Speech b y Larry Ross, Secretary, NZ Nuclear Free Peacemaking Association
Victoria Square Oct 5, 2003

It was the head of the Nobel Peace Winning, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Dr Bernard Lown who emphasised and dramatised the 'seismic' change in US nuclear policy.

He wrote in their May 2003 magazine 'Vital Signs' that,

       "The Pentagon's most recent Nuclear Posture Review…aimed to breach the nuclear firewall."… It "lays out contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against at least 7 countries, including Russia, China, Libya, Syria and of course, the so-called "axis of evil" Iraq, Iran and North Korea. "

It licenses itself to unilaterally decide what country is a target, to decide if this target can withstand non-nuclear attack, and then gives itself permission to use nuclear weapons against such targets.

It also gives itself permission to use nuclear weapons against "countries using, or threatening to use nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, or "in the event of surprising military developments". That means whatever the Bush Administration decides is a "surprising military development". What could that be?

It might be some small country like Iraq, that supposedly had weapons of mass desstruction ready to unleash on the USA "in 45 minutes" according to Tony Blair. Except the weapons Inspectors found that the WMD did not exist. The lies about the urgent need to make war now, proliferated. Now, even those who were initially duped, now find the war is totally phoney and lacks any justification - except to get rid of Saddam, who the US supported and armed for years before Gulf War 1. However Bush really has another agenda, and the Iraq war was step 1.

So in the next war (and Syria, Iran and North Korea have been warned one of them will be the next target) the US may decide to use nuclear weapons, as it licensed itself to do, according to its new nuclear doctrines.

Bernard Lown continues "The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) shreds the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT). The US thereby breaks a pledge issued in 1970 never to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state or against a signatory of the NPT, such as Iraq…..The NPR also plans to greatly expand the nuclear war infrastructure. To develop a new generation of warheads, the Bush Administration is planning to end its de-facto compliance with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty"

There we have the "seismic" change in US nuclear policy, and war policies - breaking or withdrawing from disarmament treaties, planning a number of new wars, new nuclear doctrines and plans to use them.

That makes this time the most dangerous since World War Two.

Unfortunately that's not all - there's more.

During the cold war with the USSR both sides relied on thousands of missles and bombs to deter each other from attack. They called this situation MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION, because once it is started, both nations and probably the world would be destroyed. They called is M.A.D. for short, and indeed it was truly insane. Even more insane is that much the same situation prevails today.

We are told we are at peace with Russia and the threat has dissappeared. Why then, are thousands of Russian and US missiles are still on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched due to accident, miscalculation, madness or intention?

This hair-trigger situation has come close to failure a number of Times. Both ex-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and ex-Chief of US Nuclear Forces, General Lee Butler, and many other experts, have said it was a miracle that a nuclear war hadn't happened yet and destroyed the world.

Because this perilous situataion has lasted many years, people have become complacent and used to living on the brink of annihilation. Also, the media are giving the US administration co-operation in persuading people and governments that cold war threats are long-gone. Many people just don't know, and others have all kinds of denial mechanisms to pretend it could not happen.

The nuclear threats today, Oct 5, 2003, can be summarised as follows:

  1. Firstly there is the continuing threats from 9 nuclear weapon states, who are perfecting their nuclear arsenals. A renewed nuclear arms race and further proliferation is expected - in the face of US threats and actions.

  2. Then there is the continuing thousands of missiles on hair-trigger alert, that can be launched due to accident, miscalclation or madness.

  3. We have been warned by the Bush Administration about the likelihood of another major terrorist attack, as done in 9/ll. That could be the excuse for Bush to launch the next war on his agenda.. That could become nuclear and escalate.

  4. This time the terrorist attack might be on one or more US nuclear reactors or cooling ponds. That would release clouds of radioativity which would contaminate large areas - killing millions and creating chaos. It would result in some kind of US retaliation, and perhaps escalation to a wider nuclear war.The terrorsits would not need their own nuclear weapons. However terrorists might acquire nuclear weapons, smuggle one or more into the US, and use it.

  5. The Bush Administration has changed nuclear policy from "last resort" weapons of retaliation against unprovoked attack to incorporating nuclear weapons into conventional war-fighting.

  6. They have also named 7 other nations and 3 situations against whom nuclear weapons may be used.

  7. They have announced new doctines of preemptive or preventative war, based on suspicion that a nation may be making and planning attacks on the US.

  8. They have withdrawn from, or plan to, or are violating, various nuclear disarmament treaties, as well as working to exclude US citizens from being prosectuted for war crimes. This would be expected from a super state planning wars of aggression.

  9. Every war is a seedbed for wider wars, and can escalate to nuclear war. If Bush is going to arrange more wars, or use some future terrorist action to justify war, then that increases the chance of nuclear weapons being used, or unforseen events precipitating major war.

  10. The explosive situations between other nuclear and non-nuclear states must also be taken into account. A nuclear war between Pakistan and India, or between Israel and its neighbours can expand to include other nuclear nations.

  11. Israel has some 400 nuclear weapons and is heavily subsidised (about 3 billion US$) by its close ally the US. The US goes along with Arial Sharon's policy of steady Israeli expansion into Palestine territory, although, Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine has been repeatedly condemned by the UN and in resolutions - particularly the recent decision to build at great cost, 600 new homes for more jewish settlers in Palestine - bulldosing Palestinian homes, destroying farms, assassinating Palestinians, building a great wall to divide Palestine etc. etc. Many people believe that the Israeli government has a goal of permanently taking a large slice of Palestine land and incorporating it into Israel. To accomplish such a plan would involve justifying stepped up Israeli attacks. That would provoke more suicide bomber attacks which in turn could be used to justify more Israeli military attacks and expansion. Eventually the plan seems to be - to push most Palestinians into Jordan, and just take over much Palestine territory.

All these factors have greatly increased the likelihood of wars using nuclear weapons.

From the beginning, the war on Iraq was phoney. It was a tissue of lies and Bush, Blair and Howard are still lieing to justify it. Many commentators believe that Iraq war is only the first on Bush's real agenda. It looks like endless wars, with nuclear weapons being threatened or used to achieve US objectives.

The population of NZ was informed about the increasing nuclear peril by dedicated peace groups over the years. In 1980 we started the nuclear-free NZ campaign to do something constructive about it. Because of our successful nuclear-free local body campaign, David Lange promised to make all of NZ nuclear-free if Labour was elected in 1984. It was and a Nuclear Free Act became law in 1987. Since then David Lange has received much recognition for his continuing battle against nuclear weapons. He has just received an international award for this work.

So something can be done about this situation, by educating others, and ensuring that New Zealand continues to remain Nuclear Free.

The same men who criticised New Zealand almost 20 years ago for daring to exclude US nuclear warships and declaring ourselves nuclear-free are now in positions of far greater power. They are gunning for us and want NZ to change or scrap its nuclear free law and again allow US nuclear warships (nuclear armed or not) to use NZ ports. That will restore us to full membership in the ANZUS treaty. It would make us a target again and a participant in any US nuclear or conventional wars.

Richard Prebble and Act have joined in the campaign to once again offer our ports to US nuclear warships, become a full member of ANZUS, and of course, participate like a good ally in any kind of US war. Some National Party members agree and the National Paarty is considering scrapping NZ nuclear-free policy. So there is a direct threat to NZ - both internal and external.

I'm planning to go on a national lecture tour to help mobilise people against this dire situation - if there is enough interest and I can raise funding for it.

If you are interested in helping do something about the increasing nuclear threats, the threat to NZ and keeping NZ nuclear-free, then come to the nuclear-free meeting on:

Tuesday, Oct 14 at the WEA, 59 Gloucester St. People can decide how to use their skills and their time to help prevent nuclear war.

A copy of a notice of this meeting is on our literature table and a list you sign to volunteer to help. (over there) If you wish to donate to help our campaign to publcise the threats and Keep NZ Nuclear-Free, donation containers are at our table. Copies of this paper are also available at the table.

Thank you.

Larry Ross
Secretary, NZ Nuclear Free Peacemaking Association,
P.O. Box 18541, Christchurch.
email webenquiry@nuclearfree.org.nz
Web: http://www.nuclearfree.org.nz/archives




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