Archive for the ‘No nukes’ Category

Sole Control of the Use of Our Nuclear Weapons

December 3, 2016


A mushroom cloud. (photo: Medium)

Sole Control of the Use of Our Nuclear Weapons
By Ronnie Dugger, Reader Supported News
02 December 16

he American president decides entirely alone whether to explode our nation’s nuclear weapons on foreign targets. This has been true ever since President Truman ordered the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but not of a third Japanese city because of, he said in a cabinet meeting, “all those kids.” Strategy and targeting are worked out in advance under the president’s control. Like every president since Truman, President-elect Donald Trump will soon be our elected dictator over our atom-splitting bombs.

The other seven more-and-less democracies and one dictatorship that are nuclear-armed vary in their arrangements for who fires off their nuclear weapons. In Russia, whose chief on-media propagandist now brags that his country can reduce the United States to ashes, President Vladimir Putin, the defense minister, and the chief of the general staff share control over the nation’s nuclear codes. In Pakistan also three persons, the prime minister, the president, and a third person who is not identified, must agree on it before launching their nuclear bombs. If the British prime minister can’t do it, two of her deputies can. The heads of state in China, India, France, and Israel control their nations’ nuclear warheads, as presumably the dictator of North Korea does too.

Last March a senior fellow in foreign policy at the respected Brookings Institution, Michael E. O’Hanlon, focused on this solitary power of the American president “to kill tens or hundreds of millions” of people and proposed that the awesome fact should be focused on and changed.

On the use of nuclear weapons in war, O’Hanlon wrote, the U.S. “needs additional checks and balances” and “a model” that we should share with other nuclear-armed nations. He proposed the president should be required to consult in advance with leaders of Congress, and he provisionally suggested requiring approval of such use by a majority of six other officials, the House Speaker, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and the majority and minority leaders of both chambers.

O’Hanlon explained that the U.S. president “can, in theory, launch nuclear warfare by personal decision – without any checks or balances” and added that “a President could push the button all by himself or herself, legally- and constitutionally-speaking.” If the secretary of Defense, the chief of the Strategic Command, or lower-down military personnel, charged to carry out a president’s order to launch nuclear bombs, refused to do it, O’Hanlon wrote, that would be “open insubordination, subject to dismissal and court-martial.”

The War Powers Act of 1973 requires Congressional approval of a president’s military action within 60 days of its inception, but if that action was nuclear bombs, after two months millions, even billions, could be dead.

It is unlikely, O’Hanlon wrote, but we “could have a mentally ill President who chose to do the unthinkable,” with “the possibility of completely intentional nuclear war initiated by a psychotic, schizophrenic, or otherwise unbalanced leader. Again, for all his barbs and insults and affected anger, Trump is likely not such a person. But his candidacy is enough to at least raise the salience of the question.”

President-elect Trump, soon to have sole total authority over the use of the nation’s 4,500 nuclear weapons – many more than a thousand of them on hair-trigger launch-on-warning alert – has been thinking intensely about nuclear weapons for at least four decades and has five clearly-declared convictions concerning them.

One, Trump believes nuclear weapons and their proliferation are the most important issue in the world. “[I]t’s unthinkable, the power,” he says. “The biggest risk for this world or this country is nuclear weapons, the power of nuclear weapons.”

Two, for him the strong taboo against more nations getting nuclear weapons no longer holds: South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia should probably – it would be OK with him – get national nuclear arsenals of their own. Speaking about South Korea and Japan he said, “If they do, they do. Good luck. Enjoy yourselves, folks.” Japan will do it whether we like it or not, in his opinion, and, he said this year, “I would rather have Japan have some form of defense or even offense against that maniac who runs North Korea,” the president, Kim Jong-un.

Three, campaigning for president, he said he does not want to be the one to detonate nuclear weapons first and that only as “an absolute last step” would he order the military to fire them off. But he added, “I’m never going to rule anything out,” and, as for other nations, “at a minimum I want them to think maybe we would use them.”

Four, Trump believes that deterrence theory, the mutual-assured-destruction foundation of the 20th century nuclear arms race, does not prevent nuclear war among rival lesser nuclear-armed nations as it has between the U.S. and Russia. When he was 38, in 1987, he told reporter Ron Rosenbaum, “The deterrence of mutual assured destruction that prevents the United States and the USSR from nuking each other won’t work on the level of an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange. Or a madman dictator with a briefcase-bomb team. The only answer,” he advocated passionately, “is for the Big Two [the U.S. and the Soviet Union then] to make a deal now to step in and prevent the next generation of nations about to go nuclear from doing so. By whatever means necessary.”

As I reported on Reader Supported News last July 15th, approaching his 40th year Trump seriously wanted to be the chief United States negotiator with the Soviet Union to make that deal. His plan was to sell the USSR his idea and proposal that, via trade maneuvers by the U.S. and Soviet “retaliation,” the “Big Two” should gang up on lesser nuclear nations to coerce and force them to give up their nuclear weapons. “You do whatever is necessary,” he said, “so these people will have riots in the street, so they can’t get water, so they can’t get Band-Aids, so they can’t get food. Because that’s the only thing that’s going to do it – the people, the riots.” He said his plan applied against France, too, if France would not give up its nuclear bombs.

Five, Trump, running for president, said that nuclear weapons are going to be used now in the present world. “We’re dealing with people in the world that would use [nuclear weapons], OK?” he told the board of The New York Times. “You have many people that would use it right now in this world.” Characterizing North Korea’s Kim as “like a maniac” and “a madman,” Trump said this year Kim “is sick enough” to use his nuclear weapons.

Yet Trump also has said he is willing to meet with Kim, and he declared during a policy conference he had with his now-chief strategist Steve Bannon last December that if he was elected, he would have U.S. citizens who were imprisoned in North Korea back on American shores before his swearing-in.

It would seem as a logical matter that because of Trump’s fifth conviction that nuclear weapons will be used, if as president he comes into a war-potential situation with another nuclear-armed nation other than Russia or perhaps China, he is likelier than he would be without that conviction to launch U.S. nuclear weapons first against that adversary, thinking that if he did not, the adversary nation well might launch them against us first.

Beyond that, during his campaign Trump displayed and enacted his lifelong rule to always seek revenge; his impulsiveness and quickness to anger; his apparent indifference to the pain he causes others; and his huge ego, his statement that just about meant that on foreign policy he confers most respectfully with himself. These and related considerations led some prominent citizens to exclaim that he should not get his hands on the nuclear codes.

But, Six, Trump also said in passing this year on his way to becoming the most powerful person on earth next January that bad things will happen for us with nuclear weapons “if we don’t eliminate them.” That, too, is in his mind. Let’s go bold and call this his sixth line of thought about all the nuclear warheads.

One Man With All Humanity at His Mercy

Who controls our nuclear arsenal is so important for the continuing life and existence of humanity, I suggest, for my part, that President Obama and the Congress now meeting in its final session, and if and as necessary then President Trump and the new Congress next year, take up this subject to have the launching of our nuclear arsenal not for only the president to decide, but rather for the control to belong to the collective deciding power of a small group of our national leaders.

Concerning those who defend limiting to the one person the power to kill millions of us and possibly escalate us into the end of humanity, in self-defense we citizens, as if channeling the Captain of the Good Ship Enterprise, should tell Congress and the president of this new plan, “Make it so.”

Barack Obama, the most powerful person on earth for seven more weeks, as surprised as most are who is the new president, could and I dare to say should himself simply by presidential executive order distribute his present control over nuclear weapons among a group of five or seven including himself and in a day or a few have created a communications system for them, setting a high example and precedent for his successors. He and Trump have an evidently civil relationship; Obama could handle this with him politely (as if politeness has any business here).

For an example alternative to Brookings fellow O’Hanlon’s postulation of a five-person nuclear control group, the permanent committee on the nuclear arsenal might, after reflection and debate, be composed of five, the president, the speaker of the House, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and one majority or minority leader of each chamber chosen to accomplish a balance in those two between the two main parties.

Or, a Republican Congress might want a permanent committee of the president, the vice-president, the speaker, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If, say to achieve bipartisanship adding one of the majority or minority leaders of both chambers balanced as to parties, there would be a permanent committee of seven, or if all four of those, nine. The leaders and Congress could in good faith just work this out together and make it law.

Since our detonation of our nuclear weapons on cities, nations, or “military targets” (but not ones like Truman said Hiroshima was!) for a tactical or otherwise limited purpose can readily escalate into the end of life on the earth, it seems to me the decision to launch nuclear weapons should require the unanimous agreement of the members of a permanent committee who can be consulted in time. The president and Congress might compromise, if necessary, on requiring 4 out of 5, or 5 or 6 out of 7 … on which, humanity in the cosmos might depend.

In my opinion all members of the permanent committee (what the communists used to call the presidium) governing our nuclear arsenal should justly be legally required, in fidelity to their primary human duty to humanity, to submit their personal autonomy and tranquility to being continuously connected all to each other by fail-safe-as-possible secure communication.

Something like this would also provide a practical, although ethically monstrous assistance for the president’s unbelievable ethical problem if suddenly his national security adviser told him (or, soon, her) that a nuclear attack from X direction, according to our possibly hacked messages from NORAD, is about to explode upon us: the problem of his or her 10 or 15 or so minutes to decide whether to retaliate by mass murder, slaughtering and maiming many millions of totally innocent people as ostensibly ruling deterrence-theory requires and we have cross-our-hearts promised.

The president being commander-in-chief, if all the president’s nuclear presidium members contacted have approved a launch of H-bombs to retaliate and the president is alive and able, then at that final point only the president could give that order, or, the president alone retaining the ultimate power not to commit the mass murder of millions in indefensible before-our-deaths revenge, the president could decide to not retaliate.

This is one form of the rising danger we are all in.

No attention has been given in media I have seen to O’Hanlon’s Brookings posting calling for limitations on the president’s sole control of nuclear weapons, but two years ago the subject was considered publicly to a limited extent in some reviews of W.W. Norton’s remarkable book, Thermonuclear Monarchy, Choosing Between Democracy and Doom, by Elaine Scarry, a professor of ethics and value at Harvard University.

Scarry’s basic theme is that nuclear weapons, in matters concerning them, have in reality abolished Congress and therefore American democracy. She contends that the specific and unqualified requirement in the Constitution that only Congress declare war and its Second Amendment postulating citizens’ right to take up arms in militias to defend the country mean that given the nature of nuclear weapons the only constitutional remedy against them is to abolish them.

H-bombs, “designed to be fired by a small number of persons,” are, Scarry wrote, “the literal technology for killing entire populations at will,” and “the essential feature” of the technology is that “it locates in the hands of a solitary person the power to kill millions of people,” “the capacity to annihilate all the peoples on earth.” The president has “genocidal injuring power at his personal disposal through nuclear weapons…. [T]he people of earth … can be dispatched all at a blow.”

Comprehending, somehow, the total destructive power in the U.S. nuclear arsenal directly bears on whether control over it should be held by only one person. By Scarry’s “conservative” estimates, Obama now personally controls and next January 20th President-elect Trump will personally control the more than one billion tons of equivalent TNT-blastpower that is in our nuclear warheads.

The Harvard professor writes that each one of our U.S. Trident nuclear-armed submarines carries eight times the total blastpower exploded by all the sides in World War II. Each sub has the power of 4,000 Hiroshima-power blasts in 24 missiles containing between 8 and 17 warheads. Any one of the subs can “destroy the people of an entire continent,” there are seven continents, and we have 14 Tridents.

Under the one person’s control, as Scarry writes “we own,” in the pointed-outward tubes in our Trident fleet, 3,100 nuclear warheads with a total blastpower of 273 million tons of TNT, in our land-based ICBM warheads we own another 503 million tons of TNT blast, and then in our nuclear warheads for our bombers we own another 410 million tons of TNT power; in all, we together own about 1,186 million tons of TNT blastpower.

How whimsical and how weird this God-like power is, handed over to one person just because he’s or she’s won our presidency! Since early 1963 the nuclear briefcase, the “football” containing the nuclear codes for the use of only the president, has been carried continuously by an officer in the room the president is in or an adjacent one, as Scarry reports. It is always near the president, including when he is traveling, except for some freak incidents. When President Carter, who once sent his codes to the cleaners in a suit jacket, went rafting in Idaho, another raft followed his down the river with an officer on it carrying the briefcase. When Ronald Reagan was shot, a car containing an officer carrying the codes followed him to the hospital. President Clinton, who sometimes, anyway, kept the codes attached to his credit cards with a rubber band, lost them for several months and didn’t tell the Pentagon.

Does it matter, this one-person power of launch-and-gone? If citizens realized how often since Hiroshima we have been close to again attacking other nations with our nuclear weapons they would know that it really does. Scarry reports that since 1945 our presidents have frequently considered using them, although the official admissions of this don’t reach the public for several decades.

Eisenhower left instructions to officers that if he was out of communication they were to launch nuclear weapons if we came under attack whether nuclear or conventional. Twice he considered launching them himself, over the Taiwan Straits, 1954, and the Berlin crisis, 1959. President Kennedy considered their use three times (40 years after Kennedy’s murder, Robert McNamara said the U.S. came “three times within a hair’s breadth of nuclear war with the Soviet Union”). President Johnson considered a nuclear attack on China to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. President Nixon advocated to Henry Kissinger that the U.S. should use nuclear bombs in the Vietnam War, and, he said 13 years after his presidency, he contemplated using them three other times and not about Vietnam.

As Scarry also points out, only John Kennedy brought the people in on these nuclear-weapons-and-considering-their-use close calls. From since about Reagan, but also earlier, much top-secret truth about our slick missiles of mass death is yet to be made available to the people by their government. If the people knew what they should, they might at least think about the case for pluralizing control of our nuclear arsenal.

7 Weeks, 4 Years … Perry: “Time Is Not on Our Side”

In the later sixties, having dinner for about six in a tiny White House dining room that faces onto Lafayette Square, I sitting by President Johnson, I said to him that, since he had said publicly that in the first half-hour of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear exchange 40 million people would die, what were we reporters supposed to tell the people out there (gesturing leftward to the square) about it?

After a silence, the president said he knew exactly what I was asking (which, in my guarded intent, was, would he himself actually fire off our nuclear weapons?). After telling a long story about how a little Brown & Root airplane he was on made it bouncingly through a lightning storm back down to earth, and he woke up as they landed, he grew angry that I had asked him about this – you and you liberals who don’t have all the secret facts! – and then suddenly in his rising rage he shouted at me, “I’m the one who has to mash the button!” as he mashed his stiffened thumb down in the air bending rightward almost to the floor.

Reportedly President Nixon was preoccupied with his power over the nuclear weapons. A historian has recorded that Nixon told Senator Alan Cranston, “Why, I can go into my office and pick up the telephone and in 25 minutes 70 million people will be dead.”

Reliable journalistic sources recorded that Nixon ordered a tactical nuclear strike against North Vietnam which Kissinger had the Joint Chiefs of Staff stop until Nixon sobered up overnight. During Arab nations’ war on Israel in October 1972 the Soviet Union appeared to be planning to come in on the side of the Arabs. One night the one man didn’t do. USSR premier Leonid Brezhnev sent Nixon a threatening message. Nixon was deemed by those near him too drunk asleep to awaken, and in the morning his inner circle sent Brezhnev a threatening reply signed as if by Nixon, who was in fact dead-drunk asleep. Brezhnev backed off.

In another case with Nixon at least three high officials intervened, perhaps at risk of their prosecution if Nixon had so chosen, to check him. A few weeks before Nixon resigned his secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger, ordered the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that any emergency order coming from Nixon had to be shown to Schlesinger before it was acted on.

President Reagan, after having called the USSR an evil empire, pivoted sharply by his 1984 State of the Union address in which he said, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought…. [W]ould it not be better to do away with [nuclear weapons] entirely?” He and Mikhail Gorbachev almost did that, but failed.

Since then Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, in their 2002 and 2010 official nuclear policy documents, explicitly declared that the U.S. may make first use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances, which of course the U.S. would define. The U.S. arsenal now contains or is to contain new nuclear weapons that are smaller to make them “more usable,” including one, the B61-12, that is called “dial-a-yield” because the sender of it can adjust it to explode at any of four different levels of destruction.

Russia and the U.S. together have about 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. Putin has declared Russia will use its stock of them if necessary to preserve the existence of the state. Showing increased interest in them for battlefield combat, Russian officials indicated they are prepared to use them, and first, whether or not it is a nuclear threat that they are under.

William J. Perry, the secretary of Defense under President Clinton, has now dedicated the rest of his life to educating and arousing the people to the rapidly rising danger of nuclear war. Perry warns in his revelatory new book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, published by Stanford University Press, that “time is not on our side.”

Thus do we Americans, all of us but one, find ourselves concerning the 4,500 nuclear weapons we own still totally inert in the hands of our presidents, one after the other, in this new world of mass murder by codes, because one man commanding in battle and war came down to us through centuries, tribal chiefs, kings, emperors, presidents. This became the way of war because the side whose fighters were commanded by the one brave and shrewder man often won or his forces survived to fight again. Our evolved genetic instinct to follow one man in battle and war is very deep. It is now also obsolete because our nuclear weapons are not for battles or wars but for mass murders and for the first time in our history can and may kill us all.

No one person in any nation on earth should have the sole power to decide alone to launch nuclear weapons in the name and authority of the country he or she is of. Perhaps in this next seven weeks and the ensuing administration we can face down in our own nation those who, perhaps seeing this subject as a political ploy against Trump, will want to continue giving just one person among us the power to end life on earth. Changing this horror in the United States, by Obama or Trump or Congress or all of them, could become a first step to changing it in the world.

Ronnie Dugger received the George Polk career award for journalism in 2012. Founding editor of The Texas Observer, he has published biographical books about Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, other books about Hiroshima and universities, articles for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other periodicals, and is now in Austin writing a book about nuclear war.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


Comment: This is the most urgently solution-requiring issue by mankind – actually and eventually by everyone (deluded by ego fiction and destroying eco). Where is the equality of all men, while a man can annihilate not only men, but all life forms? We must awaken to the fiction of “sovereign state, self, etc.” in the truth/ethic of the interdependent and intertwined life-world!!!

Now Is the High Time to Cooperate for Peace, Not to Complain for Pandemonium

November 9, 2016

Now We Can Finally Get to Work

By David Swanson

Dear Democrats,

Are you finding yourselves suddenly a bit doubtful of the wisdom of drone wars? Presidential wars without Congress? Massive investment in new, smaller, “more usable” nuclear weapons? The expansion of bases across Africa and Asia? Are you disturbed by the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen? Can total surveillance and the persecution of whistleblowers hit a point where they’ve gone too far? Is the new Cold War with Russia looking less than ideal now? How about the militarization of U.S. police: is it time to consider alternatives to that?

I hear you. I’m with you. Let’s build a movement together to end the madness of constantly overthrowing governments with bombs. Let’s propose nonviolent alternatives to a culture gone mad with war. Let’s end the mindset that creates war in the first place.

We have opportunities as well as dangers. A President Trump is unpredictable. He wants to proliferate nuclear weapons, bomb people, kill people, stir up hatred of people, and increase yet further military spending. But he also said the new Cold War was a bad idea. He said he wanted to end NATO, not to mention NAFTA, as well as breaking the habit of overthrowing countries left and right. Trump seems to immediately back off such positions under the slightest pressure. Will he adhere to them under massive pressure from across the political spectrum? It’s worth a try.

We have an opportunity to build a movement that includes a focus on and participation from refugees/immigrants. We have a chance to create opposition to racist wars and racism at home. We may just discover that what’s left of the U.S. labor movement is suddenly more open to opposing wars. Environmental groups may find a willingness to oppose the world’s top destroyer of the environment: the U.S. military. Civil liberties groups may at long last be willing to take on the militarism that creates the atrocities they oppose. We have to work for such a broader movement. We have to build on the trend of protesting the national anthem and make it a trend of actively resisting the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.

I know you’re feeling a little beat down at the moment. You shouldn’t. You had a winning candidate in Bernie Sanders. Your party cheated him out of the nomination. All that stuff you tell yourselves about encouraging demographic trends and the better positions of young people is all true. You just looked for love in all the wrong places. Running an unpopular candidate in a broken election system is not the way to change the world. Even a working election system would not be the central means by which to improve anything. There’s no getting back the mountains of money and energy invested in this election. But activism is an unlimited resource. Directing your energies now in more strategic directions can inspire others who in turn can re-inspire you.

Dear Republicans,

Your outsider is threatening insiderness. He’s got the same tribe of DC corporate lobbyists planning his nominations that Hillary Clinton had lined up for hers. Can we resist that trend? Can we insist that the wars be ended? Can those moments of off-the-cuff honesty about dinosaurs like NATO be turned into actual action? Donald Trump took a lot of heat for proposing to be fair to Palestinians as well as Israelis, and he backed off fast. Can we encourage him to stand behind that initial inclination?

Can we stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and end NAFTA as well? We heard a million speeches about how bad NAFTA is. How about actually ending it? Can we stop the looming war supplemental spending bill? Can we put a swift halt to efforts in Congress to repeal the right to sue Saudi Arabia and other nations for their wars and lesser acts of terrorism?

How about all that well deserved disgust with the corporate media? Can we actually break up that cartel and allow opportunities for media entrepreneurs?

Dear United States,

Donald Trump admitted we had a broken election system and for a while pretended that he would operate outside of it by funding his own campaign. It’s time to actually fix it. It’s time to end the system of legalized bribery, fund elections, make registration automatic, make election day a holiday, end gerrymandering, eliminate the electoral college, create the right to vote, create the public hand-counting of paper ballots at every polling place, and create ranked choice voting as Maine just did.

Voter suppression efforts in this year’s elections should be prosecuted in each state. And any indications of fraud in vote counting by machines should be investigated. We should take the opportunity created by all the McCarthyist nonsense allegations of Russian interference to get rid of unverifiable voting.

There are also areas in which localities and states, as well as international organizations and alliances, must now step up to take the lead. First and foremost is investing in a serious effort to avoid climate catastrophe. Second is addressing inequality that has surpassed the Middle Ages: both taxing the overclass and upholding the underclass must be pursued creatively. Mass incarceration and militarized police are problems that states can solve.

But we can advance a positive agenda across the board by understanding this election in the way that much of the world will understand it: as a vote against endless war. Let’s end the wars, end the weapons dealing, close the bases, and cut the $1 trillion a year going into the military. Hell, why not demand that a businessman president for the first time ever audit the Pentagon and find out what it’s spending money on?

Dear World,

We apologize for having elected President Trump as well as for nearly electing President Clinton. Many of you believe we defeated the representative of the enlightenment in favor of the sexist racist buffoon. This may be a good thing. Or at least it may be preferable to your eight-year-long delusion that President Obama was a man of peace and justice.

I hate to break it to you, but the United States government has been intent on dominating the rest of you since the day it was formed. If electing an obnoxious president helps you understand that, so much the better. Stop joining in U.S. “humanitarian wars” please. They never were humanitarian, and if you can recognize that now, so much the better. The new guy openly wants to “steal their oil.” So did the last several presidents, although none of them said so. Are we awake now?

Shut down the U.S. bases in your country. They represent your subservience to Donald Trump. Close them.

Want to save the earth’s climate? Build a nonviolent movement that resists destructive agendas coming out of the United States.

Want to uphold the rule of law, diplomacy, aid, decency, and humanitarianism? Stop making exceptions for U.S. crimes. Tell the International Criminal Court to indict a non-African. Prosecute the crime and crimes of war in your own courts. Stop cooperating in the surrounding and threatening of Russia, China, and Iran. Clinton wanted to send weapons to Ukraine and bomb Syria. Make sure Trump doesn’t. Make peace in Ukraine and Syria before January.

It’s time that we all began treating the institution of war as the unacceptable vestige of barbarism that it can appear when given an openly racist, sexist, bigoted face. We have the ability to use nonviolent tools to direct the world where we want it to go. We have to stop believing the two big lies: that we are generally powerless, and that our only power lies in elections. Let’s finally get active. Let’s start by ending war making.

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Establish Global Ethic: Abolish Nukes, Abandon Olympic Games

November 4, 2016

4 November 2016

Dear friends,
It is indeed regrettable that Japan, the world’s sole victim of atomic bombings should have voted against the UN resolution of 28 October,
a landmark resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. Survivers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have naturally expressed their anger and disappointment. Conscientious Japanese people will all agree that it is a historic mission of Japan to contribute to the accomplishment of true denuclearization, both civilian and military.
The will of the majority of the Japanese people has once again been belittled. This makes one question the governability of Japan.

We are reminded of the immoral realities of the present world.

The preset crisis the world is confronted with is neither an economic crisis nor a monetary one. It is a crisis of civilization. The solution requires the mobilization of human wisdom on the widest global scale. Mankind faces a change of way of life not only in Japan, but the entire world.

The deeply-rooted cause of this crisis is the universally prevalent lack of ethics. It is against fundamental ethics to abuse and exhaust natural resources that belong to future generations and leave behind permanently poisonous nuclear waste and enormous financial debts. It is a matter of great urgency to put an end to this civilization based on greed.

Now is the time for us to transform it into a civilization based on “maternal culture” that gives the supreme value to life, and not to economy as heretofore. It can be defined as a maternal civilization based on ethics and solidarity that respects the environment and the interests of future generations.

Under such circumstances, it is badly needed to hold a United Nations Ethics Summit as early as possible and to create an “International Day for Global Ethics” that will enable all nations, year by year, to reflect on the importance of ethics.

The will of heavens and the earth(the law of history) tells us that immorality cannot last long. The main stream of the world has started to change.
The shift from the current paternal civilization, based on power and domination, to a maternal civilization, based on harmony and solidarity, is now becoming visible with increasing female top leaders.

The retreat from the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 will start changing Japan.
It is simply immoral to continue to rely on the false assertion that Fukushima is under control. The IOC has not yet responded to the request
of verification coming from the civil society. It is deplored that the departure from the spirit of the Olympic Games is attaining its limitations due to its
excessive commercialization more and more disclosed recently in connection with Governor Yuriko Koike’s new initiative to reduce the Olympic expenditure.

Please allow me to count on your understanding and support.

With warmest regards,

Mitsuhei Murata
(Former Ambassador to Switzerland)


4 November 2016

Dear Friends,

I have received many reactions to my last message.
I am sending you some of them.I am hopeful for the solidarity of civil society on a global scale to better the world.

Toward the end of the message I wrote “ The IOC has not yet responded to the request of verification coming from the civil society. It is to be deplored that the departure from the spirit of the Olympic Games is attaining its limitations due to its excessive commercialization …..”
For instance, Governor Yuriko Koike is actually facing the pressure from the IOC and the Organizing Committee to to prepare 20.000 seats at the swimming pool in stead of 15.000 and this to secure their earnings.Only the Olympic can mobilize as many spectators.The Japanese public will not allow such extravagance.

Japan times of 3 November has published an article of Brian Victoria”Japan should stay out of U.S. sailors’ lawsuit against Tepco”
which chalenges the ongoing attempt to play down and hide the consequenses of the Fukushima nuclear accident.The support fund
created by Former Prime Minister Koizumi is approaching its goal of 1 million dollars.

With warmest regards,
Mitsuhei Murta
(Former Ambassador to Switzerland)

Some reactions;

(From a British economist)

Thank you Murata-san, it is indeed appalling that Japan opposed the UN resolution of Oct.28th – even North Korea voted in favour! This will go down in history as a huge mistake, with ethical and strategic.
I hope we can keep in touch.

(From Dr. Martin Vosseler,Co-Founder of IPPNW/Switzerland,Guiness record holder for crossing the Atlantic Ocean by a solar boat)

Dear Mitsuhei,

my hope is that all that – the Japanese vote against negotiations about nuclear abolition, disastrous politicians like Trump, Erdogan, Putin, the denial of the Fukushima catastrophe, the Olympic games in Japan etc. are the negative reflection of the dawn of a new consciousness, with global ethics, with responsibility for the future generations, with respect for nature, for animals, with the growth of a maternal civilization. Thanks so much for your midwife service catalyzing this new consciousness!

With warmest greetings,


(From an eminent Swiss banker)

Merci, cher ami, de cette triste communication.
Nous sommes revenus à une période de guerre froide qui n’augure rien de bon.
Chaque jour, nous voyons que les budgets militaires des grandes puissances prennent l’ascenseur.
C’est vraiment inquiétant surtout si l’on pense qu’une partie non négligeable de ces budgets sont consacrés à des armements atomiques .
Le retour à des valeurs morales serait vraiment souhaitable mais qui des grands de ce monde s’en soucie


[ICAN] BREAKING NEWS: UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017

October 27, 2016

Fwd: [ICAN] BREAKING NEWS: UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017

Akira Kawasaki via
5:50 PM (12 minutes ago)

to abolition-japan
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Tim Wright (ICAN)
Date: 2016-10-28 7:14 GMT+09:00
Subject: [ICAN] BREAKING NEWS: UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017
To: ICAN Campaigners

** Please disseminate, translate and adapt for local use.**

UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017
October 27, 2016

NEW YORK – The United Nations today adopted a landmark resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. This historic decision heralds an end to two decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts.

At a meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with disarmament and international security matters, 123 nations voted in favour of the resolution, with 38 against and 16 abstaining.

The resolution will set up a UN conference beginning in March next year, open to all member states, to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. The negotiations will continue in June and July.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a civil society coalition active in 100 countries, hailed the adoption of the resolution as a major step forward, marking a fundamental shift in the way that the world tackles this paramount threat.

“For seven decades, the UN has warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and people globally have campaigned for their abolition. Today the majority of states finally resolved to outlaw these weapons,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN.

Despite arm-twisting by a number of nuclear-armed states, the resolution was adopted in a landslide. A total of 57 nations were co-sponsors, with Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa taking the lead in drafting the resolution.

The UN vote came just hours after the European Parliament adopted its own resolution on this subject – 415 in favour and 124 against, with 74 abstentions – inviting European Union member states to “participate constructively” in next year’s negotiations.

Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet outlawed in a comprehensive and universal manner, despite their well-documented catastrophic humanitarian and environmental impacts.

“A treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons would strengthen the global norm against the use and possession of these weapons, closing major loopholes in the existing international legal regime and spurring long-overdue action on disarmament,” said Fihn.

“Today’s vote demonstrates very clearly that a majority of the world’s nations consider the prohibition of nuclear weapons to be necessary, feasible and urgent. They view it as the most viable option for achieving real progress on disarmament,” she said.

Biological weapons, chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions are all explicitly prohibited under international law. But only partial prohibitions currently exist for nuclear weapons.

Nuclear disarmament has been high on the UN agenda since the organization’s formation in 1945. Efforts to advance this goal have stalled in recent years, with nuclear-armed nations investing heavily in the modernization of their nuclear forces.

Twenty years have passed since a multilateral nuclear disarmament instrument was last negotiated: the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which has yet to enter into legal force due to the opposition of a handful of nations.

Today’s resolution, known as L.41, acts upon the key recommendation of a UN working group on nuclear disarmament that met in Geneva this year to assess the merits of various proposals for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.

It also follows three major intergovernmental conferences examining the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, held in Norway, Mexico and Austria in 2013 and 2014. These gatherings helped reframe the nuclear weapons debate to focus on the harm that such weapons inflict on people.

The conferences also enabled non-nuclear-armed nations to play a more assertive role in the disarmament arena. By the third and final conference, which took place in Vienna in December 2014, most governments had signalled their desire to outlaw nuclear weapons.

Following the Vienna conference, ICAN was instrumental in garnering support for a 127-nation diplomatic pledge, known as the humanitarian pledge, committing governments to cooperate in efforts “to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons”.

Throughout this process, victims and survivors of nuclear weapon detonations, including nuclear testing, have contributed actively. Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and an ICAN supporter, has been a leading proponent of a ban.

“This is a truly historic moment for the entire world,” she said following today’s vote. “For those of us who survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is a very joyous occasion. We have been waiting so long for this day to come.”

“Nuclear weapons are absolutely abhorrent. All nations should participate in the negotiations next year to outlaw them. I hope to be there myself to remind delegates of the unspeakable suffering that nuclear weapons cause. It is all of our responsibility to make sure that such suffering never happens again.”

There are still more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, mostly in the arsenals of just two nations: the United States and Russia. Seven other nations possess nuclear weapons: Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

All nine nuclear-armed nations either voted against the UN resolution or abstained. Many of their allies, including those in Europe that host nuclear weapons on their territory as part of a NATO arrangement, also failed to support the resolution.

But the nations of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, and are likely to be key players at the negotiating conference in New York next year.

On Monday, 15 Nobel Peace Prize winners urged nations to support the negotiations and to bring them “to a timely and successful conclusion so that we can proceed rapidly toward the final elimination of this existential threat to humanity”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has also appealed to governments to support this process, stating on 12 October that the international community has a “unique opportunity” to achieve a ban on the “most destructive weapon ever invented”.

“This treaty won’t eliminate nuclear weapons overnight,” concluded Fihn. “But it will establish a powerful new international legal standard, stigmatizing nuclear weapons and compelling nations to take urgent action on disarmament.”

In particular, the treaty will place great pressure on nations that claim protection from an ally’s nuclear weapons to end this practice, which in turn will create pressure for disarmament action by the nuclear-armed nations.


Taiwan to end nuclear power generation in 2025

October 26, 2016

The Asahi Shimbun | Asia & Japan Watch

Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant in New Taipei City in the northern part of the island. Its construction has been suspended due to an anti-nuclear movement that has intensified since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

TAIPEI–In a rare move for power-hungry Asia, the Taiwanese government has decided to abolish nuclear power generation by 2025 to meet the public’s demand for a nuclear-free society following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, equivalent to the Cabinet in Japan, approved revisions to the electricity business law, which aim to promote the private-sector’s participation in renewable energy projects, on Oct. 20.

“Revising the law shows our determination to promote the move toward the abolition of nuclear power generation and change the ratios of electricity sources,” said President Tsai Ing-wen.

The government plans to start deliberations on the revised bill in the Legislative Yuan, or the parliament, in the near future, with the goal of passing it within this year.

Movements toward a nuclear-free society are active in Europe. For example, Germany has decided to abolish nuclear power generation by 2022.

On the other hand, China and India are increasing nuclear power generation to meet the growing demand for electricity. In Taiwan, nuclear power accounted for 14.1 percent of all the electricity generated in 2015. At present, three nuclear power plants are operating.

However, the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant heightened public opinion against nuclear power generation. In response to the sentiment, Tsai, who assumed the presidency in May with a vow of establishing a nuclear-free society, led the government’s effort to abolish nuclear power.

Like Japan, Taiwan is hit by many earthquakes. The three nuclear power plants currently in operation will reach their service lives of 40 years by 2025. The revised bill will clearly stipulate that operations of all the nuclear plants will be suspended by that year. The stipulation will close the possible extension of their operations.

The government is looking to solar power and wind power as the pillars of renewable energies. It aims to increase their total ratio among all electricity sources from the current 4 percent to 20 percent in 2025.

However, meeting the goal assumes that electricity generated by solar power will increase 24-fold in 10 years. Because of that, some people harbor doubts on the viability of the plan.

“A hurdle to overcome to achieve the goal is very high,” said an electric power industry source.

Anti-nuclear candidate wins Niigata election in blow to Abe’s energy policy

October 17, 2016

By Kentaro Hamada

POLITICS OCT. 17, 2016 – 06:36AM JST ( 8 )
Anti-nuclear candidate wins Niigata election in blow to Abe’s energy policy
The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, which is the world’s largest, is seen from the seaside in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture.
Reuters file photo
An anti-nuclear candidate won an upset victory in a Japanese regional election on Sunday, a blow to Tokyo Electric Power’s attempts to restart the world’s biggest atomic power station and a challenge to the government’s energy policy.

Ryuichi Yoneyama, 49, a doctor-lawyer who has never held office and is backed mostly by left-wing parties, won the race for governor of Niigata, Japanese media projected, in a vote dominated by concerns over the future of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station and nuclear safety more than five years after the Fukushima catastrophe of March 2011.

“As I have promised all of you, under current circumstances where we can’t protect your lives and your way of life, I declare clearly that I can’t approve a restart,” Yoneyama told supporters at his campaign headquarters.

Cheers of “Banzai!” erupted as media began projecting him the winner over former Mayor Tamio Mori, 67, backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and initially favored for an easy victory.

Yoneyama had more than 500,000 votes to about 430,000 for Mori with 93% of the vote counted in the region on the Japan Sea coast, public broadcaster NHK said.

Mori, a former construction ministry bureaucrat, apologised to his supporters for failing to win the election.

Yoneyama, who had run unsuccessfully for office four times, promised to continue the policy of the outgoing governor who had long thwarted the ambitions of TEPCO, as the company supplying about a third of Japan’s electricity is known, to restart the plant.

Reviving the seven-reactor giant, with capacity of 8 gigawatts, is key to saving the utility, which was brought low by the Fukushima explosions and meltdowns, and then the repeated admissions of cover-ups and safety lapses after the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

TEPCO, put under government control in 2012, is vital to Abe’s energy policy, which relies on rebooting more of the reactors that once met about 30 percent of the nation’s needs.

As the race tightened, the election became a litmus test for nuclear safety and put Abe’s energy policy and TEPCO’s handling of Fukushima back under the spotlight.

“The talk was of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, but I think the result will affect nuclear restarts across the country,” said Shigeaki Koga, a former trade and industry ministry official turned critic of nuclear restarts and the Abe administration.

Koga told Reuters it was important that Yoneyama join forces with another newly elected governor sceptical of nuclear restarts, Satoshi Mitazono of Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Japan. “Without strong support from others, it won’t be easy to take on TEPCO,” he said.

TEPCO spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said the company couldn’t comment on the choice of Niigata governor but respected the vote and would strive to apply the lessons of the Fukushima disaster to its management of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa.

The government wants to restart units that pass safety checks, also promoting renewables and burning more coal and natural gas.

Only two of Japan’s 42 reactors are running more than five years after Fukushima, but the Niigata plant’s troubles go back further.

Several reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa have been out of action since an earthquake in 2007 caused radiation leaks and fires in a disaster that prefigured the Fukushima calamity and TEPCO’s bungled response.

Niigata voters opposed restarting the plant by 73% to 27%, according to an NHK exit poll.

Yoneyama, who has worked as a radiological researcher, said on the campaign trail that TEPCO didn’t have the means to prevent Niigata children from getting thyroid cancer in a nuclear accident, as he said had happened in Fukushima. He said the company didn’t have a solid evacuation plan.

The LDP’s Mori, meanwhile, was forced to tone down his support for restarting the plant as the race tightened, media said, insisting safety was the top priority for Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, while promoting the use of natural gas and solar power in Niigata.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.


October 6, 2016

HibakushaAppeal ヒバクシャ国際署名 Japan

「後世の人びとが生き地獄を体験しないように、生きている間に 何としても核兵器のない世界を実現したい。」
 その思いから、 平均年齢80歳を超えたヒロシマ・ナガサキの被爆者が国際署名をはじめました。






1945 年8月6日と9日、米軍が投下した2発の原子爆弾は、一瞬に広島・長崎を壊滅させ、 数十万の人びとを無差別に殺傷しました。真っ黒に焦げ 炭になった屍、ずるむけのからだ、 無言で歩きつづける人びとの列。生き地獄そのものでした。生きのびた人も、次から次と倒れていきました。70年が過ぎた今も後障害にさいなまれ、子や孫への不安のなか、私たち は生きぬいてきました。もうこんなことは、たくさんです。
沈黙を強いられていた被爆者が、被爆から 11 年後の 1956 年 8 月に長崎に集まり、日本 原水爆被害者団体協議会(日本被団協)を結成しました。そこで「自らを救い、私たちの体験を通して人類の危機を救おう」と誓い、世界に向けて「ふたたび被爆者をつくるな」と 訴えつづけてきました。被爆者の心からの叫びです。
しかし、地球上では今なお戦乱や紛争が絶えず、罪のない人びとが命を奪われています。 核兵器を脅迫に使ったり、新たな核兵器を開発する動きもあります。現存する1万数千発の 核兵器の破壊力は、広島・長崎の2発の原爆の数万倍にもおよびます。核兵器は、人類は もとより地球上に存在するすべての生命を断ち切り、環境を破壊し、地球を死の星にする悪魔の兵器です。 人類は、生物兵器・化学兵器について、使用・開発・生産・保有を条約、議定書などで禁じてきました。それらをはるかに上回る破壊力をもつ核兵器を禁じることに何のためらいが 必要でしょうか。
被爆者は、核兵器を禁止し廃絶する条約を結ぶことを、すべての国に求め ます。 平均年齢80歳を超えた被爆者は、後世の人びとが生き地獄 を体験しないように、 生きている間に何としても核兵器のない世界を実現したいと切望しています。 あなたの家族、すべての人びとを絶対に被爆者にしてはなりません。あなたの署名が、核兵器廃絶を求める何億という世界の世論となって、 国際政治を動かし、命輝く青い地球を未来に残す と確信します。あなたの署名を心から訴えます。
2016 年 4 月
(よびかけ被爆者代表 )
坪井直、谷口稜曄、岩佐幹三【以上、日本原水爆被害者団体協議会 ( 日本被団協 ) 代表委員】 田中熙巳【日本被団協・事務局長】、郭貴勲【韓国原爆被害者協会・名誉会長】 向井司【北米原爆被害者の会・会長】、森田隆【ブラジル被爆者平和協会・会長】 サーロー・セツコ【カナダ在住】、山下泰昭【メキシコ在住】

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Comment: I singed with the following comment:

I’m signing, because nukes are worst, longest, most monopolized, dangerous polluter to obliterate the total life system.

Fukushima Lessons, Health Effect of Low-level Radiation

October 3, 2016

Register Now: Gilbert W. Beebe Symposium on Radiation Health Effects

National Academies Press via 

9:02 AM (3 hours ago)

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Gilbert W. Beebe Symposium on 30 Years after the Chernobyl Accident: Current and Future Studies on Radiation Health Effects

November 1 – 2, 2016 

The April 26, 1986, Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident was the most severe accident in the history of commercial nuclear power in terms of releases of radiation to the environment. Initial radiation exposure in contaminated areas was due to short-lived iodine-131 and later due to caesium-137. About 5 million people in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine were exposed to radiation from the accident.

The Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident was also the only accident to date with acute radiation-related fatalities. Of the 134 plant employees and first responders with confirmed diagnosis of acute radiation syndrome, 28 died the first few weeks of the accident.

The focus of the 2016 Beebe Symposium will be on commemorating the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident and discussing the achievements of 30 years of studies on the radiation health effects following the accident and future research directions.

Register Now »
Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants
Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants

The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked a humanitarian disaster in northeastern Japan. They were responsible for more than 15,900 deaths and 2,600 missing persons as well as physical infrastructure damages exceeding …

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Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants: Phase 2
Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants: Phase 2

The U.S. Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a technical study on lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident for improving safety and security of commercial nuclear power plants in the United States. This …

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Brazil-U.S. Workshop on Strengthening the Culture of Nuclear Safety and Security: Summary of a Workshop
Brazil-U.S. Workshop on Strengthening the Culture of Nuclear Safety and Security: Summary of a Workshop

On August 25-26, 2014, the Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares (IPEN) and the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences convened the Brazil-U.S. Workshop on Strengthening the Culture of Nuclear Safety …

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Research on Health Effects of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation Exposure: Opportunities for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute
Research on Health Effects of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation Exposure: Opportunities for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute

It is probably only a matter of time before we witness the next event in which large numbers of people are exposed to ionizing radiation. In the past, planning a response to such an occurrence would have likely focused on the management of …

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Federal Research on the Biological and Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation
Federal Research on the Biological and Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation

Say No to Nuclear

October 3, 2016

Thank you for signing. Please forward this email on to others who may want to sign.

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Conservation SA

Here’s the full petition:

Say No to Nuclear

Will you say no to making SA the home for the world’s nuclear waste? 


In May, the nuclear Royal Commission recommended that SA immediately progress plans to take other countries’ most radioactive nuclear waste and manage it forever.

In response, the SA government has kicked off a massive community engagement campaign, with a roadshow to 100 sites across the state to gauge public support for this proposal.

Many South Australians are concerned that this expensive exercise is more about persuasion than consultation.

The community is simply not being told the full story, particularly about the risks we are being asked to take on.

That’s why we are launching a new petition to allow concerned South Australians to communicate their concerns straight to the Premier, with no filtering by the government ‘engagement’ specialists.

This is a critical time to speak up.

In November, the Premier will ask the SA Parliament to either proceed with this plan or abandon it.

He has said the plan cannot proceed without broad community support.

If you don’t support it, you need to make this known. Your silence will be seen as consent.

Sign here:

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September 30, 2016

From: johnhallam2011 via Nuclear News List <>
日付: 2016年9月30日金曜日
To: Nuclearnews Group <>, Yahoogroups <>


September 27, 2016
Press Release

Washington – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced H.R. 6179, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016.  This legislation would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress.  The crucial issue of nuclear first use – discussed in last evening’s Presidential Debate – is all the more urgent given the fact that a majority of Americans do not trust Republican Nominee Donald Trump with our nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Upon introduction of this legislation, Senator Markey issued the following statement:
“Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation. The President should not use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack. This legislation enshrines this simple principle into law. I thank Rep. Lieu for his partnership on this common-sense bill during this critical time in our nation’s history.”
Upon introduction of this legislation, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:
“Our Founding Fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they knew the President could launch a massive, potentially civilization-ending military strike without authorization from Congress. Our Constitution created a government based on checks and balances and gave the power to declare war solely to the people’s representatives. A nuclear first strike, which can kill hundreds of millions of people and invite a retaliatory strike that can destroy America, is war. The current nuclear launch approval process, which gives the decision to potentially end civilization as we know it to a single individual, is flatly unconstitutional. I am proud to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016with Sen. Markey to realign our nation’s nuclear weapons launch policy with the Constitution.”
Praise for the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016
William J. Perry, Former Secretary of Defense – “During my period as Secretary of Defense, I never confronted a situation, or could even imagine a situation, in which I would recommend that the President make a first strike with nuclear weapons—understanding that such an action, whatever the provocation, would likely bring about the end of civilization.  I believe that the legislation proposed by Congressman Lieu and Senator Markey recognizes that terrible reality.  Certainly a decision that momentous for all of civilization should have the kind of checks and balances on Executive powers called for by our Constitution.”
Tom Z. Collina, Policy Director of Ploughshares Fund – “Current US nuclear policy is undemocratic and unconstitutional. In the realm of nuclear weapons, the United States is closer to a dictatorship than a democracy. The President has absolute authority to use nuclear weapons, and Congress has been cut out. It is time to bring democracy to nuclear policy, and Rep. Lieu and Sen. Markey’s bill moves us in that direction.”
Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) – “Rep. Lieu and Sen. Markey have rightly called out the dangers of only one person having his or her finger on the nuclear button. The potential misuse of this power in the current global climate has only magnified this concern. It is time to make real progress toward lowering the risk that nuclear weapons are ever used again, and this legislation is a good start.”
Catherine Thomasson, MD, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility – “We must understand that our own nuclear weapons pose an unacceptable risk to our national security. The “successful” use of our own nuclear arsenal would cause catastrophic climate disruption around the world including here in the United States. These weapons are suicide bombs, and no one individual should have the power to introduce them into a conflict. The Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016 is an important step to lessen the chance these weapons will be used.”
Congressman Lieu is a member of the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee.