25 Years After Historic Protest: Nuclear Weapons and Power Today

June 9th, 2007 - by admin

United for Peace & Carol Wolman, MD – 2007-06-09 22:52:10

(June 8, 2007) — Lead organizer of the June 12, 1982, Central Park protest, Cagan is now national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice. She said today: “The march from the UN to Central Park was probably the largest single protest in U.S. history, with the police saying it was 750,000 people. New York City was shut down for the day.

Today, 25 years later, the world is no safer, no more free of dangers of a nuclear catastrophe. The U.S. government’s nuclear hypocrisy has not led to peace, but has fed perpetual conflict. While Washington takes us to war claiming to be searching for weapons of mass destruction, they are now about to produce a new generation of nuclear weapons.”

It was shocking that several presidential candidates in the recent GOP debate talked almost casually about using nuclear weapons against Iran, but there was no public outcry. The massive June 12, 1982, anti-nuclear demonstration in New York City was part of a coordinated day of protests around the world, organized in response to the U.S. deployment of nuclear missiles in Western Europe. In California, thousands of people nonviolently blockaded the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab, and 1,500 were arrested.

“When the Cold War abruptly ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, people everywhere breathed a huge sigh of relief, believing that they had escaped a nuclear holocaust and putting nuclear weapons out of their minds. Yet, the nuclear juggernaut rolled on, as militarists in the Pentagon and scientists at the nuclear weapons labs conjured up new justifications to project the nuclear weapons enterprise into the future.

“Today, the U.S. still has about 10,000 nuclear weapons and is designing new ones. The annual nuclear weapons budget is one-third higher now — in real terms — than it was during the Cold War. We need to rekindle the intense international concern about nuclear weapons of 25 years ago that probably helped us survive.”

JACQUELINE CABASSO, (510) 839-5877, cell: (510) 306-0119, wslf@earthlink.net, http://www.wslfweb.org Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation and contributor to the just-released book “Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis and Paths to Peace” (see ).

The 25th anniversary of the biggest anti-nuclear gathering in US history comes with the attempt to revive atomic power. When one million people gathered in Central Park in 1982, they meant to call a halt to the spread of both nuclear weapons and the nuclear power plants that created the materials to build those weapons. The march was remarkably successful, in that it helped continue the movement to keep atomic power plants from spreading. It also focused new energy on keeping Ronald Reagan from using nuclear weapons in an ‘Evil Empire’ standoff with the Soviet Union.

“In the wake of the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, every reactor is a pre-deployed weapon of nuclear mass destruction. The plants are unsafe, unreliable, unneeded and untenable. It is absurd to think that this old, failed technology would have a place in a world which must be powered by green technology. Instead, we need to shut these plants and leap with both feet into a renewable ‘Solartopian’ future.”

HARVEY WASSERMAN, (614) 231-0508, (614) 738-3646, Windhw@aol.com, http://www.solartopia.org Wasserman is a founder of the grassroots “No Nukes” movement and author of the recent book “SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030.”

• For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

• Interviews Available LESLIE CAGAN, (347) 581-1782, lesliecagan@igc.org, http://www.unitedforpeace.org

Institute for Public Accuracy, 915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045, (202) 347-0020 *
http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

A Game of Nuclear Chicken
Carol Wolman, MD

(June 8, 2007) — Our “decider” is playing nuclear chicken with Russia. Putin threatens a new nuclear arms race. Putin is responding to Bush provocations, like the threat to nuke Iran and the attempt to place a missile shield in Europe.

Russia and the US still have thousands of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM)aimed at each other. These missiles have never been taken off hair trigger alert, despite the end of the Cold War in 1991. Each ICBM nuclear tip has a “yield” of 100 to 300 kilotons – blast strength in equivalent tons of TNT. The Hiroshima atom bomb yield was 15 kilotons.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists_ Doomsday Clock conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction–the figurative midnight–and monitors the means humankind could use to obliterate itself. First and foremost, these include nuclear weapons.

The hand of the Doomsday Clock has twice moved toward midnight since Bush took office. It now stands at 5 minutes to midnight.

We have been living with the doomsday threat since 1945. It got a lot of attention in the ’50’s. Some of us are old enough to remember ducking under our school desks during air raid drills, all the while knowing that in case of nuclear war there would be nowhere to hide. Some people built underground shelters and stockpiled them with food and water. Books and movies like “On the Beach” and “Dr. Strangelove” kept awareness alive.

But nuclear terror is too great a threat for the human mind to sustain. In the 60’s the fear of nuclear war got buried deep in the public unconscious, covered over by more immediate concerns like the Vietnam war abroad and racial segregation at home.

Psychic numbing set in, a deep denial of the possibility of annihilation. Hopelessness about the future doesn’t show up in conversation, or even in dreams. It takes the form of truncated life choices- escape into drugs, failed marriages, neglected children.

Key people, by God’s grace, remained alert to the danger of nuclear war. In the 70’s, international treaties were signed, the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT), and the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. The International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) was set up to make sure the treaties were kept, and given authority to inspect nuclear facilities in all 189 nations that have signed the NPT.

Despite the Cold War, these safety measures have worked. Nuclear weapons were not used in Vietnam, although Nixon came close. International cooperation has won over hostility, in the common interest of preserving the species.

In 1991, when the Soviet Union fell apart and the Cold War ended, people relaxed. The clock hand turned back, to 17 minutes to midnight.

Now, in 2007, we are three generations away from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The mushroom cloud, which was so prominent in public consciousness in the 50’s, now is hidden in a dark corner of our minds. The menace of nuclear annihilation is hedged about with denial and rationalization.

We must realize that Bush has been steadily working to make nuclear war more likely. He scuttled the ABM Treaty in December 2001, right after 9-11, when no one would object. In January 2002, he published the Nuclear Posture Review, which violates the NPT by threatening to nuke non- nuclear countries.

How Bush must hate humanity!

Of course, revving up the nuclear arms race brings profit to Carlyle and Halliburton, the Bush and Cheney family corporations. It also terrorizes the public at a deep unconscious level, which makes us docile and helpless, easy to control. We know whose finger is on the button. He reportedly thumped his chest three times at a recent gathering, declaiming “I’m the president. I’m the president. I’m the president”.

If we care at all about ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, we MUST stop the madness NOW. We must break through our own psychic numbing and face our fear of nuclear war. Then we must face down the satan in the White House who seeks to destroy us all.

Impeachment is more urgent than ever. HR 333, which targets Cheney for his threats against Iran, as well as his lies about Iraq, now has 5 cosponsors.

Call your Congressperson today — 202-224-3121 — and urge, beg, plead with him/her to cosponsor HR 333. Not just support, but cosponsor HR 333.

Libby is going to prison and Cheney is besieged. Turn the heat up! Cheney first, then Bush!

In the name of the Prince of Peace,
Carol Wolman, MD is CoChair, Impeach Bush-Cheney