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International Community Starts Call for US to Ban All Nuclear Explosions

Sputnik – 21.10.2017

For over 20 years, the US has been signatory but not party to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a 1996 UN ban on all nuclear explosions, for any purpose. With nuclear weapons back in the international spotlight, nonproliferation advocates have called on the US Senate to at last ratify the treaty.

Six of the nine nuclear states have not passed the CTBT: China, India, Israel (although Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons), North Korea, Pakistan and the United States. France, Russia and the United Kingdom are the only nuclear states to have signed and ratified the treaty — but the treaty can only go into effect when all 44 Annex 2 countries, nations that had or were researching nuclear power, ratify the treaty. In addition to the six nuclear state holdouts, Egypt and Iran are also Annex 2 states that have not ratified. The other 36 have done so.

Hans Blix, who once headed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), expressed skepticism that the US would ever pass the treaty, because Washington wished to keep “freedom of action for the United States.” He pushed for the US Senate to ratify the treaty, as it was signed by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Bans of nuclear tests “should be the least difficult of all arms control issues,” Blix said to the press on Wednesday.

​On Sputnik Radio’s Loud and Clear, hosts Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek spoke to two prominent figures in the nonproliferation movement: Greg Mello, the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear disarmament advocacy organization; and Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste watchdog with anti-nuclear power and nuclear weapon organization Beyond Nuclear.

Kamps chastised former US President Barack Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress of 2009-2010 for not ratifying the treaty. “It’s not so easy to ratify a treaty,” said Mello. “You need two thirds, in other words, you need 67 [US Senate votes]. Complicating it is that there are some Democrats that are part of the ‘war party.’ Whenever an arms control treaty comes into the Senate, there the war party — in both political parties — wants to attach conditions: benefits to the arms contractors and to the nuclear weapons labs. They demand a very high ransom for ratifying any treaty, and so the ransom required for the CTBT signing was the resuscitation of the nuclear weapons establishment after its bad years after the end of the Cold War.”

Mello also discussed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed by the two largest nuclear powers, Russia and the US, in 2010. The treaty was meant to limit nuclear missiles, bombers and launchers. To pass it through the US Senate, Mello said, “the ransom required was basically the modernization and renewal of every single warhead and every single delivery system in the US stockpile, along with the factories.”

“So in other words, the Republicans, which held New START hostage, got everything they possibly could have gotten. To get that thing ratified, the cost ended up being so high that it can completely obviate the original purpose of the treaty, which was thought to be a step by some toward nuclear disarmament. But if you’re adding nuclear armament to get the treaty signed, then you can end up going one step forward, two steps back.”

“There’s a war party,” Kamps agreed. “It has its clutches in the United States Senate and it certainly has its clutches in the Pentagon. There are elements of our government, elements of our military that really like to have that option of nuclear weapons.”

They like it enough, Kamps goes on to say, to openly lie to the American people. “You know, from the early 60s until the early 90s, it turns out — we just found out from the National Security Archives a few years ago — that a lot of those underground [nuclear] tests leaked into the environment. Something like a third of the tests in the United States, a third of the tests in the Soviet Union, a third of the tests perhaps even in a place like China, were leaking through cracks and fissures — and sometimes even intentional venting of the radioactive contamination.”

“All the countries helped the others keep it secret for fear that their domestic populations would then start asking questions about their own nuclear weapons testing. The CIA, for example, helped to keep the Soviet and Russian underground test leaks quiet so that Americans would not ask any questions here about our own.”

Although the heyday of nuclear testing has ended, Mello claims that the tests continue in the form of subcritical tests. These are tests that use a very small amount of fissile material, such as uranium or plutonium, that cannot sustain a chain reaction. These “nuclear tests which don’t involve the significant fission yield are nonetheless nuclear tests just the same,” said Mello, “and they’re taking place in Nevada and also Novaya Zemlya [in Russia] and in the laboratories. With combining the data from these [subcritical] tests with computer models and very fast computers that are available to both countries, fast enough in Russia and plenty fast here, too, it is possible to get a lot of data and do a lot of nuclear weapon design.”

In other words, the superpowers stopped test-detonating monstrous bombs because advances in computer technology meant they no longer needed to. The US and Russia can keep their arsenals cutting-edge without exploding megaton-yield devices as they once did.

Kamps adds that there is a “trillion dollar nuclear modernization plan, under first Obama and now under Trump. They’re dabbling with new designs: new military applications, new military uses. It’s very dangerous, very problematic… we’re really in a race against time to try to abolish these weapons before they abolish us.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lavrov: US Inability to Ratify Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Raises Questions

Sputnik – 26.04.2017

MOSCOW – The United States’ and other countries’ inability sign an international nuclear test ban treaty raises questions in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at an international security conference Wednesday.

“More and more questions are caused by the unwillingness or the inability of the United States and a number of other states to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [CTBT],” Lavrov said.

In September 2016, late Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaliy Churkin said that Russia hopes that the next US president will be more committed to ratification by his country of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty which had been already ratified by Moscow.

The CTBT was finalized in 1996 and has been signed by the United States and 182 other countries. It was ratified by 166 countries but is yet to be ratified in Washington. To enter into force, the CTBT requires ratification by all 44 states listed in the annex. At present, the treaty is ratified by 36 countries, including the three nuclear weapons possessor states — Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty provides for a legally binding global prohibition against nuclear explosive tests or any other nuclear explosions.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Russia Hopes Next US President to Push for Ratification of Nuclear Test Ban

Sputnik – 23.09.2016

Russia hopes that the next US president will be more committed to ratification by his country of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which Moscow has already ratified, Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaliy Churkin said Friday.

“We hope that the next president of the United States will be more strident in his commitment to [CTBT] ratification,” Churkin said at the UN General Assembly noting that Washington failed to ratify the treaty under the administration of President Barack Obama.

Earlier in the day, UN Security Council has adopted a resolution in support of the early enforcement of the CTBT.

The CTBT was finalized in 1996 and has been signed by the United States and 182 other countries. It was ratified by 166 countries but is yet to be ratified in Washington.

To enter into force, the CTBT requires ratification by all 44 states listed in the annex.

At present, the treaty is ratified by 36 countries, including the three nuclear weapons possessor states — Russia, France and the United Kingdom. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty provides for a legally binding global prohibition against nuclear explosive tests or any other nuclear explosions.

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Israel not ready to ratify nuclear test ban treaty: Netanyahu

Press TV – June 21, 2016

Israel, which is widely believed to possess hundreds of atomic bombs, says it is not yet ready to ratify a UN pact on banning nuclear tests adopted nearly 20 years ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Organization, on Monday that Tel Aviv’s ratification of the pact is dependent on regional developments.

The treaty, which will ban all nuclear explosions, was signed in 1996, but will only go into effect when it has been ratified by all parties that possessed a nuclear reactor or some nuclear technology.

Israel is widely believed to have between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads, though it refuses to confirm or deny its existence under a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

The regime has also refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), denying international access to its atomic arsenal.

The issue of ratification “is dependent on the regional context and on the appropriate timing,” the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Obama Accused Russia of Showing No Interest in Nuke Reduction

Sputnik – May 23, 2016

US President Barack Obama tried to show Russia in a bad light when he said that Moscow is not doing enough to reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons, but Russia has many reasons for not accepting Washington’s initiative, Svobodnaya Pressa asserted.

“The US president mentioned Russia, but preferred not to name other members of the official nuclear club, including China, the United Kingdom and France,” the media outlet noted, pointing out that several other nations are believed to have nuclear weapons, including India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

Another major reason for Russia to keep its nukes intact involves Washington. The US has not ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear weapons in all environments. Moscow ratified the deal in 2000, but CTBT will only enter force when all signatories ratify it.

In addition, Moscow, according to the Svobodnaya Pressa, has to consider the funds that the US allocates for defense purposes – nearly $600 billion a year. Washington’s “gargantuan” military budget, as analyst Finian Cunningham described it, exceeds those of other big spenders, including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, Germany, Japan and India.

But this is not the whole picture – alliances and affiliations also matter.”Three of these countries [France, the UK and Germany] are NATO members, while Japan has been a longtime US ally. This means that the gap [in military spending] between the US and Russia is even wider,” the media outlet explained.

Last week, Obama told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK that “we can go further” in reducing the stockpiles of Russian and US nuclear weapons “but so far Russia has not shown its self interest in doing more.”

Russian lawmaker Vyacheslav Tetekin pointed out that the US foreign policy is “disingenuous.”

“Any disarmament initiatives launched by US hawks, who are pretending to be ‘doves of peace,’ serve merely as an instrument designed to weaken their opponents. The Pentagon is making every effort to deploy its missile defense system, upgrading its nuclear weapons. Meanwhile they are offering Moscow to stop,” he said.

Earlier this month, the US-made Aegis Ashore base became operational in Romania. The site is part of a larger initiative aimed at creating a missile shield to cover the US and Europe from Iranian ballistic missiles. Russian officials have called the system a threat to the country, as well as global security.In this context, Moscow has no other option than to keep its nukes. Defense analyst Mikhail Alexandrov noted that Russia’s “nuclear weapons guarantee the country’s national security.”

Read more: Kim Jong Un Vows to Avoid Using Nukes Unless Sovereignty Violated

May 24, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia Regrets Certain Countries’ Unwillingness to Ratify Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Sputnik – 11.04.2016

Russia regrets that a number of countries, including those trying to position themselves as global leaders, have yet to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the Russian President said Monday.

Moscow calls on world leaders to join the treaty and prohibit nuclear explosive tests, Vladimir Putin stressed.

“The unwillingness of these countries to become full parties to the treaty is cause for serious regret, especially given the fact that some of them claim to be leaders and to practically hold special powers in dealing with global security issues. We again call on their leaders to show real political will and join CTBT as soon as possible,” Putin said in a statement.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 1996.

All five nuclear weapons states as recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons — the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, are signatories to the treaty.

The treaty, aiming to create a legally binding prohibition on nuclear explosive tests for all its parties, will enter into force when China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States ratify it.

April 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel has no excuse to refrain from ratifying CTBT: UN

Press TV – January 29, 2016

A senior UN official says Israel is now left without an excuse to evade ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) after a nuclear deal between Iran and the West.

Lassina Zerbo, the executive secretary of the CTBT Organization, said with the implementation of the nuclear deal, Israel’s biggest pretext for refraining from ratifying the CTBT has been taken away.

He made the remarks to a week-long conference marking the 20th anniversary of the treaty being opened for signing in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has 196 members but the treaty has not entered into force because it still needs ratification by nuclear-armed signatories such as the US, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Zerbo said Israel is “the closest” of the signatories to ratifying the treaty and assuring the world it will never conduct a nuclear test explosion.

That is because “the biggest threat for Israel is gone and over” after Iran reached a nuclear agreement with the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany in July, he said.

An open secret for decades, the Israeli atomic stockpile is estimated at some 200-400 warheads, though Israel refuses to confirm or deny its existence under a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

Israel is also refusing to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and denying international access to its atomic arsenal.

Zerbo said he is hoping to visit Israel and talk to its leaders although he doesn’t expect immediate results on ratification.

“I think that they’re the ones who can unlock what is stopping the CTBT from moving,” he said.

Zerbo is also hoping to visit Iran, which signed CTBT in 1996, to convince the country to ratify the treaty.

The Islamic Republic says its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity. The country is an NPT signatory and its nuclear facilities are open to regular UN inspections which have not found any diversion.

Zerbo, however, said if both Iran and Israel signed CTBT, it would “provide momentum — first for Egypt to ratify the CTBT and then to start negotiations for a nuclear test-free zone in the Middle East.”

“You can’t jump and get a weapon-free zone in the Middle East if the CTBT isn’t ratified,” he said.

Israel’s arsenal is the only obstacle to a Middle East free of nuclear weapons because no country possesses a nuclear arsenal in the region other than the Tel Aviv regime.

Zerbo also said China won’t ratify the CTBT before the US, India won’t ratify before China, and Pakistan won’t ratify before India. He also emphasized that US action is crucial in this regard.

He said North Korea is the least likely country to ratify the CTBT.

The UN official said the international community needs to change the way it engages with North Korea.

“What they need at this point in time is… maybe a bit of respect and dignity in the dialogue we have with them.”

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia and nuclear disarmament

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the UK, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011) | RT | March 28, 2015

One of the most important tasks in the field of international security is to free the world from the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.

Russia is constantly advocating for further limitations and reductions of nuclear weapons stockpiles, along with strengthening international regimes of arms control and non-proliferation. One of the examples in the field of nuclear disarmament is the Russia-US START treaty, which entered into force in 2011. Under this treaty, the sides committed themselves to limiting their nuclear arsenals by one-third compared to previous agreements.

Further dialogue on nuclear disarmament, held both bilaterally and internationally, could only be successful if the core principle of international security is observed – i.e. that the security of one country should not be strengthened at the expense of another. Unfortunately, what is happening now on the international scene is a far cry from what the international community was striving for. Among other things that affect global stability and deterrence, trust between Russia and the West is diminishing. Some of the critical Russian concerns are left unaddressed.

They include an unconditional resolve of our partners to build systems of ballistic missile defense throughout the world, primarily in Europe, along with reluctance to engage in serious dialogue on issues related to the Russian initiative on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space, and an ongoing uncontrolled build-up of conventional weapons along with efforts to develop such systems that can deliver a precision-guided conventional weapons airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour, known as Prompt Global Strike. It is also worth mentioning that disparity in conventional weapons in Europe is increasing, something that consequently provokes an unnecessary arms race on the continent.

Further nuclear disarmament would be impossible without all countries with corresponding potential being involved in that process. It can’t exclusively rely on the efforts by Russia and the US. For that to happen, a greater importance should also be attached to the earliest ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Some states, including the US, have still not ratified it, blocking its entry into force. Signing and ratifying the CTBT should become an imperative of contemporary international relations, for it will contribute to the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Global stability and nuclear deterrence remain the facts that we have to live with. Without trust and consensus, the current challenges in the field of nuclear disarmament are doomed to persist for a foreseeable future. Hopefully, the time will come, sooner rather than later, when nuclear disarmament issues are properly addressed based on respect and trust among nations.

March 30, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US making ‘no practical steps’ to ratify Nuclear Test Ban Treaty – Russia

RT | March 27, 2015

Moscow has slammed Washington for taking “no practical steps” to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) – despite countless promises to do so – and consequently preventing the important international treaty from going into force.

“The main load of responsibility that the CTBT has not entered into force so far lies on the eight remaining countries from the so-called ‘list of 44’ whose ratification documents are needed to launch the treaty,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry stressed that “first of all, this refers to the US, a country that positions itself as a leader in the sphere of strengthening the regime of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.”

“Unfortunately, despite the repeated statements on the plans to ratify the Treaty, the US has yet taken no practical steps in this direction,” the statement said.

Moscow also praised Angola for ratifying the CTBT on March 20. The African nation was the 164th country to confirm the treaty.

“Such a decision of Luanda (Angola’s capital) certainly brings the CTBT closer to a universal status and contributes to its turning into a valid international-legal tool,” the ministry said.

The statement stressed that Russia’s “continuous commitment to the CTBT and the readiness to secure its speedy entry into legal force.”

“We once again call on all the states that have not yet signed or not ratified the Treaty to do it without delay or preconditions,” it said.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is a multilateral agreement banning all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes.

The CTBT was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 1996. However, nearly two decades later, it has not entered into force due to non-ratification by eight countries.

The US, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel have signed the deal, but not ratified it. North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the treaty.

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nukes Now

Obama Worse Than Reagan

By Steve Breyman | CounterPunch | March 6, 2014

Heads-up, veterans of the nuclear freeze movement in the US, the anti-Euromissile campaigns in Western Europe, and the various anti-nuclear weapons efforts in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Incoming.

We spent much of the eighties resisting Ronald Reagan’s new Cold War, and his new nuclear weapons of all shapes and sizes. We pushed back against his giant ‘defense’ budgets and countered his harrowing rhetoric. We knew Star Wars was a scam, and the MX missile a danger. We grimaced at his appointments to key policymaking positions, and scoffed at his insincere arms control efforts.

In the end, we prevailed (after a sort). We get much of the credit for preventing planetary incineration that seemed frighteningly close at the time (Gorbachev deserves some too). Professional activists, Plowshares heroes, and a handful of stalwart others stayed in the anti-nuclear weapons movement trenches. Although nukes were not abolished with the end of the Cold War, most of the rest of us nonetheless moved on to fight other evils, and to work on one or more better world construction projects.

It’s time to return. President Obama released his FY 2015 budget on Tuesday, March 4. Ready for this? It asks for considerably more money (in constant dollars) for nuclear weapons maintenance, design and production than Reagan spent in 1985, the historical peak of spending on nukes: $8.608 billion dollars, not counting administrative costs (see graph below). The Los Alamos Study Group crunched the numbers for us.
breymangraf
Next year’s request tops this year’s by 7%. Should the President’s new Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative be approved, yet $504 million more would be available for warhead spending. The OGSI is $56 billion over and above the spending agreed to in the December 2013 two-year budget (unlikely to pass given that it’s an election year, would be paid for by increased taxes on the retirement funds of the rich, and reduced spending in politically dicey areas like crop insurance).

Increased lucre for the nuclear weapons complex maintains Obama’s inconsistency on the Bomb. He wrote his senior thesis at Columbia on the arms race and the nuclear freeze campaign. Two months after his first inauguration, he uttered these words in Prague: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The Pentagon’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review promised to avoid “new military missions or . . . new military capabilities” for nuclear weapons (don’t laugh, you’d be surprised how imaginative those guys can be). 2011 was even better: Obama signed the New START Treaty. It limits the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to 1550, a 30% decrease from the previous START Treaty, signed in 2002. New START also lowered limits on the number of launch platforms — ICBMs, ballistic missile launching subs, and nuke-equipped bombers.

At the same time, his State Department refuses—under first Hilary Clinton and now John Kerry—to present the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification out of timidity over expected resistance (never mind that the US has essentially figured out ways to circumvent the Treaty’s spirit if not letter; the CTB was once the ‘holy grail’ for arms control and disarmament advoates).

That same State Department refrains—under both Hilary Clinton and John Kerry—from getting tough with Pakistan over its years-long obstruction of United Nations-sponsored negotiations over a global ban on the stuff needed to make bombs. (Pakistan is the country building them faster than any other; how about: ‘we’ll ground the killer drones in exchange for a fissile material cut-off?’). And Obama now wants to outspend Reagan on nuclear weapons maintenance, design and production.

Winding down nuclear weapons spending, and eventually abolishing the things (for which no negotiations are underway) has been the right thing to do since the first bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert in 1945. State Department support for the coup in Ukraine and the resultant saber rattling (echoes of August 1914?) make it as urgent as ever.

Steve Breyman was 2011-12 William C. Foster Visiting Scholar Fellow in the Euro-Atlantic Security Affairs Office of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance at the US Department of State where he worked fruitlessly on reforming nuclear weapons policy.

March 7, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment