Cities Align with UN’s Nuke Ban Treaty as Senate Moves to Stop Trump’s New Atomic Arms Race

December 11th, 2018 - by admin

Lydia Wood / NuclearBan.US & Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren – 2018-12-11 23:08:29

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Berkeley’s “Nuclear-free” Status Receives Recognition
Lydia Wood / NuclearBan.US

NuclearBan.US co-founder Vicki Elson presents Mayor Jesse Arreguin with Berkeley’s “Certificate of Alignment” with the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Others L to R are Gar Smith, Hassan Fouda, Councilmember Cheryl Davila, Diana Bohn, Cynthia Papermaster, Phoebe Ann Sorgen and Timmon Wallis.

BERKELEY, Calif. (December 11, 2018) — Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin was presented yesterday with a certificate from NuclearBan.US, officially recognizing Berkeley’s “Alignment” with the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Berkeley City Council passed a resolution on May 15, 2018, declaring itself ‘strongly supportive’ of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and proclaiming itself ‘in compliance’ with the Treaty by virtue of its existing nuclear-free status. This was given official recognition at City Hall yesterday by campaigners involved with ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its role in bringing about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This new Treaty was adopted by 122 countries at the UN on July 7, 2017. The Treaty bans everything to do with nuclear weapons and will enter into force once it has been ratified by 50 countries.

“The City of Berkeley is not just calling on the federal government to sign this new Treaty. It is doing what it can right here and right now to comply with the Treaty, by banning everything to do with nuclear weapons, including boycotting and divesting from the nuclear weapons industry. Berkeley is an example we very much hope other towns and cities across the United States will follow,” said Dr. Timmon Wallis, Executive Director of ICAN partner NuclearBan.US.

The Nuclear Free Berkeley Act was passed in 1986 and remains one of the strongest nuclear free zone ordinances in the country. Chapter 12.90 of the City Code prohibits all nuclear weapons related activities from taking place within the city limits, prevents city funds from being invested in companies engaged in such activities and bars those companies from entering into contracts with the City.

Any exceptions to these regulations must be approved by the City Council, which is responsible, through its Peace and Justice Commission, for monitoring the city’s compliance with the Act. Violations of the Act are punishable by up to 30 days in prison and a fine of $500 for each day of violation.

Berkeley is the second city in the United States to be recognized for its ‘Alignment’ with the UN Treaty, after Takoma Park, Maryland was officially recognized earlier this year. Oakland, Ojai, Marin County and other cities and counties in California may soon follow.

The California state legislature passed a resolution in August calling on the federal government to embrace the new Treaty. Campaigners are now calling on the state to look into how it can bring itself into alignment with the Treaty at the state level.

This would include getting the University of California system to end its involvement and oversight of the nuclear weapons laboratories at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore Labs. The University of California has been involved with the development of nuclear weapons since the Second World War.

“California is complicit in the arms race, and if nuclear weapons were ever launched, it would be one of the prime attack targets,” said the Swedish Executive Director of ICAN, Beatrice Fihn, in the Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2018. “Its citizens need to speak up to safeguard their future and end the state’s participation in the weapons industry.”

Lydia Wood is Campaign Coordinator for NuclearBan.US
Contact: Timmon@NuclearBan.US, (631) 507-8686

Senate Acts to Prevent Trump’s Nuclear Arms Race

Warren, Merkley, Gillibrand, Markey Introduce Bill to Prevent
Nuclear Arms Race after Trump Vows to Abandon INF Treaty

Press Release / Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren

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WASHINGTON, DC (November 29, 2018) — United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today announced the introduction of the Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018, new legislation that would stop the United States from entering into a 21st Century nuclear arms race. Senators Warren and Gillibrand serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senators Merkley and Markey are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Instead of scrapping a nuclear arms control treaty negotiated by President Reagan that makes America safer, the Trump Administration should listen to our European allies and stick to this agreement while working to get Russia back into compliance,” said Senator Warren.

“Withdrawing from the INF Treaty is yet another example of the Trump Administration’s dangerous and costly embrace of nuclear weapons, and the Prevention of Arms Race Act would help reverse this misguided policy.”

“President Trump’s reckless decision to pull the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty alienates us from our allies and risks returning us to the Cold War postures of yesterday,” said Senator Merkley.

“A new nuclear arms race would be costly to our treasury and dangerous for the world. Today, we are coming together to send a message: Congress must not fund new ground-launched or ballistic missiles that will fuel a dangerous arms race across the globe. Instead, President Trump should convene US allies at the G-20 Summit later this week to develop a unified approach to resolve Russia’s violation of the Treaty.”

“An arms race would endanger the entire world and threaten every single person in our country, and Congress has a responsibility to ensure that President Trump does not start one. Now that President Trump has announced his intent to unilaterally withdraw from a bipartisan weapons treaty with Russia, without consulting Congress or our allies, the Prevention of Arms Race Act is more important than ever,” said Senator Gillibrand.

“If the President proceeds with withdrawal, it would further damage our relationships with our allies, and Russia would not be legally constrained from deploying larger numbers of their previously illegal missiles. I urge my colleagues to support this bill to prevent a new arms race, and I will continue to do everything I can to keep New Yorkers and all Americans safe.”

“Pulling out of the INF Treaty plays squarely into Russia’s hands while undermining America’s security and betraying our NATO allies,” said Senator Markey. “Without question, Russia is violating the INF Treaty. But threatening American withdrawal will not increase our negotiating leverage; it only falls hook, line, and sinker for Putin’s predictable attempts to goad the United States into justifying Russian noncompliance.

The Trump administration needs to work more closely with our NATO allies to force Russia back into compliance. And as the chance of a confrontation between American and Chinese forces rises the Indo-Pacific, it makes little sense to add further ambiguity over whether US missiles stationed around the region are nuclear-armed.

This legislation will help ensure that we don’t match two major adversaries missile-for-missile, trigger a new nuclear arms race, and incur unacceptable amounts of risk in an already tenuous security environment.”

On October 20, 2018, President Trump announced his intention to unilaterally withdraw the United States from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. The INF was originally signed by President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

The United States first declared Russia to be in violation of the Treaty in 2014; experts agree it is critical the United States continue to work to bring Russia back into compliance and hold it accountable for its violation. However, the Trump Administration’s move puts the possibility of bringing Russia back into compliance with the treaty further out of reach.

The unilateral US withdrawal of the INF Treaty also fails to achieve both the stated objectives for withdrawal: It will not eliminate Russia’s violating missile, but it will free Russia to deploy greater quantities of nuclear weapons to both America’s and Europe’s detriment. And withdrawal will not eliminate or limit China’s sizable arsenal of intermediate-range missiles, but it will end any hopes of expanding the Treaty to China and other countries.

The INF Treaty permanently led to the elimination of entire classes of US and Russian nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles — 2,692 in total — supported by on-site inspections that allowed both sides to “trust but verify” compliance with the Treaty.

President Trump made the decision to pull out without proper consultation with Congress — a co-equal branch of government — and over the objections of US NATO allies who had, just months earlier, declared that the INF Treaty “has been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security.”

The Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018 prohibits funding for a US ground-launched or ballistic missile — with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers — until the Trump Administration provides a report that meets five specific conditions. That report would be required to:
* Identify a US ally formally willing to host such a system;

* Detail recent diplomatic efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with the Treaty;

* Assess the risk to US national security and that of our allies stemming from Russia being able to deploy greater numbers of intermediate range missiles;

* Identify what programs the United States would need to pursue to offset additional Russian capabilities and at what cost;

* Detail the costs to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the ability to maintain consensus within the NATO Alliance should the INF Treaty collapse.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week passed a bipartisan resolution, S.Res. 562, introduced by Senator Merkley and cosponsored by Senator Warren, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continues to make an invaluable contribution to United States and international security.”

S.Res. 562, which now goes to the Senate floor, calls upon the Trump administration to avert a potential arms race with Russia by working to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) until 2021 and urges diplomatic means to resolve Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty.

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