally, in opposition to the arms race and the Cold War.

But what is the present reality in the United States?

There are 450 Minuteman III missiles operational on the Great Plains—in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. In each missile silo are two missileers, who control and launch the missiles which contain one or two hydrogen bombs. Planes armed with hydrogen bombs stand ready to take off at any moment, and nuclear submarines silently plow the oceans ready to launch.

Both the United States and Russia have nuclear weapons targeted at military facilities and population centers. Nuclear war could happen at any time, by accident or design. The late Stephen Hawking warned in 2014 that artificial intelligence, now being deployed by the military, could become so autonomous that it could start a nuclear war by itself.

This threat is largely ignored by politicians and the mainstream media, who continue to practice psychic numbing as we stumble blindly toward our demise.

 How come the physicists, engineers, and military personnel who have laced the world with nuclear weapons ready to launch never factored into their equations the probability that an immature, petulant man-baby could hold the trigger for our destruction in his hands? https://progressive.org/magazine/the-lessons-we-havent-learned-caldicott/

August 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Connecting Toxic Memories: Hiroshima and Nuremberg

the NATO Three had the temerity to issue a joint statement expressing their total opposition to the approach taken by the so-called Ban Treaty (TPNW), declared it was their intention to continue to rely on nuclear weapons to meet their far-flung security needs broadly specified to include geopolitical deterrence, that is, not only is this weaponry not being limited to the defense of homelands but vital strategic concerns that could potentially arise anywhere on the planet. At present, this commitment to nuclearism is illustrated by the U.S. posture in response to the Ukraine War and the future of Taiwan, as well as by revealing refusal even to accept a No First Use framework of restraint.

What was most controversial about the [Nuremberg] trials was the failure to inquire into the violations of international criminal law by the winning side, which is why these tribunals, however conscientious their work, have been derided over the years as glaring instances of ‘victors’ justice.’

CounterPunch, BY RICHARD FALK, 12 Aug 22,

77 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Peace activists around the world often choose August 6th and 9th each year to grieve anew the human suffering and devastation caused by dropping atomic bombs on the undefended Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which lacked military significance. Among other things these atomic attacks were ‘geopolitical crimes’ of ultimate terror, with scant combat justification, and intended mainly as a warning to Soviet leaders not to defy the West in the peace diplomacy at the end of World War II.

These August dates marking the utter destruction of these two cities are treated as events giving rise to what has been widely known as the nuclear age. This awful beginning can never be forgotten or redeemed, although ever since the explosions in 1945 the solemnity of these occasions has been overshadowed outside of Japan by widespread fears that a nuclear war might occur at some point and a quiet rage continues to build around the world that the nuclear weapons states, above all the U.S., have stubbornly defiantly refused to take steps to fulfill pledges to seek a reliable path to nuclear disarmament in good faith.

This moral and political pledge became legally obligatory in Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1970), a commitment affirmed unanimously in an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in 1996. It has become clear that for the security establishments of the ‘NATO Three’ (U.S. France, UK) this disarmament commitment was never more than ‘a useful fiction’ that conveyed the sense that the non-nuclear states were being given something valuable and commensurate to the willingness to give up their conditional option to underpin national security by acquiring nuclear weapons (as Russia and China, as well as Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have done over the decades).

The non-nuclear Parties to the NPT  are not formally obliged to give up their option of acquiring nuclear weapons unconditionally.  Article 10 confers on all Parties to the NPT a right of withdrawal if “extraordinary events..have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.” In practice, as Iran is finding out, this right of withdrawal gives way to the geopolitical priorities of an enforcement regime presided over by the United States. The so-called Jerusalem Declaration signed in July by U.S. and Israel leaders commits to using whatever military force is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weaponry.

NPT Review Conference at the UN

Currently the NPT Review Conference, postponed since 2020 because of COVID, at UN Headquarters in New York City, two significant contradictory developments dominated the scene. It was the first such meeting of NPT Parties since the Treaty of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force in early 2021. This treaty, a project of governments from the Global South in active coalition with Global Civil Society has drawn a bright line between the majority views of the peoples of the world and the security elites of these nine nuclear weapons states.

This impasse between the nuclear haves and have-nots amounts to an existential confirmation of ‘nuclear apartheid’ as the precarious and self-serving underpinning of global security unless and until the advocates TPNW muster enough strength and will to mount a real challenge to such a hegemonic and menacing concentration of unaccountable power and discretionary authority.

New Patterns of Geopolitical Rivalry Increase Risks of Nuclear War

The second notable development at the NPT Review Conference lent a sense of immediacy and urgency to what had become 77 years after Hiroshima a somewhat abstract concern is the Ukraine War, and its geopolitical spillover effect of heightening the perceived risks of the use of nuclear weaponry and even the danger of nuclear war. The U.S. has decided it is worth challenging Russia’s attack on Ukraine sufficiently to uphold its strategic logic that since the end of the Cold War the world has political space for one extraterritorial state, which became the sole supplier of global governance when it comes to the international security agenda. Among other things, unipolarity meant that Cold War Era mutual respect for territorial spheres of influence on the borders of Great Powers no longer are pillars of stable geopolitical coexistence. After the Soviet collapse in 1992 the U.S. has acted as if entitled to implement a Monroe Doctrine for the world. To make such a grandiose hegemonic political destiny credible it has shouldered the immense economic and strategic burdens that accompany the role, maintaining hundreds of foreign military bases and naval fleets in every ocean.

NATO’s insistence early in the Ukraine War on making Russia pay for its invasion by being again reduced to the normalcies of territorial sovereignty was undoubtedly intended to be a master class for the benefit of Russia, and especially China, in the geopolitics of the post-Cold War world. It also provided an occasion to send China, currently the more formidable adversary of the West, a message written with the blood of Ukrainian lives, that any show of force to regain control over Taiwan will be met an even more punitive response, including thinly veiled threats that pointedly refuse to rule out uses of nuclear weapons. Pentagon war games some months ago ominously showed that China would prevail in any military encounter in the South China Seas unless the U.S. was prepared to cross the nuclear threshold. This assessment should be affirming the renewed strategic relevance of nuclear weaponry. It has proven helpful in making the case for even larger military appropriations from Congress.

American diplomacy toward China has aggravated an already inflammatory context by some inexplicably provocative behavior in recent months. First came a gratuitous public pronouncement by Biden last May while in Asia to provide whatever military assistance was deemed necessary to protect Taiwan if under attack by China. And secondly, a totally destabilizing August visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi at a time of already high tensions. These provocations violated the spirit of the Shanghai Communique that was issued by China and the U.S. in 1972………………………………………………………………………………….

What was most controversial about the [Nuremberg] trials was the failure to inquire into the violations of international criminal law by the winning side, which is why these tribunals, however conscientious their work, have been derided over the years as glaring instances of ‘victors’ justice.’

My interest in the connections between Hiroshima and Nuremberg is somewhat different. The insensitivity of such a high profile signing of this agreement on August 8th establishing the Nuremberg Tribunal is appalling. It occurred during the very days of the atomic bombings, arguably the worst crime of World War II at least on a par with the Holocaust. It is more than insensitivity, it is moral numbness, which prepares political actors, whether states, empire, or leaders, to embrace past crimes and commit future crimes. It leads directly to such features of world order as a geopolitical right of exception at the UN by way of the veto and impunity with respect to accountability procedures. In effect, the UN is designed quite literally to give assurances that the most dangerous states, as of 1945, are jurisprudentially protected forever from any adverse Security Council decision as to criminal acts, at least within the UN System.

What is this slightly disguised feature of legality and legitimacy conveying to a curious observer? That law and accountability are relevant for propaganda and punishment against Great Power adversaries, and that the wrongs of victors in major wars are beyond scrutiny but those of the vanquished and weak are to be judged in what amounts to ‘show trials’ because of this core failure to treat equals equally.

There is yet something else to reflect upon. If August 8th had been a different day that of infamy because an English or American city had been targeted by a German atomic bomb and yet Germany still lost the war, the act and the weapon would have been criminalized at Nuremberg and by subsequent international action. We might not be still living with this weaponry if the perpetrators of those dreadful events of August 6th and 9th had been the losers in World War II, which makes the rightly celebrated defeat of fascism on balance a somewhat questionable long-term victory for humanity.

77 years later it seems worth pondering allow this long repressed relationship between Hiroshima and Nuremberg in the context of the recent irresponsible heightening of geopolitical tensions with Russia and China.

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, Chair of Global law, Queen Mary University London, and Research Associate, Orfalea Center of Global Studies, UCSB.   https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/08/12/connecting-toxic-memories-hiroshima-and-nuremberg/

August 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, legal, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Archbishop Wester apologizes for harms caused by nuclear weapons industry

 Catholic News Service,  August 10, 2022

A New Mexico archbishop whose archdiocese is home to two major federal nuclear weapons research facilities and an Air Force base apologized for the atomic bombings of Japan and to Indigenous New Mexicans, uranium miners and scientists suffering from ill health related to the nuclear weapons industry.

Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe said the time has come for the world to fervently work to undertake the long process to achieve nuclear disarmament.

He made the comments in a homily during a Mass Aug. 9 marking the 77th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan…………………..

He called on American and Japanese people to “drive the international will to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.”

The appeal follows the January release of his pastoral letter, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament.” In it, he invited people in New Mexico in particular, but around the world as well to begin conversations on how to end the nuclear threat facing the planet.

Archbishop Wester said he believes the Santa Fe Archdiocese must lead the call for nuclear disarmament because it is where the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories are located. The labs conducts high-level weapons research and development.

The archbishop’s apology extended to other communities of people affected by research, development and manufacturing of nuclear weapons:

— Residents of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, where dozens of nuclear explosion tests were conducted from 1946 to 1958, drenching atolls with radiation.

— Native American communities in the Tularosa Basin of southeastern New Mexico near wear the first above-ground nuclear explosion was conducted.

— The 7,700 scientists and other lab workers who have filed claims with the government for serious illnesses linked to their work.

He called Tularosa Basin residents the “first nuclear victims.”

Radioactive fallout from the first atomic test explosion July 16, 1945, blanketed the basin. Residents have experienced high rates of cancer, including rare forms of the disease, according to numerous studies by health experts.

Archbishop Wester recognized the work of several members of Catholic parishes in the affected area who have seen family members die from cancer. He also pointed to their work for “just compensation” from the federal government for survivors and their families through the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.

He also lamented plans by the federal government to spend up to $2 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize weapons and build new missiles, submarines and bombers to deliver them.

“This is nuclear weapons forever,” he said. “We are in a new nuclear arms race that is arguably more dangerous than the first.”………………………….

A Buddhist, Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, urged people to understand human suffering and to strive for “being peace” in the world.

She also encouraged each person to expand their “moral circle” and “practice radical inclusion” of all life on earth to understand the imperative of acting to eliminate nuclear weapons.

 https://catholicnews.com/archbishop-wester-apologizes-for-harms-caused-by-nuclear-weapons-industry/

August 9, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Archbishop Wester embarks on the long path to end the nuclear threat

In 2017 the Holy See became the first government to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty entered into force in January 2021

.

Jul 14, 2022, by Dennis SadowskiCatholic News Service,

Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, thinks it’s time for serious conversations about how to achieve nuclear disarmament — not just for the United States but for all countries of the world.

And he’s trying to initiate such discussions, beginning in his own archdiocese, home of two national laboratories — Sandia and Los Alamos — where nuclear weapon research and development continues.

The archbishop hopes the pastoral letter he released in January, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament,” can be a starting point.

The document is the most recent and perhaps most heartfelt from a U.S. bishop seeking to end the nuclear arms race. His concern is that after decades in which arms control treaties led to reductions in nuclear armaments, a new arms race is already underway as the U.S. and Russia, the world’s primary nuclear powers, develop new weapons systems.

“I think we’ve been lulled into a false sense of complacency. I think it’s important as the archbishop of Santa Fe that I say something, that the archdiocese has a seat at the table on this discussion, because this is the birthplace of the nuclear bomb,” Wester told Catholic News Service…………………

His concern is that in any future nuclear exchange, however limited, Earth will never be the same and it’s likely the planet — and virtually all life — will be destroyed.

Pope Francis also had a role in Wester’s decision to issue the pastoral letter.

Throughout his papacy the pope has appealed to the world’s nine nuclear weapons-possessing nations to dismantle their arsenals for the good of humanity. In 2017 the Holy See became the first government to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty entered into force in January 2021.

But it was the pope’s comments during a November 2019 visit to Hiroshima that stayed with Wester.

“The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral, as I already said two years ago,” the pope said. “We will be judged on this.”…………………….. more  https://www.ncronline.org/news/justice/archbishop-wester-embarks-long-path-end-nuclear-threat0

July 13, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Church stands against nuclear power in the Philippines

JUCA News, July 04, 2022

Renewable generation must double in the next few years if we are to save the nation from an economic meltdown

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga has spoken out against the revival of the Bataan nuclear power plant saying it would be a great danger to the people and the environment. The Philippine bishops’ conference stands against nuclear power also.

“The voice of our people is strongly, openly no,” he said. Bishop Santos claimed the danger would be greater than any possible benefit. The danger “heavily outweighs its benefits,” he told Radyo Veritas on June 3.

The bishop was reacting to news reports that the Philippines’ new president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to revive the nuclear power plant built by his father — the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

When former president Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order that allowed nuclear power plants to be considered as a source of electricity generation, a wave of concern swept through the minds and hearts of the security, environmental, medical, and renewable energy thinking community……………………

“The Diocese of Balanga has decided… [we] are against this [move] and this stand will not change.”

The gray-haired veterans of the anti-Bataan Nuclear Power Plant campaigns, such as famous campaigner Professor Roland Simbulan of Nuclear Free Philippines, will recall the hundreds of millions of dollars that were siphoned off the deal into the private accounts of Marcos cronies.

Had the nuclear plant been operational, the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption and the many earthquakes would have likely caused a nuclear disaster.  The real possibility of a nuclear accident is what rightly scares millions of people away from nuclear power as a source of electricity when there are many alternatives of renewable energy available.

Solar and wind farms, hydro dams, geothermal, and biomass are all available and at much lower cost in comparison to nuclear energy, coal, oil and gas imports.

According to a report by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), the few existing renewable energy (RE) projects, especially solar and wind power have already saved the Philippines 4.04 billion pesos (about US$73 million).

Besides, renewable energy sources of electricity are free, thanks to nature. The wind blows, the sun shines and volcanic heat is always present for geothermal plants and delivered by nature without cost. They just need more investment and harnessing and they pose no danger………………………………………………………

The greatest challenge is the safe disposal of the deadly contaminated nuclear waste, which will last for thousands of years. The Philippine Department of Energy consultant proposes burying it on a remote island. For sure, the contamination will leech into the ocean and poison sea life and those who eat fish.

Pope Francis has encouraged everyone to use alternative ways to protect the environment and nuclear power is not one of them.

The future of the planet and humans is to stop burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, and stop global warming and accelerate the building of renewable energy projects……………   https://www.ucanews.com/news/church-stands-against-nuclear-power-in-the-philippines/97889

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

New Mexico, work for peace and well-being, not nuclear weapons

Let’s try to imagine what $9.4 billion could do for New Mexicans in one year: Hire hundreds of new teachers, help protect us against increasing wildfire threats, secure precious water resources, provide medical care for the poor and clean up contamination from past nuclear weapons production. Instead, it is going to nuclear weapons forever, even as the chances of potential nuclear war are increasing and we already have global overkill many times over.

New Mexico, work for peace and well-being, not nuclear weapons,  https://www.abqjournal.com/2509231/new-mexico-work-for-peace-and-wellbeing-not-nuclear-weapons.html

BY THE MOST REVEREND JOHN C. WESTER / ARCHBISHOP OF SANTA FE
SUNDAY, JUNE 19TH, 2022 
 My Archdiocese is named Santa Fe for the “Holy Faith” of St. Francis, patron saint of the environment and tireless promoter of peace. Pope Francis took his papal name from that revered saint and has explicitly called for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Yet ironically, two of the nation’s three nuclear weapons labs – Los Alamos and Sandia – are located within the Archdiocese. That is why 40% of the DOE’s national nuclear weapons budget of $16.5 billion will be spent in New Mexico alone, double that of any other state. In addition, New Mexico has the largest repository of nuclear warheads in the United States, with up to 2,500 warheads held in reserve at the Kirtland AFB just south of the Albuquerque Sunport.

The New Mexico congressional delegation has always historically supported the nuclear weapons industry in the name of jobs, jobs, jobs. This needs to be critically examined and questioned, both morally and practically. Why is it that New Mexico consistently ranks near the bottom of all 50 states in key socio-economic indicators? Does the nuclear weapons industry really benefit New Mexicans as a whole? The facts indicate no.

For example, during the nearly 80 years the nuclear weapons industry has been in the Land of Enchantment, Census Bureau data show that New Mexico slipped in per capita income from 37th in 1959 to 49th in 2019. Last year U.S. News and World Report gave New Mexico a best-state-to-live-in ranking of third from the bottom and dead last in education. According to the N.M. Human Services Department, we have the highest percentage of seniors living in poverty and the second-highest rate of overall poverty, suicide and food insecurity among children. The Land of Enchantment was recently ranked 49th among all states in overall child well-being. Not coincidentally, New Mexico’s population is 63% people of color who disproportionately bear the negative impacts of poverty.

Let’s try to imagine what $9.4 billion could do for New Mexicans in one year: Hire hundreds of new teachers, help protect us against increasing wildfire threats, secure precious water resources, provide medical care for the poor and clean up contamination from past nuclear weapons production. Instead, it is going to nuclear weapons forever, even as the chances of potential nuclear war are increasing and we already have global overkill many times over.

The Vatican itself has evolved from conditionally accepting nuclear weapons as necessary for “deterrence” to now declaring even their possession as immoral. This is because nuclear weapons indiscriminately kill everybody, and the nuclear powers have made zero progress toward the disarmament they promised to pursue in the 1970 NonProliferation Treaty. In fact, they are going backward with Russia’s current nuclear saber-rattling and the U.S.’ $1.7 trillion nuclear weapons “modernization” program. But in truth, neither country ever had just “deterrence.” Instead, they spent enormous sums on nuclear warfighting capabilities, which is why we have thousands of nuclear weapons instead of just the few hundred needed for only deterrence.

Given today’s increased dangers, I quote President Reagan, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then, would it not be better to do away with them entirely?” Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said of the Cuban Missile Crisis, “Rationality will not save us. … It was luck that prevented nuclear war.”

Let’s not count on our luck holding out – let’s abolish nuclear weapons as both President Reagan and Pope Francis have directed us toward. In turn, New Mexicans should direct their congressional representatives to lead us toward that promised land while encouraging life-affirming jobs instead.

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pope Francis again says that the West provoked or failed to prevent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pope Doubles Down On NATO-Ukraine Comments: Russian Invasion Was “Provoked” https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/pope-doubles-down-ukraine-war-comments-russian-invasion-was-provoked

BY TYLER DURDEN, WEDNESDAY, JUN 15, 2022 –
Pope Francis has doubled down on prior controversial statements suggesting the Russia-Ukraine conflict is largely NATO’s fault, asserting also that “war cannot be reduced to distinction between good guys and bad guys” – as the Vatican’s own headline to the interview reads.

In statements published Tuesday by the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, the Roman Catholic leaders said that the Russian invasion was “perhaps somehow provoked” while again saying there were signs that NATO had been “barking at the gates of Russia” in the run-up.

The pontiff still condemned what he called the “ferocity and cruelty of the Russian troops” while warning against a pure ‘good vs. evil’ fairytale narrative of the conflict.

Just like with his initial similar comments made at the start of May, these latest statements have triggered outrage among Western pundits who’ve called for escalating military support to Ukraine at the expense of dialogue with Moscow toward negotiating a settlement to end the war:

“We need to move away from the usual Little Red Riding Hood pattern, in that Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was the bad one,” Francis said. “Something global is emerging and the elements are very much entwined.”

That’s when in the interview he provided more context to his early May statements on the war. He said that a couple months prior to the Feb.24 invasion, he met with a “wise” head of state – though Francis didn’t name him or her

“…a wise man who speaks little, a very wise man indeed … He told me that he was very worried about how Nato was moving. I asked him why, and he replied: ‘They are barking at the gates of Russia. They don’t understand that the Russians are imperial and can’t have any foreign power getting close to them.'”

“He concluded, ‘The situation could lead to war.’ This was his opinion. On 24 February, the war began. That head of state was able to read the signs of what was happening.”

He added: “We do not see the whole drama unfolding behind this war, which was, perhaps, somehow either provoked or not prevented.”

The Pope also reiterated that the arms industry in the West is benefitting from the bloodshed: “I also note the interest in testing and selling weapons. It is very sad, but at the end of the day that is what is at stake,” he said in the interview.

Someone may say to me at this point: but you are pro-Putin! No, I am not. It would be simplistic and erroneous to say such a thing. I am simply against turning a complex situation into a distinction between good guys and bad guys, without considering the roots and self-interests, which are very complex. While we witness the ferocity and cruelty of Russian troops, we should not forget the problems, and seek to solve them,” he explained.

According to Vatican News, the pontiff additionally described that even beyond Ukraine-Russian, “the world is at war

“We see what is happening now in Ukraine in a certain way because it is closer to us and pricks our sensibilities more. But there are other countries far away—think of some parts of Africa, northern Nigeria, northern Congo—where war is ongoing and nobody cares. Think of Myanmar and the Rohingya. The world is at war. Today, for me, World War III has been declared.”

The last time he suggested the West is at least equally to blame for the unfolding Ukraine war, an avalanche of op-eds and condemnations were issued by US and Western officials suggesting that somehow liberal Pope Francis too has been ‘compromised’ by Putin (ironically a smear typically reserved for Trump or Republicans in general).

June 16, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | 1 Comment

No credibility in the way that the Ukraine war is being reported – says Colonel Richard Black (ret)

Video: Col. Richard Black — U.S. Leading World to Nuclear War, The International Schiller Institute,  27 May 22,   Mike Billington with Executive Intelligence Review interviews Col. Richard Black (ret.). 

”…………………………..BILLINGTON: Many flag grade officers certainly understand the consequences that you just described in a rather hair-raising way. Why is it that, while there are some generals speaking out in Italy, in France, in Germany, warning that we are pursuing a course that could lead to nuclear war, why are there not such voices from flag grade officers—retired, perhaps—saying what you’re saying here today?

BLACK: You know, there’s been a tremendous deterioration in the quality of flag officers………. we now have “yes men.” These are not people whose principal devotion is to the United States and its people. Their principal devotion is to their careers and their ability to network with other military officers upon retirement. There’s a very strong network that can place military generals into think tanks, where they promote war, into organizations like Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, and all of these defense operations, where they can get on boards and things like that. So there’s quite a personal price that you pay for saying, “Hey, stop. War is not in the interests of the American people.” If we had a better quality of individual, we would have people with the courage who would say, “I don’t care what it costs me personally.” But it is very difficult to get into the senior ranks, if you are an individual guided by principle, and patriotism, and devotion to the people of this nation. That’s just not how it works. And at some point, we need a President who will go in and shake the tree, and bring a lot of these people falling down from it, because they’re dangerous. They’re very dangerous to America.

……………….  Just like I asked what’s keeping the generals from speaking out, why, and what will it take, to get Americans to recognize that we can and must sit down with Russians, and with Chinese, and with all other nations and establish a true, just world based on the dignity of man and the right to development and security?

………. at this point, the media have been so totally censored and so biased that the American people really don’t have a perception of the need for anything of that sort. It’s going to be difficult. 

…………  The idea that somehow we have this enormously just cause, it doesn’t strike a great deal of the world that it is just, and much of the world does not accept the latest propaganda about war crimes: this thing about Bucha. That’s probably the most prominent of all the war crimes discussions. 

And what was Bucha? There was a film taken of a vehicle driving down the road in Bucha, which had been recaptured from the Russians. And every hundred feet or so there was some person with his hands, zip tied behind his back, and he’d been killed. It was not announced until four days after the Ukrainians had retaken Bucha. 

Now, we knew almost nothing about it. We actually didn’t even have proof that people had been killed. But assuming they had, we didn’t know where they had been killed. We did not know who they were. We did not know who killed them. We did not know why they were killed. No one could provide an adequate motive for the Russians to have killed them. The Russians held Bucha for a month. If they were going to kill them, why didn’t they kill them during that month? And if you’re going to slaughter a bunch of people, wouldn’t they all be in one place and wouldn’t you gun them all down there? Why would they be distributed along a roadside, a mile along the way? It makes no sense! 

What we do know is that four days after the mayor of Bucha joyously announced that the city was liberated, four days after the Ukrainian army had moved in, and their special propaganda arm of the Ukrainian military were there, all of a sudden there were these dead people on the road. How come they weren’t there when the Russians were there? How come they only appeared after the Russians were gone? 

If I were looking at it as simply a standard criminal case, and I was talking to Criminal Investigation Division or the FBI, or military police or something, I’d say, “OK, the first thing, let’s take a look at the Ukrainians.” My guess would be, and you start with a hunch when you’re investigating a crime—my hunch is that the Ukrainians killed off these people after they moved in, and after they looked around, and said, “OK, who was friendly towards the Russian troops while the Russians were here? We’re going to execute them.” That would be my guess. Because I don’t see any motive for the Russians to have just killed a few people on their way out of town. 

And nobody questions this, because the corporate media are so monolithic. We know for a fact, from the mouth of the head of a Ukrainian hospital, the guy who ran the hospital, he boasted that he had given strict orders to all of his doctors, that when wounded Russian POWs, when casualties were brought in, they were to be castrated. Now, this is a horrific war crime, admitted from the mouth of the hospital administrator, and the Ukrainian government said, “we’ll kind of look into that,” Like it’s no big thing. I can’t think of a more horrific, horrific war crime, ever. Where did you hear about it, on ABC and MSNBC and CNN and FOX News? Not a whisper. And yet the proof is undeniable. We had another clip where there was a POW gathering point, where the Ukrainians would bring POWs to a central point for processing—and this is about a seven-minute video—and the Ukrainian soldiers simply gunned them all down. 

 And they had probably 30 of these wounded Russian soldiers lying on the ground, some of them clearly dying from their wounds. Some of them, they put plastic bags over their heads. Now, these are these are guys who are laying there, sometimes fatally wounded with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, and they’ve got plastic bags over their heads, making it difficult to breathe. And because they can’t raise their hands, they can’t take the bags off, so that they can breathe. At the end of the video, the Ukrainians bring in a van, and there are three unwounded Russian POWs. Without the slightest thought or hesitation, as the three come off, and their hands are bound behind their backs, they gunned down two of them, right on camera and they fall over. And the third one gets on his knees, and begs that they won’t hurt him. And then they gun him down! These are crimes. And these were not refuted by the Ukrainian government. But you’d never even know that they occurred! So far, I will tell you that the only proven—I’m not saying that there aren’t war crimes happening on both sides. I’m just telling you, that the only ones where I have seen, fairly irrefutable proof of war crimes, have been on the Ukrainian side. 

Now, often you hear it said, well, the Russians have destroyed this or destroyed that. Well, I’ve got to tell you, you go back to the wars that we fought when we invaded Iraq, the “Shock and Awe,” we destroyed virtually everything in Iraq, everything of significance. We bombed military and civilian targets without much discrimination. The coalition flew 100,000 sorties in 42 days. You compare that to the Russians, who have only flown 8,000 sorties in about the same period of time. 100,000 American sorties versus 8,000, in about the same time.  I think the Russians have tended to be more selective. Whereas we went out — the philosophy of Shock and Awe is that you destroy everything that is needed to sustain human life and for a city to function. You knock out the water supply, the electrical supply, the heat, the oil, the gasoline; so that you knock out all of the major bridges. And then you just continue to destroy everything. 

So it’s really ironic. And keep in mind, Iraq is a relatively small country. Ukraine is a huge country. 100,000 sorties in 42 days, 8,000 sorties in about the same time. A tremendous difference in violence between what we did in Iraq, and what they have done in Ukraine. So there’s simply no credibility when you actually get down to the facts and you look at the way that the war has been conducted…………… https://schillerinstitute.com/blog/2022/04/26/video-col-richard-black-u-s-leading-world-to-nuclear-war/

May 28, 2022 Posted by | media, Religion and ethics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What to do about humanity entering “a spiral of self-destruction” – a UN Summit now on in Indonesia

A little-known United Nations summit gets underway in Indonesia this week.
Unfortunately, it’s one that will become more important to us all. The
intention? What to do about humanity entering “a spiral of
self-destruction”. At least that should be the focus, according to the
UN’s Deputy Secretary, ahead of the gathering in Bali. Meanwhile, on the
other side of the world in Davos, Switzerland, leaders of the richest
corporations and banks are sounding much more upbeat at the World Economic
Forum’s Annual Meeting.

 Independent 23rd May 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/davos-switzerland-un-bali-climate-b2084431.html

May 26, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Pope says NATO may have led to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Francis says transatlantic military alliance was ‘barking’ at Russia’s door.  BY HANNAH ROBERTS Politico, May 3, 2022

ROME — Pope Francis said that NATO “barking” at Russia’s door may have led to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — and said he has offered to meet the Russian president in Moscow.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Francis reflected on Russia’s lethal aggression toward its neighbor and said while he might not go as far as saying NATO’s presence in nearby countries “provoked” Moscow, it “perhaps facilitated” the invasion.

Francis also condemned the “brutality” of the war and compared it to Rwanda’s civil war in the 1990s, which resulted in a genocide of the Tutsi minority.

The Holy See has been asking since mid-March for a meeting between Francis and Putin in Moscow, the pope said. “Of course we needed the leader of the Kremlin to allocate a window of time. We haven’t yet had any response, and we are still trying, even if I fear that Putin can’t and doesn’t want to have this meeting at this time.”

In the interview, Francis ruled out going to Kyiv for now: “First I have to go to Moscow, first I have to meet Putin.”……………. https://www.politico.eu/article/pope-francis-nato-cause-ukraine-invasion-russia/

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pope Francis reiterates complete opposition to the possession and use of nuclear weapons

Pope Francis: ‘Use and possession of nuclear weapons inconceivable’

In talks on Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pope Francis says the use and possession of nuclear weapons is inconceivable.

Vatican News, By Linda Bordoni  4 May 22,   In a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister on Wednesday morning before the General Audience, Pope Francis reiterated his position of total opposition to the use and possession of nuclear armaments.

According to Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, during their conversation that lasted about 25 minutes, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the Pope talked about nuclear weapons and about how their use and possession is inconceivable.

Long-standing opposition to nuclear arms

It is not the first time that Pope Francis has expressed this view……………………..   https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2022-05/pope-japan-prime-minister-nuclear-weapons-inconceivable.html

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Catholic bishops assert their opposition to nuclear weapons

Catholic bishops assert their opposition to nuclear weapons,  THE organisation Justice & Peace Scotland have reaffirmed their opposition to nuclear weapons and have marked the 40th anniversary of the Scottish Bishops 1982 landmark statement entitled Peace and Disarmament.

A video, recorded in conjunction with Sancta Familia Media, features clergy, young people and laity reaffirming their opposition to nuclear weapons, and the reasons for their stance.

The video features Archbishop William Nolan (Glasgow), Archbishop Leo Cushley (Edinburgh), Bishop John Keenan (Diocese of Paisley), Bishop Brian McGee (Diocese of Argyll and the Isles) as well as young people from every Catholic diocese in Scotland………….  https://www.irishpost.com/news/catholic-bishops-assert-their-opposition-to-nuclear-weapons-231766

March 22, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment