Environmentalists Against War
Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are

 

 

 

How Dick Cheney and His Allies Created the Korea Crisis

December 30th, 2017 - by admin

Gareth Porter / AntiWar.com & Julian Borger / The Guardian – 2017-12-30 21:16:56

How Cheney and His Allies Created the North Korea Nuclear Missile Crisis

How Cheney and His Allies
Created the North Korea Nuclear Missile Crisis

Gareth Porter / TruthOut

(December 29, 2017) — The Trump administration has been telling people for months that the crisis with North Korea is the result of North Korea’s relentless pursuit of a nuclear threat to the US homeland and past North Korean cheating on diplomatic agreements. However, North Korea reached agreements with both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations that could have averted that threat, had they been completed.

Instead, a group of Bush administration officials led by then-Vice President Dick Cheney sabotaged both agreements, and Pyongyang went on to make rapid strides on both nuclear and missile development, leading ultimately to the successful late November 2017 North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.

The record shows, moreover, that Cheney and his allies derailed diplomatic efforts to curb North Korean nuclear and missile development, not because they opposed “arms control” (after all, the agreements that were negotiated would have limited only North Korean arms), but because those agreements would have been a political obstacle to fielding the group’s main interest: funding and fielding a national missile defense system as quickly as possible.

The story of Cheney’s maneuvering to kill two agreements shows how a real US national security interest was sacrificed to a massive military boondoggle that served only the interests of the powerful contractors behind it.

Curbing North Korean Arms or Missile Defense?
In October 1994, the Bill Clinton administration reached a historic agreement with North Korea called the “Agreed Framework,” under which Pyongyang agreed to freeze its existing plutonium reactor and related facilities within a month, with full monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and to dismantle them as soon as they could be replaced with light water reactors.

The United States promised to provide the reactors, as well fuel oil, until the light water reactors were built. And even more crucially, the US also pledged to take steps to end the enmity toward North Korea and normalize relations between the two longtime adversaries.

No sooner had the Clinton administration negotiated the “Agreed Framework,” however, than the Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 election. That seismic political shift enabled a powerful lobby of military contractors pushing for a national missile defense system to achieve a congressional mandate for rapid development and deployment of such a system.

It was a fateful convergence, because the missile defense lobby’s strategy was to create a sense of urgency about an alleged imminent threat to the US homeland from ballistic missiles armed with nuclear weapons mounted by “rogue states” — Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

And the Clinton administration’s agreement with North Korea — the only “rogue state” known to have a nuclear weapons program as well as a missile program — threatened that missile defense lobby strategy.

When a 1995 CIA intelligence estimate said that none of the three “rogue states” would have ballistic missiles capable of threatening the United States for at least 15 years, the missile defense lobby got Congress to pass legislation creating a “national commission” on the ballistic missile threat that would contradict the CIA assessment.

The commission, led by Republican hard-liner Donald Rumsfeld, asserted in its final report in July 1998 that either Iraq or North Korea might acquire long-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States in as little as five years. In a craven retreat under political pressure, the CIA then largely adopted the commission’s argument.

North Korea had only carried out two tests of medium or longer-range missiles in the decade from 1988 to 1998, neither of which had been successful, so the Clinton administration was not focused on the threat of an ICBM: It held just two rounds of talks on the ballistic missile program between 1996 and 1998.

In fact, it was not the United States, but North Korea that proposed an agreement in 1998 that would end its development of new missiles as part of a broader peace agreement with Washington.

When the United States failed to respond to the proposal, however, North Korea launched a three-stage rocket called the Taepodong on August 31, 1998, which the missile lobby and news media argued was a major step toward a North Korean ICBM. The missile lobby used that event to push for legislation establishing a national policy goal to deploy and “effective National Missile Defense System” as soon as technologically possible.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was using the regime’s missile development as a prod to get the Clinton administration to negotiate a deal that would include concrete steps toward normalization of relations. He even sent a personal envoy to Washington to present the outline of a new North Korean offer to give up the regime’s quest for an ICBM, as well as its nuclear weapons capability.

In October 2000, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright went to Pyongyang, and the two sides came close to a final agreement that would have ended North Korean missile development as well as its nuclear weapons program and led to normalizing relations.

But Clinton didn’t go to North Korea to sign the deal in the final months of his presidency, and the election of George W. Bush in November 2000 was a major victory for the missile defense lobby. Bush named Rumsfeld, the primary political champion of a missile defense system, as his Secretary of Defense.

And no less than eight figures with direct or indirect ties to Lockheed Martin, the leading defense contractor in the missile defense business, became policymakers in the new administration. The most important was Dick Cheney, whose wife, Lynn Cheney, had earned more than half a million dollars serving on the board of directors of Lockheed-Martin from 1994 to 2001.

Cheney set about killing the Agreed Framework and securing the missile defense system even before Bush entered the White House. Cheney chose Robert Joseph, a hardline supporter of missile defense and foe of an agreement with North Korea, as a key member of the transition team that Cheney led. Cheney then made Joseph senior director on the National Security Council (NSC) staff with responsibility for both missile defense and “weapons of mass destruction” proliferation policy.

“Joseph really hated the Agreed Framework,” Larry Wilkerson, then in the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, told journalist Mike Chinoy. “His objective was first to kill the Agreed Framework and to make sure that nothing like it could ever get created again.”

Joseph’s first project was to draft a National Security Presidential Directive that laid out a “new strategic framework,” essentially built around a ballistic missile defense system, as Joseph later told a National Defense University researcher.

Joseph drafted a speech that the president gave on May 1, 2001, in which Bush debuted a new central argument for national missile defense. “Deterrence can no longer be based solely on the threat of nuclear retaliation,” Bush declared, adding that missile defense system could “strengthen deterrence by reducing the incentive for proliferation.”

Cheney and Bolton Go for the Kill
Colin Powell’s State Department posed the main obstacle to the Cheney group’s plans for trashing the Agreed Framework. The Department’s East Asian Bureau got Bush’s approval for a formal policy review on North Korea, which concluded by defining the policy goal of exploring a deal with North Korea that would involve “an improved relationship.”

But Cheney had a bureaucratic strategy to frustrate that endeavor and finish off the Agreed Framework. The NSC staff initiated a “nuclear posture review,” which was carried out without any participation by Powell’s allies. The final document included North Korea on a new list of countries that could be targets for US use of nuclear weapons.

That designation, which was leaked to the press in March 2002, conflicted directly with the US pledge in the Agreed Framework to “provide formal assurances to the DPRK, against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the US”

Then Bush’s State of the Union message in January 2002 introduced the idea of North Korea as part of an “axis of evil” along with Iran and Iraq. That was not merely a throwaway line introduced by a speechwriter, but reflected lobbying by Cheney and Rumsfeld for “toughening sanctions and isolation to lay the groundwork for regime change in North Korea,” according to Condoleezza Rice’s memoir, No Higher Honor.

John Bolton, Cheney’s proxy in the State Department on proliferation issues, writes in his memoir Surrender is Not an Option that he considered the “axis of evil” speech a signal that he could now begin a bureaucratic offensive aimed at killing the Agreed Framework. Bolton recalls that he pushed the State Department to adopt the position that North Korea was out of compliance with the Agreed Framework for having “failed to make a complete and accurate declaration of its nuclear activities and refused to allow inspection of related facilities.”

However, Bolton was misrepresenting the terms of the agreement, which provided that North Korea would come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement, including the accuracy and completeness of its declaration on its nuclear program, “[w]hen a significant portion of the LWR [light water reactor] project is completed, but before delivery of key nuclear components…” Construction on the light water reactor had not even begun in 2002, when the State Department notified Congress that North Korea was out of compliance.

Bolton’s plan was frustrated temporarily by resistance from the NSC, over which then-National Security Adviser Rice had some influence. But the decisive blow to the Agreed Framework came in July 2002, when, according to his memoir, Bolton obtained an intelligence assessment stating that North Korea “began seeking centrifuge-related materials in large quantities” in 2001, and that it had “obtained equipment suitable for use in uranium feed and withdrawal systems.”

Bolton recalls that the new intelligence finding was “the hammer I had been looking for to shatter the Agreed Framework.” He argued in interagency meetings that North Korea had pledged to “take steps to implement the North-South Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” and therefore any North Korean move toward uranium enrichment violated its commitment.

Bolton was creating another false issue. Robert Carlin, a North Korea expert and adviser to the US negotiators, has pointed out that the reference to that document was an “afterthought” and that “no one really believed that the reference to the North-South agreements would constitute one of the core DPRK obligations” in the agreement.

Bush’s negotiator with North Korea, Charles L. Pritchard, suggested bringing the uranium enrichment issue into the Agreed Framework, using the North Korean interest in normalization as negotiating leverage, according to Bolton. He also warned that if the United States withdrew from the agreement, North Korea would resume its plutonium program or start a new uranium program.

However, Bolton recalls telling Pritchard that wouldn’t make “the slightest difference,” because North Korea already had enough plutonium for “several weapons.” In fact, it was not at all clear that Pyongyang had already converted plutonium into a single nuclear weapon.

However, Bolton showed no apparent concern about North Korea’s long-range missile program, which the Clinton administration and North Korea had agreed would be negotiated in conjunction with moves toward normalization. “I wanted a decisive conclusion that the Agreed Framework was dead,” Bolton writes.

In October 2002, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly went to Pyongyang with explicit orders, which Rice attributes to those who were undermining diplomacy, to accuse Pyongyang of cheating on the agreement by having a uranium enrichment program.

North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju did not deny the government’s interest in uranium enrichment, but said it was a response to the clear indications from the Bush administration that it had no intention to improve relations with his government. He also said North Korea was prepared to negotiate on all enrichment, including uranium, if the United States changed its hostile policy.

However, at an NSC meeting a week later, no one disagreed with the assertion that the Agreed Framework was dead, according to Bolton. In December 2002, the Bush administration strong-armed its Japanese and South Korean allies to end their supply of oil to the North Korea, officially terminating the Agreed Framework.

Cheney and his allies were clearing the political path to full funding for the national missile defense system they wanted to rush to deployment as quickly as possible. Rumsfeld had created a new Missile Defense Agency in the Pentagon in early 2002, which had unprecedented freedom from congressional or Department of Defense oversight.

They were also opening the floodgates for North Korean nuclear and missile development.

Cheney Kills Rice’s North Korea Agreement
For the next three years, the Bush administration refused direct negotiations with North Korea. But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice got Bush to agree in September 2005 to a joint statement of principles with North Korea in the context of Six-Party Talks.

In October 2007, Washington and Pyongyang negotiated an agreement under which Pyongyang would first seal and then disable its plutonium-based facilities for shipment of heavy fuel and provide a full accounting of its entire nuclear program, including uranium.

For its part, the US pledged to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and lift other trade restrictions. In a later phase, the two sides would agree on a verification system and on steps leading to normalization of relations.

Then Cheney sabotaged the new agreement. In April 2007, Israel claimed Syria had built a nuclear reactor in the desert in eastern Syria with North Korean assistance. Bush’s advisers all accepted the Israeli claim as true, but nearly a decade later, the IAEA’s expert on North Korean reactors at the time revealed detailed technical evidence that had led him to conclude with certainty that the Syrian site could not possibly have been a North Korean-designed reactor.

Cheney seized on the alleged Syrian reactor to wrest control over North Korea policy from Rice. In a January 4, 2008 White House meeting, he recalls in his memoirs In My Time how he successfully prodded Bush and Rice to agree with his assumption that a “failure to admit they’ve been proliferating to the Syrians would be a deal killer.” Two months later, Bush gave Cheney power to approve any joint US-North Korean text negotiated by the State Department.

Under pressure from Cheney, Rice adopted a new diplomatic strategy. In addition to their obligations in the first two phases of the October 2007 agreement, she writes in No Higher Honor, “[t]he North Koreans would also have to agree to a verification protocol to govern the on-site inspection of all aspects of their nuclear program.”

That verification protocol — not the actions pledged by Pyongyang in the October 2007 agreement — would now be the basis for deciding whether the administration would take North Korea off the terrorist list and stop the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Rice was changing the rules after the fact. After had North Korea delivered its declaration on its plutonium enrichment program in late June 2008, US negotiators sought North Korean agreement for inspectors to go into any site, whether declared or not, including sensitive military sites. Pyongyang conveyed its strong private objections to that, as well as to environmental sampling by inspectors. The 45-day period during which the United States was supposed to have taken its two small steps toward normalization came and went.

North Korea immediately accused the United States of violating the October agreement and suspended the disabling of its nuclear facilities. The US negotiator, Chris Hill, got what he regarded as North Korean verbal agreement to an amended version of the verification protocol, but North Korea would not sign it. On the basis of that unwritten understanding, Bush agreed to take North Korea off the US list of terrorist sponsors, and the physical disabling of the North Korea’s plutonium complex was completed.

But Bush insisted that North Korea sign the verification protocol, and in December, after Barack Obama’s election, Pyongyang rejected the Bush administration’s unilateral rewriting of the agreement, issuing a statement that it would only agree to intrusive inspections when US “hostile policy and nuclear threat to the North are fundamentally terminated.” US-North Korean diplomacy on the October 2007 nuclear deal came to a halt.

Cheney and his allies had prevented the successful completion of two agreements that could have averted the present crisis with North Korea. When Bush took office in 2001, North Korea was believed to possess less than an atomic bomb’s worth of plutonium. By the end of his second term, North Korea was already a nuclear power, with several nuclear weapons.

Even more significant, however, the Bush administration never even attempted to negotiate limits on North Korea’s long-range missile program. That failure was very costly to the interests of the American people — but it was a gift to the national missile defense program that has kept on giving.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the US war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. He can be contacted at porter.gareth50@gmail.com.
Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission

Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine: The Madness of America’s Nuclear Weapons

December 29th, 2017 - by admin

William J. Astore / AntiWar.com – 2017-12-29 18:00:27

Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine: The Madness of America’s Nuclear Weapons

Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine:
The Madness of America’s Nuclear Weapons

William J. Astore / AntiWar.com

(December 29, 2017) — I just finished Daniel Ellsberg’s new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner Talk about hair-raising! Ellsberg, of course, is famous for leaking the Pentagon papers, which helped to end the Vietnam war and the presidency of Richard Nixon as well. But before Ellsberg worked as a senior adviser on the Vietnam war, he helped to formulate US nuclear policy in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

His book is a shattering portrayal of the genocidal nature of US nuclear planning during the Cold War — and that threat of worldwide genocide (or omnicide, a word Ellsberg uses to describe the death of nearly everything from a nuclear exchange that would generate disastrous cooling due to nuclear winter) persists to this day.

Rather than writing a traditional book review, I want to list some memorable facts and lessons I took from the book, lessons that should lead us to question the very sanity of America’s leaders. To wit:

1. US nuclear war plans circa 1960 envisioned a simultaneous attack on the USSR and China that would generate 600 million deaths after six months. As Ellsberg notes, that is 100 Holocausts. This plan was to be used even if China hadn’t directly attacked the US, i.e. the USSR and China were lumped together as communist bad guys who had to be eliminated together in a general nuclear war.

Only one US general present at the briefing objected to this idea: David M. Shoup, a Marine general and Medal of Honor winner, who also later objected to the Vietnam War.

2. The US military consistently overestimated the Soviet nuclear threat, envisioning missile and bomber gaps that didn’t exist. In the nuclear arms race, the US was often racing itself in the fielding of more and more nuclear weapons.

3. General Curtis LeMay, the famous commander of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and later AF Chief of Staff, said that once war started, politicians like the president had no role to play in decision-making.

4. When the atomic bomb was first tested in 1945, there were fears among the scientists involved that the atmosphere could be ignited, ending all life on earth. The chance was considered remote (perhaps 3 in a million), so the scientists pressed ahead.

5. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 came much closer to nuclear war than most people recognize. Soviet submarines in the area, attacked by mock US depth charges, were prepared to launch nuclear torpedoes against US ships.

Fidel Castro’s air defenses were also preparing to shoot down American planes, which may have ended in US air attacks and an invasion in which Soviet troops on Cuba may have used nuclear weapons to defend themselves.

6. The US military was (and probably still is) extremely reluctant to reveal nuclear secrets to senior American civilian leaders, including even the President himself. Ellsberg, possessing the highest security clearances and acting with presidential authority, had to pry answers from military officers who refused to provide detailed and complete information.

7. The US has always refused, and continues to refuse, to pledge to a “no first use” policy for nuclear weapons.

8. The US remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Yet, as Ellsberg notes, the US uses nuclear weapons all the time — by threatening their use, as President Eisenhower did during the Korean War, as President Nixon did during the Vietnam War, and as President Trump is doing today, promising “fire and fury” against North Korea.

The US uses nuclear weapons like a loaded gun — holding it to an enemy’s head and threatening to pull the trigger, Ellsberg notes. In short, there’s nothing exceptional about Trump and his nuclear threats. All US presidents have refused to take nuclear attacks “off the table” of options for US action.

9. Interservice rivalry has always been a driver of US nuclear force structure and strategy. The Navy (with its nuclear submarine programs, Polaris followed by Trident) and especially the Air Force (with its ICBMs and bombers) jealously guard their nuclear forces and the prestige/power/budgetary authority they convey.

10. President Eisenhower’s emphasis on massive retaliation (as represented by SAC and its war plan, the SIOP) was a way for him to limit the power of the military-industrial complex (MIC). But once Ike was gone, so too was the idea of using the nuclear deterrent as a way of restricting US expenditures on conventional weaponry and US adventurism in foreign wars, e.g. Vietnam. (It should be said that Ike’s exercise at limiting the MIC in America held the world as a nuclear hostage.)

11. Ellsberg shows convincingly that control over US nuclear weapons was decentralized and delegated to much lower levels than most Americans know. It’s not the case that only the president can launch a nuclear war. Especially in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ellsberg shows how it was possible that field-grade officers (majors and colonels) could have made decisions in the heat of battle to release nuclear weapons without direct orders from the president.

12. Most Americans, Ellsberg notes, still don’t understand the huge quantitative and qualitative differences between atomic bombs and hydrogen (thermonuclear) weapons. Hydrogen bombs are measured in megatons in equivalent TNT yield; atomic bombs are in kilotons.

In short, hydrogen bombs are a thousand times more destructive than atomic ones. And this is just their explosive yield. Radioactive fallout and massive fires are even bigger threats to life on earth.

13. Most Americans still don’t understand that even a smallish nuclear exchange involving a few hydrogen bombs could very well lead to nuclear winter and the deaths of billions of people on the earth (due to the widespread death of crops and resulting famine and disease).

14. Despite the genocidal threat of nuclear weapons, the US is persisting in plans to modernize its arsenal over the next 30 years at a cost of $1 trillion.

Ellsberg sees this all as a form of collective madness, and it’s hard to disagree. He quotes Nietzsche to the effect that madness in individuals is rare, but that it’s common among bureaucracies and nations.

The tremendous overkill inherent to US nuclear weapons — its threat of worldwide destruction — is truly a form of madness. For how do you protect a nation or uphold its ideals by launching a nuclear war that would kill nearly everyone on earth? How does that make any sense? How is that not mad?

Ellsberg ends his “confessions” with many sane proposals for downsizing nuclear arsenals across the world. But is anyone in power listening? Certainly not US presidents like Trump or Obama, who both signed on to that trillion dollar modernization program for US nuclear weapons.

Ellsberg shows us there have been many chair-bound paper-pushers in the US government who’ve drawn up plans to murder hundreds of millions of people — to unleash doomsday — all in the name of protecting America. He also shows how close they’ve come to doing just that, especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but during other crises as well.

Nuclear brinksmanship, threats of nuclear war, and similar uses of nuclear weapons to intimidate hold the potential for catastrophe. Miscalculations, mishaps, mistakes, are more than possible in an atmosphere of mistrust, when words and actions can be misinterpreted.

Ellsberg’s recommendations for changes point the way to a better world, a world where the threat of nuclear doomsday could be much reduced, perhaps eliminated completely. The question remains: Is anyone in power listening?

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views. He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu. Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Germany Generates Such a Huge Excess of Wind Energy Consumers Are Paid to Use It!

December 28th, 2017 - by admin

Josie Cox / The Independent & Josh Gabbatiss / The Independent – 2017-12-28 20:55:09

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/germany-energy-consumer-christmas-paid-supply-demand-outstrip-renewables-wind-solar-a8129716.html

Germany Energy Consumers Paid to Use Power
Over Christmas as Supply Outstrips Demand

Josie Cox / The Independent

(December 27, 2017) — German energy consumers were paid to use power over the Christmas period, thanks to a slump in demand, warm weather and plenty of wind power on the grid, trading data shows.

Power prices slipped into negative territory on 24 December and again on 26 December, according to the website of the EPEX Spot, which is Europe’s biggest power trading exchange.

Germany’s massive investment in renewable energy — partially thanks to the introduction of the 2014 Renewable Energy Act — has in recent years triggered a drop below zero on several occasions.

Demand for energy has particularly been outstripped by supply on weekends this year, when factories across the country tend to power down and many offices are closed.

On Christmas Eve, factory owners and other big consumers were at times paid in excess of €50, or around £44, per megawatt-hour, according to The New York Times.

During the first half of 2017, Germany managed to raise the proportion of the power it produced by renewable energy to 35 per cent, from 33 per cent in 2016, according to figures from the BEE renewable energy association cited by Reuters.

On some days, Germany now gets up to 85 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.

In a further sign of its commitment to green energy, the country’s government has pledged to move to a decarbonised economy by the middle of the century and has set a target of 80 per cent renewables for gross power consumption by 2050.

It also aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent in 2020 from 1990 levels and by 95 per cent by 2050. Several other countries across Europe have experienced negative power prices in recent years, but Germany’s slips into negative territory are the most frequent.


Renewable Energy Now Makes Up
Nearly Third of All Electricity Generated in UK

Josh Gabbatiss / The Independent

(December 21, 2017) — Electricity generation from renewable energy has reached a “record high”, according to new government statistics.

The third quarter of 2017 saw the share of electricity generated from renewable sources increase by nearly 5 per cent from the same period last year, reaching 30 per cent.

The latest record is “yet another nail in the coffin for the claim that renewables cannot be a sizeable part of the UK’s electricity mix”, according to Dr. Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

Low-carbon electricity’s share of generation increased to the highest ever point of 54.4 per cent, particularly due to a upsurge in wind energy.

Besides sources like wind and solar, low-carbon electricity also includes nuclear power.

The results are outlined in the Government’s latest Energy Trends report.

With this year’s slight decrease in the contribution of nuclear power, the boost in low-carbon electricity came largely from recent investment in wind farms and to a lesser extent solar energy.

According to Dr. Marshall, this vindicates those who have had confidence in the ability of renewable energy to reliably supply the UK with power.

“When the UK started to put wind farms and solar panels up and down the country, there were a lot of warnings that the unpredictability of the way electricity is generated — as it is only produced when the wind blows and sun shines — would lead to issues balancing the grid,” he said.

Prior to the Climate Change Act of 2008, energy industry representatives and some politicians claimed renewable energy sources would not be able to supply reliable enough for a modern economy to run on.

“These quarterly statistics coming out showing higher and higher rates of renewables show how far away from the mark these predictions were,” said Dr Marshall.

The electricity sector made up 17.5 per cent of the UK’s overall fuel consumption in 2016, and is one of the three major energy system components along with heating and transport.

Though it is makes up a smaller fraction of overall consumption, the electricity sector has been the main target of renewable efforts.

Not only is the sector easier to “decarbonise”, but renewable electricity can then be used to revolutionise the other sectors, for example through the electrification of transport.

A spokeswoman from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy attributed the increase in renewable energy use primarily to “increased wind capacity”, as well as higher wind speeds in recent months.

Recent restrictions in the construction of onshore wind farms have forced the industry to build offshore. Such farms tend to be more expensive to construct, but can be bigger and work more efficiently.

“Having these developments in the pipeline that will come on in the next three to five years should see the energy from renewable sources continue to increase,” said Dr. Marshall.

Such developments will also have real-world impacts for the UK population.

Dr. Marshall believes: “Record low prices for new renewables will bring bills down for British homes and businesses, on top of maintaining the UK’s leading position in the global battle against climate change.”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Why Doesn’t Congress Care When Israel Kills American Citizens?

December 27th, 2017 - by admin

Alex Kane / The Forward – 2017-12-27 20:12:13

https://forward.com/opinion/390062/why-doesnt-congress-care-when-israel-kills-american-citizens/

Why Doesn’t Congress Care When Israel Kills American Citizens?
Alex Kane / The Forward

TEL AVIV (December 26, 2017) — Last March, a Palestinian man fatally stabbed a tourist walking near the Tel Aviv coast. It was five months into the “Intifada of the Knives,” the name given to the spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis that began in October 2015. By March 2016, these types of near-daily random stabbing acts had become just another violent chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, indistinguishable from all the rest.

The death of this tourist, however, was different. The victim’s name was Taylor Force, and he was an American combat veteran on a study trip to Israel. In the aftermath of his gruesome death, ensuring accountability for the death of Force became a celebrated cause in Congress.

Senators and Congressmen rushed to condemn the stabbing attack, and praise Force for his service. Six months after the murder of Force, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slapped his name on a bill, called the Taylor Force Act, that would cut US aid from going to the Palestinian Authority because of the authority’s practice of giving payments to militants and their families.

On December 5, the House unanimously passed the act. The Senate is expected to pass it before the end of the year, and Trump administration officials have said the president supports the bill.

But not all American deaths in Israel-Palestine are treated equally — and the difference in reaction to the killings of Palestinian-Americans by Israeli forces is a stark reminder of how little Palestinian life is valued in the US Congress. When Americans of Palestinian descent are shot dead by Israeli soldiers, no Senators or Congressmen rush to press for accountability from Israel’s army, or put the names of Palestinian victims on legislation that would tie US aid to Israel to policy changes.

11 days before Force’s death, another American citizen was killed in the holy land — by an Israeli soldier. Mahmoud Shaalan was a 16-year-old teenager from Florida who had moved to Deir Dibwan, his family’s village near Ramallah. On February 26, 2016, an Israeli soldier fatally shot him at a checkpoint while Mahmoud tried to cross on his way to visit his aunt. The army said Mahmoud tried to stab a soldier.

But a witness I spoke with as part of my investigation into the killing for The Intercept said that Mahmoud was shot when his hands were up, and that he had no knife out. A

Palestinian ambulance driver who arrived to the scene shortly after the shots were fired said Israeli soldiers shut down the checkpoint where Mahmoud was killed and prevented medical workers from accessing Mahmoud as he lay on the ground, bleeding. Mahmoud died later that day.

Unlike the killing of Taylor Force, Mahmoud’s death passed with no condemnation from Senators or Congressmen. Florida Senators didn’t say a word. Neither did Florida Congressional representatives, including those who represented the district where his father, Mohammed, or his uncle, Salman, who has taken the lead on advocating for the family, lived.

(A spokeswoman for Congressman Tom Rooney, the representative at the time of Mahmoud’s killing for Salman Shaalan, told me the Congressman reached out to the State Department after the incident for information about the killing. Rooney did not say anything publicly.)

To be fair, the circumstances of Force’s and Shaalan’s deaths are different. There is no question that a Palestinian militant stabbed Force to death for no reason. In the case of Shaalan, there is an irresolvable dispute between the witness’ account of the killing and the Israeli military’s story.

But members of Congress could have easily, and publicly, demanded answers from the Israeli army to a number of outstanding questions: Why is there no video footage of the death? (The army told Politico a security camera was not in range to capture the killing, but human rights advocates are skeptical of that claim.)

Why did the Israeli army close an investigation into Mahmoud’s death in September 2016, and decide not to press criminal charges against the soldiers responsible for the death? What evidence did they use in making that decision? (The army has since reopened its inquiry, after the witness testified to the army about what he saw.) Why did the military allegedly halt medical workers from helping Mahmoud? Did a soldier use excessive force on a 16-year-old?

Instead, members of Congress were silent, even as the family pursues accountability in the US and Israel. It’s a fair bet that if a Palestinian Authority police officer shot an American to death in disputed circumstances, Congress would be up in arms. At the very least, they would be asking questions.
This double standard in reactions to the deaths of Americans in Israel-Palestine has become a pattern.

In October 2014, Israeli soldiers killed Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American from Louisiana. The army said Hammad was throwing a Molotov cocktail at the time of his death. Palestinians said he was among a group throwing rocks at soldiers. Once again, there was no Congressional outrage, and no questions raised about yet another incident where heavily armed soldiers shot a teenager to death.

There have been sporadic efforts to hold Israel accountable for its misuse of US military aid. Senator Patrick Leahy, for instance, has repeatedly called on the US to apply the Leahy Law, a bill he wrote prohibiting US military aid from going to military units that abuse human rights, to Israel. But human rights advocates say the US has failed to do so — a failure that has shielded Israel from accountability over its treatment of Palestinians.

By contrast, the Taylor Force Act, which is about holding the Palestinian Authority accountable for how it uses US aid, is on a fast track to President Trump’s desk. The message this sends is clear: The US Congress cares deeply about Americans killed in Israel-Palestine — but only if the assailants are Palestinian militants.

And when Palestinian-Americans are shot dead by Israeli soldiers? Congress shuts its mouth. And US military aid continues to flow unimpeded to Israel, no questions asked.

Alex Kane, a former editor at >i>Mondoweiss and AlterNet, is a New York-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Haaretz, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Intercept, VICE, Al Jazeera America and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

The Impact of Global Warming in the Land of Santa Claus

December 26th, 2017 - by admin

Josh Gabbatiss / The Independent – 2017-12-26 18:57:01

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-lapland-santa-claus-father-christmas-reindeer-global-warming-a8113041.html

The Impact of Global Warming in the Land of Santa Claus
Josh Gabbatiss / The Independent

(December 25, 2017) — Lapland occupies a happy space in the popular imagination as a winter wonderland, occupied by reindeer, elves and Father Christmas. The real life Lapland, however, is increasingly facing up to the grim reality of global warming.

Besides being the name of Swedish and Finnish provinces, Lapland is the English name for a region largely above the Arctic Circle that stretches across the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

Research has revealed the disproportionate impact of climate change in the Arctic, where temperatures are currently rising at double the rate of the global average. The far north is bearing the brunt of global warming, and, as much of Lapland’s population relies on its polar climate for their livelihoods, the effects are starting to be felt.

Rovaniemi, the administrative capital of the Finnish province of Lapland, has done a good job of capitalising on the region’s Christmas-themed reputation. It is the self-proclaimed “Official Hometown of Santa Claus”, where the man himself can be visited 365 days a year.

However, with his official residence there only constructed in 1950, Santa Claus is a relative newcomer to Lapland.

The wider region is the ancient home of the indigenous Sami people, who refer to it as Sapmi. Owing to its remote location and freezing temperatures, much of Lapland remains relatively pristine wilderness, and it is this wilderness that provides the Sami with space to practise their ancient tradition of reindeer herding. As temperatures rise and begin to disrupt the unspoiled environment, the future prosperity of all Lapland’s inhabitants — from the Sami to Santa Claus — is at risk.

Dr Stephanie Lefrere first came to Finnish Lapland 18 years ago to study reindeer behaviour. Since then, she has observed dramatic changes in the region’s weather patterns, and subsequent effects on its wildlife.

“In my very first fieldwork, 300km (186 miles) above the Arctic Circle, it was 20°C below zero on 31 October — really the Arctic feeling by the end of October,” she said. “We don’t have that any more. Recently there have been ‘black Christmases’ with no snow at all in the southern part of Finland.”

Decades of work in the region have cemented her view that climate change is having far-reaching effects on Lapland’s environment, affecting animal migratory routes, habitats and behaviour. “I became worried as a scientist, and also as an individual who is fascinated by the Arctic,” said Dr Lefrere.

She emphasised that climate change is more about trends over long periods than personal observations. However, her experiences are mirrored by figures from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, which states Finland’s annual mean temperature has risen by over 2°C since the mid-19th century.

“It was my childhood dream to come to Lapland, and to me it has been devastating to see changes occurring so rapidly,” said Dr Lefrere.

These changes are particularly devastating for the people who understand the region better than anyone: the Sami. “The entire Sami culture circulates around nature and the reindeer,” said Jannie Staffansson, an environmental chemist and indigenous rights activist at the Saami Council. “We are herders, fishers, gatherers and hunters.”

Sami society has always revolved around reindeer, but today Ms Staffansson estimates only 10 per cent of Sami people are still reindeer herders or owners.

“It’s extremely difficult work to do, both physically and mentally, because you are so challenged keeping the reindeer safe and happy, and trying to combat climate change at the same time,” says Ms Staffansson. Like Dr Lefrere, the reindeer herders have become acutely aware of the impact climate change is having on their animals.

Unpredictable weather patterns and specifically rain replacing snow during the coldest months lead to crusts of ice forming on the ground, where normally there would be a soft layer of snow.

Reindeer, which typically feed by digging into the snow and grazing on lichen, are unable to either smell food under the ice or dig to access it. “You can have herds starving to death just because they didn’t dig for food,” said Ms Staffansson.

She emphasised the role that reindeer have in shaping everything from the Sami language to their handcrafting traditions, which rely on products like reindeer skin and antlers. “It’s an entire culture that would disappear with the reindeer,” she said.

The Sami are not the only people of Lapland affected by climate change. In northern Finland, tourism is a cornerstone of the regional economy, but warming temperatures are beginning to threaten its “winter wonderland” image.

“Operators in certain areas are highly concerned,” said Dr Kaarina Tervo-Kankare, a tourism geographer at the University of Oulu in central Finland. “My studies have mainly focused on the perceptions of tourism stakeholders, and their observations support the view that changes have taken place.”

Commonly reported changes are the late arrival of the permanent layer of snow required for winter activities, as well as the increased unpredictability of the weather. Some in the Finnish tourism industry are beginning to diversify their offering, developing their summer activities in areas that have traditionally been winter destinations.

Aside from its status as a Christmas destination, the Finnish Environment Institute predicts that climate change could affect the country’s attraction for fans of winter sports.

There are fears in the industry that climate changes could drive people away from places like Rovaniemi that have established themselves as go-to Christmas destinations, especially as the “black Christmases” described by Dr Lefrere begin to creep northwards.

A study by Dr Tervo-Kankare and her colleagues found that Christmas tourism businesses were already feeling the heat, and that tourists did not react well to their attempts to adapt their offering. “In the light of climate change projections, maintaining the attractive image of a snow-covered winter wonderland may become impossible,” they wrote.

With Santa Claus Village attracting 300,000 visitors annually, Rovaniemi can ill afford to lose its tourism, but according to Dr Tervo-Kankare this is a possibility for popular Lapland tourist destinations.

“Tourists may head further north or east, where snow security is higher,” she said. “The image may suffer to the extent where Lapland is no longer recognised as a Christmas destination.”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Earth Anthems: Imagine a New National Anthem: One that Celebrates Peace and Not War

December 26th, 2017 - by admin

Stephen Longfellow Fiske, Michael Jackson, et al. – 2017-12-26 18:54:29

Special from Environmentalists Against War

Earth Anthems: Imagine a New National Anthem:
One that Celebrates Peace and Not War

Stephen Longfellow Fiske, Michael Jackson, et al.

Earth Anthem: The Earth Verse
Sung to the melody of The Star Spangled Banner
Words and performance by Stephen Longfellow Fiske

The Evolution of a Song — A Brief History

(June 24, 2014) — The Star Spangled Banner was written as a poem by Francis Scott Key on the deck of a small boat September 14, 1814, as he observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812.

After having already burned Washington, D.C., the British entered the harbor intent on sacking Baltimore. Inspired by the heroic American stand which turned back the powerful British Fleet — and by the sight of the American flag still flying after a day and night of heavy rocket exchange — Key jotted down some lines on an envelope and wrote out the verses when he later returned to shore.

It was published the very next day on a handbill entitled, “Defense of Ft. McHenry,” and quickly met with wide public approval.

The melody to which the stanzas were written was that of an English drinking song, To Anacreon In Heaven. Anacreon was the convivial Greek poet whose verses celebrated love and wine, and who became the patron saint of The Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen’s club, whose enthusiastic and bawdy meetings had gained quite a reputation, and from whence the song became popular.

To Anacreon In Heaven was sung in the taverns of Colonial America, and by 1814 was an American standby. To that tune, in 1798, Tom Paine’s son had written a patriotic verse, Adams and Liberty, which became well known around the young nation. But when Francis Scott Key’s verses were tacked on the doors of Baltimore’s taverns, his song was heartfully sung as a celebration of victory in war and national pride. [Read the complete lyrics for Paine’s pugnacious and war-like song below. — EAW.]

As the popularity of Key’s song grew, the original Anacreontic song, Paine’s version, and other attempts to write verses (including one by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes), were forgotten and Key’s most popular verse, The Star Spangled Banner, became the favorite national song.

In 1931, Congress officially designated it as the United States National Anthem.

Now, in the ongoing folk tradition of adding new verses to old songs, visionary singer, songwriter Stephen Longfellow Fiske brings the evolution of the song to the global perspective of the 21st century, blending democratic ideals, peace, and environmental harmony with his Earth Anthem.

A descendant of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stephen is a poet in his own right, and has produced nine albums of his music. His CD, Earth Anthem, How Do You Want Your World? features Stephen’s acapella/string arrangement of Earth Anthem, as well as ten other songs of peace, environmental, spiritual and social concerns.

The CD has been getting rave reviews and is being well received by the buying public. Stephen and his partners are currently building Earth Anthem Enterprises to help promote Earth Anthem and create a socially responsible business serving a sustainable future.

Stephen Longfellow Fiske. stephenfiske.wordpress.com @StephenLFiske www.stephenfiskemusic.com
Sunday Morning Gatherings of Creative Community


Earth Song
Michael Jackson
(October 2, 2009) — Music video with Michael Jackson performing Earth Song. Copyright 1995 MJJ Productions Inc.

Earth Anthem (2009)
Created by Paul Sretenovic and Aaron Nebauer

Earth Anthem
Music and Lyrics by David Gentry (2013)

Earth Anthem
(Published on June 10, 2013) — Earth Anthem written and produced by poet-diplomat Abhay K. (www.abhayk.com) is in eight world languages including six official UN languages viz. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish as well as Hindi &Nepali. Singer: Shreya Sotang, Music: Sapan Ghimire.

A Song for Planet Earth
(West Los Angeles Children’s Choir, March 27, 2017. A Song for Planet Earth was sung by children in Africa, New Zealand, Nova Scotia, America, Australia and Above the Arctic Circle and beamed to the astronauts in the International Space Station.)

Anthem For The World — Rhythm Of The Universe
(Rotu Entertainment. December 25, 2011. Rhythm Of The Universe is a musical collaboration project that houses the voices and sounds of musicians from more than 90 different countries. It was created to promote unity through music and further promote the value of music education.)


15 Songs for the Earth

For as long as popular music has been around, artists have been writing songs for Mother Earth, asking listeners to respect this planet as best you can. Here are 15 songs dedicated to the world and keeping it sustainable.

1. Carbon Monoxide — Cake
2. O Green World — Gorillaz
3. Virtual Insanity — Jamiroquai
4. Radioactive — Kings Of Leon
5. Waiting On The World To Change — John Mayer
6. Hey You — Madonna
7. Earth Song — Michael Jackson
8. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) — Marvin Gaye
9. Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today) — The Temptations
10. Big Yellow Taxi — Joni Mitchell
11. Wake Up America — Miley Cyrus
12. Mother Nature’s Son — Sheryl Crow
13. This Land Is Your Land — Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
14. Earth — Imogen Heap
15. Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth — Neko Case

Read more and listen to the playlist at: 15 Eco-Friendly Anthems for Earth Day | MetroLyrics


ODE — ADAMS AND LIBERTY
Written by Robert Treat Paine for the fourth Anniversary of the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society, 1798

YE sons of Columbia, who bravely have fought,
For those rights, which unstained from your Sires had descended,
May you long taste the blessings your valour has brought,
And your sons reap the soil which their fathers defended.
‘Mid the reign of mild Peace,
May your nation increase,
With the glory of Rome, and the wisdom of Greece;
And ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves,
While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.

In a clime, whose rich vales feed the marts of the world,
Whose shores are unshaken by Europe’s commotion,
The trident of Commerce should never be hurled,
To incense the legitimate powers of the ocean.
But should pirates invade,
Though in thunder arrayed,
Let your cannon declare the free charter of trade.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

The fame of our arms, of our laws the mild sway,
Had justly ennobled our nation in story,
‘Till the dark clouds of faction obscured our young day,
And enveloped the sun of American glory.
But let traitors be told,
Who their country have sold,
And bartered their God for his image in gold,
That ne’er will the sons, &c.

While France her huge limbs bathes recumbent in blood,
And Society’s base threats with wide dissolution;
May Peace like the dove, who returned from the flood,
Find an ark of abode in our mild constitution
But though Peace is our aim,
Yet the boon we disclaim,
If bought by our Sov’reignty, Justice or Fame.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

‘Tis the fire of the flint, each American warms;
Let Rome’s haughty victors beware of collision,
Let them bring all the vassals of Europe in arms,
We’re a world by ourselves, and disdain a division.
While with patriot pride,
To our laws we’re allied,
No foe can subdue us, no faction divide.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

Our mountains are crowned with imperial oak;
Whose roots, like our liberties, ages have nourished;
But lone e’er our nation submits to the yoke,
Not a tree shall be left on the field where it flourished.
Should invasion impend,
Every grove would descend,
From the hill-tops, they shaded, our shores to defend.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

Let our patriots destroy Anarch’s pestilent worm;
Lest our Liberty’s growth should be checked by corrosion;
Then let clouds thicken round us; we heed not the storm;
Our realm fears no shock, but the earth’s own explosion.
Foes assail us in vain,
Though their fleets bridge the main,
For our altars and laws with our lives we’ll maintain.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

Should the Tempest of War overshadow our land,
Its bolts could ne’er rend Freedom’s temple asunder;
For, unmoved, at its portal, would Washington stand,
And repulse, with his Breast, the assaults of the thunder!
His sword, from the sleep
Of its scabbard would leap,
And conduct, with its point, ev’ry flash to the deep!
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

Let Fame to the world sound America’s voice;
No intrigues can her sons from their government sever;
Her pride is her Adams; Her laws are his choice,
And shall flourish, till Liberty slumbers for ever.
Then unite heart and hand,
Like Leonidas’ band,
And swear to the God of the ocean and land;
That ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves,
While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.

ACTION ALERT: Ekecheiria! An Olympic Peace Week for Korea

December 26th, 2017 - by admin

Roots Action & the United Nations – 2017-12-26 18:54:07

https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13181

ACTION ALERT:
Ekecheiria! An Olympic Peace Week for Korea

Roots Action

Petition for an Olympic Truce
We urge you to abstain from war and from provocative war “exercises” for the Olympic Truce between February 2 and March 4, 2018, and then to continue the truce indefinitely thereafter.

(December 23, 2017) — The United Nations has asked its member states to observe an Olympic truce during the upcoming February 9-25 Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and for one week on either side. That would be February 2 to March 4. South Korea has asked the United States to delay its war rehearsal flights over South Korea until after the truce.

If the world can prove that it can refrain from war during a sports competition, it will have proved that it can do so after the competition as well. If the United States can also refrain from its war “games,” negotiations between it and North Korea may be possible.

This is a serious opportunity to prevent a catastrophic war.

ACTION: Please click here to sign a petition that can be printed out and delivered to every nation on earth, urging their abstention from war and from provocative war “exercises” during this period, and urging them to continue the truce indefinitely thereafter.

Forward this to everyone you can.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the Roots Action webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support.

RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.


Background:
UN Resolution: Seventy-second session

Agenda item 11

Sport for Development and Peace:
Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal

Albania, Angola, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Viet Nam: draft resolution

Building a Peaceful and Better
World through Sport and the Olympic Ideal

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 70/4 of 26 October 2015, in which it decided to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-second session the sub-item entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, and recalling also its prior decision to consider the sub-item every two years, in advance of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games,

Recalling also its resolution 48/11 of 25 October 1993, which, inter alia, revived the ancient Greek tradition of ekecheiria (“Olympic Truce”) calling for a truce during the Olympic Games to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage, access and participation for athletes and relevant persons at the Games, thereby mobilizing the youth of the world to the cause of peace,

Recalling further that the core concept of ekecheiria, historically, has been the cessation of hostilities from seven days before until seven days after the Olympic Games, which, according to the legendary oracle of Delphi, was to replace the cycle of conflict with a friendly athletic competition every four years,

Recognizing the valuable contribution of sport in promoting education, sustainable development, peace, cooperation, solidarity, fairness, social inclusion and health at the local, regional and international levels, and noting that, as declared in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, (1) sports can contribute to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding among peoples and nations,

Welcoming the designation of 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace,

Recalling the inclusion in the United Nations Millennium Declaration (2) of an appeal for the observance of the Olympic Truce now and in the future and for support for the International Olympic Committee in its efforts to promote peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic ideal,

Recalling also that, in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, (3) sport is recognized as an important enabler of sustainable development, in particular for its growing contribution to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives,

Acknowledging the valuable contribution that the appeal launched by the International Olympic Committee on 21 July 1992 for an Olympic Truce could make towards advancing the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling its resolution 71/160 of 16 December 2016 on sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace, in which it called upon future hosts of the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games and other Member States to include sport, as appropriate, in conflict prevention activities and to ensure the effective implementation of the Olympic Truce during the Games,

Noting that the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will be held from 9 to 25 February 2018 and that the XII Paralympic Winter Games will be held from 9 to 18 March 2018, in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea,

Noting also that Pyeongchang 2018 strives to open and expand new horizons for winter sports in Asia and across the world, fully harnessing the power of sports to encourage inclusion and to overcome barriers of all kinds,

Recalling that Pyeongchang 2018 marks the first of three consecutive Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Asia, to be followed by Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, offering possibilities of new partnership in sport and beyond for Republic of Korea, Japan and China,

Expressing its expectation that Pyeongchang 2018 will be a meaningful opportunity to foster an atmosphere of peace, development, tolerance and understanding on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia,

Recognizing the efforts of Pyeongchang 2018 to promote and further develop winter sports across the world through initiatives such as the “Dream Programme” for youth from regions without winter sports infrastructure,

Recognizing also the imperative need to engage women and girls in the practice of sport for development and peace, and welcoming activities that aim to foster and encourage initiatives in this regard at the global level,

Recalling article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, (4) which outlines the right of the child to engage in play and recreational activities, and the outcome document of the twenty-seventh special session of the General Assembly on children, entitled “A world fit for children”, (5) which stresses the promotion of physical, mental and emotional health through play and sports,

Welcoming the significant impetus that the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games give to the volunteer movement around the world, acknowledging the contributions of volunteers to the success of the Games, and in this regard calling upon host countries to promote social inclusion without discrimination of any kind,

Noting the successful conclusion of the XXXI Olympic Summer Games and the XV Paralympic Summer Games, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August and from 7 to 18 September 2016, respectively, and welcoming the XXXII Olympic Summer Games and the XVI Paralympic Summer Games, to be held in Tokyo from 24 July to 9 August and from 25 August to 6 September 2020, respectively, the XXIV Olympic Winter Games and the XIII Paralympic Winter Games, to be held in Beijing from 4 to 20 February and from 4 to 13 March 2022, respectively, and the XXXIII Olympic Summer Games and the XVII Paralympic Summer Games, to be held in Paris from 2 to 18 August and from 4 to 15 September 2024, respectively,

Acknowledging the joint endeavours of the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and relevant United Nations entities in such fields as the promotion of human rights, human development, poverty alleviation, humanitarian assistance, health promotion, HIV and AIDS prevention, child and youth education, gender equality, peacebuilding and sustainable development,

Acknowledging also the importance of the Youth Olympic Games in inspiring youth through integrated sports and cultural and educational experiences, noting in this regard the successful conclusion of the second Youth Winter Olympic Games, held in Lillehammer, Norway, from 12 to 21 February 2016, and welcoming the third Youth Summer Olympic Games, to be held in Buenos Aires from 6 to 18 October 2018,

Recognizing the role that the Paralympic movement plays in showcasing the achievements of athletes with disabilities to a global audience and in acting as a primary vehicle to promote positive perceptions and greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in sport and society,

Recognizing also that the active involvement of persons with disabilities in sports and the Paralympics Games contributes to the full and equal realization of their human rights, as well as respect for their inherent dignity, recalling articles 1 and 30 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, (6) in which States parties recognized the right of persons with disabilities, including those with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, with a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, and noting in this regard plans to stage integrated and inclusive Games,

Welcoming the commitment made by various States Members of the United Nations and other relevant stakeholders to developing national and international programmes that promote peace and conflict resolution, the Olympic and Paralympic values and the Olympic Truce ideals through sport and through culture, education, sustainable development and wider public engagement, and acknowledging the contribution of former hosts of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in this regard,

Recognizing the humanitarian opportunities presented by the Olympic Truce and by other initiatives supported by the United Nations to achieve the cessation of conflict,

Recalling that, in its resolution 71/160, it supported the independence and autonomy of sport as well as the mission of the International Olympic Committee in leading the Olympic movement and of the International Paralympic Committee in leading the Paralympic movement, and recognized the unifying and conciliative nature of major international sport events and that such events should be organized in the spirit of peace, mutual understanding, friendship, tolerance and inadmissibility of discrimination of any kind,

Acknowledging the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter, including principle 6, which states that the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Olympic Charter shall be secured for all, without discrimination of any kind,

Noting with satisfaction that the United Nations flag will be flown at the Olympic stadium and in the Olympic villages of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games and the XII Paralympic Winter Games,

1. Urges Member States to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively, within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, throughout the period from the seventh day before the start of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games until the seventh day following the end of the XII Paralympic Winter Games, to be held in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, in 2018, in particular, to ensure the safe passage, access and participation of athletes, officials and all other accredited persons taking part in the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games, and to contribute through other appropriate measures to the safe organization of the Games;

2. Underlines the importance of cooperation among Member States to collectively implement the values of the Olympic Truce around the world, and emphasizes the important role of the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the United Nations in this regard;

3. Welcomes the work of the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, as well as the International Olympic Truce Foundation and the International Olympic Truce Centre, in mobilizing national and international sports federations and organizations, National Olympic and Paralympic Committees and associations of National Olympic Committees to take concrete actions at the local, national, regional and international levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace based on the spirit of the Olympic Truce, and invites those organizations and national committees to cooperate and share information and best practices, as appropriate;

4. Also welcomes the leadership of Olympic and Paralympic athletes in promoting peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic ideal;

5. Calls upon all Member States to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games;

6. Recognizes that sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games can be used to promote human rights and strengthen universal respect for such rights, thus contributing to their full realization;

7. Welcomes the cooperation among Member States, the United Nations and the specialized agencies, funds and programmes, and the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, to maximize the potential of sport to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, (3) and encourages the Olympic and Paralympic movements to work closely with national and international sports organizations on the use of sport to this end;

8. Requests the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly to promote the observance of the Olympic Truce among Member States and support for human development initiatives through sport and to continue to cooperate effectively with the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the sporting community in general in the realization of those objectives;

9. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-fourth session the sub-item entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” of the item entitled “Sport for development and peace” and to consider the sub-item before the XXXII Olympic Summer Games and the XVI Paralympic Summer Games, to be held in Tokyo in 2020.

Notes
1 Resolution 60/1.
2 Resolution 55/2.
3 Resolution 70/1.
4 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1577, No. 27531. 5 Resolution S-27/2, annex.
6 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2515, No. 44910.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Is Honored With a Nobel Peace Prize

December 23rd, 2017 - by admin

Alice Slater / The Nation & Beatrice Fihn / ICAN & Setsuko Thurlow / ICAN – 2017-12-23 20:24:52

https://www.thenation.com/article/international-campaign-to-abolish-nuclear-weapons-honored-with-nobel-peace-prize/

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Is Honored With a Nobel Peace Prize

Alice Slater / The Nation

In Oslo on December 10, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and was accepted on behalf of the Campaign by its executive director, Beatrice Fihn, and by Setsuko Thurlow, an ICAN campaigner and survivor of the 1945 Hiroshima bombing.

Both spoke for the thousands of campaigners in over 400 organizations and more than 100 countries around the world who succeeded this fall in working with friendly governments to move a majority of states at the United Nations to adopt a treaty to prohibit to ban nuclear weapons, making their possession, use, or threat of use unlawful.

The ceremony opened with a piercing fanfare by four trumpeters, their horns hung with crimson banners, from a stone balcony high up in the sunlit-filled, mosaic-covered Oslo City Hall over a distinguished crowd below that included a former Peace Prize laureate; ambassadors and other government officials, including the prime minister of Norway and the mayor of Hiroshima; movie stars and rock stars; as well as several hundred grassroots ICAN campaigners from every corner of the globe.

As the trumpets sounded, the king and queen of Norway and the crown prince and princess strode down the red-carpeted aisle, followed by members of the Nobel Committee and the two ICAN speakers.

It has been just 10 years since ICAN first launched its astonishing campaign to ban nuclear weapons, just as chemical and biological weapons have been banned as well as land mines and cluster bombs. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now closed a legal gap in the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that only requires “good faith efforts for nuclear disarmament” by the then-five existing nuclear weapons states — the United States, Russia, UK, France, China.

ICAN organized a series of three major conferences in Norway, Mexico, and Austria together with government leaders, scientists, lawyers, and other experts, including representatives from the International Red Cross, a critical actor in this journey to ban the bomb.

It was the International Red Cross who contributed a unique statement about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons in 2000 that changed the global conversation about these devastating instruments of mass destruction.

Instead of nuclear weapons’ being described in abstract terms, with references to strategic security needs and deterrence policies, a conversation dominated by the nuclear-weapons states and by US nuclear allies in NATO, as well as Japan, Australia, and South Korea (none of whom support the new treaty), there has been a shift in how nuclear weapons are discussed.

There is a growing realization that these military and security concepts fail to acknowledge the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of a nuclear weapon.

The new conversation was given a great boost by the Vatican, which participated in the UN negotiations and held a subsequent nuclear-disarmament conference this month to discuss its newly announced policy change from one that supported the concept of “deterrence” for the use of nuclear weapons in “self-defense” to a new policy declaring that nuclear weapons must never be used under any circumstances.

Despite the nearly 50-year-old NPT promise by the nuclear-weapons states for nuclear disarmament, ICAN Executive Director Fihn, in her acceptance speech reminded us that “at dozens of locations around the world — in missile silos buried in our earth, on submarines navigating through our oceans, and aboard planes flying high in our sky — lie 15,000 objects of humankind’s destruction,” adding that “it is insanity to allow ourselves to be ruled by these weapons.” [See Fihn’s full acceptance speech below. — EAW.]

Fihn went on to note that critics of ICAN’s success in closing the legal gap in the NPT with the new ban treaty describe its campaigners as “the irrational ones, idealists with no grounding in reality. That the nuclear-armed states will never give up their weapons.”

But we represent the only rational choice. We represent those who refuse to accept nuclear weapons as a fixture in our world, those who refuse to have their fates bound up in a few lines of launch code. Ours is the only reality that is possible. The alternative is unthinkable.

The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what that ending will be. Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us? One of these things will happen. The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away.

Fihn also exclaimed, to enthusiastic applause, “Man — not woman! — made nuclear weapons to control others, but instead we are controlled.”

They made us false promises. That by making the consequences of using these weapons so unthinkable it would make any conflict unpalatable. That it would keep us free from war. But far from preventing war, these weapons brought us to the brink multiple times throughout the Cold War.

And in this century, these weapons continue to escalate us towards war and conflict. In Iraq, in Iran, in Kashmir, in North Korea. Their existence propels others to join the nuclear race. They don’t keep us safe, they cause conflict . . . . But they are just weapons. They are just tools. And just as they were created by geopolitical context, they can just as easily be destroyed by placing them in a humanitarian context. That is the task ICAN has set.

Fihn called on all nations and each of the nine nuclear weapons states individually to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, saying”
The United States, choose freedom over fear.
Russia, choose disarmament over destruction.
Britain, choose the rule of law over oppression.
France, choose human rights over terror.
China, choose reason over irrationality.
India, choose sense over senselessness.
Pakistan, choose logic over Armageddon.
Israel, choose common sense over obliteration.
North Korea, choose wisdom over ruin.

She also asked the nations “who believe they are sheltered under the umbrella of nuclear weapons, will you be complicit in your own destruction and the destruction of others in your name?”

And she called on all citizens to “Stand with us and demand your government side with humanity and sign this treaty,” noting that “no nations today boast of being a chemical weapons states” or “argue that it is acceptable, in extreme circumstances, to use sarin nerve agent” or “to unleash on its enemy the plague or polio. That is because international norms have been set, perceptions have been changed. And now, at last, we have an unequivocal norm against nuclear weapons.”

Setsuko Thurlow, an ICAN campaigner who survived the bombing of Hiroshima as a 13-year-old, spoke next, bearing witness to the excruciating pain and terror she saw all around her as she escaped from the rubble she was buried under in the bomb’s aftermath, where so many of her schoolmates died and where so many of her family were lost as well.

She reminded us that “in the weeks, months and years that followed, many thousands more would die, often in random and mysterious ways, from the delayed effects of radiation to this day, radiation is killing survivors.”

She acknowledged the suffering and willingness to bear witness not only of the Hibakusha, as Japanese refer to the survivors of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also of others who suffered from the nuclear age, including peoples “whose lands and seas were irradiated, whose bodies were experimented upon, whose cultures were forever disrupted” in places with “long-forgotten names” like Mururoa, Ekker, Semipalatinsk, Maralinga, Bikini.

Through our agony and the sheer struggle to survive — and to rebuild our lives from the ashes — we hibakusha became convinced that we must warn the world about these apocalyptic weapons. Time and again, we shared our testimonies.

But still some refused to see Hiroshima and Nagasaki as atrocities — as war crimes. They accepted the propaganda that these were “good bombs” that had ended a “just war.” It was this myth that led to the disastrous nuclear-arms race — a race that continues to this day.

Nine nations still threaten to incinerate entire cities, to destroy life on earth, to make our beautiful world uninhabitable for future generations. The development of nuclear weapons signifies not a country’s elevation to greatness but its descent to the darkest depths of depravity. These weapons are not a necessary evil; they are the ultimate evil.

Thurlow went on to say:
On the seventh of July this year, I was overwhelmed with joy when a great majority of the world’s nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Having witnessed humanity at its worst, I witnessed, that day, humanity at its best. We hibakusha had been waiting for the ban for seventy-two years. Let this be the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.

All responsible leaders will sign this treaty. And history will judge harshly those who reject it. No longer shall their abstract theories mask the genocidal reality of their practices. No longer shall “deterrence” be viewed as anything but a deterrent to disarmament. No longer shall we live under a mushroom cloud of fear.

To the officials of nuclear-armed nations — and to their accomplices under the so-called “nuclear umbrella” — I say this: Listen to our testimony. Heed our warning. And know that your actions are consequential. You are each an integral part of a system of violence that is endangering humankind. Let us all be alert to the banality of evil.

Both speakers received standing ovations for their moving addresses and calls to action, and, with a room filled with hundreds of grassroots campaigners, the thunderous applause for the speakers was noted to be highly unusual for a Nobel award ceremony.

The legal requirement for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to enter into force and to be binding on its signatories is that it must be ratified by 50 nations. To date, 56 countries have signed the treaty and four nations have ratified it in their legislatures.

To get involved in the ICAN campaign, visit http://www.icanw.org. There is a Parliamentary Pledge there that you can use to enroll your member of Congress or Parliament in calling for your nation to support the ban treaty. In the nuclear-weapons states and in the US nuclear alliance with NATO states and Australia, South Korea, and Japan in the Pacific — the “nuclear umbrella” states — grassroots efforts are under way to begin the stigmatization of their nuclear weapons and policies with a divestment campaign from nuclear-weapons manufacturers, since the treaty prohibits any “assistance” for nuclear weapons.

There have been demonstrations in Buchel, Germany, where activists have read the new treaty aloud to military personnel at a military base where US nuclear weapons are kept.

Four other NATO countries also have US nuclear weapons on their bases — Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Turkey. This activity is banned under the treaty’s prohibition on any “possession” of nuclear weapons. See the new treaty here.

Alice Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and serves on the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War.


2017 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
Beatrice Fihn / International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, 2017.

(December 10, 2017) — Your Majesties,
Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Esteemed guests,

Today, it is a great honour to accept the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of thousands of inspirational people who make up the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Together we have brought democracy to disarmament and are reshaping international law.

We most humbly thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee for recognizing our work and giving momentum to our crucial cause.
We want to recognize those who have so generously donated their time and energy to this campaign.

We thank the courageous foreign ministers, diplomats, Red Cross and Red Crescent staff, UN officials, academics and experts with whom we have worked in partnership to advance our common goal.
And we thank all who are committed to ridding the world of this terrible threat.

At dozens of locations around the world — in missile silos buried in our earth, on submarines navigating through our oceans, and aboard planes flying high in our sky — lie 15,000 objects of humankind’s destruction.

Perhaps it is the enormity of this fact, perhaps it is the unimaginable scale of the consequences, that leads many to simply accept this grim reality. To go about our daily lives with no thought to the instruments of insanity all around us.

For it is insanity to allow ourselves to be ruled by these weapons. Many critics of this movement suggest that we are the irrational ones, the idealists with no grounding in reality. That nuclear-armed states will never give up their weapons.

But we represent the only rational choice. We represent those who refuse to accept nuclear weapons as a fixture in our world, those who refuse to have their fates bound up in a few lines of launch code.

Ours is the only reality that is possible. The alternative is unthinkable.
The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what that ending will be.

Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?
One of these things will happen.

The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away.

Today I want to talk of three things: fear, freedom, and the future.
By the very admission of those who possess them, the real utility of nuclear weapons is in their ability to provoke fear. When they refer to their “deterrent” effect, proponents of nuclear weapons are celebrating fear as a weapon of war.
They are puffing their chests by declaring their preparedness to exterminate, in a flash, countless thousands of human lives.

Nobel Laureate William Faulkner said when accepting his prize in 1950, that “There is only the question of ‘when will I be blown up?'” But since then, this universal fear has given way to something even more dangerous: denial.
Gone is the fear of Armageddon in an instant, gone is the equilibrium between two blocs that was used as the justification for deterrence, gone are the fallout shelters.
But one thing remains: the thousands upon thousands of nuclear warheads that filled us up with that fear.

The risk for nuclear weapons use is even greater today than at the end of the Cold War. But unlike the Cold War, today we face many more nuclear armed states, terrorists, and cyber warfare. All of this makes us less safe.
Learning to live with these weapons in blind acceptance has been our next great mistake.

Fear is rational. The threat is real. We have avoided nuclear war not through prudent leadership but good fortune. Sooner or later, if we fail to act, our luck will run out.

A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego, could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities. A calculated military escalation could lead to the indiscriminate mass murder of civilians.
If only a small fraction of today’s nuclear weapons were used, soot and smoke from the firestorms would loft high into the atmosphere — cooling, darkening and drying the Earth’s surface for more than a decade.

It would obliterate food crops, putting billions at risk of starvation.
Yet we continue to live in denial of this existential threat.

But Faulkner in his Nobel speech also issued a challenge to those who came after him. Only by being the voice of humanity, he said, can we defeat fear; can we help humanity endure.

ICAN’s duty is to be that voice. The voice of humanity and humanitarian law; to speak up on behalf of civilians. Giving voice to that humanitarian perspective is how we will create the end of fear, the end of denial. And ultimately, the end of nuclear weapons.

That brings me to my second point: freedom.
As the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the first ever anti-nuclear weapons organisation to win this prize, said on this stage in 1985:
“We physicians protest the outrage of holding the entire world hostage. We protest the moral obscenity that each of us is being continuously targeted for extinction.”

Those words still ring true in 2017.
We must reclaim the freedom to not live our lives as hostages to imminent annihilation.

Man — not woman! — made nuclear weapons to control others, but instead we are controlled by them.
They made us false promises. That by making the consequences of using these weapons so unthinkable it would make any conflict unpalatable. That it would keep us free from war.

But far from preventing war, these weapons brought us to the brink multiple times throughout the Cold War. And in this century, these weapons continue to escalate us towards war and conflict.

In Iraq, in Iran, in Kashmir, in North Korea. Their existence propels others to join the nuclear race. They don’t keep us safe, they cause conflict.

As fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Martin Luther King Jr, called them from this very stage in 1964, these weapons are “both genocidal and suicidal”.
They are the madman’s gun held permanently to our temple. These weapons were supposed to keep us free, but they deny us our freedoms.

It’s an affront to democracy to be ruled by these weapons. But they are just weapons. They are just tools. And just as they were created by geopolitical context, they can just as easily be destroyed by placing them in a humanitarian context.

That is the task ICAN has set itself — and my third point I wish to talk about, the future.
I have the honour of sharing this stage today with Setsuko Thurlow, who has made it her life’s purpose to bear witness to the horror of nuclear war.
She and the hibakusha were at the beginning of the story, and it is our collective challenge to ensure they will also witness the end of it.
They relive the painful past, over and over again, so that we may create a better future.

There are hundreds of organisations that together as ICAN are making great strides towards that future.
There are thousands of tireless campaigners around the world who work each day to rise to that challenge.
There are millions of people across the globe who have stood shoulder to shoulder with those campaigners to show hundreds of millions more that a different future is truly possible.

Those who say that future is not possible need to get out of the way of those making it a reality.
As the culmination of this grassroots effort, through the action of ordinary people, this year the hypothetical marched forward towards the actual as 122 nations negotiated and concluded a UN treaty to outlaw these weapons of mass destruction.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides the pathway forward at a moment of great global crisis. It is a light in a dark time.
And more than that, it provides a choice.
A choice between the two endings: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us.
It is not naive to believe in the first choice. It is not irrational to think nuclear states can disarm. It is not idealistic to believe in life over fear and destruction; it is a necessity.

All of us face that choice. And I call on every nation to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The United States, choose freedom over fear.
Russia, choose disarmament over destruction.
Britain, choose the rule of law over oppression.
France, choose human rights over terror.
China, choose reason over irrationality.
India, choose sense over senselessness.
Pakistan, choose logic over Armageddon.
Israel, choose common sense over obliteration.
North Korea, choose wisdom over ruin.

To the nations who believe they are sheltered under the umbrella of nuclear weapons, will you be complicit in your own destruction and the destruction of others in your name?

To all nations: choose the end of nuclear weapons over the end of us!
This is the choice that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons represents. Join this Treaty.

We citizens are living under the umbrella of falsehoods. These weapons are not keeping us safe, they are contaminating our land and water, poisoning our bodies and holding hostage our right to life.

To all citizens of the world: Stand with us and demand your government side with humanity and sign this treaty. We will not rest until all States have joined, on the side of reason.

No nation today boasts of being a chemical weapon state.
No nation argues that it is acceptable, in extreme circumstances, to use sarin nerve agent.
No nation proclaims the right to unleash on its enemy the plague or polio.
That is because international norms have been set, perceptions have been changed.

And now, at last, we have an unequivocal norm against nuclear weapons.
Monumental strides forward never begin with universal agreement.
With every new signatory and every passing year, this new reality will take hold.
This is the way forward. There is only one way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons: prohibit and eliminate them.

Nuclear weapons, like chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster munitions and land mines before them, are now illegal. Their existence is immoral. Their abolishment is in our hands.

The end is inevitable. But will that end be the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us? We must choose one.

We are a movement for rationality. For democracy. For freedom from fear.

We are campaigners from 468 organisations who are working to safeguard the future, and we are representative of the moral majority: the billions of people who choose life over death, who together will see the end of nuclear weapons.

Thank you.


Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
Setsuko Thurlow / ICAN

Your Majesties,
Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
My fellow campaigners, here and throughout the world,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great privilege to accept this award, together with Beatrice, on behalf of all the remarkable human beings who form the ICAN movement. You each give me such tremendous hope that we can — and will — bring the era of nuclear weapons to an end.

I speak as a member of the family of hibakusha — those of us who, by some miraculous chance, survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For more than seven decades, we have worked for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

We have stood in solidarity with those harmed by the production and testing of these horrific weapons around the world. People from places with long-forgotten names, like Moruroa, Ekker, Semipalatinsk, Maralinga, Bikini. People whose lands and seas were irradiated, whose bodies were experimented upon, whose cultures were forever disrupted.

We were not content to be victims. We refused to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refused to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers took us past nuclear dusk and brought us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rose up. We shared our stories of survival. We said: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.

Today, I want you to feel in this hall the presence of all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I want you to feel, above and around us, a great cloud of a quarter million souls. Each person had a name. Each person was loved by someone. Let us ensure that their deaths were not in vain.

I was just 13 years old when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb, on my city Hiroshima. I still vividly remember that morning. At 8:15, I saw a blinding bluish-white flash from the window. I remember having the sensation of floating in the air.

As I regained consciousness in the silence and darkness, I found myself pinned by the collapsed building. I began to hear my classmates’ faint cries: “Mother, help me. God, help me.”

Then, suddenly, I felt hands touching my left shoulder, and heard a man saying: “Don’t give up! Keep pushing! I am trying to free you. See the light coming through that opening? Crawl towards it as quickly as you can.” As I crawled out, the ruins were on fire. Most of my classmates in that building were burned to death alive. I saw all around me utter, unimaginable devastation.

Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by. Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen. Parts of their bodies were missing. Flesh and skin hung from their bones. Some with their eyeballs hanging in their hands. Some with their bellies burst open, their intestines hanging out. The foul stench of burnt human flesh filled the air.

Thus, with one bomb my beloved city was obliterated. Most of its residents were civilians who were incinerated, vaporized, carbonized — among them, members of my own family and 351 of my schoolmates.

In the weeks, months and years that followed, many thousands more would die, often in random and mysterious ways, from the delayed effects of radiation. Still to this day, radiation is killing survivors.

Whenever I remember Hiroshima, the first image that comes to mind is of my four-year-old nephew, Eiji — his little body transformed into an unrecognizable melted chunk of flesh. He kept begging for water in a faint voice until his death released him from agony.

To me, he came to represent all the innocent children of the world, threatened as they are at this very moment by nuclear weapons. Every second of every day, nuclear weapons endanger everyone we love and everything we hold dear. We must not tolerate this insanity any longer.

Through our agony and the sheer struggle to survive — and to rebuild our lives from the ashes — we hibakusha became convinced that we must warn the world about these apocalyptic weapons. Time and again, we shared our testimonies.

But still some refused to see Hiroshima and Nagasaki as atrocities — as war crimes. They accepted the propaganda that these were “good bombs” that had ended a “just war”. It was this myth that led to the disastrous nuclear arms race — a race that continues to this day.

Nine nations still threaten to incinerate entire cities, to destroy life on earth, to make our beautiful world uninhabitable for future generations. The development of nuclear weapons signifies not a country’s elevation to greatness, but its descent to the darkest depths of depravity. These weapons are not a necessary evil; they are the ultimate evil.

On the seventh of July this year, I was overwhelmed with joy when a great majority of the world’s nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Having witnessed humanity at its worst, I witnessed, that day, humanity at its best. We hibakusha had been waiting for the ban for seventy-two years. Let this be the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.

All responsible leaders will sign this treaty. And history will judge harshly those who reject it. No longer shall their abstract theories mask the genocidal reality of their practices. No longer shall “deterrence” be viewed as anything but a deterrent to disarmament. No longer shall we live under a mushroom cloud of fear.

To the officials of nuclear-armed nations — and to their accomplices under the so-called “nuclear umbrella” — I say this: Listen to our testimony. Heed our warning. And know that your actions are consequential. You are each an integral part of a system of violence that is endangering humankind. Let us all be alert to the banality of evil.

To every president and prime minister of every nation of the world, I beseech you: Join this treaty; forever eradicate the threat of nuclear annihilation.

When I was a 13-year-old girl, trapped in the smouldering rubble, I kept pushing. I kept moving toward the light. And I survived. Our light now is the ban treaty. To all in this hall and all listening around the world, I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: “Don’t give up! Keep pushing! See the light? Crawl towards it.”

Tonight, as we march through the streets of Oslo with torches aflame, let us follow each other out of the dark night of nuclear terror. No matter what obstacles we face, we will keep moving and keep pushing and keep sharing this light with others. This is our passion and commitment for our one precious world to survive.

ACTION ALERT: Federal Court Invalidates Trump’s Call to Allow Trophy Hunting

December 23rd, 2017 - by admin

Endangered Species Coalition & The Humane Society & Care2 Petitions – 2017-12-23 00:49:56

Special to Environmentalists Against War

Federal Court Invalidates the US
Fish and Wildlife Service’s Decision to Allow Hunting Trophies

Mitch Merry / Endangered Species Coalition

(December 22, 20107) — The US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled today that the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) did not follow the law in its recently-announced decision to allow the importation of elephant and lion “trophies” from Zimbabwe Zambia.

This is a very positive development that invalidates the USFWS’s decision to allow these imports and will likely require that they follow the rule-making process and accept public comments if they decide to move ahead with this attempt to encourage trophy hunting.

We will provide a way to make your public comment if the USFWS again pursues this misguided policy, but you can help today by sharing the petition to Secretary Zinke [See link below.] with five friends asking them to oppose the importation of trophies from elephants. Thank you for taking action for elephants.

Mitch Merry is the Digital Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.


Federal Court of Appeals Order Invalidates Decision to
Allow Zimbabwe and Zambia Elephant and Lion Trophy Imports

Thaisi Da Silva / The Humane Society

(December 22, 2017) — Today the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit upheld the conservation mandate of the Endangered Species Act, supporting the need to rigorously analyze applications to import hunting trophies of species threatened with extinction.

This federal court order, coming only weeks after President Trump tweeted that he was reconsidering the agency’s decision to allow imports of elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, means that those recent decisions by the agency are invalid.

Anna Frostic, managing attorney for wildlife litigation for The Humane Society of the United States, said, “The federal government must carefully consider the science demonstrating that trophy hunting negatively impacts the conservation of imperiled species.

We strongly urge the US Fish and Wildlife Service to take immediate action to rescind its unlawful decisions to liberalize elephant and lion trophy imports.”

The Court also held that the agency must take public comment on any blanket decisions to allow or prohibit trophy imports based on individual countries management plans.


Secretary Zinke: Do Not Allow
Trophy Hunters to Kill Zimbabwe’s Elephants

Petition by the Endangered Species Coalition

To be delivered to Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior

Your recent decision to reverse Obama-era bans on the importation of elephant parts from animals trophy-hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia threatens the survival of these species. Please reconsider this misguided decision and maintain the ban.


ACTION ALERT: Tell the Military:
Stop Mutilating and Killing Animals

The Care2 Petitions Team

(December 21, 2017) — Did you know that the military is mutilating and killing more than 8,500 animals each year? It’s true and they are using your tax dollars to pay for it.

At US military bases all across the country, soldiers are forced to use live animals for trauma training exercises. Pigs and goats are shot, burned, stabbed or have their limbs broken in order to mimic wounds that could occur on the field.

This antiquated and barbaric program must end!

New advances in science mean that we no longer need to use live animals in order to mimic human battlefield injuries. In fact, the Department of Defense recommended ending the program almost a decade ago.

If passed, the BEST Practices Act would put an end this cruel program once and for all. It would ban the expensive and ineffective trauma drills on live animals while still ensuring that our military medics and others gain the skills they need to save lives on the battlefield.

ACTION: Sign the petition today and tell your representative you want them to support the BEST Practices Act.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

There Is No Military Solution to End War in Yemen

December 23rd, 2017 - by admin

Al Jazeera & Daniel Larison / The American Conservative – 2017-12-23 00:46:13

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/military-solution-war-yemen-171222060356636.html

US: There Is No Military Solution to End War in Yemen
Al Jazeera

Sixty-day-old Nadia Ahmad Sabri, who suffers from severe malnutrition, lies in bed at a malnutrition treatment centre in Hodeidah (Abduljabbar Zeyad/Reuters)

(December 21, 2017) — The US has said that “there is no military solution to end the war in Yemen” and believes that the best way to end the crisis is through “aggressive diplomacy”.

In a briefing on Thursday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking also said that US President Donald Trump’s administration believes “that there is room for the Houthis in a political settlement” if the rebel group stops attacking Saudi Arabia, a US ally.

“We believe that there is room for the Houthis in a political settlement. We welcome that, but not when the Houthis continue to rocket and — rocket our — a key ally like Saudi Arabia on a regular basis, and also not — not when the Houthis are menacing the border of Saudi Arabia, which is something that goes on very consistently,” Lenderking said.

“We’re pushing everybody to move into a political process as quickly as we can,” he added.

A coalition supported by the United States and led by Saudi Arabia went to war with Houthi rebels — widely believed to be backed by the Kingdom’s regional rival, Iran — on March 21, 2015.

The Houthis have recently fired several ballistic missiles towards Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and the coalition has retaliated with more air raids in Yemen.

Events took a dramatic turn on the ground earlier in December, when the Houthis announced that they had killed Yemen’s overthrown leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had recently publicly broken ties with the rebels.

The Houthis claim to have retaken most of the capital, Sanaa, from Saleh’s forces.

“We’ve called on the Houthis to cease carrying out reprisals against members of Saleh’s party, against his family,” said Lenderking.

“We’re looking to push everybody to the extent we can — and I realise that there’s own rhythm inside Yemen for these things. It’s not necessarily something for outsiders to dictate. There’s a rhythm here for Yemeni parties to come together, and this is — this is the time to do it.”

Currently, the US provides mid-air refuelling for Saudi and UAE warplanes that are conducting air attacks in Yemen, as well as assistance with bomb targeting, according to US officials.

Humanitarian Disaster
Since the start of the war, more than 10,000 people have been killed and more than three million have lost their homes. More than 80 percent of Yemenis lack access to food, fuel, clean water and healthcare. Millions face the threat of famine.

The Kingdom, in response to a missile fired towards Riyadh by the Houthis in November- said it imposed a blockade as a necessary precaution aimed at preventing weapons being smuggled into Yemen by Iran.

Saudi said it eased the blockade weeks later, but it has refused to allow commercial imports through the port city in Yemen situated on the Red Sea, at the demand of dozens of aid groups such as Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and UN agencies.

In a White House statement earlier on Thursday, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the US welcomes news Saudi Arabia will open the port. She blamed missile attacks towards Riyadh on Iran.

“We urge the United Nations Security Council to hold Iran responsible for its repeated and blatant violations of Security Council resolutions,” she said.

In a similar vein to Lenderking, she also called for a non-military solution to the war. “We call on all parties to support a political solution to the war in Yemen, which is the only way to advance long-term stability in Yemen and end the suffering of the Yemeni people,” she said.


A ‘Hideous Milestone’ in Yemen:
One Million Cases of Cholera

Daniel Larison / The American Conservative

(December 21, 2017) — The Red Cross reports that there are now more than a million cases of cholera in Yemen:
It has been roughly eight months since cholera first took hold in war-torn Yemen. In that brief span, the waterborne disease has exacted a staggering toll on the country’s population — and that toll only continues to rise by the day.

The number of suspected cases of cholera has crossed one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced Thursday.

The only good news is that the spread of the disease seems to have slowed, but the epidemic has not ended and the policies that have made such a huge outbreak possible remain in place.

Because of the fuel shortage brought on by the tightened coalition blockade, millions of people who were previously able to pump clean drinking water are no longer able to do so. The lack of clean water makes a resurgence of cholera and other water-borne diseases much more likely.

Until the blockade is fully lifted, the civilian population will be deprived of the essential food, fuel, and medicine needed to combat this disease and others like it. Yemeni civilians continue to face an unacceptably high risk of contracting and possibly dying from preventable diseases because of the Saudi-led war and blockade supported by the US and other Western governments.

The conditions that have caused and sustained this epidemic were created by the Saudi-led coalition through their indiscriminate bombing and punitive blockade. This is an ongoing crime against the people of Yemen, it is an outrage, and it has to be stopped.

The Red Cross refers to the millionth case of cholera this year as a “hideous milestone in the 21st century,” and indeed it is. It should be appalling that an epidemic on this scale has been allowed to occur at all, and it is even more disgusting that the coalition and its Western patrons have helped to bring it about.

As if it was not bad enough to subject millions to the threat of death by starvation, Yemenis have also had to endure the worst cholera epidemic on record. If nothing changes, they will also experience the worst famine in decades.

Every day that the US continues to provide arms and fuel to the Saudi-led coalition is another day that the administration shows that it is not serious about addressing the causes of the humanitarian catastrophe engulfing Yemen.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Archives by Month:

 

 

Stay Connected
Sign up to receive our weekly updates. We promise not to sell, trade or give away your email address.
Email Address:
Full Name:
 

Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are