Saving The World From Nuclear War

These are dark days for both our nation and the world. Climate change is wreaking havoc everywhere, a global pandemic continues its onslaught, our nation’s experiment in democracy is threatened by a slow-motion insurrection and, to top it all off, our nation has taken the lead in pushing Russia toward a war over Ukraine that is capable of going off the rails into a full-scale nuclear war (and that is not hyperbole!).

At least four or five U.S. OHIO Class “Trident” ballistic missile submarines are currently at sea on “hard alert” in their designated patrol areas—ready to launch any or all of their 20 Trident II D5 ballistic missiles, bristling with thermonuclear warheads, at the command of the President. 

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Nice Talk, Now Walk The Walk

On January 3rd of this year, the five nuclear-armed states with the largest nuclear arsenals issued a joint statement declaring that they “consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities.” The statement goes on to “affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

As the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists stands at 100 seconds to midnight – “the closest it has ever been to civilization-ending apocalypse” – this statement would appear to be good news for the world.

However, all five of the signatories to the statement are currently engaged in maintaining powerful nuclear arsenals.

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Veterans For Peace Releases Nuclear Posture Review

The U.S.-based international organization Veterans For Peace has released its own assessment of the current global threat of nuclear war, ahead of the anticipated release of the Biden Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. The Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever and that nuclear disarmament must be vigorously pursued.  Veterans For Peace plans to deliver their Nuclear Posture Review to the President and Vice President, to every member of Congress, and to the Pentagon.

With the first anniversary of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on January 22, the Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review calls on the U.S. government to sign the treaty and to work with other nuclear-armed states to eliminate all the world’s nuclear weapons. 

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NATO Parliamentarians Send Letter To Biden For No-First-Use Policies

34 current and former legislators from NATO countries sent a joint letter yesterday to United States President Biden encouraging him to adopt a policy of no-first-use (or sole purpose) of nuclear weapons in the current U.S. nuclear posture review, and to use the occasion of the 10th Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference in January 2022 to universalise this policy.

The call by the legislators contradicts recent reports that United States allies want the US government to retain the option of initiating nuclear war (first-use options).

“Let us state clearly that we do not believe that a first-use option is in the security interests of our countries or in the interests of NATO as a whole,” say the endorsers of the letter. “We encourage you to take leadership on this issue and we pledge our support.”

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Knowing Humanity’s End Is Near And Staying Sane

I read Daniel Sherrell’s Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World sitting on the edge of what was left of the Shenandoah River after a summer of very little rain. Six inches is enough to canoe in but it’s less than that in many places. Fish are few and far between, yet humans are out there in canoes, dragging them over rocks, casting their lines, luring the last fish to their doom. I know the fish murders are not the problem, not at this scale. The problem is the power lines hanging low across the water, the 12-foot American Flag hung up on the shore, the massive actions of corrupt governments and industries — but also the cabin my family’s in and the car that drove us to it — not to mention the airplanes audible from great distances and tricking the mind into hoping for thunder.

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Ellsberg Blows The Whistle Again

Unbeknownst to most of us, Dan Ellsberg secretly copied another explosive report when he copied the Pentagon Papers fifty years ago. The second classified study documented how close the U.S. came to starting a nuclear war with China in 1958. The NYTimes reports:  “When Communist Chinese forces began shelling islands controlled by Taiwan in 1958, the United States rushed to back up its ally with military force — including drawing up plans to carry out nuclear strikes on mainland China, according to an apparently still-classified document that sheds new light on how dangerous that crisis was.”

Ellsberg has previously published the study on his website, but didn’t call attention to it. But with recent escalations in tensions with China, Ellsberg is now highlighting the previously censored sections of the report.

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‘Golden Rule’ Peace Boat Sets Sail From Hawaii

After 21 months in the Hawaiian Islands, the historic anti-nuclear sailboat Golden Rule will depart from Honolulu, Hawai’i for the West Coast of the U.S.   The Golden Rule first sailed from California to Hawai’i 63 years ago, in 1958, on her way to interfere with U.S. atmospheric nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, the site of 67 U.S. nuclear bomb blasts from 1952 to 1958.  Under orders from the Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. Coast Guard stopped the boat from leaving Honolulu. The arrest and jailing of the captain and 1958 crew garnered international media attention and increased opposition to nuclear testing and nuclear weapons.  Atmospheric nuclear testing was stopped by the U.S., the UK and the Soviet Union in 1963 with the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty. 

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The Rising Threat Of Nuclear War

US Strategic Command, the branch of the US military responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal, tweeted the following on Tuesday:

“The spectrum of conflict today is neither linear nor predictable. We must account for the possibility of conflict leading to conditions which could very rapidly drive an adversary to consider nuclear use as their least bad option.”

The statement, which STRATCOM called a “preview” of the Posture Statement it submits to US Congress every year, was a bit intense for Twitter and sparked a lot of alarmed responses. This alarm was due not to any inaccuracy in STRATCOM’s frank statement, but due to the bizarre fact that our world’s increasing risk of nuclear war barely features in mainstream discourse.

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Washington’s Reckless Attitude Toward Nuclear War A Threat To World Peace

Fox News reported that the head of US Strategic Command Charles Richard is calling on the US military and federal leaders to reimagine methods of deterring aggressive action from rivals such as China and Russia. He wrote in the February issue of Proceedings, the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine, that, “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons.”

It’s not uncommon to hear the noise preaching so-called threats of China and Russia. Yet it’s still shocking to see a US senior military official publicly urging leaders of his country to consider a nuclear war. His narratives have drawn wide attention.

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As The Doomsday Clock Nears Midnight, We Can Abolish Nuclear Weapons

On January 22, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons went into effect. This treaty, which is supported by more than two-thirds of the countries in the world but none of the nuclear states, is groundbreaking in many ways and is a significant step toward nuclear disarmament at a time when the threat of nuclear war is the highest it has ever been. I speak with Seth Shelden of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons about the treaty, how it came about, what it will do and what people in the United States can do to press our government to ratify it.

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‘100 Seconds To Midnight’

One hundred seconds to midnight. That’s how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it’s as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday’s annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its “Doomsday Clock” since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947. 

Although the scientists cite the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed 1.7 million people around the world and has “revealed just how unprepared and unwilling countries and the international system are to handle global emergencies properly,” they acknowledge that the coronavirus does not pose an existential threat to Homo sapiens. 

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We Are Living In An Emergency That Requires Urgent Action

Large parts of the world – outside of China and a few other countries – face a runaway virus, which has not been stopped because of criminal incompetence by governments. That these governments in wealthy countries cynically set aside the basic scientific protocols released by the World Health Organisation and by scientific organisations reveals their malicious practice. Anything less than focusing attention to managing the virus by testing, contact tracing, and isolation – and if this does not suffice, then imposing a temporary lockdown – is foolhardy. It is equally distressing that these richer countries have pursued a policy of ‘vaccine nationalism’ by stockpiling vaccine candidates rather than a policy for the creation of a ‘people’s vaccine’.

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Kings Bay Plowshares Activists Pay Heavy Price Resisting Nuclear Warfare

Patrick O’Neill gripped the hammer tightly in his hands. The police would soon surround him.

O’Neill and six other Catholic peace activists had infiltrated the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, with the goal of symbolically disarming the base’s six Trident submarines armed with first-strike missiles capable of holding 200 nuclear warheads.

Some of the activists strung up crime scene tape and hung protest banners that read “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide.” Others poured baby bottles of their own blood around the base.

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America’s Still Strangelovian Schemes To ‘Win’ Nuclear Wars

A full 56 years after Peter Sellers roasted America’s nuclear absurdity in Stanley Kubrick’s dark comedy classic Dr. Strangelove, Pentagon planners remain dedicated to delusions. That old Pete’s three-role – in three nationalities – performative evisceration of the fantasy that nuclear wars can be won didn’t stick raises serious questions about human nature, and our species’s survival prospects. Don’t take my word for it: just six years ago Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, penned a piece in the New Yorker titled…

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Priest Sentenced To 33 Months For Protesting Nuclear Weapons

Fifteen supporters in a carefully Covid masked and distanced courtroom witnessed Father Steve Kelly receive a sentence of 33 months today. After a 20 minute delay to get the telephone conference line working and properly muted 160 people listened in to the proceedings on the audio link.

Fr. Steve’s sentence falls in the middle of the proposed guidelines and will likely allow his release from the Glynn County Detention Center where he is presently being detained 30 months after the action.

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