Category: struggle against nuclear war
Nobel Peace Prize winner Ican warns nuclear war ‘a tantrum away’
| December 10, 2017 | 6:30 pm | Donald Trump, struggle against nuclear war | No comments

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42298453

Nobel Peace Prize winner Ican warns nuclear war ‘a tantrum away’

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Ican’s Beatrice Fihn appears to refer to the North Korean crisis.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Ican warns nuclear war ‘a tantrum away’

Leader of the Nobel Committee Reiss-Andersen (left), Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow and executive director of Ican Beatrice Fihn at the award ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, 10 December 2017Image copyright Reuters
Ican’s executive director Beatrice Fihn (right) said nuclear disaster may be a “tantrum away”

The world faces a “nuclear crisis” from a “bruised ego”, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) has warned in an apparent reference to US-North Korea tensions.

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, Ican’s executive director Beatrice Fihn said “the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away”.

“We have a choice, the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us,” she added.

Tensions over North Korea’s weapons programme have risen in recent months.

The open hostility between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership under Kim Jong-un has at times descended into personal attacks this year.

Ican award sends nuclear message

Who are the Nobel Peace Prize winners?

‘Irresponsible leaders’

Speaking at the ceremony in Oslo, Ms Fihn said “a moment of panic” could lead to the “destruction of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians” from nuclear weapons.

The risk of such weapons being used, she added, was “greater today than during the Cold War”.

Ican, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has worked for a treaty to ban the weapons.

Prior to presenting the prize on Sunday, Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen offered a similar warning, saying that “irresponsible leaders can come to power in any nuclear state”.

Ms Reiss-Andersen commended Ican which, she said, had succeeded in highlighting the dangers of nuclear weapons as well as trying to eradicate them.

Beatrice Fihn (left), leader of Ican, talks with Hiroshima nuclear bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow at the city hall in Oslo, Norway, during the award ceremony of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 2017Image copyright Getty Images
Ms Fihn (left) speaks with Hiroshima nuclear bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow

Ms Reiss-Andersen also acknowledged the contributions of Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now an Ican campaigner.

Ms Thurlow, who was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building at the time, said that most of her classmates, who were in the same room, were burned alive.

“Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by,” she said on Sunday. “Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen.”

In pictures: Hiroshima, the first atomic bomb

Nobel winners throughout the years

North Korea and Trump

Mr Trump has warned that North Korea’s government will be “utterly destroyed” if war breaks out.

White House national security adviser HR McMaster said last week that the potential for war with North Korea was increasing every day.

In November, Pyongyang said it had tested a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the whole of continental United States.

North Korea: What could tip the balance?

What we know about new NK missile

Trump and North Korea war of words

Ican, formed in 2007 and inspired by a similar campaign to ban the use of landmines, has made it its mission to highlight the humanitarian risk of nuclear weapons.

A coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Geneva-based group helped pave the way for the introduction of a UN treaty banning the weapons, which was signed this year.

While 122 countries backed the treaty in July, the talks were notably boycotted by the world’s nine known nuclear powers and the only Nato member to discuss it, the Netherlands, voted against.

Only three countries, the Holy See, Guyana and Thailand, have so far ratified the treaty, which requires 50 ratifications to come into force.

US STRATCOM Head Ready to Resist Possible Illegal Order to Use Nuclear Weapons
| November 18, 2017 | 8:37 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK, struggle against nuclear war | No comments
a giant nuclear-equipped USAF B-52 bomber lifts off from the snow covered RAF Fairford runway in Gloucestershire, England, en route to the Gulf

US STRATCOM Head Ready to Resist Possible Illegal Order to Use Nuclear Weapons

© AFP 2017/ Gerald Penny
US

Get short URL
1736412112
https://sputniknews.com/us/201711181059228641-us-stratcom-president-nuclear-weapons/

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) said on Saturday he was ready to disobey a possible presidential unlawful order to use nuclear weapons.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Air Force Gen. John Hyten said at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada that the law of armed conflict set a number of criteria to determine legality of a military action such as necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and others.

“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do… And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up [with] options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated,” Hyten said, as quoted by the CBS News broadcaster.

“If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life,” he added.

Earlier this week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised the issue of whether incumbent President Donald Trump should retain an authority to order a nuclear strike. The Senate focused on the problem after Trump’s harsh remarks about North Korea, which included the promise to to unleash “fire and fury” and to “totally destroy” the country if necessary.

US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/14/us-military-nuclear-weapons-strike-senate-trump

US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told

As senators raise concerns about ‘unstable’ Donald Trump’s decision-making, former commander says military is ‘not obligated to follow illegal orders’

Robert Kehler, right, addresses the Senate foreign relations committee.

Robert Kehler, right, addresses the Senate foreign relations committee. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

As senators raise concerns about ‘unstable’ Donald Trump’s decision-making, former commander says military is ‘not obligated to follow illegal orders.

US military commanders would refuse a presidential order to carry out a nuclear first strike that they thought was illegal, senators were told on Tuesday.

Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the chamber’s foreign relations committee, has expressed fears that the president is taking the country “on the path to world war III”.

Separately CNN reported on Tuesday that a “Nato partner country” had raised concerns about Trump’s command of the US nuclear launch system, under which the president alone can order a launch.

Opening the hearing, Corker – who has recently been engaged in bitter exchanges with Trump over his fitness for office – noted that “the president has the sole authority to give that order, whether we are responding to a nuclear attack or not”.

“Once that order is given and verified, there is no way to revoke it,” the Tennessee senator said. “To be clear, I would not support changes that would reduce our deterrence of adversaries or reassurance of our allies. But I would like to explore, as our predecessors in the House did 41 years ago, the realities of this system.”

Chris Murphy, Democratic senator from Connecticut, said: “We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests.”

Retired Gen Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command (StratCom) from 2011 to 2013, told the Senate committee that he would have refused to carry out a nuclear first strike on presidential orders if he believed it did not meet the requirements of proportionality and necessity under the law of armed conflict.

“I would have said: I’m not ready to proceed,” Kehler said.

“Then what happens?” he was asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Fortunately, these are all hypothetical scenarios. There is the human factor in our system. There is a human element to this.

“It would be a very interesting constitutional situation, I believe. The military is obligated to follow legal orders but is not obligated to follow illegal orders,” Kehler said, adding that he always made sure he had legal advisers at hand when he was at Strategic Command.

Ed Markey, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts who is sponsoring legislation that would limit the president’s authority to launch a first nuclear strike, said he was not reassured by Kehler’s arguments.

“I don’t have confidence that a military chain of command would reject an order by the president to launch nuclear weapons in a preventative nuclear war situation,” Markey told the Guardian after Tuesday’s hearing.

“I think that would be abdicating the responsibility of the US Congress to a group of generals who in many instances would have been appointed by the commander-in-chief, Donald Trump. That’s a very thin reed on which to have the fate of the planet being dependent.”

The president and his top officials have said repeatedly that North Korea would not be allowed to threaten the US with nuclear weapons, but as Pyongyang has persisted with its nuclear and missile tests, it has been unclear what the administration would do to stop the regime.

In August, the national security adviser, HR McMaster, raised the prospect of a “preventative war”, but many observers of the Korean standoff said any conflict was highly likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear exchange.

Under the US constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war, but the president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the authority to respond to an actual or imminent threat. Much of the Senate committee hearing was taken up by discussion of what constituted an imminent threat and who could make that determination.

Peter Feaver, a politics professor at Duke University and a specialist on presidential war powers, said: “I would say distinguish between scenarios where the military wake up the president versus scenarios where the presidents wake up the military.”

Feaver added: “In the context where the president is waking up the military in an extreme funk, saying ‘I’m angry and I want something done’, he would require a lot of people cooperating with him to make the strike happen. And they would be asking the questions that would slow down that process.”

Arms control experts however, expressed doubt that lawyers would always be involved in the decision.

“The system is designed entirely for speed, not deliberation,” said Stephen Young, a senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Certainly in the case of responding to an incoming attack, the lawyers are not involved. It is not clear it would be any different for a nuclear first strike, despite Gen Kehler’s statements.”

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201710241058502252-us-actions-north-korea-crisis/

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

A man watches a television news programme showing US President Donald Trump (C) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) at a railway station in Seoul on August 9, 2017

‘Pressure’ on US Needed to Solve N Korea Crisis Diplomatically – Peace Activist

© AFP 2017/ JUNG Yeon-Je
Opinion

Get short URL
345250

Amid the ongoing tensions over North Korea, the US is reportedly preparing to put its nuclear-armed B-52 bombers back on 24-hour alert, a measure unseen since 1991. Arthur West, Chairman of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, explained why this decision is rather dangerous and what should be done instead to resolve the crisis.

Sputnik: Despite North Korea making significant progress with their nuclear weapons program… is this necessarily the right response from the US? What affect will this move have on the already delicate situation?

Arthur West (AW): The response by the United States is deeply depressing. I’m afraid it’s a very worrying development and I think it could escalate tensions. The response should be concentrated on a diplomatic solution to the issues.

Sputnik: From your perspective, instead of this constant ‘one upping’ of each other from the US and North Korea, what should be done to alleviate tensions between North Korea and the West? 

AW: Other countries in the world, such as the UK, should start to put pressure on America to find a diplomatic outcome to the current situation. I think that the US president and his administration should accept that any escalation will have absolutely disastrous consequences; I mean what happened in Hiroshima at the end of War World II in terms of casualties and damage.

So, there should be pressure on the United States to get into a diplomatic solution and also such countries as China and Japan should have got something to offer in terms of talks to resolve the situation.

Sputnik: Is there a worry that the provocative actions we’ve seen over the past days and weeks could inspire other countries to develop nuclear programs in a similar way to North Korea? What affect would this have on any international nuclear disarmament efforts?

AW: There is a real degree of hypocrisy here from the like of the US and the UK that speak about modernizing nuclear own weapons systems and yet they are calling on countries like North Korea to move away from nuclear weapons. So I think if we go down the current path yes it could encourage other countries to look at developing nuclear weapons and we don’t want that.

In September, 122 countries voted in the United Nations to have a global ban treaty in relation to nuclear weapons. Disappointingly, the US and the UK ignored these talks, but 122 countries voted in favor.

We need to use forums and structures, such as the UN global ban treaty, to try and move things forward. Certainly at CND we are putting pressure on the UK government to start to take that treaty seriously because over the next couple of years countries will be signing and ratifying that treaty. That offers a one way forward from the current situation towards a nuclear weapons free world.

‘Return to sanity’: Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse Published time: 12 Oct, 2017 12:52
| October 12, 2017 | 8:21 pm | Analysis, Russia, struggle against nuclear war, USSR | No comments

https://www.rt.com/news/406472-mikhail-gorbachev-nuclear-treaty/

‘Return to sanity’: Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse

'Return to sanity': Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse
Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the treaty signed between the US and the Soviet Union on the elimination of nuclear and conventional missiles is “in jeopardy,” stressing that scrapping the 1987 deal could end in “disastrous” consequences.

“This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the treaty between the Soviet Union and United States on the elimination of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles…” the former Soviet leader wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

He went on to note the merits of the deal, citing the fact that Russia and the US reported in 2015 that 80 percent of the nuclear warheads accumulated during the Cold War had been decommissioned or destroyed.

However, Gorbachev – who led the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991 – said the agreement is now “in jeopardy.”

“It has proved to be the most vulnerable link in the system of limiting and reducing weapons of mass destruction. There have been calls on both sides for scrapping the agreement,” he wrote.

Gorbachev stated that both Russia and the US have “raised issues of compliance, accusing the other of violating or circumventing the Treaty’s key provisions…”

“Relations between the two nations are in a severe crisis,” he said, noting the importance of establishing “a dialogue based on mutual respect.”

The former Soviet leader said that it is up to US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “take action,” and called on both countries to hold a summit to focus on “the problems of reducing nuclear weapons and strengthening strategic stability.” 

Once again noting the importance of the INF Treaty, Gorbachev warned that scrapping the deal could result in a collapse of the “system of nuclear arms control,” which would lead to “disastrous” consequences.

Gorbachev referred to today’s “troubled world” and said it was “disturbing” that US-Russia relations have “become a serious source of tensions and a hostage to domestic politics.” 

“It is time to return to sanity,” he wrote.

Signed at a 1987 summit meeting between Gorbachev and then-US President Ronald Reagan, the INF Treaty obligated both sides to eliminate their short- and intermediate-range missiles. It came into force on June 1, 1988.

The Treaty allowed for hundreds of nuclear-tipped missiles that were deployed in Europe to be scrapped amid the Cold War arms race.

The editorial comes just days after former US Defense Secretary William Perry warned that relations between Washington and Moscow have entered a “new Cold War,” and that current conditions could lead to global conflict.

Trump’s Mini-Nuke Plan: Idea Nuclear War Could Be Limited is ‘Clinically Insane’

 

US nuclear weapons test in Nevada in 1957

Trump’s Mini-Nuke Plan: Idea Nuclear War Could Be Limited is ‘Clinically Insane’

© Flickr/ International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Opinion

Get short URL
93581383
https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201709171057461397-us-new-tactical-nukes-commentary/

The Trump administration is reviewing its options on the development and deployment of new low-yield tactical nuclear weapons. In an interview with Sputnik, renowned author and anti-nuclear activist Helen Mary Caldicott outlined what she feels is the real reason behind Washington’s new mini-nuke ambitions.

President Trump has created a panel to review Obama-era policy on the development of new nuclear weapons systems, and the prospects for creating new low-yield nukes for battlefield use, according to Politico.

In a written interview for Sputnik, Dr. Helen Caldicott, a well-known leader of the anti-nuclear movement in Australia and the United States during the Cold War, described the thinking behind the idea of a ‘limited nuclear war’ as ‘insane’.

“Of course everyone knows that once one nuclear weapon is used, it could well trigger a global nuclear war. This kind of thinking [by some military planners] is clinically insane,” she stressed.

In its story, Politico said the new low-yield nuke review was aimed at “deter[ring] Russia, North Korea and [the US’s] other potential nuclear adversaries.” Asked what she thought was the real reason behind this move, Caldicott said that “there is no real reason…except that it gives more money and business to the US weapons makers and the military-industrial complex.”In any case, the activist warned that if the US goes ahead with the creation of new tactical nukes, other nuclear powers will be sure to go along.

“The US is the model for all other countries in the world, and what the US does with its nuclear weapons policy is sure to be emulated by other nations equipped with facilities to make nuclear weapons; hence it makes nuclear war more likely,” Caldicott said.

Well-known as a passionate critic of nuclear weapons, even as a means of deterrence, Caldicott described the policy of nuclear deterrence as “a policy of nuclear madness.””The fact that we have not yet experienced nuclear extinction is a matter of sheer luck. But considering the present political situation with volatile political leaders threatening each other with nuclear weapons, I think that we are closer to nuclear annihilation than we have ever been,” Caldicott concluded.

KKE: Statement on the dangerous developments in the Korean Peninsula

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

KKE: Statement on the dangerous developments in the Korean Peninsula

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/09/kke-statement-on-dangerous-developments.html
The Press Office of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece issued the following statement regarding the dangerous developments in the Korean Peninsula:
 
“The KKE expresses its intense concern about the dangerous situation in the Korean Peninsular. The developments reflect the escalation of the economic and military competition and inter-imperialist contradictions in the entire Asia and Pacific region between powerful capitalist states and business interests, at an international and regional level. 

It is not the result of choices of the allegedly “crazy” leaders of the USA and North Korea, as is being deliberately cultivated by the mass media in order to conceal the real causes of the confrontation.These antagonisms between the USA, Japan, China, Russia etc. are related in particular to the new division of the markets, the exploitation of the energy resources, which are to be found in regions such as the Korean Peninsula, the South and East China Sea, the Arctic and elsewhere. All this results in the constant intensification of the dangerous arms race and even the possibility of a military conflict. The USA is also paving the way for the increase of the sales of modern armaments to Japan and South Korea, while maintaining powerful military forces (28,000 troops) and military hardware in their bases in South Korea. It is constantly conducting major military exercises with provocative scenarios for the invasion of North Korea.

It is no accident that from the very first moment, the new US administration of Trump, together with the goal of renegotiating large scale economic agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), turned its attention to this specific region, which is in the under-belly of China and Russia and is considered by China to be a region vital to its interests, as well as other regions of Asia that are on the “Silk Route”.All the above, together with USA’s large trade deficits in relation to China, influence the formation of an aggressive political line in order to defend the US monopolies.

The USA is in the dominant position amongst the capitalist states with a nuclear arsenal, which it has already used, while it is characteristic that very recently the USA, Britain and France absented themselves from negotiations for the signing of a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, with the excuse that this is not compatible with the realities of the international security environment. At the same time, NATO is talking openly at its summits about the possibility of using nuclear weapons. Consequently, the USA’s entreaties about the nuclear programme of North Korea are enormously hypocritical and serve as an alibi, the moment when the USA and other capitalist states, like Britain, France, Pakistan, India etc possess nuclear weapons.
 

The USA invokes the nuclear threat from both North Korea and Iran in order to install its so-called “anti-missile shield” both in the Pacific and in Europe, while in collaboration with the EU it follows the path of overthrowing or supporting governments in line with its own interests and imposes sanctions that target the peoples. In addition, it is once again reinforcing its military presence in Afghanistan, with its attention turned towards China and also Russia. The same is also true regarding the concentration of NATO troops in the Baltic.

On its part, Russia is taking a position against these plans, which objectively serve the aim of impeding a possible response by Russia, in the instance when the USA and NATO alliance attempt a “first nuclear strike”.

The USA is utilizing the stance of North Korea to develop its own nuclear programme, to promote its geostrategic interests in the region and more generally. However, the brutal crime the USA committed 72 years ago, with the nuclear destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the long-term consequences of this crime, demonstrate that the solution is not to be found in the development of nuclear weapons. It is no accident the first workers’ state in the world, the USSR, had abandoned the first nuclear strike and played a leading role for a world without nuclear weapons.

The exacerbation of the situation in the Korean Peninsular will not change or reduce the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. This is not only because the consequences of a possible military clash, with the use of nuclear weapons indeed, will be global, but because in the final analysis we are talking about fragile inter-imperialist “balances” and a geopolitical “domino set” that is unfolding on an international level, from the Baltic, Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean to Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

This is not the first time the USA has focused on this region. It played the leading role in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, which led to over half a million dead and to the dismemberment of the country. In any case, it should not be forgotten that Greece sent troops to participate in the imperialist military intervention in Korea, with over 180 Greeks being killed and 600 wounded. This was the choice of the Greek bourgeois class and its representatives.

The Greek government, with the support of the official opposition and the other bourgeois parties, is undertaking enormous responsibilities, as it participates in and agrees with the decisions and dangerous plans of NATO, serving the interests of the local bourgeois class, as all the bourgeois governments have done up until today. It places enormous emphasis on the role of Greece in the framework of the alliance, in the name of the country’s “geostrategic enhancement”.It has just recently agreed to expand the base at Souda and other military bases and infrastructure for the operations of the USA, NATO and the EU. It continues Greece’s contribution to the enormous NATO budget and integrates the armed forces even more deeply into the imperialist plans, intensifying the competition with Turkey.

Various mass media, as well as politicians, utilize the situation around the nuclear issue related to North Korea, not only slandering the struggle of the peoples for a world without the exploitation of man by man as a whole, but also in order to prepare the ground so that our people accept a military intervention by the USA and NATO in North Korea, under the pretexts of “restoring democracy” and “dealing with weapons of mass destruction”, which were also utilized in other imperialist interventions, such as in Iraq. The KKE supports the position that it is exclusively a matter for the people of each country to decide on the economic, social and political regime they will have, and also whether they will change it, through their own organization and struggle.

The developments impose vigilance, the intensification of internationalist solidarity and the strengthening of the struggle against the imperialist interventions and wars, against nuclear weapons. This struggle is integrally linked to the struggle for bread and wages, against capital and its governments, whatever shade of bourgeois government they may be. It is linked to the struggle against the imperialist unions, like NATO, the EU, as well as against others in Asia and elsewhere, against the capitalist system of exploitation and the power of capital, which, as history has shown, does not hesitate to commit all kinds of crimes against the peoples in order to overcome the sharpening contradictions and major problems, in order to achieve its goals and to safeguard its dominance.”

12.09.2017.