WAR AND WEAPONS

OVERVIEW ARTICLE

Author: Metta Spencer

Even before our primate ancestors began to walk upright, there were wars—times when whole human communities or groups within a community tried to kill each other. Scholars have reached this conclusion partly on the basis of Jane Goodall’s discovery that our closest primate relative, the chimpanzee, engages in war,(1) and partly on the basis of archaeological evidence. One site of skeletons was found in Kenya dating back 9,500 to 10,500 years showing that a group of 27 people had been massacred together.(2) Indeed, there is strong evidence that levels of violence were higher in prehistoric times than today.(3) One example is a cemetery about 14,000 years old where about 45 percent of the skeletons showed signs of violent death.(4) An estimated 15 percent of deaths in primitive societies were caused by warfare.

But life did not consistently become friendlier as our species spread and developed. By one estimate, there were 14,500 wars between 3500 BC and the late twentieth century. These took around 3.5 billion lives.(5)

Can we conclude, then, that war is simply an intrinsic part of “human nature,” so that one cannot reasonably hope to overcome it? No, for there is more variation in the frequency and extent of warfare than can be attributed to genetic differences. In some societies, war is completely absent. Douglas Fry, checking the ethnographic records, identified 74 societies that have clearly been non-warring; some even lacked a word for “war.” The Semai of Malaysia and the Mardu of Australia are examples.(6)

We may gain insights about solutions to warfare by exploring the variations in its distribution, type, and intensity. We begin with the best news: We are probably living in the most peaceful period in human history!

Infographic-Healthcare-Not-Warfare-GDAMS-3.jpg

Infographic, Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS)

Historical Changes in Rates of War

Steven Pinker is the scholar who most convincingly argues that violence has declined, both recently and over the millennia. Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now, contains a graph showing the numbers of battle deaths by year from 1945 to 2015. A huge spike represents World War II, of course, for that was most lethal war in human history, causing at least 55 million deaths. How can we reconcile that ghastly number with any claim that the modern era is a peaceful epoch?

Pinker’s proof is based on distinguishing sharply between absolute numbers and rates. To be sure, 55 million is a huge number, but the Mongol Conquests killed 40 million people back in the thirteenth century, out of a world population only about one-seventh the size of the world’s 1950 population. Pinker says that if World War II had matched the Mongols’ stupendous rate of killing, about 278 million people would have been killed.

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“Five reasons to say no to spending $19 billion on war planes”

By: Brent Patterson

The Canadian government intends to sign a $19 billion contract in 2022 with one of three transnational corporations bidding to manufacture 88 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Here are five reasons to say no to that planned purchase:

1- We can’t afford the fighter jets. On July 8, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that he expects a $343.2 billion deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to the spending related to the pandemic. This is a dramatic increase from the $19 billion deficit in 2016 when the Trudeau government announced the bidding process for new fighter jets.

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“Five reasons to say no to spending $19 billion on war planes”

By: Brent Patterson

The Canadian government intends to sign a $19 billion contract in 2022 with one of three transnational corporations bidding to manufacture 88 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Here are five reasons to say no to that planned purchase:

1- We can’t afford the fighter jets. On July 8, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that he expects a $343.2 billion deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to the spending related to the pandemic. This is a dramatic increase from the $19 billion deficit in 2016 when the Trudeau government announced the bidding process for new fighter jets.

Read more

New Technologies Disrupt the Nuclear Balance!

Article by: Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

“For decades, American policymakers and military planners have focused on preserving what is known in the nuclear lexicon as ‘strategic stability.’ During the Cold War, especially as mutual assured destruction became accepted logic between the United States and the Soviet Union, the pursuit of strategic stability provided a framework for managing the existential risks associated with massive nuclear arsenals.

Under conditions of strategic stability, each superpower recognized that its adversary could massively retaliate against a nuclear first strike—which created a disincentive to resorting to nuclear weapons. Preserving confidence that each side had a “second-strike capability” thus became essential. And even with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, strategic stability has continued to structure thinking among policymakers and planners about how to create predictability in the nuclear relationship and reduce incentives to escalation.”

Read more

New Technologies Disrupt the Nuclear Balance!

Article by: Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

“For decades, American policymakers and military planners have focused on preserving what is known in the nuclear lexicon as ‘strategic stability.’ During the Cold War, especially as mutual assured destruction became accepted logic between the United States and the Soviet Union, the pursuit of strategic stability provided a framework for managing the existential risks associated with massive nuclear arsenals.

Under conditions of strategic stability, each superpower recognized that its adversary could massively retaliate against a nuclear first strike—which created a disincentive to resorting to nuclear weapons. Preserving confidence that each side had a “second-strike capability” thus became essential. And even with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, strategic stability has continued to structure thinking among policymakers and planners about how to create predictability in the nuclear relationship and reduce incentives to escalation.”

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I am wondering as to the phrasing of the treaty – does it cover all classes of weapons? It discusses prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and WMDs.

What about newer activities like asteroid and lunar mining? How would this fit within the notion of “outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means?”

The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs offers the following principals for the 1966/1967 Outer Space Treaty:

The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles:

  • the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
  • outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
  • outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
  • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
  • the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
  • astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
  • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
  • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
  • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html

Regarding the last point, there is already a lot of debris and junk orbiting Earth. Should this be cleaned up eventually? Is it “harmful contamination?”

I am wondering as to the phrasing of the treaty – does it cover all classes of weapons? It discusses prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and WMDs.

What about newer activities like asteroid and lunar mining? How would this fit within the notion of “outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means?”

The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs offers the following principals for the 1966/1967 Outer Space Treaty:

The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles:

  • the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
  • outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
  • outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
  • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
  • the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
  • astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
  • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
  • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
  • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html

Regarding the last point, there is already a lot of debris and junk orbiting Earth. Should this be cleaned up eventually? Is it “harmful contamination?”

Are these REALLY immoral?

I found this interesting that morality was brought up – why is delegating killing to machines immoral? After all, I believe that humans would need to program the machines to only kill in certain circumstances- therefore the humans make the decision when to kill and under what circumstance. Therefore, the humans really decide…

Are these REALLY immoral?

I found this interesting that morality was brought up – why is delegating killing to machines immoral? After all, I believe that humans would need to program the machines to only kill in certain circumstances- therefore the humans make the decision when to kill and under what circumstance. Therefore, the humans really decide…

What’s new?

We need some updates on status of disarmament agreements

What’s new?

We need some updates on status of disarmament agreements

Hurting Military Friends’ Feelings

Some of my friends with military backgrounds are deeply offended by the video that we posted this week. It is a recording of our monthly town hall, and we discussed the new proposal to defund the military. You can talk about defunding the police now, but you must nut speak of defunding the military, lest you hurt their feelings. Pride and honor mean too much to them.

But surely everyone can see that all those weapons we have purchased have not given us any security. A tiny virus can kill millions, so we should.be spending on health, education, and climate change. How can anyone take offense because i propose that? The world spends $1.9 trillion per year on militarism. That is ridiculous. Sorry, pal. We are friends but I cannot softpedal that reality to make you feel good about your job.

Hurting Military Friends’ Feelings

Some of my friends with military backgrounds are deeply offended by the video that we posted this week. It is a recording of our monthly town hall, and we discussed the new proposal to defund the military. You can talk about defunding the police now, but you must nut speak of defunding the military, lest you hurt their feelings. Pride and honor mean too much to them.

But surely everyone can see that all those weapons we have purchased have not given us any security. A tiny virus can kill millions, so we should.be spending on health, education, and climate change. How can anyone take offense because i propose that? The world spends $1.9 trillion per year on militarism. That is ridiculous. Sorry, pal. We are friends but I cannot softpedal that reality to make you feel good about your job.

So you’re telling me that Trump and the USA are willing to just use any type of weapon as long as it gives them the advantage?!!!!

So you’re telling me that Trump and the USA are willing to just use any type of weapon as long as it gives them the advantage?!!!!

John Polanyi is a Nobel laureate in chemistry and a professor at the University of Toronto.

We must do more to prevent nuclear war

By John Polanyi December 9, 2019

When Greta Thunberg gives a speech, she wastes no time getting to the point.
“You come to young people for hope,” she told the United Nations General Assembly in September. “You say you understand the urgency…How dare you then pretend that this can be solved by ‘business as usual’?…Change is coming, whether you like it, or not.”
What Greta said is no less true of the most serious danger we face today: nuclear war.
To counter that, the world needs to take two major steps back from the brink of disaster, on which we have teetered for three-quarters of a century. The first of these steps is disarmament, and the second a ban on nuclear weapons.
You may think these overly ambitious aims. But, to many, they represent the minimum that our predicament demands. Fortunately for the world, there are strong precedents for both these steps. Unfortunately, we have yet to heed those precedents.
Why are we faced with this need for change? It stems from the transformative power of modern science, which marks off the age of the atom from all preceding history. This need did not arise overnight, but did happen with remarkable suddenness.
The word “atom” is based on the Greek “a-tomos”: “not divisible”. Scientists, beginning with Ernest Rutherford, began questioning that thousand-year-old supposition. Rutherford and his students realised that they had in their experiments broken the atom apart. Then, a student of my father’s, Leo Szilard, devised a way of harnessing the energy released in the nuclear break-up. His idea was to exploit the chemist’s notion of chain reaction.
In 1935, when I was a child, Szilard sat in the garden of our house in Manchester, calculating, with my father, the temperature that would be reached in a nuclear chain reaction (which Szilard had patented, donating the patent to the British navy). The answer was thousands of millions of degrees centigrade. Ten years later, in 1945, two atomic bombs based on this idea were used in war, and 200,000 people were killed.
That was the start of our new era, as different from earlier times as the iron age was from the stone age. Since the ages of mankind only follow one another at thousand-year intervals, you should reflect on the extraordinary timing of your arrival on this planet. If, rather than being born in recent decades, you had been born in the previous thousands of years, great feats of imagination would not have been required of you. Today, they are needed for your, and your fellow beings’, survival.
Read more

John Polanyi is a Nobel laureate in chemistry and a professor at the University of Toronto.

We must do more to prevent nuclear war

By John Polanyi December 9, 2019

When Greta Thunberg gives a speech, she wastes no time getting to the point.
“You come to young people for hope,” she told the United Nations General Assembly in September. “You say you understand the urgency…How dare you then pretend that this can be solved by ‘business as usual’?…Change is coming, whether you like it, or not.”
What Greta said is no less true of the most serious danger we face today: nuclear war.
To counter that, the world needs to take two major steps back from the brink of disaster, on which we have teetered for three-quarters of a century. The first of these steps is disarmament, and the second a ban on nuclear weapons.
You may think these overly ambitious aims. But, to many, they represent the minimum that our predicament demands. Fortunately for the world, there are strong precedents for both these steps. Unfortunately, we have yet to heed those precedents.
Why are we faced with this need for change? It stems from the transformative power of modern science, which marks off the age of the atom from all preceding history. This need did not arise overnight, but did happen with remarkable suddenness.
The word “atom” is based on the Greek “a-tomos”: “not divisible”. Scientists, beginning with Ernest Rutherford, began questioning that thousand-year-old supposition. Rutherford and his students realised that they had in their experiments broken the atom apart. Then, a student of my father’s, Leo Szilard, devised a way of harnessing the energy released in the nuclear break-up. His idea was to exploit the chemist’s notion of chain reaction.
In 1935, when I was a child, Szilard sat in the garden of our house in Manchester, calculating, with my father, the temperature that would be reached in a nuclear chain reaction (which Szilard had patented, donating the patent to the British navy). The answer was thousands of millions of degrees centigrade. Ten years later, in 1945, two atomic bombs based on this idea were used in war, and 200,000 people were killed.
That was the start of our new era, as different from earlier times as the iron age was from the stone age. Since the ages of mankind only follow one another at thousand-year intervals, you should reflect on the extraordinary timing of your arrival on this planet. If, rather than being born in recent decades, you had been born in the previous thousands of years, great feats of imagination would not have been required of you. Today, they are needed for your, and your fellow beings’, survival.
Read more

Prevent the weaponization of space

The Russian News Agency TASS has published articles about the Kremlin’s recent statements on preventing the weaponization of space. This appears to be a response to President Trump’s recent statement on potential commercial activities on the moon. Let’s remember the 1966 Outer Space Treaty.

Any attempts to ‘privatize’ outer space unacceptable — Kremlin

GENEVA, August 14. /TASS/. Moscow calls on the global community to develop consensus measures to keep outer space free from weapons, which will contribute to strengthening peace and security, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said at a plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament on Wednesday.

“We call on all states to have a meaningful, constructive conversation to prevent an arms race in outer space with a view to jointly developing consensus measures to keep outer space free from weapons and thereby strengthen international peace and global security,” the diplomat said.

“There is no time to spare,” he stressed. “Missing this chance will be a crime against future generations.”

Gatilov recalled that, in 2004, Russia assumed the obligation not to be the first to deploy weapons in outer space. To date, 21 countries have become full-fledged participants in that initiative. The head of the Russian mission voiced regret and concern over the fact that none of the Western countries, primarily from among the ones significant in terms of space exploration, expressed a desire to join it until now.

Gatilov stressed that the implementation of intentions to bring weapons to the near-Earth space would have an adverse effect on international security and global stability.

“Thanks to efforts made by individual Western countries, we are entering a new space era,” he noted. “We can say with a high degree of probability that it will be marked by further degradation of trust between nations.”

The diplomat described statements on deploying weapons in outer space and their potential combat use as “an ultimatum to the global community” and the intention to seek uncontrolled dominance in outer space. He noted that this would give an opportunity for individual countries to dictate their terms both in the low Earth orbit and on Earth.

Russia remains committed to “finding reliable ways to keep outer space free from weapons of any kind,” Gatilov noted. One of the ways of achieving that goal would be “a legally binding treaty on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space based on the principles and norms of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty,” he said. The diplomat explained that the signing of such an agreement and participation of countries most active in space in it would make it possible to remove preconditions for turning outer space into the armed confrontation sphere.”

The Conference on Disarmament consists of 65 countries. It was established in 1979 following the first special UN General Assembly session on disarmament held in 1978 as the only international negotiating forum of the global community to hammer out disarmament agreements.

7 April 2020 https://tass.com/science/1141217

More information on the 1966 Outer Space Treaty is available here: https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html
[/read]

Prevent the weaponization of space

The Russian News Agency TASS has published articles about the Kremlin’s recent statements on preventing the weaponization of space. This appears to be a response to President Trump’s recent statement on potential commercial activities on the moon. Let’s remember the 1966 Outer Space Treaty.

Any attempts to ‘privatize’ outer space unacceptable — Kremlin

GENEVA, August 14. /TASS/. Moscow calls on the global community to develop consensus measures to keep outer space free from weapons, which will contribute to strengthening peace and security, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said at a plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament on Wednesday.

“We call on all states to have a meaningful, constructive conversation to prevent an arms race in outer space with a view to jointly developing consensus measures to keep outer space free from weapons and thereby strengthen international peace and global security,” the diplomat said.

“There is no time to spare,” he stressed. “Missing this chance will be a crime against future generations.”

Gatilov recalled that, in 2004, Russia assumed the obligation not to be the first to deploy weapons in outer space. To date, 21 countries have become full-fledged participants in that initiative. The head of the Russian mission voiced regret and concern over the fact that none of the Western countries, primarily from among the ones significant in terms of space exploration, expressed a desire to join it until now.

Gatilov stressed that the implementation of intentions to bring weapons to the near-Earth space would have an adverse effect on international security and global stability.

“Thanks to efforts made by individual Western countries, we are entering a new space era,” he noted. “We can say with a high degree of probability that it will be marked by further degradation of trust between nations.”

The diplomat described statements on deploying weapons in outer space and their potential combat use as “an ultimatum to the global community” and the intention to seek uncontrolled dominance in outer space. He noted that this would give an opportunity for individual countries to dictate their terms both in the low Earth orbit and on Earth.

Russia remains committed to “finding reliable ways to keep outer space free from weapons of any kind,” Gatilov noted. One of the ways of achieving that goal would be “a legally binding treaty on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space based on the principles and norms of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty,” he said. The diplomat explained that the signing of such an agreement and participation of countries most active in space in it would make it possible to remove preconditions for turning outer space into the armed confrontation sphere.”

The Conference on Disarmament consists of 65 countries. It was established in 1979 following the first special UN General Assembly session on disarmament held in 1978 as the only international negotiating forum of the global community to hammer out disarmament agreements.

7 April 2020 https://tass.com/science/1141217

More information on the 1966 Outer Space Treaty is available here: https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html
[/read]

When the Minuteman Missiles Disappeared

This is an alarming article by Dr. Bruce G. Blair – one of the co-founders of Global Zero.

“It is tempting for the United States to exploit its superiority in cyberwarfare to hobble the nuclear forces of North Korea or other opponents. As a new form of missile defense, cyberwarfare seems to offer the possibility of preventing nuclear strikes without the firing of a single nuclear warhead.

But as with many things involving nuclear weaponry, escalation of this strategy has a downside: United States forces are also vulnerable to such attacks.

Imagine the panic if we had suddenly learned during the Cold War that a bulwark of America’s nuclear deterrence could not even get off the ground because of an exploitable deficiency in its control network.

We had such an Achilles’ heel not so long ago. Minuteman missiles were vulnerable to a disabling cyberattack, and no one realized it for many years. If not for a curious and persistent President Barack Obama, it might never have been discovered and rectified.

Read more

When the Minuteman Missiles Disappeared

This is an alarming article by Dr. Bruce G. Blair – one of the co-founders of Global Zero.

“It is tempting for the United States to exploit its superiority in cyberwarfare to hobble the nuclear forces of North Korea or other opponents. As a new form of missile defense, cyberwarfare seems to offer the possibility of preventing nuclear strikes without the firing of a single nuclear warhead.

But as with many things involving nuclear weaponry, escalation of this strategy has a downside: United States forces are also vulnerable to such attacks.

Imagine the panic if we had suddenly learned during the Cold War that a bulwark of America’s nuclear deterrence could not even get off the ground because of an exploitable deficiency in its control network.

We had such an Achilles’ heel not so long ago. Minuteman missiles were vulnerable to a disabling cyberattack, and no one realized it for many years. If not for a curious and persistent President Barack Obama, it might never have been discovered and rectified.

Read more

Nuclear Vulnerability to Hacking the Missile Controls

By Dr. Bruce G. Blair – one of the co-founders of Global Zero.

New York Times 14 March 2017
Article Excerpt(s):

“It is tempting for the United States to exploit its superiority in cyberwarfare to hobble the nuclear forces of North Korea or other opponents. As a new form of missile defense, cyberwarfare seems to offer the possibility of preventing nuclear strikes without the firing of a single nuclear warhead.

But as with many things involving nuclear weaponry, escalation of this strategy has a downside: United States forces are also vulnerable to such attacks.

Imagine the panic if we had suddenly learned during the Cold War that a bulwark of America’s nuclear deterrence could not even get off the ground because of an exploitable deficiency in its control network.
Read more

Nuclear Vulnerability to Hacking the Missile Controls

By Dr. Bruce G. Blair – one of the co-founders of Global Zero.

New York Times 14 March 2017
Article Excerpt(s):

“It is tempting for the United States to exploit its superiority in cyberwarfare to hobble the nuclear forces of North Korea or other opponents. As a new form of missile defense, cyberwarfare seems to offer the possibility of preventing nuclear strikes without the firing of a single nuclear warhead.

But as with many things involving nuclear weaponry, escalation of this strategy has a downside: United States forces are also vulnerable to such attacks.

Imagine the panic if we had suddenly learned during the Cold War that a bulwark of America’s nuclear deterrence could not even get off the ground because of an exploitable deficiency in its control network.
Read more

Could the Coronavirus Be a Biological Weapon in the Not-Too-Distant Future?

By Deen, Thalif
Inter Press Service: News Agency 20 March 2020

Article Excerpt(s):

“The devastating spread of the deadly coronavirus across every continent– with the exception of Antarctica– has triggered a conspiracy theory on social media: what if the virus was really a biological weapon?

And more specifically, was it an experimental weapon that accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China?

Or as others contend, is it a weapon surreptitiously introduced to de-stabilize a country with more than 1.4 billion people and described as the world’s second largest economy, after the United States.

Both narratives are considered false, and probably part of a deliberate disinformation campaign, according to military experts.

Still, in the US, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has repeated the charge that the virus was a creation of the Chinese military while others source it to North Korea.

Read more

Could the Coronavirus Be a Biological Weapon in the Not-Too-Distant Future?

By Deen, Thalif
Inter Press Service: News Agency 20 March 2020

Article Excerpt(s):

“The devastating spread of the deadly coronavirus across every continent– with the exception of Antarctica– has triggered a conspiracy theory on social media: what if the virus was really a biological weapon?

And more specifically, was it an experimental weapon that accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China?

Or as others contend, is it a weapon surreptitiously introduced to de-stabilize a country with more than 1.4 billion people and described as the world’s second largest economy, after the United States.

Both narratives are considered false, and probably part of a deliberate disinformation campaign, according to military experts.

Still, in the US, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has repeated the charge that the virus was a creation of the Chinese military while others source it to North Korea.

Read more

Here Earl Turcotte – the Chair of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) – examines the links between nuclear disarmament and other global crises, such as pandemics.

Public Health Crisis Offers New Lens Towards Nuclear Disarmament


Earl Turcotte, The Hill Times, 15 April 2020

“That COVID-19 has created a new global reality is clear. If there is any positive aspect to this unfolding situation, it could be a deeper understanding of the fact that the well-being of people throughout the world is inextricably linked. The COVID crisis might also serve as a cautionary tale, helping us to appreciate the fragility of life and avoid threats to humanity that are within our control.

In 2019, a team of researchers at Princeton University simulated a limited exchange of low-yield “tactical” nuclear weapons to depict “a plausible escalating war between the United States and Russia, using realistic nuclear force postures, targets, and fatality estimates.” They concluded that more than 90 million people would be killed or injured within a few hours and many more would die in the years following.
Read more

Here Earl Turcotte – the Chair of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) – examines the links between nuclear disarmament and other global crises, such as pandemics.

Public Health Crisis Offers New Lens Towards Nuclear Disarmament


Earl Turcotte, The Hill Times, 15 April 2020

“That COVID-19 has created a new global reality is clear. If there is any positive aspect to this unfolding situation, it could be a deeper understanding of the fact that the well-being of people throughout the world is inextricably linked. The COVID crisis might also serve as a cautionary tale, helping us to appreciate the fragility of life and avoid threats to humanity that are within our control.

In 2019, a team of researchers at Princeton University simulated a limited exchange of low-yield “tactical” nuclear weapons to depict “a plausible escalating war between the United States and Russia, using realistic nuclear force postures, targets, and fatality estimates.” They concluded that more than 90 million people would be killed or injured within a few hours and many more would die in the years following.
Read more

Here Senator Douglas Roche discusses the interconnection of conflicts / wars and COVID-19. he obviously admires the Secretary General of the United Nations for his bold proposal to cease warfare during the pandemic.

Warring Parties Must Lay Down Weapons To Fight Bigger Battle Against COVID-19

By Douglas Roche, the Hill Times, 6 April 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

EDMONTON—”The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.” In one short sentence, UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the door to a new understanding of what constitutes human security. Will governments seize the opportunity provided by the immense crisis of COVID-19 to finally adopt a global agenda for peace?

In an extraordinary move on March 23, Guterres urged warring parties around the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against COVID-19 the common enemy now threatening all of humanity. He called for an immediate global ceasefire everywhere: “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”

His plea to “silence the guns” would create corridors for life-saving aid and open windows for diplomacy in the war-torn zones in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the central areas of Africa.

But the full meaning of Guterres’s appeal is much bigger than only suspending existing wars. It is a wakeup call to governments everywhere that war does not solve existing problems, that the huge expenditures going into armaments divert money desperately needed for health supplies, that a bloated militarism is impotent against the new killers in a globalized world.
Read more

Here Senator Douglas Roche discusses the interconnection of conflicts / wars and COVID-19. he obviously admires the Secretary General of the United Nations for his bold proposal to cease warfare during the pandemic.

Warring Parties Must Lay Down Weapons To Fight Bigger Battle Against COVID-19

By Douglas Roche, the Hill Times, 6 April 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

EDMONTON—”The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.” In one short sentence, UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the door to a new understanding of what constitutes human security. Will governments seize the opportunity provided by the immense crisis of COVID-19 to finally adopt a global agenda for peace?

In an extraordinary move on March 23, Guterres urged warring parties around the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against COVID-19 the common enemy now threatening all of humanity. He called for an immediate global ceasefire everywhere: “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”

His plea to “silence the guns” would create corridors for life-saving aid and open windows for diplomacy in the war-torn zones in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the central areas of Africa.

But the full meaning of Guterres’s appeal is much bigger than only suspending existing wars. It is a wakeup call to governments everywhere that war does not solve existing problems, that the huge expenditures going into armaments divert money desperately needed for health supplies, that a bloated militarism is impotent against the new killers in a globalized world.
Read more

The Bomb Still Ticks

By George Perkovich April 07, 2020
Summary: Kaplan shows in his new book that the Americans and Russians who built the doomsday machine will not allow it to be dismantled. The more pertinent question is whether they could be motivated to meaningfully downsize and constrain it.

“Nuclear books don’t sell,” a New York book editor advised not long ago. “To have a chance, you would have to feature a really interesting central character.” Fred Kaplan’s excellent new volume, “The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War,” will test this proposition.

Plenty of characters (nearly all male) abound in his fast-paced easy-to-follow narrative: from Curtis LeMay, Robert McNamara, John Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, and so on to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But what drives the story is an unresolvable dilemma: “[h]ow to plan a nuclear attack that [is] large enough to terrify the enemy but small enough to be recognized unambiguously as a limited strike, so that, if the enemy retaliated, he’d keep his strike limited too” (p. 120).

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The Bomb Still Ticks

By George Perkovich April 07, 2020
Summary: Kaplan shows in his new book that the Americans and Russians who built the doomsday machine will not allow it to be dismantled. The more pertinent question is whether they could be motivated to meaningfully downsize and constrain it.

“Nuclear books don’t sell,” a New York book editor advised not long ago. “To have a chance, you would have to feature a really interesting central character.” Fred Kaplan’s excellent new volume, “The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War,” will test this proposition.

Plenty of characters (nearly all male) abound in his fast-paced easy-to-follow narrative: from Curtis LeMay, Robert McNamara, John Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, and so on to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But what drives the story is an unresolvable dilemma: “[h]ow to plan a nuclear attack that [is] large enough to terrify the enemy but small enough to be recognized unambiguously as a limited strike, so that, if the enemy retaliated, he’d keep his strike limited too” (p. 120).

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Stephen Young is Washington representative for the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. By Stephen Young, 27 February 2020.

House Hearings Should Reveal Recklessness of Administration’s Nuclear Weapons Budget Request

Article Excerpt(s):
“The Trump administration is charging ahead with new nuclear weapon systems and joining a new nuclear arms race with Russia. Not only are these weapons pushing up current budgets by billions, but they are unnecessary add-ons to an already bloated, excessively expensive plan to rebuild the entire U.S. arsenal. Coupled with the Trump administration’s disdain for arms control, these new weapons will lead to a more dangerous strategic environment.

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Stephen Young is Washington representative for the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. By Stephen Young, 27 February 2020.

House Hearings Should Reveal Recklessness of Administration’s Nuclear Weapons Budget Request

Article Excerpt(s):
“The Trump administration is charging ahead with new nuclear weapon systems and joining a new nuclear arms race with Russia. Not only are these weapons pushing up current budgets by billions, but they are unnecessary add-ons to an already bloated, excessively expensive plan to rebuild the entire U.S. arsenal. Coupled with the Trump administration’s disdain for arms control, these new weapons will lead to a more dangerous strategic environment.

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Canada Played a Critical Role in Nuclear Development. We Should Play a Critical Role in Reparations

This is an interesting article about some (not all) of Canada’s connections to nuclear weapons.

By Matt Korda
CBC News Opinion, 30 August 2019
Article Excerpt(s):

“Canada holds contradictory positions in the world of nuclear weapons. We played an essential role in their development, but we never built any bombs of our own.

No nukes are stationed on Canadian soil; however, they were for 20 years, until we finally sent the last American warheads back home in 1984.

As a people, Canadians are largely against nuclear weapons; however, Canada is part of a nuclear alliance and our government actively participates in NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group.

Almost 60 per cent of Canadians live in regions that have banned nuclear weapons, like Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories, or in self-proclaimed nuclear weapons-free cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Red Deer, Alta.; however, we currently allow American and British nuclear-capable vessels to visit our ports.

Very simply, in the nuclear arena, Canada is awkwardly straddling a line –– we’re not a member of the nuclear club, but we’re not exactly outside of it either. This position usually works in Canada’s favour, because it lets us simultaneously satisfy both our anti-nuclear impulses and our NATO defence commitments.

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Canada Played a Critical Role in Nuclear Development. We Should Play a Critical Role in Reparations

This is an interesting article about some (not all) of Canada’s connections to nuclear weapons.

By Matt Korda
CBC News Opinion, 30 August 2019
Article Excerpt(s):

“Canada holds contradictory positions in the world of nuclear weapons. We played an essential role in their development, but we never built any bombs of our own.

No nukes are stationed on Canadian soil; however, they were for 20 years, until we finally sent the last American warheads back home in 1984.

As a people, Canadians are largely against nuclear weapons; however, Canada is part of a nuclear alliance and our government actively participates in NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group.

Almost 60 per cent of Canadians live in regions that have banned nuclear weapons, like Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories, or in self-proclaimed nuclear weapons-free cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Red Deer, Alta.; however, we currently allow American and British nuclear-capable vessels to visit our ports.

Very simply, in the nuclear arena, Canada is awkwardly straddling a line –– we’re not a member of the nuclear club, but we’re not exactly outside of it either. This position usually works in Canada’s favour, because it lets us simultaneously satisfy both our anti-nuclear impulses and our NATO defence commitments.

Read more

How the Coronavirus Outbreak is like a Nuclear Attack: An Interview with Jeffrey Lewis

This Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ interview with Dr. Jeffrey Lewis – author of “The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel.”

Jeffrey Lewis and John Krzyzaniak
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 20 March 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

“One thing about nuclear command and control, which the virus outbreak underscores, is that it is so hard to get good information in a crisis. The epidemic spiraled out of control so quickly in certain countries that even the best experts were rushing to figure out what was going on.

To me the danger of a nuclear war is not that somebody’s going to get up one morning and say, “Ah, fuck it,” and push the button. It’s that we’re deeply flawed as human beings, and we have imperfect information, and we’re always trying to make decisions under complexity.

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Amazing discussion, with this being the key question. All addressed at length in my book called “World Peace Through Law: Replacing War With the Global Rule of Law” (Routledge 2018). For a discount flyer, email me at jamestranney@post.harvard.edu

How the Coronavirus Outbreak is like a Nuclear Attack: An Interview with Jeffrey Lewis

This Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ interview with Dr. Jeffrey Lewis – author of “The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel.”

Jeffrey Lewis and John Krzyzaniak
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 20 March 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

“One thing about nuclear command and control, which the virus outbreak underscores, is that it is so hard to get good information in a crisis. The epidemic spiraled out of control so quickly in certain countries that even the best experts were rushing to figure out what was going on.

To me the danger of a nuclear war is not that somebody’s going to get up one morning and say, “Ah, fuck it,” and push the button. It’s that we’re deeply flawed as human beings, and we have imperfect information, and we’re always trying to make decisions under complexity.

Read more

Amazing discussion, with this being the key question. All addressed at length in my book called “World Peace Through Law: Replacing War With the Global Rule of Law” (Routledge 2018). For a discount flyer, email me at jamestranney@post.harvard.edu

The South China Morning Post published this editoria about the NPT Does it reflect wider Chinese opinions?

Talks Give World an Opportunity to Avoid Nuclear Weapons Nightmare

South China Morning Post, 20 March 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

“The United States sparked fears of a new nuclear arms race when it pulled out of a key missile treaty with Russia little more than six months ago. Hopes of preventing a race are now focused on another pact credited with helping keep us safe since the height of the Cold War – the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which came into force 50 years ago this month. More importance now attaches to a five-yearly treaty review conference set to be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York next month.

The US pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed in 1987 after Washington and Nato accused Russia of violating it by deploying a new type of cruise missile, which Moscow has denied. Russia suspended its own obligations to the treaty shortly afterwards. It is reassuring therefore that the five permanent members of the Security Council, including the US and Russia, have marked the anniversary of the NPT with a joint declaration celebrating “the immeasurable contributions” this landmark treaty has made to international security and prosperity and reaffirming their commitment to it. Such a consensus is increasingly rare these days.

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The South China Morning Post published this editoria about the NPT Does it reflect wider Chinese opinions?

Talks Give World an Opportunity to Avoid Nuclear Weapons Nightmare

South China Morning Post, 20 March 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

“The United States sparked fears of a new nuclear arms race when it pulled out of a key missile treaty with Russia little more than six months ago. Hopes of preventing a race are now focused on another pact credited with helping keep us safe since the height of the Cold War – the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which came into force 50 years ago this month. More importance now attaches to a five-yearly treaty review conference set to be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York next month.

The US pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed in 1987 after Washington and Nato accused Russia of violating it by deploying a new type of cruise missile, which Moscow has denied. Russia suspended its own obligations to the treaty shortly afterwards. It is reassuring therefore that the five permanent members of the Security Council, including the US and Russia, have marked the anniversary of the NPT with a joint declaration celebrating “the immeasurable contributions” this landmark treaty has made to international security and prosperity and reaffirming their commitment to it. Such a consensus is increasingly rare these days.

Read more

Alarming US acceptance of Landmine Use

Here’s an excerpt from the World Federalist newsletter.

Article Excerpt(s):

At the end of January, US President Donald Trump reversed the Obama-era ban on the use of landmines (other than in the defence of South Korea).

The brief statement from the White House says, “The Department of Defense has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama Administration’s policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries. The President is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops.”

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Alarming US acceptance of Landmine Use

Here’s an excerpt from the World Federalist newsletter.

Article Excerpt(s):

At the end of January, US President Donald Trump reversed the Obama-era ban on the use of landmines (other than in the defence of South Korea).

The brief statement from the White House says, “The Department of Defense has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama Administration’s policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries. The President is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops.”

Read more

Do Young People Care About Nuclear Weapons?


By Matt Korda, Inkstick, 27 February 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

“Last month, the International Committee of the Red Cross released a report with a shocking — and seemingly contradictory — pair of statistics.

According to the report, a majority of millennials (54%) believe that a nuclear attack will occur within the next decade. Yet those same respondents simultaneously ranked nuclear weapons as the “least important” out of 12 global issues.

These findings, although seemingly in conflict, may not actually be that surprising. In fact, they reflect an existential question that the nuclear community has been grappling with for some time:

HOW CAN WE GET YOUNGER PEOPLE TO CARE ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

Two of the most common responses to this question are either: “we should scare the youths straight,” or: “we should meme nuclear weapons.” Neither of these is the answer. In fact, millennial Dadaist humor is already rooted in an ironic acceptance of the dystopian years that lie ahead of us. We’re terrified of our futures and apocalyptic memes are our defense mechanism.
Read more

Do Young People Care About Nuclear Weapons?


By Matt Korda, Inkstick, 27 February 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

“Last month, the International Committee of the Red Cross released a report with a shocking — and seemingly contradictory — pair of statistics.

According to the report, a majority of millennials (54%) believe that a nuclear attack will occur within the next decade. Yet those same respondents simultaneously ranked nuclear weapons as the “least important” out of 12 global issues.

These findings, although seemingly in conflict, may not actually be that surprising. In fact, they reflect an existential question that the nuclear community has been grappling with for some time:

HOW CAN WE GET YOUNGER PEOPLE TO CARE ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

Two of the most common responses to this question are either: “we should scare the youths straight,” or: “we should meme nuclear weapons.” Neither of these is the answer. In fact, millennial Dadaist humor is already rooted in an ironic acceptance of the dystopian years that lie ahead of us. We’re terrified of our futures and apocalyptic memes are our defense mechanism.
Read more

One potential victim of coronavirus? Nuclear inspections in Iran


By George M. Moore, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 17 March 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

” Should the new IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi decide to suspend inspection visits to protect the health of his inspectors, it could metastasize concerns about Iranian nuclear proliferation. The same result would occur if Iran acted unilaterally to bar inspectors based on real or manufactured concerns about further spread of Covid-19.

To date, there is no public information about whether the IAEA will continue to send inspectors to Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal. Suspending inspections, even temporarily, could potentially leave a multi-month gap that Iran could exploit if it chose to fully break out of the nuclear agreement. In early March, the IAEA reported that Iran had amassed over 1,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, nearly triple the amount allowed under the deal.
Read more

At the end of the day, it’s all just a security dilemma. All countries have to decide to ban these weapons together, otherwise none will- because then certain countries will have the advantage. After all, these weapons give such an advantage…but at what cost?

One potential victim of coronavirus? Nuclear inspections in Iran


By George M. Moore, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 17 March 2020
Article Excerpt(s):

” Should the new IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi decide to suspend inspection visits to protect the health of his inspectors, it could metastasize concerns about Iranian nuclear proliferation. The same result would occur if Iran acted unilaterally to bar inspectors based on real or manufactured concerns about further spread of Covid-19.

To date, there is no public information about whether the IAEA will continue to send inspectors to Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal. Suspending inspections, even temporarily, could potentially leave a multi-month gap that Iran could exploit if it chose to fully break out of the nuclear agreement. In early March, the IAEA reported that Iran had amassed over 1,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, nearly triple the amount allowed under the deal.
Read more

At the end of the day, it’s all just a security dilemma. All countries have to decide to ban these weapons together, otherwise none will- because then certain countries will have the advantage. After all, these weapons give such an advantage…but at what cost?

Here Dr. Tariq Rauf discusses the impacts of COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) on the upcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty conferences. There is a possibility the conferences and associated discussions will be pushed to 2021 and beyond.

Relentless Spread of Coronavirus Obliges Postponing the 2020 NPT Review to 2021

By Tariq Rauf

Article Excerpt(s):

“Harvard University epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch in his “very, very rough” estimate (relying on “multiple assumptions piled on top of each other”) has stated that 100 or 200 people were infected in the U.S. a week or so ago. But that is all it would take to widely spread the disease. Lipsitch has predicted that within a year, 40% to 70% of the world’s population could be infected with COVID-19? With the world’s population hovering around 7.5 billion, that translates to some 3 to 5 billion people getting COVID-19 and that perhaps fatalities of 60 to 100 million, according to Lipsitch.
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Here Dr. Tariq Rauf discusses the impacts of COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) on the upcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty conferences. There is a possibility the conferences and associated discussions will be pushed to 2021 and beyond.

Relentless Spread of Coronavirus Obliges Postponing the 2020 NPT Review to 2021

By Tariq Rauf

Article Excerpt(s):

“Harvard University epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch in his “very, very rough” estimate (relying on “multiple assumptions piled on top of each other”) has stated that 100 or 200 people were infected in the U.S. a week or so ago. But that is all it would take to widely spread the disease. Lipsitch has predicted that within a year, 40% to 70% of the world’s population could be infected with COVID-19? With the world’s population hovering around 7.5 billion, that translates to some 3 to 5 billion people getting COVID-19 and that perhaps fatalities of 60 to 100 million, according to Lipsitch.
Read more

A World War Could Break Out in the Arctic

By Michael Klare
The Nation, 11 feb. 2020

Finnmark, Norway

Notes: Discusses various elements ranging from the role of the military to the role of the resource extraction industry. Particular focus is on the new military exercises that will be occurring in March 2020 in Scandinavia.

Article Excerpt:

“In early March, an estimated 7,500 American combat troops will travel to Norway to join thousands of soldiers from other NATO countries in a massive mock battle with imagined invading forces from Russia. In this futuristic simulated engagement—it goes by the name of Exercise Cold Response 2020—allied forces will “conduct multinational joint exercises with a high-intensity combat scenario in demanding winter conditions,” or so claims the Norwegian military anyway. At first glance, this may look like any other NATO training exercise, but think again. There’s nothing ordinary about Cold Response 2020. As a start, it’s being staged above the Arctic Circle, far from any previous traditional NATO battlefield, and it raises to a new level the possibility of a great-power conflict that might end in a nuclear exchange and mutual annihilation. Welcome, in other words, to World War III’s newest battlefield.

For the soldiers participating in the exercise, the potentially thermonuclear dimensions of Cold Response 2020 may not be obvious. At its start, Marines from the United States and the United Kingdom will practice massive amphibious landings along Norway’s coastline, much as they do in similar exercises elsewhere in the world. Once ashore, however, the scenario becomes ever more distinctive. After collecting tanks and other heavy weaponry “prepositioned” in caves in Norway’s interior, the Marines will proceed toward the country’s far-northern Finnmark region to help Norwegian forces stave off Russian forces supposedly pouring across the border. From then on, the two sides will engage in—to use current Pentagon terminology—high-intensity combat operations under Arctic conditions (a type of warfare not seen on such a scale since World War II).

Read more

A World War Could Break Out in the Arctic

By Michael Klare
The Nation, 11 feb. 2020

Finnmark, Norway

Notes: Discusses various elements ranging from the role of the military to the role of the resource extraction industry. Particular focus is on the new military exercises that will be occurring in March 2020 in Scandinavia.

Article Excerpt:

“In early March, an estimated 7,500 American combat troops will travel to Norway to join thousands of soldiers from other NATO countries in a massive mock battle with imagined invading forces from Russia. In this futuristic simulated engagement—it goes by the name of Exercise Cold Response 2020—allied forces will “conduct multinational joint exercises with a high-intensity combat scenario in demanding winter conditions,” or so claims the Norwegian military anyway. At first glance, this may look like any other NATO training exercise, but think again. There’s nothing ordinary about Cold Response 2020. As a start, it’s being staged above the Arctic Circle, far from any previous traditional NATO battlefield, and it raises to a new level the possibility of a great-power conflict that might end in a nuclear exchange and mutual annihilation. Welcome, in other words, to World War III’s newest battlefield.

For the soldiers participating in the exercise, the potentially thermonuclear dimensions of Cold Response 2020 may not be obvious. At its start, Marines from the United States and the United Kingdom will practice massive amphibious landings along Norway’s coastline, much as they do in similar exercises elsewhere in the world. Once ashore, however, the scenario becomes ever more distinctive. After collecting tanks and other heavy weaponry “prepositioned” in caves in Norway’s interior, the Marines will proceed toward the country’s far-northern Finnmark region to help Norwegian forces stave off Russian forces supposedly pouring across the border. From then on, the two sides will engage in—to use current Pentagon terminology—high-intensity combat operations under Arctic conditions (a type of warfare not seen on such a scale since World War II).

Read more

There is ongoing debate in Ireland about allowing the United States’ military to use airports – both as a base for operations, as well as a stopover.

Should the Irish government push for an end to the US military use of Shannon Airport?

News Agency: The Journal (Ireland) 29 January 2020
Article Excerpt:

If in Government, Labour would push for an end to the use of Shannon Airport for US military planes according to party leader Brendan Howlin.
Read more

There is ongoing debate in Ireland about allowing the United States’ military to use airports – both as a base for operations, as well as a stopover.

Should the Irish government push for an end to the US military use of Shannon Airport?

News Agency: The Journal (Ireland) 29 January 2020
Article Excerpt:

If in Government, Labour would push for an end to the use of Shannon Airport for US military planes according to party leader Brendan Howlin.
Read more

New York City Divests Pension Funds from Fossil Fuel Companies. Next maybe nuclear weapons?


Jonathan Granoff

In January 2018, New York City decided to divest the city’s $189bn pension funds from fossil fuel companies within the next five years. Now the city looks set to also divest from the nuclear weapons industry.

Last Tuesday (January 28), the Council held public hearings on draft Resolution 0976 which calls on New York City to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and divest from the nuclear weapons industry, and on Initiative 1621 to reaffirm New York City as a nuclear weapons-free zone and establish an advisory committee to implement this status.
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New York City Divests Pension Funds from Fossil Fuel Companies. Next maybe nuclear weapons?


Jonathan Granoff

In January 2018, New York City decided to divest the city’s $189bn pension funds from fossil fuel companies within the next five years. Now the city looks set to also divest from the nuclear weapons industry.

Last Tuesday (January 28), the Council held public hearings on draft Resolution 0976 which calls on New York City to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and divest from the nuclear weapons industry, and on Initiative 1621 to reaffirm New York City as a nuclear weapons-free zone and establish an advisory committee to implement this status.
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Divest Nuclear!

On Tuesday last week (January 28), New York City Council held public hearings on two measures (draft Resolution 0976 and Initiative 1621) which if adopted would oblige the city to divest its city pension funds from the nuclear weapons industry and establish an advisory committee to develop city action to further implement its status as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

New York City pensions have approximately $480 million invested in the nuclear weapons industry. The divestment of this amount would probably not make any financial impact on the weapons manufacturers. However, it would serve as a positive example of an action that can be taken by cities and other investors to align their investments with their ethical values. And it would give support to federal initiatives to cut nuclear weapons budgets, such as the SANE Act introduced into the U.S. Senate by PNND Co-President Ed Markey and the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act, introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by PNND Member Eleanor Holmes-Norton.
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Divest Nuclear!

On Tuesday last week (January 28), New York City Council held public hearings on two measures (draft Resolution 0976 and Initiative 1621) which if adopted would oblige the city to divest its city pension funds from the nuclear weapons industry and establish an advisory committee to develop city action to further implement its status as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

New York City pensions have approximately $480 million invested in the nuclear weapons industry. The divestment of this amount would probably not make any financial impact on the weapons manufacturers. However, it would serve as a positive example of an action that can be taken by cities and other investors to align their investments with their ethical values. And it would give support to federal initiatives to cut nuclear weapons budgets, such as the SANE Act introduced into the U.S. Senate by PNND Co-President Ed Markey and the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act, introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by PNND Member Eleanor Holmes-Norton.
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Risk of Nuclear War Rises as U.S. Deploys a New Nuclear Weapon for the First Time Since the Cold War

By William Arkin, Democracy Now! 7 Feb. 2020
Article Excerpt:

The Federation of American Scientists revealed in late January that the U.S. Navy had deployed for the first time a submarine armed with a low-yield Trident nuclear warhead. The USS Tennessee deployed from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia in late 2019. The W76-2 warhead, which is facing criticism at home