KEVIN MARTIN – There couldnâ€™t be a better audience, the Hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, nor a better time for a president whose days in office are dwindling, for Obama to announce concrete steps toward the goal he enunciated in his Prague speech in 2009, the security of a world free of nuclear weapons.
RICHARD LENNANE – At the closing session of the NPT review conference on 22 May, South Africa described the NPT regime as a form of “nuclear apartheid.” This certainly captures the idea of a privileged minority unjustly imposing its will on a disenfranchised majority. But in many ways, a better analogy is that of the struggle for civil rights in the United States in the 1950s and 60s.
YASMIN KAYE – Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times. Sunni Arab states are increasingly concerned of the repercussions of a deal currently being negotiated between world powers and Shi’ite rival Iran, which they fear may still be able to develop a nuclear bomb.
JOHN LAFORGE – Here at the United Nations, talk is focused on the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (N-P.T.). At about 11 a.m. Apr. 28, I was handcuffed with 21 other nuclear realists after blocking an entrance to the US Mission. I say â€œrealistsâ€ because US media wonâ€™t pay much attention to US violations of nuclear weapons treaties unless somebody is taken off to jail. Barrels of ink are used detailing Iranâ€™s non-existent nuclear arsenal. The US has about 2,000 nuclear weapons ready to launch and used as ticking time bombs every day by presidents — the way gunslingers can get the dough without ever pulling the trigger. Deterrence it is not.
WINSLOW MYERS – Escalating tensions in the Ukraine raise the concern that the â€œfirebreakâ€ between conventional and the tactical nuclear weapons potentially available to all parties in the conflict could be breached, with unforeseen consequences.
JACKIE CABASSO, Mayors for Peace contact – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the non-partisan association of Americaâ€™s big cities, on June 23, 2014 unanimously adopted a sweeping new resolution Calling for Constructive Good Faith U.S. Participation in International Nuclear Disarmament Forums at its 82nd annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. According to USCM President Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, California, â€œThese resolutions, once adopted, become official USCM policy.â€
JOHN LAFORGE – Any courtroom in China or Iran could have been the scene: An 84-year-old Catholic nun in prison garb, chained hand-and-foot and surrounded by heavy Marshals, is shuffled jangling into court. Her attorney asks if she might be allowed one free hand in order to take notes. The nun has been convicted of high crimes trumped up after her bold political protest embarrassed the state. A high-ranking judge lectures her about law and order and then imposes a three-year prison term.
DAVID SWANSON – Do nuclear weapons, by the nature of their technology, violate the U.S. Constitution? Do they violate the basic social contract and all possibility of self-governance? Thus argues a new book called Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom by Elaine Scarry. It’s not unheard of for people to see out-of-control nuclear spending as a symptom of out-of-control military spending, itself a symptom of government corruption, legalized bribery, and a militaristic culture. Scarry’s argument suggests a reversal: the root of all this evil is not the almighty dollar but the almighty bomb.
JOHN LAFORGE – Three anti-war activists who easily snuck into what is touted as one of the countryâ€™s most secure nuclear weapons facilities were sentenced to long terms in federal prison Tuesday, Feb. 18. The three were convicted last May on felony charges of depredation of property and sabotage for their nonviolent action called Transform Now Plowshares at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The convictions carried possible maximum sentences of 30 years in prison.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – On February 8, 2012, Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act (H.R. 3974).