Obama Worse Than Reagan
Heads-up, veterans of the nuclear freeze movement in the US, the anti-Euromissile campaigns in Western Europe, and the various anti-nuclear weapons efforts in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Incoming.
We spent much of the eighties resisting Ronald Reagan’s new Cold War, and his new nuclear weapons of all shapes and sizes. We pushed back against his giant ‘defense’ budgets and countered his harrowing rhetoric. We knew Star Wars was a scam, and the MX missile a danger. We grimaced at his appointments to key policymaking positions, and scoffed at his insincere arms control efforts.
In the end, we prevailed (after a sort). We get much of the credit for preventing planetary incineration that seemed frighteningly close at the time (Gorbachev deserves some too). Professional activists, Plowshares heroes, and a handful of stalwart others stayed in the anti-nuclear weapons movement trenches. Although nukes were not abolished with the end of the Cold War, most of the rest of us nonetheless moved on to fight other evils, and to work on one or more better world construction projects.
It’s time to return. President Obama released his FY 2015 budget on Tuesday, March 4. Ready for this? It asks for considerably more money (in constant dollars) for nuclear weapons maintenance, design and production than Reagan spent in 1985, the historical peak of spending on nukes: $8.608 billion dollars, not counting administrative costs (see graph below). The Los Alamos Study Group crunched the numbers for us.
Next year’s request tops this year’s by 7%. Should the President’s new Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative be approved, yet $504 million more would be available for warhead spending. The OGSI is $56 billion over and above the spending agreed to in the December 2013 two-year budget (unlikely to pass given that it’s an election year, would be paid for by increased taxes on the retirement funds of the rich, and reduced spending in politically dicey areas like crop insurance).
Increased lucre for the nuclear weapons complex maintains Obama’s inconsistency on the Bomb. He wrote his senior thesis at Columbia on the arms race and the nuclear freeze campaign. Two months after his first inauguration, he uttered these words in Prague: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
The Pentagon’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review promised to avoid “new military missions or . . . new military capabilities” for nuclear weapons (don’t laugh, you’d be surprised how imaginative those guys can be). 2011 was even better: Obama signed the New START Treaty. It limits the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to 1550, a 30% decrease from the previous START Treaty, signed in 2002. New START also lowered limits on the number of launch platforms — ICBMs, ballistic missile launching subs, and nuke-equipped bombers.
At the same time, his State Department refuses—under first Hilary Clinton and now John Kerry—to present the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification out of timidity over expected resistance (never mind that the US has essentially figured out ways to circumvent the Treaty’s spirit if not letter; the CTB was once the ‘holy grail’ for arms control and disarmament advoates).
That same State Department refrains—under both Hilary Clinton and John Kerry—from getting tough with Pakistan over its years-long obstruction of United Nations-sponsored negotiations over a global ban on the stuff needed to make bombs. (Pakistan is the country building them faster than any other; how about: ‘we’ll ground the killer drones in exchange for a fissile material cut-off?’). And Obama now wants to outspend Reagan on nuclear weapons maintenance, design and production.
Winding down nuclear weapons spending, and eventually abolishing the things (for which no negotiations are underway) has been the right thing to do since the first bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert in 1945. State Department support for the coup in Ukraine and the resultant saber rattling (echoes of August 1914?) make it as urgent as ever.
Steve Breyman was 2011-12 William C. Foster Visiting Scholar Fellow in the Euro-Atlantic Security Affairs Office of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance at the US Department of State where he worked fruitlessly on reforming nuclear weapons policy.
Defense officials in the Obama administration were more than a little off when they told Congress the cost of maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal over the next 10 years.
They missed the mark by at least $140 billion.
Two years ago, the Pentagon informed lawmakers that they would need to allocate $214 billion over the coming decade to operate and upgrade the stockpile of nuclear warheads and delivery systems.
That’s 66% higher than the 2011 estimate.
The $355 billion includes $136 billion to modernize and operate submarines, bombers and missiles that deliver warheads, $105 billion to run weapons labs, weapons and naval reactors, $56 billion for command and control systems, and $59 billion for unforeseen technical problems or mismanagement.
And that’s just the direct costs related to the nuclear arsenal.
CBO officials point out there are other, very costly programs that exist because of the nuclear weapons program, such as cleaning up shuttered nuclear fuel facilities or the nation’s missile defense systems for shooting down other nation’s nuclear missiles.
These other costs will likely cost the government another $215 billion over the next decade.
“Nuclear weapons aren’t cheap as some high-ranking Pentagon officials have suggested,” Kingston Reif, director of nuclear non-proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, an advocacy group in Washington, told the Center for Public Integrity.
Last year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that nuclear weapons are “just not that expensive,” a remark that triggered controversy and a Congressional request that the CBO nail down accurate costs.
Reif added that the Obama administration should consider scaling back its plans due to mounting costs, otherwise the result will be “nuclear disarmament by financial default.”
Apart from making the weapons more secure, the purpose of the nuclear modernization program, according to President Barack Obama, is “to give U.S. military and political leaders the confidence they need to negotiate further reductions in the nuclear arsenal,” wrote Reuters’ David Alexander.
Aspects of the modernization program are misguided and in violation of the spirit of the administration’s pledge to develop no new nuclear arms, the Union of Concerned Scientists said in its own October report.
To Learn More:
Obama Administration Understated Nuclear Weapons Costs (by R. Jeffrey Smith, Center for Public Integrity)
U.S. Nuclear Weapon Plans To Cost $355 Billion over a Decade: CBO Report (by David Alexander, Reuters)
Obama Pledges $11 Billion to Upgrade U.S. Nuclear Weapons (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that the tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in the United States and around Europe pose a direct threat to humanity.
Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the remarks in a speech at meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
“The continued existence of tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpile of the nuclear-weapon states, most of them on high-trigger alert, and their day by day modernization, constitute the most serious threat to the survival of mankind,” Soltanieh told the committee.
He also condemned the US for conducting its 27th subcritical nuclear test in Nevada in December 2012, saying the experiment was “a flagrant violation” of Washington’s “international obligations” and “a recipe for global destabilization.”
“Such subcritical tests and computer simulations to design new weapons, a case of non-compliance by the United States with its international obligations under the NPT, could be a resumption of the nuclear arms race and a revival [of the] risk of global disaster,” the Iranian ambassador stated.
The US National Nuclear Security Administration said the experiment, known as Pollux, was conducted to ensure that the United States “can support a safe, secure and effective stockpile” of nuclear weapons.
According to the United Nations, the US — which is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons against human beings — has conducted over 1,000 nuclear tests since 1945.
Soltanieh noted that spending on nuclear weapons has increased dramatically since 2010 and will reach at least one trillion US dollars over the next decade, adding, “The United States itself will spend untold billions of dollars to operate its nuclear armada during its 50-year planned lifespan (from 2030 to 2080).”
He added that the British government’s plan to spend 100 billion pounds to upgrade its Trident nuclear-armed submarines is a “clear breach of Article VI of the NPT and the commitments [made] during the 2010 NPT Review Conference.”
He went on to say that the sale of German-made Dolphin-class submarines to the Israeli regime, which is not a signatory to the NPT, is “an unconcealed case of proliferation and non-compliance,” since the submarines are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Since 1958, when Israel began building its Dimona plutonium- and uranium-processing facility in the Negev desert, it has secretly manufactured over 200 nuclear warheads, making it the only player in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons.
- Obama’s nuclear U-turn: Billions set aside for B61 nukes (alethonews.wordpress.com)
PressTVGlobalNews | April 12, 2013
US President Barak Obama has presented congress an almost 4 trillion dollar budget plan: Amongst his requests: more funds, in the billions, to modernize US’s nuclear weapons. This is while he will cut payments to Medicare not to mention cutbacks to its Social Security pensions and other government programs.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Dankof, a political commentator from San Antonio, to further examine why the US – who has the lead in the possession of nuclear weapons and has advocated nuclear non-proliferation – feels the need to modernize its weapons of mass of destruction, which also goes against the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The video also offers the opinions of one additional guest: Charlie Wolf who is a writer and broadcaster from London.
The following is a partial and approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Do you not think that we have our guest there Charlie Wolf thinking that the Iranian government is pursuing weaponization of its program; Iran has clearly come out and said we want a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and at the same time, countries like the US are coming out and using nuclear weapons as, they claim to be deterrent but really to use and enforce power. What is your reaction there?
Dankof: A couple of things. One, I am not a nuclear expert but let me simply say this. If we take the director of National Intelligence of the United States James Clapper at his word, if we take the 16 intelligence agencies of the United States that produce the national intelligence estimate at their word, Iran is in fact not pursuing a weaponized nuclear program.
And I add it to that of course is the situation where the United States’ chief ally in the region Israel is a nuclear power and going back to something that the Times of Israel published earlier this week back in the 1970s, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yigal Allon then the foreign minister of Israel were repeatedly lying to the president of the United States and the senator Howard Baker of Tennessee and Mac Mathias of Maryland in regard to their Dimona Operation, in regard to their weaponized nuclear program and in regard to the fact that they already were in the 1970s in possession of nuclear weapons.
When you look at that Times of Israel’s report and then consider that Israel is the chief driving force behind what the United States is presently doing in the Middle East and what President Obama and John Kerry are insisting that Iran do in the Middle East and with their nuclear research program, I think the word hypocrisy does apply.
Press TV: Eight billion dollars for this most recent upgrade; Mark Dankoff, the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron just recently came out and he called the ownership of nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea threats ‘the ultimate insurance policy’. This is the kind of feeling that generally some people are feeling when it comes to the US president coming out with 8 billion dollars for what he calls upgrades. I mean, one nuclear bomb should be enough unless there is different types of bombs with lesser degrees or higher degrees. Again I know you said that you are not a nuclear technician. It does not give much merit to the president’s claim that it is for nuclear nonproliferation.
Dankof: That is right and I will say something again and this gets back to something Charlie [Wolf, the other guest on the show] was commenting on because I am not a nuclear expert, I do not know the extent to this budget upgrade by the president represents an attempt to merely keep the present stockpiles safe and workable and to keep it from being involved in some sort of accident or malfunction and to what extent it actually represents an upgrade in the expulsive capacity of these so-called weapons of mass destruction. I simply do not have that knowledge of my disposal.
But it does seem to me that when we look at the president’s actions, at least symbolically, when you look at what has happened since 9/11 with American foreign policy, the draconian increases in defense spending across the board, the ongoing military intervention of the United States and NATO and all kinds of circumstances around the globe of which Libya and Syria are only the latest and when you look at the kinds of things that the US is clearly doing in regard to the deployment of the aircraft carrier, Task Force Groups, black operations inside Iranian borders, draconian economic sanctions and so forth and so on, the Iranians could well be forgiven for interpreting all of these actions on the part of the United States as particularly bellicose.
I would like to say one other thing that Charlie commented on that I do disagree with. President Ahmadinejad is often quoted as saying that either he or Iran would wipe Israel off the map. That is not what the man said. That is what an Israeli translation service called MEMRI said that he said.
President Ahmadinejad’s remarks, properly translated as I understand it, indicated that he simply thought that the Zionist state would eventually fade from history because of all of the internal contradictions within it. That is more than a slight shift in nuance in regard to meaning. I do not think that the president of Iran said the things that had been repeatedly said that he said about wanting to annihilate Israel militarily.
I think that is a bad translation and a false translation and one that again was offered by a Middle East research institute that has no links to the Israeli intelligence community.
Press TV: I am trying to steer this debate to focus on Obama’s proposal to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. We seem to keep going back to the Middle East and Iran. So Mark Dankoff, let’s go along the line of why the US president feels for this upgrade and one deduction has been the US military industrial complex: companies such as GE of which there has been lots of money to be made here. Could this be part of the push by them?
Dankof: I think when you look at the American defense posture generally, it is hard to get away from this perception. After all, when you look at the power of these defense contractors, the amount of money that is involved, the influence that they have on Capitol Hill with people in both of the major political parties, certainly this has to factor into this without question.
There is an additional political context to all of this however that I think does go back to 1945. It is noteworthy that the United States is the only nation on earth that has ever used these weapons in wartime. It used them against two Japanese cities, as we all know, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to me the most chilling aspect of all of this is that my father’s old boss, General Curtis Lemay, the father of the Strategic Air Command said after the war that the American utilization of all those weapons against those cities had nothing to do with ending the war or getting Japan to surrender which is what we were always taught in American schools growing up for years after 1945.
But that had everything to do with simply showing the Soviet Union what we had and that using the Japanese as the victims of the demonstration. So with that as a beginning to this whole tragedy of nuclear weaponry, it seems that over the course of the last 70 years or so that we cannot get away from the political context of all of this and the perception on the part of most of the people of the world that when it comes to issues of nuclear proliferation and non-proliferation that the United States will play by one set of rules; the other nuclear powers will play by one set of rules and everyone else gets to play by the rules and guidelines that are said done by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
This is perceived as inherently unfair and I do not think that we can separate the technical issues involved in this debate and the budgetary issues from the issue of the profit motive of these armament companies and also the whole question of the fact that some people want to have their cake and eat it too in terms of possessing these weapons and denying the right to these weapons to other people. It is a vexing situation.
Press TV: What is your response to Charlie Wolf’s remarks?
Dankof: As a matter of fact, we now know through a series of things that have been declassified that the Japanese had already agreed to surrender that Truman would not allow them to surrender because of his so-called unconditional Surrender Doctrine. What all the Japanese were asking for was that we kept our hands off of the emperor.
In fact, we went ahead and used these weapons and then turned around and basically agreed to the back channel demand that the Japanese had made after the destruction of both of those cities. So I would take issue with that.
I also in terms of Mr. Ahmadinejad would compare him with the current leadership of the nation of Israel. It is also a fact. Why do we not go back and take a look at what General Lemay and Admiral Nimitz and General Eisenhower had to say on this subject years after the war and a series of the things that have subsequently been declassified.
Press TV: Obama’s nuclear vision or is it an illusion?
Dankof: I think it is an illusion and it is interesting to me again that we are talking about a man of the Democratic Party and a man who is perceived on the left end of the Democratic Party spectrum who has been involved in a series of things and making him look to me like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney ranging from the drone strikes to agreeing to put out the war through his secretary of state that the United States is prepared to take preemptive military action against Iran or allow Israel to do so.
Under Obama’s presidency, the United States and Israel have been using the Mujahedin-E-Khalq or the MEK to conduct these assassinations of these Iranian nuclear scientists. With what all of that implies – and of course the president was very much involved in getting NATO to intervene in Libya – the president is now clearly involved as the United States is and as the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation States are in financing the attempted overthrow of this government in Syria with all of these al-Qaeda elements in it. This does not sound like liberal to me.
US President Barack Obama has reportedly requested more funding to further upgrade American nuclear weapons at the cost of reduced spending on nuclear nonproliferation measures, which it demands from other nations.
The Obama administration’s funding request for continued modernization of its atomic arsenal has reportedly been included in its 2014 federal budget proposal that was released on Wednesday, according to a report in US-based Foreign Policy magazine.
The Obama administration’s plan to further “modernize” American nuclear weapons comes nearly four years after the US president received the Noble Peace Prize in 2009 for the promotion of “nuclear non-proliferation.”
Despite massive cuts in public spending and even some Defense Department programs, under the new budget proposal, funding for US Energy Department’s nuclear arms-related programs would increase by nearly seven percent or about USD500 million, according to the report, which cited American officials that spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The current budget for such programs reportedly stands at more than USD7 billion.
The Energy Department’s nonproliferation programs, however, would be slashed by about 20 percent, or nearly USD460 million, under the new budget plan, according to the report. Its current annual budget stands at almost USD2.5 billion.
The proposed funding would reportedly cover the continuing upgrade of older American atomic warheads as well as the construction of a uranium processing plant in the State of Tennessee.
The so-called modernization program for aging US nuclear weapons is part of a deal between the Obama administration and Congress as part of the ‘New START’ (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement with Russia, its major rival in maintaining massive numbers of atomic weapons.
According to the pact, both nuclear powers should slash their atomic warheads to 1,500 by 2018.
US lawmakers reportedly agreed to support the reduction of the quantity of the country’s atomic warheads if the ones remaining active are upgraded.
The only category of the US Energy Department’s nonproliferation activities that would receive increased funding is its research and development division. It is intended to finance the development of a satellite-based nuclear detonation sensor, according to the Foreign Policy report.
This is while the Energy Department’s nuclear weapon programs was reportedly hindered by mismanagement and overspending issues, prompting the department to ask the Pentagon to cover cost overruns for its W76 warhead upgrade operations, though it only received three billion of the seven billion dollars it had requested.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s 2014 budget proposal is reportedly billions of dollars higher than the spending caps mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act. It is, therefore, expected to face strong opposition from congressional members. The White House and US lawmakers have been battling for the past two years over budgetary issues, and are yet to reach a common ground.
- Proponents of ‘first strike’ nuclear war against Iran rob billions from their own citizens (rt.com)
- US to upgrade nuke arsenal while cutting nonproliferation efforts – report (rt.com)
- Nonproliferation in a time of austerity (thebulletin.org)
- Israel hinders efforts aimed at nuke-free Middle East: Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Officials in the Japanese city of Hiroshima have updated the number of victims from the Second World War atomic bombing by the United States, saying it is 15,000 more than the previously recorded figure.
According to a new report released on Thursday, the total number of the explosion-affected people from the 1945 nuclear bombardment of the city has climbed up to hit 557,478 people, Xinhua reported.
The report also updated the actual number of “direct victims” of the atomic bombing – those who were within the city and its neighboring towns and villages – to 384,743. It also put the number of victims who have died so far at 277,996.
The report primarily focuses on demographic changes in recent decades and was compiled as part of an over 30-year investigative project by the Hiroshima City on the atomic bombing victims.
Kaoru Ohsugi, Director of the research division of the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Department at the Hiroshima City Office, said that since there are still different ways to interpret the numbers concerning the A-bomb victims and damage, the division decided to update the figures, collecting new information and checking the details using computers.
“Considering the remaining time the survivors have to live and the verification procedures we can use, this report may be the last edition the city officially issues,” he said.
In the only instances of the use of nuclear weapons against another nation in history, the United States bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki within a space of three days, killing hundreds of thousands of people. The nuclear radiation continued to claim thousands of more lives over the following years.
Scottish anti-nukes campaigners are gearing up for a three-day showdown with the British government leading to the blockade of Faslane Naval Base, which is the Royal Navy’s Scottish headquarters and home of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons.
The Scrap Trident campaigners have planned the blockade for April 15 that will follow two days of demonstration and anti-nukes workshops in the Scottish capital of Glasgow.
Scrap Trident is now calling for elimination of nuclear weapons in Scotland, Britain and around the world saying the social priorities in Britain should be “redefined” so that the huge cost of Trident goes into protecting the disabled in a “nuclear-free society”.
“Scotland and the UK have had nuclear weapons for 50 years. With spending on health, education, pensions and disability benefits being slashed, the government is replacing Trident at a cost of £100 Billion,” the campaign group said.
“We want Scotland and the world free of immoral nuclear weapons and call for Trident to be scrapped and human needs funded,” it added.
The Scrap Trident demonstration has been supported by 22 members of the Scottish Parliament.
The British government has announced annual welfare cuts of £18 billion until 2015 with a £10 billion-cutback also planned from 2017.
A research published in The Guardian on Wednesday revealed that British disabled people will lose an estimated £28 billion due to the welfare cuts by 2017-2018, with some people losing up to £23,000 each over five years.
- Nuclear Weapons Uncertain as Scots Weigh U.K. Exit (bloomberg.com)
On January 31, 2013 the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy hosted a public education event just north of Apollo Pennsylvania. Author Grant F. Smith discussed key findings from his 2012 book, “Divert! NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro, and the Diversion of US Weapons-Grade Uranium into the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program” at the Parks Township Volunteer Fire Hall.
Smith’s talk covered the corporate histories of NUMEC and Apollo Industries, how regulators dealt with the plant’s massive losses of bomb-grade nuclear material, the FBI’s investigation of NUMEC’s joint venture with a front for Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and the ongoing clandestine interactions of NUMEC executives with Israeli intelligence and covert nuclear weapons program operatives.
Smith also unveiled a major new effort to declassify all remaining CIA, NSA, Justice Department and National Security Council files revealing how American presidents quietly grappled with NUMEC as a proliferation and safeguards issue from the LBJ to the Carter administrations.
For decades the peace movement has been satisfied with scraps from the table of nuclear weapons and their beneficiaries. Even the New START Treaty was offset by the Obama administration promise to spend $185 billion in this decade on modernization of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
The vulnerable point in the complex of nuclear weapons corporations, their lobbies, their campaign recipients in Congress and the resulting ongoing budget for these weapons and facilities, is the delivery of corporate money by lobbyists to the key members of Congress.
“In the 2012 election cycle, the top 14 nuclear weapons contractors gave a total of $2.9 million to key members of Congress with decision making power over nuclear weapons spending. These firms have donated $18.7 million to these same members of Congress over the course of their careers.” –Bombs Versus Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby, By Hartung and Anderson at the Center for International Policy, June 6, 2012, –( a MUST read!)
There is ample evidence that nuclear weapons are useless in our national defense, that they and their delivery systems are extremely expensive and that their possession and modernization by the United States prevents any progress toward abolition by the other nuclear powers. Above all, we now know that any use, accident, or hacking of these weapons, anywhere, endangers the people of the world and all complex forms of Life on Earth.
Therefore, when we protest nuclear weapons we are defending the future of Life on Earth. And when corporations bribe our Representatives to preserve their contracts and profits, regardless of actual need, they risk the future of that life.
We must interfere with this lobbying (bribing) process. We must stand in the way. The children of the world demand that they not live under this “sword of Damocles” for the profits of the nuclear corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Boeing. The current situation of nuclear weapons is sick and beyond the moral compass of all religions.
It is urgent that the peace movement bring this truth to the attention of the American people. The methods of the last decades have been insufficient. The harsh reality of thousands of weapons on quick response demands a new approach. we must go beyond past experience, to learn from the methods of others who have had long, hard battles to change our society. Symbolically or actually, we must stand between the K Street lobbyists with their campaign contributions and the leaders of these House Committees. The public must be aroused to the insanity of our ongoing weapons and delivery systems preparations.
We must act now to preserve the wonder of Life on Earth. There is no nobler cause or greater meaning for our lives. We must venture forth with greater energy, imagination and determination to stop the insanity of investing in our extinction.
Peter G. Cohen, Santa Barbara, CA, is the author of www.nukefreeworld.com
- NAM slams nuclear meeting cancellation, urges Israel to join NPT (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The US has conducted a nuclear test in Nevada to examine the effectiveness of its atomic weapons stockpile amid the growing global urge for nuclear disarmament.
The US Energy Department announced that the Wednesday nuclear test was aimed at providing “crucial information to maintain the safety and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons.”
The subcritical experiment, known as Pollux, was conducted by the staff from the Nevada National Security Site, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
Subcritical nuclear tests examine the behavior of plutonium when shocked by forces produced by chemical high explosives.
According to UN figures, the US, which is the only country that has ever used atomic bombs against human beings, has conducted 1,032 nuclear tests since 1945.
The Nevada experiment has drawn sharp criticism from the Japanese city of Hiroshima, as the first victim of atomic weapons.
“I wonder why [US] President [Barack] Obama, who said he would seek a nuclear-free world, carried out the test,” Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui told reporters.
“I wish he would take into account the feelings of the people of Hiroshima when making policy decisions,” he added.
Hiroshima was devastated on August 6, 1945 after the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing an estimated 140,000 people instantly or gradually from radiation sickness and cancers. Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing more than 70,000.
The nuclear radiation emitted following the blasts continued to claim thousands of more lives over the past decades.
“It is depressing that the United States cannot understand how atomic bomb survivors feel, despite our repeated protests,” said Secretary General of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council Hirotami Yamada.
The Wednesday experiment “is proof that the United States could use nuclear weapons anytime. Such a country is not qualified to be a world leader,” he noted.
- Mayor, A-bomb survivors angry about U.S. subcritical nuclear test (english.kyodonews.jp)
foto: Tim Dirven/Vredesactie
As of 7:30 AM peace activists are using non-violent means to try and stop the departure of F16 airplanes from the base in Kleine Brogel. Starting today, Belgian pilots are training for the deployment of nuclear weapons together with their NATO-partners. Small groups of activists are going onto the runway to stop the taking off of the F-16s. Meanwhile, the main gate of the base is being blocked. In this way, Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix hope to prevent the preparation for war crimes.
From 15 to 26 October, Belgian F-16s from the military base of Kleine Brogel are participating in the NATO-exercise “Steadfast Noon” in the German air base of Büchel. This exercise is a way of training for the deployment of nuclear weapons. All NATO-countries that have American nuclear weapons on their territory are participating: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey. Some other countries are taking on a supportive role.
“The American nuclear weapons stored in Kleine Brogel are not merely relics from the Cold War”, says Roel Stynen from Vredesactie. “This NATO-exercise makes it clear that the deployment of these weapons is being actively prepared. If these nuclear weapons no longer have any military purpose – as we are told – then which scenarios are being practiced?”
Benoit Calvi from Action pour la Paix: “The majority of the population wants these nuclear weapons removed from our country. But our minister dodges any attempt to a debate. Apparently being a member of NATO is more important than having a functioning democracy.”
Preventing the preparation of war crimes
Small groups of activists have entered the base. They head towards the hangars for aeroplanes to stop the departure of combat planes, risking life and limb. Meanwhile a colourful blockade at the main gate stops entry of personnel to the base.
With this action the activists are trying to prevent the preparation of war crimes in a non-violent way. The use of nuclear weapons and the preparation for said use is in violation of international humanitarian law. The International Court has pointed out the fundamental rules of the law of war as applicable to nuclear weapons in its verdict of 8 July 1996.
First of all a distinction must be made between enemy combatants and civilians. It follows that weapons that are incapable of making such a distinction can never be used. Second, it is forbidden to inflict unnecessary suffering to enemy combatants. Therefore, weapons that inflict such suffering can not be used. The consequences of using nuclear weapons cannot be limited in time and space. The nuclear weapons stationed in Kleine Brogel can never be deployed without violating these fundamental rules of the law of war and without committing war crimes.
Belgian criminal law also penalizes these acts of preparation, e.g. in art. 136sexies of the penal code: “the keeping of an object destined for such a crime or which facilitates the perpetration of such a crime”. Participation in this exercise amounts to an active preparation for the use of nuclear weapons and therefore for crimes of war. It also makes it clear that the storage of nuclear weapons in Kleine Brogel is a part of this active preparation.
Belgian peace organizations file a complaint
On October 9 several Belgian peace organizations – Vredesactie, Pax Christi Vlaanderen, Vrede vzw, CNAPD, Action pour la Paix en MIR-IRG – already filed a complaint with the police against this exercise. Tom Sauer (professor of International Politics at the University of Antwerp) participated in filing a complaint: “These weapons are useless and dangerous. It is unacceptable that Belgian pilots are practicing for the deployment of weapons of mass destruction.”
So far neither the department of defence, nor the judicial authorities have indicated that the participation in the nuclear exercise will be suspended.
- Independent Scotland would ban nuclear weapons but join Nato (telegraph.co.uk)
- NAM calls for total nuclear disarmament (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Nuclear weapons should be banned from independent Scotland, says Alex Salmond (scotsman.com)
So what makes him think he is right about Iran developing nuclear weapons?
Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on September 12 2002.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- What Bibi Said In the Run-Up To Iraq (thedailybeast.com)