The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Donald Trump leads the world to war against Iran

The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at…Iran. Donald Trump’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at… Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about… Iran.

The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is… well, do I really need to spell this out any further?

Donald Trump has identified several number-one enemies to target. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized the importance of throwing the full weight of the Pentagon against the Islamic State. More recently, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, identifiedNorth Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security.”

Other threats that have appeared at one time or another in the administration’s rotation include China, Cuba, the mainstream media, former FBI director James Comey, and Shakespeare (for writing Julius Caesar and then somehow, from the grave, persuadingthe Public Theater to run a scandalous version of it).

Through it all, however, Iran has loomed as the primary bogeyman of the Trump crowd. Fear of Iranian influence has prompted the administration to all but cancel the 2015 nuclear deal, intensify a number of proxy wars, consider pushing for regime change in Tehran, and even intervene in the mother of all battles between the Shia and Sunni variants of Islam.

You’re worried about Trump and the nuclear football? The prospect of blowback from an all-out U.S. assault on the Islamic State keeps you up at night? A preemptive strike against North Korea, which Mattis acknowledges would be disastrous, has you rethinking that upcoming trip to Seoul?

Sure, those are all dystopian possibilities. But if I had to choose a more likely catastrophe, it would be a direct confrontation between the United States and Iran. After all, everything seems to be pointing in that direction.

The Fate of the Deal

The nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union is hanging by a thread. Trump made no bones about his distaste for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He promised to tear it up.

He hasn’t done so. It’s not just that he’s gotten pushback from the usual suspects in Washington (diplomats, foreign policy mavens, talking heads, journalists). Even members of his inner circle seem to see value in the agreement. Mattis, who is otherwise hawkish on Iran, has stood by the JCPOA and diplomacy more generally. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has, albeit reluctantly, acknowledged that Iran has lived up to its side of the agreement. Then there are all the American jobs on the line from the Iranian purchase of Boeing jets.

Even though Trump hasn’t torn up the agreement, he has certainly attempted to give it a good crumple. He has directed the Treasury Department to apply additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program. He’s considering the option of declaring the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Congress, meanwhile, is pursuing its own complementary set of sanctions against Iran (though, because it’s bundled with sanctions against Russia, the legislation may not meet Trump’s approval).

None of this violates the terms of the JCPOA. But it challenges the spirit of the accord.

Adding insult to injury, Trump damned Iran with faint condolences after the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump wrote. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Talk about bad taste. After September 11, Iranians gathered for candlelight vigils to mourn the mostly American victims of the attacks. The Iranian government didn’t say anything about chickens coming home to roost after U.S. military interventions in the Middle East, for that would have been inappropriate (though accurate).

But Iran might yet have to make a statement that echoes Trump’s tone-deaf remark: States that tear up international agreements risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

Proxy Wars

The conflict is escalating in Syria, where Iran backs the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports a shifting set of anti-regime groups.

Both countries could decide to team up against the Islamic State. And indeed, Iran launched a missile attack against ISIS in Syria this last weekend in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Tehran. As after September 11, when Tehran and Washington briefly worked together, cooperation against Sunni extremists would seem a no-brainer.

But the would-be caliphate, having lost most of Mosul and now teetering on the verge of conceding its capital in Raqqa, is shrinking at a rapid clip. Which may well explain why the United States has been wading deeper into the Syrian conflict. For the first time since the war in Syria began, U.S. forces shot down a Syrian government plane this last weekend. It’s only the latest in a series of attacks on Assad’s forces, according to The Atlantic:

Three times in the last month, the U.S. military has come into direct conflict with the combined forces of the Assad regime, Iran-supported Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and possibly even Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clashes have reportedly resulted in the deaths of a small number of pro-regime forces, and are much more strategically important than the much-ballyhooed U.S. air strike on the al-Shayrat airfield back in April in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Several administration figures, notably Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey in the National Security Council, are eager to confront Assad and his Iranian backers more aggressively. Mattis, however, has reportedly opposed several of their risky propositions. Regardless of the Pentagon chief’s somewhat more risk-averse behavior, both Iran and the United States are maneuvering to control as much territory as possible in the vacuum created by the collapse of ISIS………

Back in 2013, Trump said,

We will end up going to war with Iran because we have people who don’t know what the hell they are doing. Every single thing that this administration and our president does is a failure.

Who knew that Donald Trump could be so prescient? The president has proven himself high-performing in at least this one regard: self-fulfilling prophecies.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Once again, the world’s nuclear nations race toward catastrophe

The World’s Nuclear Powers Are Renewing their Race to Catastrophe,  by Lawrence Wittner Dr. Lawrence Wittner ( is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. He is the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).  For as long as they have existed, nations have clung to the illusion that their military strength guarantees their security.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that the military power that one nation considers vital to its security fosters other nations’ sense of insecurity. In this climate of suspicion, an arms race ensues, often culminating in military conflict. Also, sometimes the very military strength that a nation intended for protection ends up emboldening it to engage in reckless, aggressive behavior, leading to war.

By the twentieth century, the devastation caused by wars among nations had grown so great that the general public and even many government officials began to recognize that a world left to the mercies of national military power was a dangerous world, indeed. As a result, after the mass slaughter of World War I, they organized the League of Nations to foster international security. When this proved insufficient to stop the march of nations toward World War II and its even greater devastation, they organized a new and stronger global entity: the United Nations.

Unfortunately, however, bad habits die hard, and relying on military force to solve problems is one of the oldest and most destructive habits in human history. Therefore, even as they paid lip service to the United Nations and its attempts to create international security, many nations slipped back into the familiar pattern of building up their armed forces and weaponry. This included nuclear weapons, the most effective instruments of mass slaughter yet devised.

Not surprisingly, then, although the leaders of highly militarized nations talked about building “peace through strength,” their countries often underwent many years of war. Indeed, the United States, the most heavily-armed nation since 1945, has been at war with other countries most of that time. Other nations whose post-World War II military might has helped embroil them in wars include Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.

Given this sorry record, it is alarming to find that the nine nuclear-armed nations (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) have ignored the obligation under the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to divest themselves of nuclear weapons and, instead, recently embarked on a new round in the nuclear arms race. The U.S. government, for example, has begun a massive, 30-year program to build a new generation of U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities to last the United States well into the second half of the twenty-first century. This program, slated to cost $1 trillion, includes redesigned nuclear warheads, as well as new nuclear bombers, submarines, land-based missiles, weapons labs, and production plants.

However, as the nuclear powers renew their race to catastrophe, the non-nuclear powers are beginning to revolt. Constituting most nations of the world, they have considerable clout in the UN General Assembly. In late 2016, they brought to this body a resolution to launch negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Critics of the resolution maintained that such a treaty was ridiculous, for, ultimately, only the nine nuclear powers could negotiate their disarmament―not an assembly of other nations. But supporters of the resolution argued that, if the overwhelming majority of nations voted to ban nuclear weapons―that is, make them illegal under international law―this would put substantial pressure on the nuclear powers to comply with the world community by acting to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

To avoid this embarrassment, the nuclear powers and their allies fought back vigorously against passage of this UN resolution. But, on December 23, 2016, the resolution sailed through the UN General Assembly by an overwhelming vote: 113 nations in favor and 35 opposed, with 13 abstentions.

And so, on March 27, 2017, a diplomatic conference convened, at the UN headquarters in New York City, with the goal of crafting what the UN called a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” Some 130 countries participated in the first round of these negotiations that included discussions with leaders of peace and disarmament groups and a range of experts on nuclear weapons. But the nuclear powers and most of their allies boycotted the gathering. In fact, at a press conference conducted as the conclave began, Nikki Haley, the U.S. representative to the United Nations, and representatives of other nuclear powers denounced the proceedings.

Perhaps because of the boycott by the nuclear powers, the UN negotiations went forward smoothly. On May 22, Ambassador Elayne Whyte of Costa Rica, president of the conference, released a first draft of the UN treaty, which would prohibit nations from developing, producing, manufacturing, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons. The UN conferees plan to adopt necessary revisions and, then, produce a final treaty for a vote in early July.

As this treaty directly challenges the long-time faith in the value of national military power, typified by the scramble for nuclear weapons, it might not get very far. But who really knows? Facing the unprecedented danger of nuclear war, the world community might finally be ready to dispense with this national illusion.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Protestors targeting Britain’s nuclear bomb bases

Herald 25th June 2017, Nuclear bomb bases on the Clyde are being targeted with blockades,
break-ins and a series of other protests next month. The campaign group,
Trident Ploughshares, is organising a disarmament camp at an ancient oak
woodland it owns near the UK’s nuclear weapons store at Coulport on Loch
Long from 8-16 July. The protest is timed to coincide with the close of
United Nations (UN) negotiations between 130 countries on a treaty banning
nuclear weapons. The UK government, along with other nuclear weapons
states, has boycotted the talks in New York.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Global Collaboration Towards a Legally Binding Ban on Nuclear Weapons

President Eisenhower was right to equate possession of nuclear weapons with commission of crime:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

By Kathy Kelly, Global Research, June 22, 2017, Common Dreams 20 June 2017, This week, in New York City, representatives from more than 100 countries will begin collaborating on an international treaty, first proposed in 2016, to ban nuclear weapons forever.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New activity at North Korean nuclear test site

US spy satellites detect activity at North Korean nuclear test site, By Barbara StarrElise Labott and Zachary CohenCNN, June 20, 2017

Story highlights

June 21, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

As Greenland Ice Sheet thaws, old nuclear missile site Camp Century is revealed

Mother Jones 12th June 2017, Over the last century, many glaciers have pulled back farther than humans
have ever previously witnessed. While the retreat of glaciers, and changes
in the cryosphere more generally (which includes ice sheets and
permafrost), can be seen as purely symbolic representations of the
unwavering march of climate change, they are shifting geography as they
melt and thaw, leaving dangerous implications behind.

Camp Century is only one such instance. Built underneath the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet
in 1959 by the the US Army Corps of Engineers as part of Project Iceworm,
the project was designed to create a network of mobile nuclear missile
launch sites in Greenland. Intended to study the deployment and potential
launch of ballistic missiles within the ice sheet, the base was eventually
abandoned and decommissioned in 1967.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK’s facade of military nuclear power, as it boycotts UN Nuclear Disarmament Talks

UK Boycotts UN Nuclear Disarmament Talks to ‘Maintain Facade’ of Military Power,    19 June 17 Over 120 countries have gathered at the United Nations to discuss a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Leading the boycott of the event is the US – perhaps unsurprisingly, given officials’ avowed dedication to maintaining Trident, the UK has also refused to dispatch an official representative to the event.

The event, which began June 15, is attended by a majority of the world’s governments, and is hoped to conclude with the inking of the landmark international agreement by July 7. Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor and disarmament hero, has said he believes the treaty can, and will, change the world.

In a statement, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons said anything less than a categorical ban — requiring nuclear-armed countries to destroy their stockpiles in a time-bound, verifiable manner — would fundamentally fail in its objectives.

Despite the talks’ boycott by the US, UK and others, the treaty’s prospects appear positive. In all, 113 UN member nations voted to convene the talks in December 2016, and some nuclear weapon states appear receptive, or at least not totally opposed, to the prospect, with China, India, and Pakistan all abstaining — and attending the subsequent talks.

​The ban of many forms of weaponry has been proven largely effective — numerous chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions, and landmines have all been banned, precipitating full-scale decommissioning and disarmament, and their virtual disappearance from military arsenals and battlefields.

The UK’s refusal to even attend the talks is puzzling, as a YouGov poll suggests 75 percent of the public is in favor of officials doing so. However, the UK’s determination to maintain Trident at all is arguably puzzling in itself.

A 2014 cross-party parliamentary report on Trident was unambiguous — the UK’s “independent” nuclear deterrent is in no way independent, and a “hostage to American goodwill.”

Moreover, the report’s authors suggested Trident would only ever be effective in cases of “nuclear blackmail” — which they acknowledged, the prospects of which would be slim. Their conclusions were also damning of many key myths used to justify Trident’s maintenance, and called for UK leaders to step up efforts to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament, and consider further steps to reduce Britain’s operational stockpile of nuclear warheads.

“The fact that, in theory, the Prime Minister could give the order to fire Trident missiles without getting prior approval from the White House has allowed the UK to maintain the facade of being a global military power. In practice, it is difficult to conceive of any situation in which a Prime Minister would fire Trident without prior US approval. The USA would see such an act as cutting across its self-declared prerogative as the world’s policeman, and would almost certainly make the UK pay a high price for its presumption,” the report said.

As the UK is completely technically dependent on the US for the maintenance of the Trident system, presumably one way the USA could demonstrate its displeasure would be to cut off the technical support needed for the UK to continue to send Trident to sea, robbing the country of any nuclear deterrent at all.

“In practice, the only way Britain is ever likely to use Trident is to give legitimacy to a US nuclear attack by participating in it. There are precedents for the USA using UK participation in this way for conventional military operations. The principal value of the UK’s participation in the recent Iraq war was to help legitimise the US attack. Likewise the principal value of the firing of UK cruise missiles as part of the larger US cruise missile attack on Baghdad was to help legitimise the use of such weapons against urban targets,” the report concluded.

Despite these findings, Trident continues to be deemed fundamental to the UK’s security, a particularly hot topic over the course of 2017, given the spate of terrorist attacks that have rocked the country North to South on an almost monthly basis since March.

After every atrocity, ministers have issued ringing declarations about the need to modernize the UK’s defenses against the threat of terror, in all its forms. However, Trident has been entirely absent from these discussions — officials have instead typically pushed for greater internet regulationan end to encryption and enhanced surveillance powers for the intelligence services.

The reason for Trident’s dearth in these matters is obvious — it cannot defend against these attacks, and demonstrably has not done so, whether they are conducted by lone bombers, crazed car and van drivers or knife wielding maniacs. Evidently, such sources of violence pose a far greater threat to the country’s security than nuclear weapons — as do cyberattacks, which again Trident seems fundamentally ill-equipped to combat.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn — former Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Vice President — as Labour leader likely offered much hope to the UK’s assorted anti-nuclear campaigners, although they were surely bitterly disappointed when a pledge to renew Trident wormed its way into Labour’s election manifesto.

​Corbyn’s seeming slippage may be attributable to the unending chorus of Conservative broadsides launched at him on the issue ever since his election in September 2015 — a wave that reached a crescendo when Defense Secretary Michael Fallon suggested Corbyn wasn’t up for the job of Prime Minister due to his refusal to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against a “hostile” nation.

Moreover, there are clear suggestions the UK public doesn’t hold Trident in such high affinity as the country’s ruling class — a July 2016 poll demonstrated that while 51 percent backed full renewal of the system, 49 percent opposed maintaining any system. In time, a greater swath of the populace may come round to the view that the UK’s need for a nuclear, as destructive as it is illogical, is non-existent

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The timely message of a hibakusha

Hibakusha remind us of the power of love in unstable nuclear climate  By Hiroshi Fuse, Editorial Writer and Expert Senior Writer June 17, 2017 (Mainichi Japan) J“I have so many children and grandchildren that I could be put in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records!’” — That was the favorite joke of A-bomb survivor, or “hibakusha,” Kazue “Kaz” Suyeishi, who passed away on June 12 at the age of 90.

Photo above is not  of Kazue Suyeishi, but of an unknown Hibakusha The Hiroshima-native moved to the United States, married and then became the president of the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-bomb Survivors. She became known as “Kaz Mama” because of her unique style of talking about her experiences as a survivor. Not being one for lecture-style speaking, she spoke as though she was telling her story to her children or grandchildren.

When Suyeishi came to the U.S., health insurance wouldn’t cover hibakusha living there who suffered from conditions relating to the bombing. Some members of Congress even claimed that states shouldn’t give money to support “the enemy.” On top of all of that, Suyeishi’s husband had experienced the internment of Japanese Americans during the war. However, Kaz herself never once held any ill will toward the country that had become her home.

“They say that today’s enemies are tomorrow’s friends. If people all over the world could all feel love for one another, there would be no more war,” Suyeishi would say. “That’s what I keep telling the children. Even if they think it’s ridiculous, that is my life’s work.”

When I came across the news of her death, indescribable bitter feelings rose up inside of me. The feelings weren’t merely the pain of her loss, but also of being confronted by the reality that the hope for “a world without nuclear weapons” was dying out as well.

Then-U.S. President Barack Obama’s abstract but moving speech and attitude of reaching out to the hibakusha on a calm evening in Hiroshima in May last year will forever be burned into my memory. Not much more than a year has passed, and the world has changed drastically. While the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has vowed to expand its arsenal of nuclear weaponry, North Korea conducts continuous missile tests, leading the world on a path toward the outbreak of nuclear war.

However, when I think about all of that, I feel this was inevitable. While President Obama looked at the Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome from a distance, he did not approach it and hastily made his exit. While the president moved the hearts of the Japanese people by presenting flowers and wreaths of folded paper cranes to the hibakusha, he moved forward with plans to modernize his country’s nuclear weapons at great expense. The cold truth remains unchanged.

It was Suyeishi who said, “Obama’s pleas will largely go unheard, and even the reach of my words are probably limited by time and place, but the only thing we can do is hold onto love and continue conveying our message.” Still, it makes me wonder just how sincere Obama really was about the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Some say it is Japan that has changed. Although it appeared the U.N. would adopt the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Japan stated that it would be “difficult to participate” in it, perhaps because of its ties to the U.S., and has opposed the negotiation of the treaty.

That’s why I sometimes can’t think of that evening in Hiroshima as anything other than some kind of Japan-America collaboration movie. Or was it a beautiful dream seen for a fleeting moment by a world heading for oblivion? To save this world in crisis, we need new efforts and, of course, what Suyeishi always taught — love.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Second round of UN nuclear ban talks begins in New York

UN launches second round of nuclear ban talks   Proponents hopeful for final text of treaty by early July ARIANA KING, Nikkei staff writer UNITED NATIONS, 17 June 17  — Delegates from more than 80 countries kicked off a second and possibly final round of negotiations Thursday on an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons, seeking to adopt a final text by the July 7 end of the conference.

“As we enter this final phase of the conference, I am confident that with the necessary political will, we can achieve the goal” to complete, “as soon as possible, a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons leading toward their total elimination,” said Elayne Whyte Gomez, chair of the conference, as the meeting began.

The second round of negotiations will delve into the substance of the draft text. Besides delegates, the morning session also drew nongovernmental proponents of a ban and at least one atomic bomb survivor. All seek to add nuclear arms to the ranks of such other proscribed items as chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions, and land mines.

“Everyone represents their country, but [we are] united together in the historic commitment that we recognize that we have … convinced as we are of the moral imperative that brings us here,” said Whyte, who serves as the Costa Rican ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva.

Neither the U.S. nor any other nuclear power is taking part in the conference. At the start of the first round of negotiations in March, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters here that she wanted nothing more for her family than a world without nuclear weapons. “But we have to be realistic,” she said.

Impasse on arms reduction

“These talks are truly historic, as they represent the most significant negotiations in the area of nuclear disarmament,” said Izumi Nakamitsu, the U.N.’s high representative for disarmament affairs, in prepared remarks to the conference.

Nakamitsu noted the virtual impasse on multilateral disarmament efforts, lamenting that despite the clear need for progress, “there seem to be no near-term prospects for further reductions.”

Even with blocked international initiatives and active efforts by some nuclear powers to improve and modernize their arsenals in a troubled security environment, she said that “it is important to recall that measures for disarmament have served historically as a means to ease international tensions and to prevent conflict.”

A well-crafted text could make “an important contribution to the advancement of nuclear disarmament,” she suggested.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bomb survivors present petition to United Nations meeting

A-bomb survivors submit petition for nuclear ban Representatives of Japanese atomic bomb survivors have compiled a petition of nearly 3 million signatures calling for a nuclear weapons ban treaty. The group handed the document to the chair of the ongoing UN meeting on the convention.

The second round of negotiations aimed at concluding the world’s first-ever nuclear weapons ban treaty started on Thursday at UN headquarters in New York.

On the second day of talks on Friday, representatives of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Toshiyuki Mimaki and Masako Wada presented the petition to the chair of the meeting, Costa Rica’s envoy Elayne Whyte. They say their groups collected 2.96 million signatures over just more than a year since last April.

Wada handed the petition over along with a paper crane, a symbol of peace. She said the signatures represent the voices of atomic bomb survivors and citizens, and thanked the chair for her leadership.

Whyte responded that the main purpose of the treaty is to eliminate the suffering caused by nuclear weapons. The representatives applauded her when she said the signatures are very important for the negotiators.

After the handover, Wada observed that the draft treaty incorporates the Japanese word “hibakusha,” meaning atomic bombing survivor. She said she believes this shows the delegates have recognized the group’s long years of anti-nuclear activities.

Also in New York, atomic bomb survivor Masao Tomonaga from Nagasaki met Japan’s UN Ambassador Koro Bessho to relay a message from the Nagasaki mayor, Tomihisa Taue.

The message described a feeling of disappointment that is spreading among Nagasaki citizens over Japan’s absence from the negotiations.

Tomonaga said Bessho told him he understands their feeling, but Japan cannot decide on its own to leave the nuclear umbrella, and has had to make a difficult choice regarding the ongoing talks.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hibakusha were not treated for radiation damage: finally Radiation research foundation to apologize

Radiation research foundation to apologize for studying but not treating hibakusha  June 17, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)HIROSHIMA –– The chairman of a joint Japan-U.S. research organization studying the long-term effects of radiation exposure on humans is expected to apologize to hibakusha — survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — who were studied but generally not treated by the organization’s American predecessor, it has been learned.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Japan, radiation, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN Disarmament Chief says that need for world free of nuclear weapons now more urgent than ever

Need for world free of nuclear weapons more urgent than ever, says UN disarmament chief, 15 June 2017 – Negotiations on the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons resumed today in New York, with the United Nations disarmament chief expressing hope that the talks result in an effective instrument that “complements and strengthens” existing ones.

“These talks are truly historic, as they represent the most significant negotiations in the area of nuclear disarmament,” Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, told the second session of the UN Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

“Nuclear disarmament has been the longest sought objective of the United Nations, dating back to the very first resolution adopted by the General Assembly, in January 1946,” she said, referring to the body’s decision to establish a Commission charged with, among other tasks, making specific proposals for the ‘control of atomic energy to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes,’ and ‘the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.’

During this resumed session, delegates will deliberate on a draft of the treaty that has been tabled by Conference President Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica. The first session was held in March.

Ms. Nakamitsu expressed hope that the talks produce an effective instrument that complements and strengthens the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones.

Also highlighting the need for systematic measures and steps to facilitate the elimination of nuclear weapons, she said it will be critical that the outcome of negotiations “build a bridge to the future” in order to facilitate the inclusive engagement needed to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

As of now, nuclear-weapons-States are absent in the negotiations.

An instrument legally sound, technically accurate and politically wise

To accomplish these aims, she believes “great care should be taken in finalizing an instrument that is legally sound, technically accurate and politically wise.”

With the growing urgency posed by the deteriorating international security landscape and by the new awareness of the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, “the need for progress is clear,” she said. “And yet there seem to be no near-term prospects for further reductions.”

Amid some scepticism about further pursuing nuclear disarmament, she stressed that “measures for disarmament have served historically as a means to ease international tensions and to prevent conflict.”

Supported by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, the conference will run through 7 July.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia angered by Nato surrounding Baltic fleet in Kaliningrad- unprecedented war games

Russia lets fly over nuclear war games as Nato surrounds Baltic fleet in Kaliningrad, Sunday Times, Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad was surrounded on three sides by Nato forces yesterday at the start of an unprecedented set of summer war games.

Operation Sabre Strike 2017 includes the first full deployment of America’s strategic nuclear bombers and a simulated air assault by the Royal Marines in the Baltics.

Russia’s Baltic fleet is based in Kaliningrad and the territory also plays host to a deployment of Iskander short-range ballistic missiles with a 300-mile reach capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
The “historic” deployment of all three types of USstrategic nuclear bomber — B-52, B-1 and the B-2 stealth aircraft — is to show American commitment to “ready and posture forces focused on deterring conflict”, said Lieutenant-General Richard Clark, a US airforce commander…….

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Women heading the Ban the Bomb movement, Ray Acheson, 15 JUNE 2017This week at the United Nations in New York City, governments, international organizations and civil society groups are gathering to resume negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. And women are at the forefront of this effort—as they have been at the forefront of the anti-nuclear resistance since the beginning of the nuclear age.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) —where I work as director—was one of the first civil society groups to condemn the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (The term “civil society” gets used a lot and has many different definitions, but is generally accepted to mean groups working in the interests of citizens but outside of government or business; some examples include charities and non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross.) Women were leaders in the campaign to ban nuclear weapon testing in the United States, using powerful symbols such as a collection of baby teeth to show evidence of radioactive contamination. Women led the Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980s, calling on the Soviet Union and the United States to stop the arms race. Now, women are the leading edge of the movement to ban nuclear weapons in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

When the three-week-long negotiations at the UN resume on June 15, women will be continuing this tradition, both in the conference room and on the streets. As part of its efforts to ban nuclear weapons, the WILPF is organizing the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb, on June 17, to be held in mid-town Manhattan. Other events will be held across the globe to show solidarity with the march, in places as far apart as Australia and Scotland. The event has over 30 sponsors and endorsers from around the world.

In my opinion, the process of banning nuclear weapons serves another purpose as well: It acts as a challenge to much of the existing discourse, which has been distinctly patriarchal in tone.

In fact, much of the opposition to the nuclear ban process has been highly gendered. Those who talk about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and call for the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction are accused of being divisive, polarizing, ignorant, and emotional. Meanwhile, opponents to the ban say that they support “reasonable,” “realistic,” “practical” or “pragmatic” steps, and call anything else “irrational” and “irresponsible.”

Many women may recognize this rhetorical assault. When a certain type of man—think Donald Trump—wants to assert his power and dominance and make women (or other men) feel small and marginalized, he often accuses them of being emotional, overwrought, relentless, repetitive, or irrational. This technique has been employed for as long as gender hierarchies have existed.

In the case of the ban treaty, this approach links caring about humanitarian concerns to being weak, and asserts that “real men” have to “protect” their countries. It not only suggests that caring about the use of nuclear weapons is spineless and silly, but also implies that the pursuit of disarmament is an unrealistic, irrational, and even effeminate objective.

Of course, the fact that masculinity is equated across so many cultures with the willingness to use force and violence is a social phenomenon, not a biological one. Boys come to learn to define themselves as men through violence. The way that norms of masculinity such as toughness, strength, and bravado are displayed in the media, at home, and in school teaches boys to exercise dominance through violent acts. Boys learn to think of violence as a form of communication.

Nuclear weapons are themselves loaded with symbolism—of potency, protection and the power to “deter” through material “strength.” For many, such symbolism obscures the real point of the existence of these arms—to destroy—and their horrendous effects.

Nuclear weapons are not just symbolically gendered. Women face unique devastation from the effects of the use of nuclear weapons, such as the impacts of radiation on their reproductive and maternal health. Women who have survived these radioactive effects also face unique social challenges; they are often treated as pariahs in their communities.

Consequently, denying the rationality of those that support a nuclear weapons ban is also a denying of the lived experience of everyone who has ever suffered from the use or testing of nuclear weapons.

This is why it’s essential to ensure gender diversity in negotiations, and why it’s important to include a gender perspective in those negotiations. To celebrate the nuclear ban—and women’s leadership in achieving it—there will be the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.

This post is part of Ban Brief, a series of updates on the historic 2017 negotiations to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Ban Brief is written by Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will.

June 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war, women | Leave a comment

UN nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations soon to begin in New York

We have the chance to change the world with this instrument. The ban will not magically eliminate these weapons, but it will be a chink in the nuclear armour of those who continue to claim some “security benefit” from these indiscriminate, immoral, genocidal weapons. Nuclear weapons do not provide security. The majority of the world does not have them or need them. It’s time to codify this in international law and set the stage for total elimination.
The world is watching. It’s time to ban the bomb.

We’re Off! to Ban Nuclear Weapons, By Ray Acheson, Global Research, June 15, 2017 Reaching Critical Will  It’s game on for round two of the nuclear ban negotiations! Delegations from governments, civil society, and international organisations are rallying in New York City at the United Nations to start deliberating over the President’s draft treaty text—and to start crafting one of the most ambitious piece of international law ever attempted. People from around the world are also preparing to rally outside of the UN building, and in their home cities, in two days in support of these talks. The Women’s March to Ban the Bomb will see actions in Australia, Canada, Cameroon, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States! The world is watching: it’s time to ban the bomb. 

June 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment