By Lawrence S. Wittner for the LA Progressive. The response to the possibility of nuclear was is remarkably subdued. People read about the situation in newspapers or watch it on the television news, while comedians joke about the madness of it all. Oh, yes, peace and disarmament organizations condemn the escalating military confrontation and outline reasonable diplomatic alternatives. But such organizations are unable to mobilize the vast numbers of people around the world necessary to shake some sense into these overwrought government officials. The situation was very different in the 1980s, when organizations like the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign (in the United States), the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (in Britain), and similar groups around the world were able to engage millions of people in protest against the nuclear recklessness of the U.S. and Soviet governments―protest that played a key role in curbing the nuclear arms race and preventing nuclear war. So why is there so little public protest today?
By Leonard Eiger for Ground Zero Center for Nonviolence – The Trident Three were found guilty in Federal Court on charges of “trespassing” on a U.S. nuclear submarine/weapons base last May. Larry Kerschner, Gilberto Perez and Bernie Meyer, aka: the Trident Three, appeared in United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma on Wednesday, April 12th. Magistrate Judge David C. Christel presided over the proceedings. A large number of supporters were in the courtroom to witness the trial. The defendants had their cases consolidated, meaning that their cases could all be tried at the same time. Attorney Blake Kremer, who has supported and represented many nuclear resisters, represented Larry Kerschner, and acted as standby counsel for Meyer and Perez. All parties had already agreed to and signed the “statement of facts” that defined the events that occurred on May 7, 2016 when, during a vigil held by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, the three demonstrators engaged in a peaceful protest, entering the main highway and briefly blocking traffic on the federal side of the Main gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington.
By AFP/Reuters. With the US Navy deployed near the Korean Peninsula, and experts speculating that Pyongyang was preparing another nuclear test, Beijing said that the tensions were getting close to the breaking point. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi “One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after meeting his French colleague Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday. However, history has shown that the use of force is not a solution, Wang added. “On the Korean Peninsula issue, it is not those who use harsher words or raise bigger fists who would win” he said. “Once the war breaks out, everybody will end up as a loser, and there will be no winners.” “Therefore, we urge all parties to refrain from provocations and threats […] so as to avoid getting the situation there out of hand, and into an irreversible dead end,” he told reporters in Beijing.
By Alex Emmons for The Intercept – FULFILLING DONALD TRUMP’S campaign promise to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, the Pentagon dropped the “mother of all bombs” — one of its largest non-nuclear munitions — for the first time on Thursday, in Afghanistan. The 21,600 pound weapon was developed over a decade ago, but was never used due to concerns of possible massive civilian casualties. The Pentagon said it used the weapon on an ISIS-affiliated group hiding in a tunnel complex in the Nangarhar province. The group, according to the Pentagon, is made up of former members of the Taliban. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” has a mile-long blast radius. When it first introduced the bomb, the Pentagon said it was designed to terrify America’s enemy into submission. “The goal is to have the capabilities of the coalition so clear and so obvious,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in 2003, “that there is an enormous disincentive for the Iraqi military to fight against the [invading] coalition.”
By Alice Slater for IDN – NEW YORK (IDN) – This week (March 27-31) the UN General Assembly held the opening session of a ground-breaking conference “to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination” just as the world has already done to ban biological and chemical weapons as well as landmines and cluster bombs. The historic conference began with a bizarre Trumpian boycott on its first day, when Nikki Haley, Trump’s newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the UN , flanked by the ambassadors from the UK and France stationed in front of the closed doors to the UN General Assembly…
By Shauna Krystin for The Fifth Column News. Kailua, Hawaii (TFC) – Activists on Hawai’i Island are asking for the end of live-fire bomb training at Pohakuloa Training Area. One primary concern is the use of depleted uranium (DU) in on-going military training is polluting the air and making Hawaiian residents sick. Background levels of radiation are considered safe and range from about 5-20 ppm. One activist with a radiation meter saw levels as high as 70ppm while standing near the main gates to the training area. According to activist Lindafaye Kroll, of STOP Bombing Hawaii, the “elevated radiation is from a U.S. military source.” While government and military officials claim that depleted uranium has a low-level radioactivity and is safe, activists are concerned about its toxicity and half-life of 4.5 billion years. Military testing in Hawai’i has been ongoing since the end of World War II; the island of Kaho’olawe was bombed to such a point that locals began to call it “Target Island,” and is uninhabitable thanks to a cracked water table and a proliferation of undetonated explosives.
By John Laforge for Counter Punch – Blockaders cover the Front Gate at the Luftwaffe’s Buchel Air Base in Germany, which deploys and trains to use up to 20 U.S. B61 hydrogen bombs on Germany’s Tornado jet fighters. On March 26, nuclear disarmament activists in Germany will launch a 20-week-long series of nonviolent protests at the Luftwaffe’s Büchel Air Base, Germany, demanding the withdrawal of 20 U.S. nuclear weapons still deployed there. The actions will continue through August 9, the anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. For the first time in the 20-year-long campaign to rid Büchel of the U.S. bombs…
By Willis Jacobson for the Santa Maria Times. An operational test launch of an Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III missile is scheduled to take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base between 11:03 p.m. Tuesday and 5:03 a.m. Wednesday. The purpose of launching the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, is to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system, according to Air Force Global Strike Command. Col. Chris Moss, the 30th Space Wing commander, is the launch decision authority. “Team Vandenberg is poised to provide safe launch operations in support of Air Force Global Strike Command’s important demonstration of our nation’s secure and effective combat-ready ICBM force,” he said.
By Joy First for National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We have a madman in the White House. Yet, unlikely acts of resistance are popping up all over the country from the large “Resist” banner hanging from a construction crane near the White House, to the National Park Rangers in the Badlands creating an alternative Twitter account, to mother’s groups who are putting aside talk of their children while they write letters to Congress, to the 60 programmers and scientists who were gathered at the Department of Information Studies building at the University of California-Los Angeles, harvesting important government data before Trump has a chance to disappear it. There is so much going on and so many ways we can get involved. This is the time we have been waiting for to see real change in the world. What kind of world will we leave for our children and grandchildren? The only way we will bring change is to keep the hope and rise up, rise up together and resist. The time has come and we will prevail in our struggle for peace and justice for all.
Pepe Escobar for Sputnik News. Putin already cut to the chase – when he spoke at the defense ministry’s HQ in Moscow before the holiday season; “We can say with certainty: we are stronger now than any potential aggressor.” And he added; “Anyone.” This after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stressed Russia “for the first time in its history” has fully protected the extensive Russian borders with early warning anti-missile systems. The Pentagon must be processing the information with extreme seriousness. That means, essentially, that before the S-500s were fully rolled out, Moscow could not but exercise extreme prudence. Now Russian air space seems to be effectively sealed. Putin could not actually admit on the record that Russia is the strongest military power in the world until the rollout of the S-500s is complete. All US offensive missiles and stealth aircraft as it stands are rendered useless. And that does no even take into account nuclear weaponized Russian silent submarines.
By Jonathan Marshall for Consortium News. “My bottom line is that the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War,” declares former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry. A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953. A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953. If a new Trump administration wants to peacefully reset relations with Russia, there’s no better way to start than by canceling the deployment of costly new ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. One such system went live in Romania this May; another is slated to go live in Poland in 2018. Few U.S. actions have riled President Putin as much as this threat to erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent. Only last month, at a meeting in Sochi with Russian military leaders to discuss advanced new weapons technology, Putin vowed, “We will continue to do all we need to ensure the strategic balance of forces.”
By Gail DeGeorge for Global Sisters Report – In observance of the World Day of Peace January 1, we at Global Sisters Report join in prayer for peace in all regions, for all victims of war and for women religious around the world who dedicate their lives to helping them and to build peace. Sr. Megan Rice, a member of the Holy Child Jesus sisters, was released in May 2015 after serving more than two years in prison for trespassing on a Tennessee uranium enrichment facility. In December 2015, GSR had an interview with Rice about her peacemaking work. Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, a Sister of the Incarnate Word, has researched pockets of tolerance in hostile parts of the Middle East.
By Stephen Dinan for The Washington Times – President-elect Donald Trump called for the U.S. to expand its nuclear capabilities, in a surprising Twitter post Thursday that raised questions about what he intends to do. “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he said. It was not clear what prompted the message, though the statement came soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his own nuclear forces needed to be strengthened. It’s not clear exactly what capabilities either man had in mind.
By Joe Cirincione for The Huffington Post – History was made at the United Nations today. For the first time in its 71 years, the global body voted to begin negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Eight nations with nuclear arms (the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, and Israel) opposed or abstained from the resolution, while North Korea voted yes. However, with a vote of 123 for, 38 against and 16 abstaining
By Donald Bradley for The Kansas City Star – When the judge called the defendant’s name for the last hearing of the day, a gruff and hearty “Here!” came from the back of the courtroom. The Rev. Carl Kabat, a Catholic priest, rose and walked to the front of Courtroom G. He’s 83, used a cane and wore white sneakers. He wasn’t looking to beat the rap. He was looking for a fight.