WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3 BOULDER Film: “DR.STRANGELOVE” AT THE TRIDENT 7:30 PM, hosted by THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER Panel discussion at 7:30, followed by the film. As we approach the 71st anniversary of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is in greater danger, perhaps than ever, from nuclear holocaust. The “delicate balance of terror” hangs over all of life. According to the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, the U.S. government plans to spend four million dollars an hour, every hour for the next thirty years, to build new bomb plants, and upgrade and modify nuclear war heads. As NATO, including the U.S., threatens Russia, tension mounts exponentially and seems insane. The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and the Trident present “Dr. Strangelove,” for a brilliant glimpse of nuclear insanity; laugh at the same time you are trembling. 940 Pearl, Boulder; 7:30 p.m..
Hegemony and Nuclear War21 Jul
Peace Train for July 22, 2016
By JUDITH MOHLING
leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.
“Germany was united under Prussian hegemony after 1871.” Feedback
As we approach the 71st anniversary of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is in greater danger, perhaps than ever, from nuclear holocaust. The “delicate balance of terror” hangs over all of life. According to the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, the U.S. government plans to spend four million dollars an hour, every hour for the next thirty years, to build new bomb plants, and upgrade and modify nuclear war heads. As US/NATO threatens Russia, tension mounts exponentially and the situation seems insane.
Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace for his leadership role in ending the “cold war,” (the nuclear standoff between the U.S. and the Soviet Union), said in a recent interview with “Speigel Online”: “If these weapons aren’t eliminated, they’ll eliminate us.”
“America’s rage for world dominance threatens everyone. It’s shocking to think bipartisan lunatics in charge may kill us all. A nation (the U.S.) spending as much or more on militarism and war-making than all others combined is an insurmountable obstacle to a peaceful nuclear-free world,” Gorbachev explained.
Isn’t “America’s rage for world dominance” a perfect example of “hegemony?” And, couldn’t it bring about nuclear war and nuclear winter to our planet? Doesn’t the U.S. quest for world dominance threaten the world?
According to Ron Forthofer, in Countercurrents.org, “there are dangerous provocations along Russia’s western border (by US/NATO) that have received little or incredibly one-sided coverage by the U.S. media. Thus the U.S. public is not aware of the possibility of a major conflict between two nuclear-armed powers occurring due to an accident or misinterpretation.”
Stephen Lendman of Global Research pointed out that Thucydides trap conditions exist.
The Greek historian warned 2,400 years ago about the risk of war because of an established power’s fear about a rising one.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center invites everyone to hear a three person panel about the rising nuclear risk in the world today followed by the film, Dr. Strangelove, a hilarious movie about nuclear insanity with the incomparable Peter Sellers: Wednesday, August 3, behind the Trident Bookstore/Cafe, 7:30, 940 Pearl Street, Boulder.
Stop making it. The only truly safe, sound, just solution for the radioactive waste problem, is to not make it in the first place. Electricity can be supplied by clean, safe, affordable renewable sources, such as wind and solar, and demand decreased significantly by efficiency, rather than generating radioactive waste via dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear power.
Expedite the transfer of irradiated nuclear fuel from densely-packed “wet” storage pools into Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) dry casks.
Store irradiated nuclear fuel in HOSS dry casks, as safely and securely as possible, as close to the point of generation as possible, in a monitored, inspectable, retrievable manner.
Given the unavoidable risks of high-level radioactive waste truck, train, and/or barge shipments on roads, rails, and/or waterways (Mobile Chernobyls, Dirty Bombs on Wheels, Floating Fukushimas), transport irradiated nuclear fuel only once, such as straight to a (suitable, acceptable, just) geological repository, not to so-called centralized interim storage (de facto permanent parking lot dumps, such as those currently targeted at Waste Control Specialists, LLC in Andrews County, west Texas; at Eddy-Lea Counties, near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeast New Mexico; Native American reservations; nuclear power plants, such as Exelon’s Dresden in Morris, IL; etc.).
Geological repositories must be scientifically suitable (capable of isolating the hazardous high-level radioactive waste from the living environment forevermore), socially acceptable (genuinely consent-based), and environmentally just. Note that no such suitable/acceptable/just geologic repository has yet been found, in more than half a century of looking. DOE has admitted it can’t open any repository (even an unsuitable/unacceptable/unjust one) till 2048 at the earliest, more than a century after Enrico Fermi, in 1942, generated the first high-level radioactive waste, in the world’s first reactor, as part of the Manhattan Project to build atomic bombs; and more than 90 years years after the first “civilian” atomic reactor began generating waste at Shippingport, PA.
Do not reprocess (extract fissile plutonium and/or uranium from) irradiated nuclear fuel. Not only would this risk nuclear weapons proliferation, and be astronomically expensive; it would also very likely cause environmental ruin downwind and downstream of wherever it is carried out, as has been shown at such places as Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington; Savannah River Site, South Carolina; West Valley, New York; Sellafield, England; La Hague, France; Kyshtym, Russia; etc.
Preserve and maintain “wet” storage pools – albeit emptied of irradiated nuclear fuel — as an emergency back up location for cask-to-cask HOSS transfers, when old HOSS casks deteriorate toward failure, and need to be replaced with brand new HOSS casks. That is, do not dismantle pools as part of nuclear power plant decommissioning post-reactor shutdown.
Carefully pass information about storing irradiated nuclear fuel as safely as possible, as close to the point of generation as possible, from one generation to the next, à la the concept of “Rolling Stewardship” described by the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
Address the shortfall in funding for forevermore storage of high-level radioactive waste. Dr. Mark Cooper of Vermont Law School has estimated the first 200 years of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel storage (assuming just a single repository, although at least two will be required!) will cost $210 to $350 billion, even though there is only some tens of billions of dollars remaining in the now-terminated Nuclear Waste Fund, collected from nuclear power ratepayers.
Environmental justice, in keeping with Bill Clinton’s 1994 Executive Order 12898, demands that Native American communities and lands, as well as those of other low income and/or people of color communities, never again be targeted for high-level radioactive waste parking lot dumps or permanent burial sites, a shameful form of radioactive racism dating back decades in the U.S.
Speak now (before the July 31 deadline for public comments), [<<
Brexit and the Bomb30 Jun
Judith Mohling, 303/447-9635
Peace Train for July 1, 2016
Brexit and Nukes
By JUDITH MOHLING
On the west coast of Scotland next to the deep waters of the Gare Loch and Firth of Clyde reside four Trident-armed Vanguard submarines. According to the BBC, at any one time there is one armed and at sea, one undergoing maintenance and two in port or on training maneuvers. Each has 16 missiles and 48 warheads and each is more than twice as long as a Boeing 747. These comprise Britain’s nuclear program.
The Scottish government supports independence from Britain, opposes nuclear weapons and just voted to stay in the European Union. According to The Independent, it is on course to hold a referendum to vote for independence from Britain. The Scottish government has pledged to “banish Trident from it’s deep water home.”
Hmmm, now what will Britain do? The UK Parliament voted in 2007 to “maintain the strategic nuclear deterrent beyond the life of the existing system.” According to the BBC, in 2012, an inquiry into independence by a cross-party groups of members of the British parliament concluded that identifying and recreating a suitable base to replace the naval base would be “highly problematic, very expensive, and fraught with political difficulties.”
Gary Cartwright, an adviser to the members of the European Union, according to Press TV, “What we see today is Brussels and the massive EU bureaucracy, which really does not have much in the way of real democratic accountability.” Cartwright went on to say that the US wanted the UK to remain in the EU so that it would be its “Trojan horse” on foreign policy.
He also said that the “transatlantic big businesses are influencing policy in the EU exactly the same way they are doing in the US.” Currently, it seems to me, the US is demonizing Putin and Russia possibly to justify a money-making, globally destabilizing new Cold War which, God forbid, could end the world in nuclear war.
John Galtung, in Transcend Media Service suggests that the world now can perceive, “talk about NATO as out of date, Europe and the Middle East taking care of their own affairs, wars as non-affordable, as counter-productive, some awareness that there are other victims than Americans in the wars, had been unthinkable, unspeakable. But old addictive habits are hard to change.” But, thanks to Scotland and the Brexit voters, together we can change them.
Risks of Residing in proximity to Rocky Flats
1 ROCKY FLATS THEN (PRE-2002)
Rocky Flats was a nuclear weapons component-production facility from the early 1950’s, which was in
active production of plutonium triggers for atomic bombs. In 1983, it would become one of the largest
employers in the State with over 9,000 persons employed via Department of Energy subcontractors
whom ran the plant.
In 1989, the FBI raided the Plant in light of an investigation into environmental crimes. With a lengthy
indictment, the subcontractor at the time, Rockwell, plead guilty via plea bargain to a multitude of
charges. Production of components ceased in 1989. By 1992, the Department of Energy declared that a
certain building at the plant was “the most dangerous building in the country.” Clean up operations
began shortly thereafter. There were four lawsuits concerning the land surrounding/adjacent to the
Plant beginning in the 1970s until this day. The residents of Northwest Denver Metro were
contaminated on a regular basis from 1952-1989. The land surrounding the Plant is noted as being
heavily contaminated, and several cities had their water supplies contaminated with plutonium (Pu)
including Westminster, Broomfield, and Thornton in the 1970s. Standley Lake still has measurable
quantities of Pu in its soil bed, and remains the water supply for Thornton and Northglenn.
The clean-up efforts are of considerable controversy and risk. While certain buildings of the several
hundred building site were demolished, the cost and time prevented a full remediation at the site, and
the State of Colorado decided that there would be zero restrictions as to how much radiation remained
in the soil at the site, as long as it was buried below a depth of 6 feet. As a result, the “core” of the site
is the property of the Department of Energy for eternity with up to 50 pCi/g of Pu allowed in the top 3 feet of soil and 1000 pCi/g of Pu allowed in the next three feet below that.
2 ROCKY FLATS NOW (POST-2002)
Located within the center of the newly founded Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge, the core has little fencing to
prevent children from walking on to the property. There are two toxic landfills within the core site and the Department of Energy and The Rocky Flats Stewardship Council continue to report ongoing leaks of higher than allowed concentrations of chemicals from the site, including Plutonium and Americium. A five year federal mandated review of the status and state of affairs is underway currently. NO clean-up efforts of any kind were performed outside of the core-site, including the wildlife refuge, and not the private owned land now known as Candelas, or Whisper Creek. With a half-life of over 24,000 years, the plutonium contamination in the area does not just “go away.” It migrates through the environment and is recirculated with every new dig, build, and burrowing animal reanimating the Pu dust and contaminates that lie trapped in the soil there.
The Manhattan Project ultimately created hundreds of sites similar in scope of work as Rocky Flats,
nationwide. To date, none of those sites have had a developer open a housing development directly
adjacent to a site. None of the other sites had the distinction of having the “most dangerous building in
the country” either, nor did they get shut down following an FBI raid, and worldwide attention for the
level of environmental crimes committed that affected their neighboring communities. Candelas is
essentially the very first housing development to be built knowingly on the downwind heel of a nuclear
3 THE RADIOACTIVE RISKS AND CHEMICAL RISKS
Rocky Flats was much more than just a production facility. It housed a very rare “Critical Laboratory” –
which meant, all day long, experiments were conducted to make criticalities occur. The Rocky Flats
Plant worked with every radioactive element known at some point in its tenure. Plutonium and
Uranium are the most well known, as those were directly vented from the site during two separate fires
in the 1950’s and 1969. They are also prevalent in the land out there, because spray-irrigation was an
illegal method of disposing of their nuclear waste. Up until 1989, spray irrigation was in use. Nearly
1,000 chemicals are known to be in the ground where the former site existed, these are mostly
contained within the original two landfills (which are leaking.) The failure of the landfills occurred in
September of 2013, when a 1,000 year flood occurred. For three days the area now known as Candelas
was under water, while Rocky Flats was also flooded, and pools of water came down the hillsides at
Rocky Flats. While monitoring equipment was in place to monitor the amount of radioactivity passing
off-site, the equipment was washed out the first day of the flooding. As a result there is no record of
how much radiation and toxic chemicals fled the site downhill into the soil at Candelas and Whisper
Creek. The lifespan of radiation such as Plutonium and Uranium is 52000-450,000years.
4 THE NEVERENDING LAWSUITS
Look at Google Maps at the area surrounding the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge. Notice anything
interesting? All adjacent land is a declared “Open Space” except for Candelas and Whisper Creek. Up
until the 1980s this was all farm land, privately owned. Starting in the 1970s when the severity of the
contamination was being discovered, and numerous mutilations to the farm animals were occurring,
private landowners began to file suit against the contractors operating the Rocky Flats Plant. Once
scientists proved Plaintiffs claims as to the extent, the Federal Government had to start buying the land
from the farmers, and recognizing the risk the land presented, one by one, the individual cities declared
the sites “Open Space”. The first lawsuit, was Church v. Rockwell filed in 1979. Plaintiff prevailed. Next
up was McKay v. Rockwell. McKay prevailed financially, but as a land developer he refused to hand over
the last of his property in the Rocky Flats area. The area which is now Candelas. In 1989, Arvada
homeowners filed suit for the contamination from the Plant, known as Environmental Trespass. In the
last two weeks, this case was settled, 27 years later. Homeowners from 1989 and prior are now set to
receive around $ 10,000 per household for the damage the Plutonium did to us. The City of Arvada was
the only City to accept the land south and east of the site. City Council believed in the dream of McKay
to develop the land, which he has planned since 1995.
5 OTHER RISKS TO CONSIDER AS A HOMEOWNER
1) No shopping sources in the vicinity, nor are any planned in the current land use development
2) No more roads are going in to ease the burden of traffic along Indiana. Actually 10,000 more
homes are planned in the next five years along Indiana.
3) A Federal Health Study is being done via Metro State College currently. This will be the first for
the Rocky Flats downwinders. Negative findings are sure to reduce appeal and value at
4) Developers were deceptive to homebuyers by advertising they had performed beta-radiation
testing at the site. Plutonium and Uranium emit Alpha-radiation, and current private party
testing has revealed extremely high levels of alpha radiation at the site.
5) The most severe of the contamination was to the east and south of the site. Candelas and
Whisper Creek are essentially Ground Zero.
6) One particle of Plutonium in the human body can lead to the formation of a cancerous change.
Because it takes years for cancerous changes to morph into cancer, many people suspect in
about 7 years the cancer rates at these subdivisions will be much greater than that of a similar
community in Highlands Ranch or Parker.
7) Remember no remediation was performed at Candelas/Whisper Creek, etc. The State said it
was perfectly okay for any level of radiation below six feet deep to exist. The basement
excavations at these neighborhoods went deeper than just that. No one has tested the topsoil
since the excavations.
Concerns Of Rocky Flats Health Impacts Stretch For Miles
The Rocky Flats Downwinders are hosting a support group for those impacted by the stress or grief of finding out about being a “downwinder” from living next to Rocky Flats. Ken Pott, and other counselors from Transition Counseling in Arvada have generously agreed to donate their time to help facilitate the meeting to support those in the community in need.
The support group will be Next Wednesday, June 29th @ 6 pm at the Arvada Library Branch located in Olde Town Arvada at 7525 W 57th Ave, Arvada, CO 80002. Click here for the Facebook invite to RSVP and to share with friends.
There will also be a representative from the Joanna Macy Center at Naropa in Boulder to talk about the Work that Reconnects and Nuclear Guardianship.
For those who want to get in action concerning what to do about Rocky Flats, please contact me or come to the meeting on the 29th if you are interested in:
Participating in an Online Support Group
Distributing the health survey (Over 3,000 have taken it already!)
Halting the ongoing trail development
Getting better disclosures and signage to warn people in the area
Lastly, I am often am asked if I have a quick handout to give to people on the dangers of living in the area by Rocky Flats and wanted to share with you all a great tool that Dale Simpson Jr., EEOICPA Claimant Representative, created for that purpose and just recently shared with me, see attached.
Thank you all for your ongoing dedication to this issue and unwavering support, it is an honor and a pleasure to work with such an engaged community. I look forward to connecting next Wednesday!
America Already Has More Than Enough Nuclear Missiles
But Republicans are pushing a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program, which would not only bankrupt the Pentagon but could spark a global nuclear arms race.
· BY ADAM SMITH
This summer, Congress has been tying itself up in knots, trying to decide how to adequately fund U.S. national defense priorities, given the limits imposed by sequestration. But the difficult reality is that, however we choose to address immediate challenges, any rational attempt to plan for America’s future security must begin with a clear-eyed reassessment of the costs, trade-offs, and dangers of the trillion-dollar plan Washington is undertaking to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. That reassessment should include an effort to eliminate the new nuclear cruise missile.
This week, I co-sponsored an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would cut funding for the development of this missile, the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, by $75.8 million. If adopted, that preliminary cut would have slowed its development by three years.
The United States needs a strong and credible nuclear arsenal. But our current nuclear forces are excessive. With over 5,000 deployed and stockpiled nuclear weapons — and thousands more awaiting dismantlement— we have a nuclear force stacked with redundancy. The “nuclear triad” that we would use to deliver these weapons consists of over 400 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles on high alert and undetectable nuclear ballistic submarines, each armed with two types of warheads. We also deploy nuclear gravity bombs that could be delivered from bombers or fighter aircraft, and air-launched nuclear cruise missiles. In addition, the United States maintains nondeployed nuclear weapons that act as an additional hedge to our deployed nuclear weapons, along with thousands of nuclear components and, of course, the ability to build even more nuclear weapons.
The truth is that the United States can retain a credible nuclear deterrent with significantly fewer nuclear weapons and fewer delivery systems, at a fraction of the cost.
The truth is that the United States can retain a credible nuclear deterrent with significantly fewer nuclear weapons and fewer delivery systems, at a fraction of the cost.
Instead, and with little debate, Congress has embarked on a plan to modernize all of these systems and increase these capabilities at an estimated total cost of $1 trillion over 30 years. This effort largely results from decisions made before the advent of the Budget Control Act and an ideological commitment to nuclear weapons by the Republican majority, which recently described them as our national security priority and “the foundation of all our defense efforts” in its security strategy. That plan means purchasing new nuclear weapons production facilities and labs, refurbishing warheads, land-based ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines, building new strategic bombers and nuclear-capable fighter aircraft, and, to top it all off, a new nuclear cruise missile.
These expenses will soon constitute a huge proportion of the U.S. defense budget: Yearly nuclear modernization costs will soon balloon and then more than double in the ensuing years, requiring at least $40 billion annually between 2024 and 2036, or nearly 10 percent of defense costs. This modernization “bow wave” — a term meant to describe the bulging costs resulting from new defense programs, like the waves that spread from the bow of a ship — will crowd out other defense priorities, consuming money for conventional weapons, cyber security, taking care of military families, and everything else. For comparison, consider that $40 billion would fund an additional 330,000 troops, and is almost twice the yearly cost of the Marine Corps.
That is an enormous problem that we are unprepared to handle. The comptroller of the Department of Defense has called the cost of nuclear modernization “the biggest problem we don’t know how to solve yet.” Brian McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, stated that the Pentagon is “wondering how the heck we’re going to pay for it,” and that current leadership is “thanking our stars we won’t be here to have to answer the question.” Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee repeatedly voted down and blocked amendments that would require more comprehensive cost assessments for these plans.
What’s more, this nuclear investment would actually undermine U.S. security by driving an emerging global nuclear arms race, undercutting American credibility in the pursuit of nuclear nonproliferation. Indeed, over the past few years, Russia and China have been modernizing their nuclear deterrents. Much of their spending is meant to assure the relevance of their deterrents and offset conventional military deficiencies. That doesn’t mean that the Pentagon must counter these new Russian and Chinese investments; America already has a reliable, credible nuclear deterrent. We must be careful to avoid creating incentives for a self-fulfilling cycle that heightens the risk of using atomic weapons.
To avoid going down this road and to ensure that we maintain the capabilities we need, we should cancel redundant systems such as the planned development of the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, which I proposed reducing funding for this week in a defense appropriations amendment; adopt substantial cuts to our nuclear arsenal, which could save tens of billions of dollars; and increase accountability and transparency by requiring the Defense Department to submit a 25-year plan for nuclear deterrent modernization to explain how it plans to manage these costs. Now is the time for serious oversight and a realistic approach to these issues in order to stop an emerging arms race and avoid wasting billions of dollars we cannot afford.
Text of President Obama’s Speech in Hiroshima, Japan
MAY 27, 2016
President Obama spoke after a wreath-laying ceremony with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Friday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
The following is a transcript of President Obama’s speech in Hiroshima, Japan, as recorded by The New York Times.
Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.
Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.
Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.
It is not the fact of war that sets Hiroshima apart. Artifacts tell us that violent conflict appeared with the very first man. Our early ancestors having learned to make blades from flint and spears from wood used these tools not just for hunting but against their own kind. On every continent, the history of civilization is filled with war, whether driven by scarcity of grain or hunger for gold, compelled by nationalist fervor or religious zeal. Empires have risen and fallen. Peoples have been subjugated and liberated. And at each juncture, innocents have suffered, a countless toll, their names forgotten by time.
The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. Their civilizations had given the world great cities and magnificent art. Their thinkers had advanced ideas of justice and harmony and truth. And yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.
In the span of a few years, some 60 million people would die. Men, women, children, no different than us. Shot, beaten, marched, bombed, jailed, starved, gassed to death. There are many sites around the world that chronicle this war, memorials that tell stories of courage and heroism, graves and empty camps that echo of unspeakable depravity.
Yet in the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies, we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction. How the very spark that marks us as a species, our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our toolmaking, our ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will — those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction.
How often does material advancement or social innovation blind us to this truth? How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause.
Every great religion promises a pathway to love and peace and righteousness, and yet no religion has been spared from believers who have claimed their faith as a license to kill.
Nations arise telling a story that binds people together in sacrifice and cooperation, allowing for remarkable feats. But those same stories have so often been used to oppress and dehumanize those who are different.
Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines.
The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.
That is why we come to this place. We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry. We remember all the innocents killed across the arc of that terrible war and the wars that came before and the wars that would follow.
Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.
Some day, the voices of the hibakusha will no longer be with us to bear witness. But the memory of the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, must never fade. That memory allows us to fight complacency. It fuels our moral imagination. It allows us to change.
And since that fateful day, we have made choices that give us hope. The United States and Japan have forged not only an alliance but a friendship that has won far more for our people than we could ever claim through war. The nations of Europe built a union that replaced battlefields with bonds of commerce and democracy. Oppressed people and nations won liberation. An international community established institutions and treaties that work to avoid war and aspire to restrict and roll back and ultimately eliminate the existence of nuclear weapons.
Still, every act of aggression between nations, every act of terror and corruption and cruelty and oppression that we see around the world shows our work is never done. We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil, so nations and the alliances that we form must possess the means to defend ourselves. But among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.
We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe. We can chart a course that leads to the destruction of these stockpiles. We can stop the spread to new nations and secure deadly materials from fanatics.
And yet that is not enough. For we see around the world today how even the crudest rifles and barrel bombs can serve up violence on a terrible scale. We must change our mind-set about war itself. To prevent conflict through diplomacy and strive to end conflicts after they’ve begun. To see our growing interdependence as a cause for peaceful cooperation and not violent competition. To define our nations not by our capacity to destroy but by what we build. And perhaps, above all, we must reimagine our connection to one another as members of one human race.
For this, too, is what makes our species unique. We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story, one that describes a common humanity, one that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted.
We see these stories in the hibakusha. The woman who forgave a pilot who flew the plane that dropped the atomic bomb because she recognized that what she really hated was war itself. The man who sought out families of Americans killed here because he believed their loss was equal to his own.
My own nation’s story began with simple words: All men are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Realizing that ideal has never been easy, even within our own borders, even among our own citizens. But staying true to that story is worth the effort. It is an ideal to be strived for, an ideal that extends across continents and across oceans. The irreducible worth of every person, the insistence that every life is precious, the radical and necessary notion that we are part of a single human family — that is the story that we all must tell.
That is why we come to Hiroshima. So that we might think of people we love. The first smile from our children in the morning. The gentle touch from a spouse over the kitchen table. The comforting embrace of a parent. We can think of those things and know that those same precious moments took place here, 71 years ago.
Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders, reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.
The world was forever changed here, but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child. That is a future we can choose, a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.
Statement Opposing US President Barack Obama’ Visit to Hiroshima
Action Committee for the 71st Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th
14-3-705 Noborimachi, Naka ward, Hiroshima City
Telephone/Fax: 082-221-7631 Email: email@example.com
We oppose the planned visit of the US President Barack Obama to Hiroshima on May 27th after Ise-Shima Summit.
The summit is a conference of warmongers and plunderers representing the interest of financial and military big powers of only seven countries called the G7 to discuss how to share and rule the markets and resources and their sphere of influence over the world. The main agenda will be a new Korean war (i.e. nuclear war) to overthrow the North Korean regime. Obama is to play the leading role of this war meeting as the possessor of the world’s largest nuclear military force. On his visit to the city of Hiroshima, Obama will be accompanied by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose Cabinet passed a new law permitting Japan to engage in war and trampled on the peoples’ anti-war voices with the A-bomb victims at the forefront of the struggle. Further, the Abe administration decided in a recent Cabinet meeting that “both the use and the possession of nuclear weapons is constitutional” (April 1, 2016), reversing the previous interpretation of the Constitution that Japan can never participate in war. Abe insists that Obama’s visit will be a major force for the realization of a world free from nuclear weapons. But these words are utterly deceptive.
We must not allow Obama to set foot in the Peace Park with his “nuclear football.”
The United States is the world’s largest nuclear military power and one that is continuing to wage destruction and slaughter by air raids in the Middle East and continues to use Okinawa island to house its base and prepare for a new war: a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula. And Obama is the commander in chief of the United States Armies. How can we call this warmonger “a figure of hope for the elimination of nuclear weapons” or a “messenger of peace”? Moreover, Obama intends to come to Hiroshima with his emergency “nuclear football.” We must never allow his visit to Hiroshima!
Obama and the US government have repeatedly refused to apologize for the atomic bombings on Hiroshima. This declaration means that Obama and his government do not allow any attempt to question the legitimacy of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By inviting Obama to Hiroshima, Abe himself has tried to deny the responsibility for Japan’s war of aggression just as Obama evades US responsibility for the A-bombs. By denying responsibility for the war, Abe aims to open a way toward a new imperialist war: nuclear war.
What Obama actually said in his Prague speech is the maintenance of the nuclear monopoly and ability to carry out nuclear war by US.
“As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary… But we go forward with no illusions. Some countries will break the rules. That’s why we need a structure in place that ensures when any nation does, they will face consequences.” This is the crux of Obama‘s Prague speech in April 2009.
In fact, the Obama administration has been maintaining and evolving its nuclear forces. Obama plans to spend $1 trillion (more than 100 trillion yen) to modernize nuclear weapons over 30 years. For this reason, 12 subcritical nuclear tests and new types of nuclear tests were carried out between November 2010 and 2014. In addition, the USA has entirely opposed on many occasions any resolution for banning nuclear weapons. The very person who has strongly supported this outrageous USA policy is Abe, who insists on the need for a nuclear deterrent while advocating Japan as the “only bombed nation” in the world. Abe’s aim is that Japan becomes “a potential nuclear power” by restarting nuclear power plants and developing rocket technology. With the recent Cabinet decision that both the possession and use of nuclear weapons are constitutional, the Abe administration has explicitly revealed its intention for nuclear armament.
“The USA must monopolize nuclear weapons.” “The nation which does not follow the USA’s rules should face consequences.” This logic to justify nuclear monopoly and nuclear war is totally incompatible with the anti-war will of the workers and people, most of all the survivors of the atom bombs, known as the hibakusha.
Obama is preparing a new nuclear war all while he is making deceitful propaganda by talking about “a world without nuclear weapons.”
This January, Obama dispatched the strategic nuclear bomber B52 over the Korean Peninsula to counter North Korea’s nuclear tests with the aim of demonstrating that the US was ready to actually carry out a nuclear war. Then from March through April, he enforced the largest US-ROK joint military exercises ever on the assumption of a nuclear war. On February 24th, USFK (the United States Forces Korea) commander testified at the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing: “If a collision occurs on the Korean Peninsula, the situation becomes the equal to that of the WWII. The scale of troops and weapons involved is comparable to that of the Korean War or the WWII. There will be a great number of dead and wounded due to its more complicated character.”
The USA military is now thoroughly calculating and intends to execute a plan of a Korean war (nuclear war), one which will exceed the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the orders of Obama, commander in chief.
In short, by visiting Hiroshima, Obama seeks to deceive the survivors and working people of the world as if he is striving for nuclear disarmament all while he aims to get the approval for his nuclear strikes on North Korea. There is no room for reconciliation or compromise between Obama and us Hiroshima people who have been fighting against nuclear weapons and war since August 6th, 1945.
The unity and international solidarity of the working class people has the power to abolish nuclear arms.
People say that when Obama comes to Hiroshima and visits the Peace Museum, he will be more serious in working for the abolition of nuclear arms. But this is a groundless illusion. What was the content of the review of US Secretary of State Kerry, who visited the Peace Memorial Museum and “sincerely” viewed the exhibition after the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in April? He wrote: “War must not be the first means but the last resort.”
That was Kerry’s immediate impression of the Peace Museum. And still they Kerry and Obama alike are preaching the need to maintain the war (that is, a nuclear war) as a last resort! The rulers of the United States have enough knowledge about the reality of the nuclear explosion through the findings of the ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) research, including the cases of serious internal exposure, and have long concealed the facts and materials regarding nuclear disaster. That is why they will by no means renounce the nuke as a final weapon.
War and the nuke are indispensable for the capitalists and the dominant power of the 1% to rule and divide the working people of the 99%: they try to bring antagonism among working people of the world and force them to kill each other for the interests of imperialism. We are witnessing the politics of “killing workers” such as dismissal, irregularization, ultra-low wages and overwork, and the politics of suppressing struggles such as those against war, nuclear arms and power, and military bases. The aggressive war (nuclear war) is the continuation of these politics and it’s Obama and Abe who are enforcing these politics.
We reject the idea to ask Obama and Abe to make efforts for peace or to take countermeasures by means of nuclear weapons like the rulers of North Korea and China. Instead, the working people of the 99% will unite and achieve international solidarity to fight back firmly against the rulers of the 1%. This is the only way to eliminate war and nuclear arms. The primary task we have to do is forming solidarity with the KCTU (Korean Confederation of Trade Unions), who is fighting with repeated decisive general strikes against the new Korean war being prepared by the “Korea-USA-Japan military alliance.”
We call upon all citizens to participate in the demonstrations on May 26th-27th against the visit of Obama to Hiroshima, shoulder to shoulder with atomic bomb sufferers who stand fast to their anti-war and anti-nuclear principle in solidarity with fighting labor unions and student councils.
May 19th, 2016