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Dear Nuclear Abolition Friends,
Janet Bloomfield and Pamela Meidell
"We came because of our nightmares.
We stayed because of our dream."
--the women of Greenham Common
Total grade on progress toward nuclear abolition: 20 out of 120 points.
(For comparison, the 1996 report card scored 31/110, the 1997 card: 7/120, the 1998 card: 16/120, the 1999 card: 12/120. (The discrepancy in total points is due to the inclusion since 1997 of the Moorea Declaration.) The five-year review on progress toward nuclear abolition, Must Try Harder, produced for the NPT Review Conference in 2000, scored 29/120 points.)
Introduction: For the last four years, we have issued an Abolition 2000 report card in October, assessing progress toward a nuclear weapons free world. Five years after the Abolition Statement was released at the United Nations, we pause again to take stock of the state of the Nuclear World, and of efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. Looking at this year's events in the context of the Abolition 2000 Statement offers a simple way to make such an evaluation. This Report Card offers a brief assessment of progress in the past year in the implementation of the 11 points of the Abolition Statement, and compliance with the letter and spirit of the Moorea Declaration. We offer it on United Nations Day, October 24, to recall the initial promise of the UN Charter: "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." We keep in mind our future descendants, knowing that the elimination of nuclear weapons will go far in fulfilling our promise to them.
- Immediately initiate and conclude by the year 2000 negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a timebound framework, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement.
Report: The most significant event in relation to this goal in the last year was the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). From April 24 to May 19, representatives of 187 countries and at least as many representatives of civil society organizations from around the world gathered at the United Nations in New York to review the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). By May 19, the five senior nuclear weapons countries (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) committed to an "unequivocal undertaking " to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals," thus clearly accepting their responsibility under Article VI. Although they did not set a deadline for this worthy goal, they did agree to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in world security. The conference also called upon India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba to join the treaty, thus making it "universal." The increasing concerns of non-nuclear weapons states that the nuclear weapons states are not fulfilling their disarmament agreements led to a much stronger effort and a unified call for action. The US remains the biggest "state of concern:" Department of Energy documents made public at the meeting revealed the US intention to keep its nuclear weapons "forever." 36,000 nuclear weapons and the doctrine of deterrence are still with us. But the world is inching closer to being free of nuclear weapons, thanks to the persistent efforts of citizen groups and courageous non-nuclear weapon states, such as the New Agenda Coalition (Aotearoa/New Zealand, Ireland, Egypt, Mexico, Sweden, Brazil, South Africa.)
The final document of the NPT, if implemented with a sense of urgency, would transform the current situation. But without any deadlines, or at least serious political will behind its goals, it is in danger of going the way of so many documents agreed at the UN that remain as aspirations never achieved. There is still much to be done. The choices that will be made in the next few years will be crucial.
Grade: 3 out of 10.
- Immediately make an unconditional pledge not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.
Report: It is hard to reconcile the Final Document of the NPT Review Conference with the continuation of first use policies. The contradiction between the NPT Final Document and NATO policy is an opportunity to increase pressure on the alliance as it reviews its nuclear policy. NATO is due to receive a report in December 2000 that will consider "options for confidence and security- building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament." (NATO Communiqué 24 April 1999). The final document of the NPT commits the nuclear weapons states to "Diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security policies." It is hard to see how this commitment can be reconciled with existing policy in NATO nuclear states, as well as current Russian policy. China still remains the only state with a public policy in place of no first use, while India appears to have adopted it as part of its nuclear posture.
Grade: 1 out of 10.
- Rapidly complete a truly Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) with a zero threshold and with the stated purpose of precluding nuclear weapons development by all states.
Report: The fallout from the failure of the US Senate to ratify the CTBT in 1999 continues. Newly elected President Putin of Russia seized the opportunity of a more sympathetic Duma to get the CTBT ratified by his country in April, thus putting political pressure on the US as the NPT Review Conference opened. But there is little sign of progress in this year of a US Presidential election. Brajesh Mishra, National Security Advisor of India, announced on September 2 that his country had no intention of signing a global treaty banning atomic testing in the near future. Alongside India, Pakistan and North Korea, the US has become the major obstacle to the entry into force of the Treaty. (See also number 7.)
Grade: 0 out of 10.
- Cease to produce and deploy new and additional nuclear weapons systems, and commence to withdraw and disable deployed nuclear weapons systems.
Report: The world survived unscathed as computers rolled over to the date 01/01/2000. Whether this quiet passage over the threshold occurred through luck or good judgement it is difficult to know. The joint arrangements between Russia and the US may have helped, although in the days following the New Year celebrations stories emerged of a number of incidents that could have led to much greater problems than actually happened. Sadly, the Center for Y2K Strategic Stability, a 'safety catch' on US and Russian nuclear arsenals, was closed soon after the "rollover." The Center, where Americans and Russians sat side by side on the eve of the millennium, monitored both nations' arsenals, which even now are kept ready to fire on a "hair trigger."
Earlier this year it was revealed that the US strategic war plan target list has actually been growing instead of contracting since the last strategic arms reduction treaty, START II, was signed in 1993. The list has grown by 20 percent over the last five years alone, according to top military and former administration officials. The vast bulk of the targets are in Russia. Three other former republics of the Soviet Union -- Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan -- were dropped from the strategic plan in 1997, yet the list of sites the Pentagon says the US must be ready to destroy has grown from 2,500 in 1995 to 3,000 now. In the United States, modifications or upgrades -- including in some instances enhanced military capabilities -- are planned for every weapon type in the arsenal. While the United States continues to outspend all the other nuclear weapons states in developing new infrastructure for nuclear weapons development, the others have not been idle. In particular, the United Kingdom is actively colluding with the US and France to maintain and develop their respective nuclear arsenals through an extensive cooperative effort on nuclear weapons research and development. When we consider this and the fact that no nuclear weapons systems have been withdrawn from service this year, the situation looks bleak indeed.
The dominating debate of the year in relation to new weapons systems developed around US plans to deploy a National Missile Defense (NMD) system. This "Son of Star Wars" is designed to shoot down incoming nuclear missiles. Supposed threats from "rogue states," (retermed by the US State Department this summer as "states of concern"), were used to justify deploying this system. Technical, economic and political criticism of NMD has grown over the year. Russia and China have made clear their objections and the dangers of unleashing a new nuclear arms race. European criticism has been more muted, although President Chirac of France and Chancellor Schroder of Germany made public and trenchant criticism of it in Berlin in June. To many people's surprise President Clinton announced on September 1 that he would leave to his successor the decision on whether to deploy a National Missile Defense system. In a speech at Georgetown University, Clinton told his audience that "the system as a whole is not yet proven." But the issue of missile defense has not gone away. In the same speech, Clinton mandated a 'robust' program of continued nuclear development and testing, including 16 more tests at US $100 million each.
Grade: 0 out of 10.
- Prohibit the military and commercial production and reprocessing of all weapons-usable radioactive materials.
Report: The nuclear industry's troubles continued to pile as high as the mountains of nuclear waste it has produced in the last twelve months. Scandals over falsification of records have dogged British Nuclear Fuels relations with its customers in Japan and Germany. At the OSPAR (Oslo-Paris) talks in Europe in June, Norway and Ireland made clear their determination to stop all discharges into the sea from both Sellafield, England and La Hague, France. But true to form, the nuclear industry is still trying to promote itself. The European Community approved a loan program costing up to US $1 billion on September 6 to help fund two new nuclear reactors at Khmelnitsky and Rivne to replace the unsafe Chernobyl plant when it closes at the end of the year. The closure of the Chernobyl plant, 14 years after the world's worst environmental disaster, will be hollow indeed if this plan goes ahead.
The Fissile Material Cut Off talks at the Conference in Disarmament (CD) in Geneva are stuck in part because the Chinese wish to link progress on this issue with the negotiation of an agreement on the weaponization of space. They feel that if the NMD system is introduced it will mean that they will need to produce more nuclear warheads (and thus more fissile material) to maintain their "deterrent." Arguments about whether or not existing stocks of nuclear material should be included with the prohibition of new production have further prevented progress. Once again the CD was unable to agree on a program of work for 2000.
Grade: 1 out of 10.
- Subject all weapons-usable radioactive materials and nuclear facilities in all states to international accounting, monitoring, and safeguards, and establish a public international registry of all weapons-usable radioactive materials.
Report: In point 10 of the 13 practical steps agreed in the Final Document of the NPT Review Conference this May, nuclear weapons states agreed to place under international verification all fissile material no longer required for military purposes. However we still do not know the details of these stocks worldwide. All nuclear weapons states need to follow the 1998 initiative of the UK when it announced the details of its stocks of weapons-usable radioactive materials.
Grade: 0 out of 10.
- Prohibit nuclear weapons research, design, development, and testing through laboratory experiments including but not limited to non-nuclear hydrodynamic explosions and computer simulations, subject all nuclear weapons laboratories to international monitoring, and close all nuclear test sites.
Report: The US "subcritical" nuclear test program grinds on with little sign of abatement. In the last twelve months, five sub-critical tests have been conducted deep underground at the Nevada Test Site. It is believed that subcritical tests also are being conducted in steel tanks, above ground, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Los Alamos Lab Director, John Browne, recently admitted that unannounced subcritical tests would be impossible to detect. On the island of Novaya Zemlya, Russia carried out three subcritical tests in August and September. It is believed that France also is conducting subcritical tests at one of its nuclear weapons laboratories.
Over the past year, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, was plagued by huge cost overruns, allegations of gross mismanagement and technical problems, thus raising the hopes of NIF opponents that the project could be halted. Unfortunately, however, a campaign narrowly focussed on budgetary and technical concerns, which for the most part avoided dealing with the NIF's central purpose, backfired badly, and the Congress ultimately responded by actually increasing funding for the project. If the NIF -- and indeed the entire Stockpile Stewardship program -- is to be stopped, it will have to be challenged directly on the grounds that it is anti-disarmament and proliferation provocative, and is fundamentally incompatible with global security and the nuclear disarmament obligations undertaken in the NPT as reinforced in this year's Review Conference Final Document. (See also number 3)
Grade: 0 out of 10.
- Create additional nuclear weapons free zones (NWFZs) such as those established by the treaties of Tlatelolco and Rarotonga.
Report: "At a time when over 30,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world, NWFZs offer one of the few activities open to non-nuclear-weapon states, not just to quarantine themselves from the nuclear contagion, but to pool their efforts to resist it." Thus spoke Jayantha Dhanapala, the UN Under-Secretary-General of the Department for Disarmament Affairs in September at an international conference in Sweden on "NWFZs: Crucial Steps towards a Nuclear-Free World." Over 50 scholars, activists, diplomats from six continents called for establishing such zones as a transitional step on the way to nuclear abolition. Meanwhile, the Green Party in Aotearoa/New Zealand has launched an initiative to extend its country's historic nuclear free legislation to include all waters in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone. If taken up by other countries in the Pacific, it would complicate the ability of nuclear powered and armed ships to navigate its waters. Efforts are also underway to link the existing NWFZs, and add to them, to create a true nuclear weapon free zone in the Southern Hemisphere. In the US, Las Vegas declared itself a nuclear free zone, confirming its citizens' commitment not to become the route to the nation's nuclear waste dump. Local groups see this declaration as the first step toward the creation of the Nuclear Free Great Basin (of North America).
Grade: 1 out of 10.
- Recognize and declare the illegality of threat or use of nuclear weapons, publicly and before the World Court.
Report: Citizens around the globe continue to use the historic 1996 opinion of the International Court of Justice to push for nuclear abolition and the dismantling of the nuclear infrastructure. Groups have been especially emboldened by the breakthrough case in Scotland last year, where three anti-nuclear activists were acquitted after having damaged the research infrastructure for Trident submarines at the UK base in Faslane, Scotland. The judgement of Sheriff Gimblett in the case is currently under review in the Scottish High Court. In the US, five nuns who conducted a plowshares action against the US Space Command in Colorado, faced up to eight years in prison if convicted of a felony. In a surprising turn of events, their case was dismissed before they could even present a defense.
Grade: 6 out of 10.
- Establish an international energy agency to promote and support the development of sustainable and environmentally safe energy sources.
Report: This summer the North Pole became clear of ice for the first time in over 50 million years, a sobering fact that underlines the need for sustainable energy. Nuclear power cannot supply the answer despite attempts by some governments and the industry to convince the public that it can. Global warming is in itself threatening to many nuclear installations. In February, British Government scientists and experts in the nuclear industry warned that many areas predicted to be underwater by 2025 coincide with key nuclear installations. This problem is not just confined to Britain. On December 27, while Hurricane Lothar was sweeping France, the nuclear power plant on the Gironde River, Le Blayais, was flooded. Unfortunately the doors opened towards the inside, and so they could not be shut against the outside to let the water out. Nothing terrible happened, but it took some days to evacuate the water. Who knows what may happen in the future as extreme weather events in low lying areas increase?
Fortunately the case for solar, wind and wave energy gets stronger by the month. Companies and government are daily moving in the direction of renewables. Texaco has invested US $67 million in Energy Conversion Inc. (ECD). BP Amoco has invested US $100 million in the American green-electricity company, Green Mountain Power, and completed its 100th service-station solar panel installation. The British government's budget this summer included a tax cut of 12.5% (from 17.5% to 5 %) on the installation of solar cell systems. The Japanese will spend US $266 million on its ongoing program for the Promotion of Photo Voltaic (PV) Systems, which aims to install 70,000 solar PV roofs in Japan by 2004. Japanese solar companies have scaled up their manufacturing significantly in response to the program.
Grade: 2 out of 10.
- Create mechanisms to ensure the participation of citizens and NGOs in planning and monitoring the process of nuclear weapons abolition.
Report: This year the Abolition 2000 network has grown to over 2040 organizations and municipalities in over 95 countries. At the NPT Review Conference, citizen groups worked in partnership with the New Agenda Coalition delegations (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Aotearoa/New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden) to promote the abolitionist agenda, but were still excluded from many of the sessions. The number of Citizen Weapons Inspection teams attempting to implement the 1996 ICJ opinion at nuclear facilities around the world continues to grow. In August, Pax Christi led an inspection of Yorktown Naval Weapons Station in Virginia. When inspectors were not admitted, a blockade shut down the base for an hour. The possibilities of what concerted action by citizens can achieve were dramatically shown on April 8 at Greenham Common in Britain, when the fence was finally removed at the former US nuclear Cruise Missile base there. In the 1980s Greenham Common was the base for US Cruise Missiles, deployed in Europe as part of NATO's strategy for fighting a "limited nuclear war." Women from all over Britain and farther afield camped outside in non-violent resistance. On some occasions over 30,000 women gathered to "Embrace the Base" and envision a world free of nuclear weapons. The last Cruise Missiles left in 1991 as part of the INF (intermediate-range nuclear forces) Treaty of 1987. Since then local people of all political persuasions have worked to see the Common restored. On April 8, 2000 the dream became reality when the base was finally opened with an invitation to take down the nine-mile fence surrounding it. Greenham Common is once again a place for wildlife, the free grazing of cattle, picnics and play. Plans are going forward to commemorate the Women's Peace Camps with a stone circle and garden outside the Main Gate.
Grade: 5 out of 10
From the Moorea Declaration: "The anger and tears of colonized peoples arise from the fact that there was no consultation, no consent, no involvement in the decision when their lands, air and waters were taken for the nuclear build-up, from the very start of the nuclear era.... Colonized and indigenous peoples have, in the large part, borne the brunt of this nuclear devastation.... We reaffirm... that indigenous and colonized peoples must be central... in decisions relating to the nuclear weapons cycle -- and especially in the abolition of nuclear weapons in all aspects. The inalienable right to self-determination, sovereignty and independence is crucial in allowing all peoples of the world to join in the common struggle to rid the planet forever of nuclear weapons."
Report: For those familiar with the exploitation of colonized and indigenous people by the military powers of the world, it will come as no surprise that the main testing grounds for the US planned National Missile Defense system are on the lands of the native American Chumash people at Vandenberg Air Force base in California, and in the Marshall Islands at Kwajelein atoll in the Pacific. If NMD is ever deployed, the system will include bases in Alaska and Greenland, on indigenous lands. Representatives of the world's 152,000 Inuit people condemned US plans for deployment of the NMD system when they met at the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in Nuuk, Greenland, on August 6, 2000. Inuit peoples live in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Russia, and their homelands will host new military infrastructure in several places across the Arctic under NMD plans.
In Australia, aboriginal people continue to resist the uranium mines at Jabiluka in Kakadu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Western Shoshone people and their supporters have issued a call to create a Nuclear Free Great Basin in North America. Their call states in part: "The Great Basin bio-region is a beautiful, diverse and fragile area stretching through five states. Home to strong indigenous people and cultures, high mountainous alpine lakes and forests, as well as many endangered and threatened plants and wildlife. Sadly, this land has experienced the deadly effects of nuclear weapons testing as well as the disposal of radioactive and toxic waste in leaking dumps. Now is the time to create a Nuclear Free Great Basin." Western Shoshone land is home to the US nuclear test site and the proposed high level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.
Grade: 1 out of 10
Total grade: 20 out of 120
Conclusions: The dangers of continuing reliance on destructive weapons systems for our "security" was brought into sharp relief when 118 Russian submariners were killed in August as the pride of their navy -- the Kursk -- was wrecked in the Barents Sea. The Cold War mentality of secrecy combined with national pride and the hangover of the old Soviet culture combined to create great anger in Russia, and shock around the world. The Kursk tragedy was an awful reminder of the human cost of militarism. The deaths serve as a warning to us all that we cannot ignore the perils of our nuclear world and the new dangers developing. If President Clinton had decided to go ahead with NMD, he would have opened the way to the destruction of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the withdrawal of Russia from further nuclear disarmament and an arms race with the Chinese. These possibilities still exist if a new President decides to give NMD the go-ahead, and should activate increased opposition at both the citizen and governmental levels.
We still need to heed Albert Einstein's prophetic reminder of April 1947: "For there is no secret and there is no defense, there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world." Although Abolition 2000 has been insisting on nuclear abolition for five years, our goal of concluding negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention by the end of this year appears remote. The goal is worthy and achievable. But we need the support and clamoring of the world's citizens.
As Helen Clark, Prime Minister of Aotearoa/New Zealand said in a recent speech: "Public opinion worldwide must be mobilized again as it was in the 1980s. Non-governmental organizations must play a vital role, working alongside committed governments. . The world must not retreat to the days when the doctrine of nuclear armament and deterrence seemed unchangeable. Perhaps our greatest challenge is complacency. We must take the opportunities that are available in this new century of globalization to prevent a renewed nuclear arms race and to work for disarmament. We all have a stake in the security of the 21st century, and we must all work together to eliminate the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction as we strive to free our world from the fear of the catastrophe of war."
This edition of the Abolition 2000 Report Card is dedicated to Mordechai Vanunu. Its production was made possible with financial support from the EarthWays Foundation and the Lifebridge Foundation.
Copyright © 2000 The Atomic Mirror Any or all parts of this report may be freely copied and distributed, with proper acknowledgement of the source. As a courtesy, please send copies containing any reprinted material to:
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Adobe pdf version designed by Clare Yerbury, c y graphics and training. Written and compiled by Janet Bloomfield and Pamela S. Meidell (with thanks to abolition colleagues for contributions, comments, and suggestions), October 24, 2000.
[Janet Bloomfield <firstname.lastname@example.org> is the British Coordinator of the Atomic Mirror and a consultant to the Oxford Research Group in Oxford, England; Pamela S. Meidell <email@example.com> is the founder/director of the Atomic Mirror in Port Hueneme, California. Both have been involved with Abolition 2000 since its conception.]
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Pamela S. Meidell
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