by Richard Tanter and Tilman Ruff
Two odd facts. First, the United Nations General Assembly declared September 26 the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
You might yawn. Why bother? That’s never going to happen, you say. It’s too hard.
The Americans/Chinese/Russians/ … won’t let it happen. Oh, and we might need nuclear weapons one day. Anyway, hasn’t that been done before?
On the 26th of September in 1983 one man, a Russian officer whose name is Stanislav Petrov showed so much civil courage that he was later called ”the man who saved the world.” When he was on duty as the commander of a Soviet radar station, he disobeyed standing orders and refrained from launching a nuclear counterattack when everyone at the station misinterpreted the radar images and believed they saw a US nuclear missile attack on the Soviet Union.
Without knowing it, on that day we were one hair’s breadth from total extermination. Stanislav Petrov saved us. Read more…
At a special ceremony today at the United Nations in New York, several states, including the Bahamas, St Lucia, Portugal, Senegal, and Uruguay ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), helping to exceed the magic number of 50 required for the treaty to enter into force. This will now take place in 90 days, or on December 24th. Read more…
Back in April, the Republic of the Marshall Islands sued the United States in the Federal District Court in San Francisco on the grounds that it had failed to fulfill its nuclear disarmament obligations under international law. A parallel lawsuit naming all nine nuclear-armed States was launched in the International Court of Justice on the same day. The Marshall Islands, whose people suffered through more than a decade of nuclear testing by the US, has asked the courts to rule that the US and the other eight are legally required to comply with their obligations, established either under the NPT or customary international law.
The US government, to no one’s surprise, asked the federal court to dismiss the case. Last month, IPPNW, its US affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Pax Christi International submitted an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief advising the court it should do no such thing. Read more…
Ukraine is going to make nuclear weapons. You’ll see. There is strong support in the parliament. All the intercontinental missiles in the Soviet Union were made in Ukraine, and there are at least 25 of them left. And we have uranium. And we have the know-how. Just wait, you’ll see”
So said a prior officer in the Ukrainian army whom I met a week ago. This prediction, that Ukraine is going to make nukes, can also be found in some western news media.
Fortunately, this is not going to happen. Read more…
A complete halt to all nuclear weapons testing is within reach. The testing of nuclear weapons is already prohibited under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996.
The problem is that not enough countries have yet ratified the treaty for it to enter into force. Along with 159 other governments, the nuclear-weapon-possessing states that have ratified the treaty so far are Great Britain, France, and Russia, while the US and China are still reluctant to do so, for who knows what reason (www.ctbto.org ). Read more…
[IPPNW's International Council adopted the following statement on the Gaza crisis at its meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan on August 29.]
IPPNW World Congress
28th August 2014
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) received the Nobel Prize in 1985 for creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war and advocating prevention by abolishing nuclear weapons. It was essentially a universal public health project and an exercise in preventive medicine. IPPNW continues to advocate the same humanitarian principles.
IPPNW is extremely concerned that the ongoing military conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is not only undermining nuclear disarmament regionally and globally but also resulting in massive urban destruction and the mounting loss of civilian lives. Unless the root causes of the conflict are addressed, it will recur. Read more…