Sweden’s Chance For Leading A Nuclear Weapons Free World.

Swedish people old enough to remember this newspaper headline from decades ago might feel a certain level of deja vu – when faced with the choice of joining the 2017 Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

he Scandinavian nation of Sweden has a fascinating history when it comes to its population strenuously debating and then rejecting unwanted forms of weapons of mass destruction. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is urging the people of Sweden to achieve the impossible, – again – by overcoming the odds and opposition from powerful weapons manufacturer lobbies, and signing the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

Swedes went through an at-times heated national conversation, resulting in the people deciding against the production and/or stockpiling of nuclear weapons:

Sweden went through a society-wide debate and came out at the end in favor of – and joined – the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:

Swedes debated then agreed it was the right choice, and joined the world in deciding to ban land mines globally:

Sweden’s people thought cluster bombs were a hideous weapon, and joined with the rest of the world and banned them:

Given the history of Sweden and its people with respect to their views on morally unacceptable weapons having no place whatsoever in a civilized world, it is likely only a matter of time before Sweden officially signs on to the historic effort to ban nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth – forever.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was named recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
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European Parliament Considers Global Nuclear Weapons Ban.

n February 7, 2018 in Strasbourg, France, Ms. Beatrice Fihn addressed the European Parliament. Beatrice Fihn is Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN – the driving force behind a historic legal accomplishment in July 2017: adoption of an international agreement to ban nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth. For its efforts, ICAN became recognized and honored as recipients of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Peace.

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(Transcript)

“Distinguished members of the European Parliament: Thank you so much for this invitation to address you here today. The Nobel Committee has seen fit on a few occasions to recognize not just one extraordinary person but a valuable body with awarding them the Nobel Peace Prize, and they did so last year in awarding the coalition of almost 500 organizations that I represent – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”

“And they did so in 2012, in recognizing the European Union for your efforts to advance peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights. And it is an honor to stand here with the other another Nobel Peace Prize recipient, not as one individual, but a part of a body, a large coalition working to safeguard our planet and our future. And I come to you … before you today, at a time when the need to do so is dire. I come to address one huge challenge before all of us to make every other debate in this chamber irrelevant.”

“I come to talk about the urgent danger of nuclear weapons, and the very real threat they pose to life in Europe. This is a dangerous time. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just moved the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight, meaning we are closer to Armageddon than at any point in the last 65 years. The war of words between North Korea and the United States threatens to boil over to a war of nuclear weapons, and Russia, China, and all the other nuclear-armed states are embarking on what essentially is a new nuclear arms race.”

“If we keep these weapons forever they will be used by intent, by accident, miscalculation or through a cyber or terrorist attack. If we continue to rely on nuclear weapons their use is a matter of when, not if. If we don’t act our luck will eventually run out. And the immediate effects of a nuclear blast would be devastating : the initial blasts that could level an entire city, the following fires will burn and suck out the oxygen of the remains of that city, and many survivors will die in agony in the days to years to come, through radiation poisoning or cancers.”

“No adequate humanitarian response will be possible, and the effects of radiation on human beings would cause suffering and death decades after the initial explosion. And Europe is not immune to these threats. It could very well be here that the next nuclear weapon will be used. And Europe has a great responsibility to address them through rational coöperation, the very principle or what this chamber was founded on. A start in fact exists within today’s dangerous mix of instability, decreased coöperation and violent rhetoric.”

“And the fact is that the majority of the world’s nuclear weapons are right here in Europe. Four out of the nine nuclear-armed States have littered this continent with the most dangerous weapons ever invented, either on their own soil, that of their allies, and of course patrolling the seas around us. And the world’s attention may currently be turned to the east to the Korean Peninsula, but we are all standing on a ticking bomb right here. The risk of nuclear weapons use is even greater today than at the end of the Cold War, but unlike the Cold War today we face many more nuclear-armed states, terrorists, cyber warfare … ”

“All of this makes us less safe. Along with the many moral and strategic reasons for Europe to pursue peace globally, reduce the nuclear threat beyond the shores, you have a responsibility to lead on this issue, because it affects all your citizens. You must decide whether weapons of mass destruction and luck will remain at the heart of the framework in Europe or if you will lead the way to something new – a security framework worthy of the 21st century. The only nuclear policy that increases security is the only rational and responsible one: the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”

“And last week the United States released its new Nuclear Posture Review. It is a violent lurch in the wrong direction, and it outlines a new Trump nuclear doctrine that abandons the work for nuclear disarmament. The settlement, if European allies and others under the nuclear umbrella have long understood it, shows a deliberate strategy to make nuclear weapons easier and more likely to be used. Even as a response to a non-nuclear conflict, it is an all-out attempt to take nuclear weapons out of the silos and on to the battlefields.”

“And the problem does not stop there. Similar threat-filled rhetoric in nuclear doctrines are seen from Russia and China and other nuclear-armed States. We are seeing a very dangerous new nuclear arms race that attempts to blur the lines between nuclear and conventional weapons, and today we are just counting down the days until nuclear weapons will be used again. This is not peace through strength. This is instability through terror. It is a luck-based security policy, and that is simply not good enough. Are you going to support the new Trump nuclear doctrine, join the thinking of Russia and North Korea, cheer on a new nuclear arms race … or are you going to support the [uncertain word … “warm”?] work for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons?”

“You cannot do both. This is the choice before each member of this European Union: the rapid escalation of a new nuclear security framework, one that lowers the threshold for nuclear weapons use and raises the likelihood of that happening, – or a rejection of the threats of nuclear war in favor of a new security framework predicated on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, just like we have prohibited other weapons of mass destruction. And we are looking to the EU for leadership in this. The world is looking to the EU for leadership on this. Who else on the global stage today will be the responsible actor ? Who else can we look to, to uphold human rights humanitarian law and the protection of civilians?”

“And the EU together with a high representative Federica Mogherini has been extremely effective in brokering an agreement with Iran, and this very body overwhelmingly in 2016 voted to support our collective work towards the nuclear bomb treaty. All over the objections of powerful interests, one hundred and twenty-two (122) nations adopted the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons last July, and EU member states like Austria, Ireland, Sweden showed great leadership throughout the negotiations. And we need all European states to show that leadership now.”

“There is a clear pathway for you to do so. The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is a political means to a nuclear weapons-free world, and now we need political leadership. All EU member states should join the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. And this is entirely consistent with those obligations some EU members have through their collective defense in NATO. And nothing in the North Atlantic treaty signed EU states up to a nuclear instability doctrine based on luck and high risk. Nothing in our collective defense should force us to participate in using nuclear weapons on civilians; that is the opposite of collective security.”

“The security interest of Europe is not served by a new nuclear arms race, one that takes nuclear weapons onto the battlefield and threatens to end us all. We must move towards disarmament, not destruction. Threatening to use weapons of mass destruction to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilian runs counter to the humanitarian values and moral leadership of this body and all of Europe. As the hands of the Doomsday Clock are being wound in the wrong direction, Europe must urgently take a stand. Show the world that Europe leads on standing up for the principles of democracy, human rights and collective security.”

“And that first step can happen today. Go back to your governments and urge them to join the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, to join the community of nations who uphold the rule of law and laws of war, and in doing so reject the outdated 20th century security framework that sits on an unhealthy obsession with Cold War death relics. And this body, the European Parliament, is more important than ever. At such a critical moment it is vital that this body speak forcefully that it has done in the past in support of disarmament and non-proliferation, and in particular for the nuclear ban treaty.”

“And I urge you to turn those words into action by using the unique power of the European Parliament to promote policy in line with the EU values. Where there is uncertainty we should work towards understanding and consensus. And this is the process parliamentarians in countries like Italy and Norway are undergoing, investigating what the nuclear ban treaty will mean for their wider policy and security. And this body should follow suit. The EU non-proliferation consortium has provided invaluable guidance on implementation of, for example, the prohibition on biological weapons.”

“And members of the European Parliament should request the non-proliferation consortium to examine how member states can join the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. And the European Parliament can back up your support for a policy with funding. This body should use its budgetary discretion to support civil society efforts for a nuclear weapons free world – an implementation of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.”

“A highlight of this treaty was a close working relationship between political leaders and civil society. So the European Parliament should step up and be firm and strengthen its union with civil society. And the members in this room can, and should swiftly, take these steps, rejecting the trend to increase the discord and dangerous nuclear posturing, and supporting disarmament through the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.”

“It is time for Europe to stand against this move towards nuclear disaster, stand against the Trump doctrine, stand against developments of more usable nuclear weapons, stand against the nuclear saber-rattling from all sides, and stand against the threatening to use weapons of mass destruction on civilians as an acceptable foreign policy.”

“It is your responsibility to protect your people against the use of nuclear weapons. So stand up for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”

“Thank you.”

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(Thank you to Frederick Moulin at YouTube)

Nobel Peace Prize Address: Nuclear States Issued Historic Challenge.

(Transcript cross-posted from NobelPrize.org)

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – Nobel Lecture

NORWAY – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) leaders Setsuko Thurlow (center) and Beatrice Fihn (right) accept the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Lecture given by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2017, ICAN, delivered by Beatrice Fihn and Setsuko Thurlow, Oslo, 10 December 2017.

[Beatrice Fihn:]

Your Majesties,
Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Esteemed guests,

Today, it is a great honor to accept the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of thousands of inspirational people who make up the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Together we have brought democracy to disarmament and are reshaping international law.
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We most humbly thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee for recognizing our work and giving momentum to our crucial cause.

We want to recognize those who have so generously donated their time and energy to this campaign.

We thank the courageous foreign ministers, diplomats, Red Cross and Red Crescent staff, UN officials, academics and experts with whom we have worked in partnership to advance our common goal.

And we thank all who are committed to ridding the world of this terrible threat.
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At dozens of locations around the world – in missile silos buried in our earth, on submarines navigating through our oceans, and aboard planes flying high in our sky – lie 15,000 objects of humankind’s destruction.

Perhaps it is the enormity of this fact, perhaps it is the unimaginable scale of the consequences, that leads many to simply accept this grim reality. To go about our daily lives with no thought to the instruments of insanity all around us.

For it is insanity to allow ourselves to be ruled by these weapons. Many critics of this movement suggest that we are the irrational ones, the idealists with no grounding in reality. That nuclear-armed states will never give up their weapons.

But we represent the only rational choice. We represent those who refuse to accept nuclear weapons as a fixture in our world, those who refuse to have their fates bound up in a few lines of launch code.

Ours is the only reality that is possible. The alternative is unthinkable.

The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what that ending will be.

Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?

One of these things will happen.

The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away.
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Today I want to talk of three things: fear, freedom, and the future.

Continue reading “Nobel Peace Prize Address: Nuclear States Issued Historic Challenge.”

Nobel Peace Prize 2017: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Major shareholders at nuclear weapons building corporations are anticipating brisk “business” when $1 trillion of United States taxpayer money becomes spent over 30 years on nuclear stocks “modernization and upgrades”.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons being named recipients of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize is undoubtedly the most welcome and profound development the world has ever experienced with regard to war and peace, establishing a new and higher moral standard for any intent on choosing the “right side of history”.

A new reality has manifested on Earth. The (9) nations possessing nuclear weapons are now more clearly seen as on “the wrong side of history”, in essence outlaw regimes, or the “black sheep of the human family”.

Leaders in those nations possessing nuclear weapons may or may not understand, as Gandhi’s book title “All Men Are Brothers” reminds, that from a spirit perspective there is no such thing as “us and them”, but one human family sharing the Earth during this period of eternity.

The path toward total abolishment of nuclear weapons forever is now clearly visible to all people. Choosing that sacred path is the initial step toward establishing peace on Earth forever.

Global Justice in the 21st Century

 

Finally, the committee in Oslo that picks a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize each year selected in 2017 an awardee that is a true embodiment of the intended legacy of Alfred Nobel when he established the prize more than a century ago. It is also a long overdue acknowledgement of the extraordinary dedication of anti-nuclear activists around the planet who for decades have done all in their power to rid the world of this infernal weaponry before it inflicts catastrophe upon all living beings even more unspeakable that what befell the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on two infamous days in August 1945. Such a prize result was actually anticipated days before the announcement by Fredrik Heffermehl, a crusading Norwegian critic of past departures from Nobel’s vision by the prize committee. In making the prediction that the 2017 prize would be given in recognition of anti-nuclear activism Heffermehl…

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