DISARM/End Wars July 2013 Update

by Carol Urner, Co-Chair, DISARM/End Wars Issue Committee

In this month of July, we pause to celebrate the varied work and many contributions of our WILPF Reaching Critical Will staff in Geneva and New York. We in the US work on local and national levels, while they concentrate on the international, but our issues and challenges are intricately interconnected. In Geneva, WILPF staff participated in the first discussion of autonomous killer drones and humanitarian law held by government ambassadors meeting in the Human Rights Council. We have worked closely with Reaching Critical Will for 14 years on our current major goal of abolishing nuclear weapons. We are delighted to work closely with them on banning robotic killer drones as well.

These fully autonomous drones are programmed to seek out and assassinate from the  heavens suspected "enemies" without any human guidance or participation. Read the Reaching Critical Will report here. We can be thankful for the work these WILPF women do at the UN and  prepare for new tasks lying ahead for us all.

Here in the US we continue to work on banning weaponized drones, ending current  wars and preventing  new ones. In June, WILPF got involved in new efforts to end the longest war in US history: the Korean war which divided that country in to two parts There was an armistice but never the promised negotiated peace treaty or referendum on reunification. International WILPF has endorsed the call  of 40 South Korean organizations for an end to the war that keeps Korea divided and the south occupied by almost 30,000 US troops on at least 15 US bases. WILPF-US is also becoming more involved in trying to prevent new wars in Asia. Some of our current members have been cooperating for the last three years with the Working Group on Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific and DISARM/End Wars now has a member on the committee.

In July, our emphasis will be on preparing for August Nuclear Free Future Month. We emphasize the urgent necessity for abolition of nuclear weapons and the whole nuclear chain. Click here to read about the new bill (HR 1650) introduced by Eleanor Holmes Norton calling for US leadership to gain nuclear weapons abolition by 2020, the 2012 US Conference of Mayors resolution with a similar call for abolition by 2020 and the powerful and specific June 2013 Mayors’ resolution. Let’s make sure their voices are heard and heeded.

WILPF has long considered the phasing out of nuclear power required along with weapons abolition. In June, we rejoiced at the closing down of four reactors including the two malfunctioning Mark 1 reactors at San Onofre. We are pleased that the Los Angeles WILPF Branch and the handful of San Diego area WILPFers had some role in the campaign for shut down. Now Cecile Pineda, author of Devil’s Tango, now in its second edition, is focusing her efforts on the shut down of the two Diablo reactors near San Louis Obispo and is planning a tour to  Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Fresno. She hopes to add others and will start out with speaking at the August 6 demonstration at the gates of Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory.

For any who missed and the new video of Charmaine Whiteface on Uranium mining done for us by Crystal Zevon of Montpelier Branch click here. DVDs are available of Charmaine’s 9 minute presentation from Hattie Nestel. She can mail a copy to you for $5 to cover postage and costs.

In June we found a possible sponsor and co-sponsor for the bill Charmaine wants to introduce in the House.  It would mandate a moratorium on uranium mining  until existing mines are cleaned up and sealed. (Of course WILPF seeks closure of all mines but that would happen with abolition of nuclear weapons and phasing out of nuclear power in any case.) In July we can use your help in contacting your Representatives in the House, and especially if yours belongs to the Progressive Caucus. Again, these women and men are our best friends in the House.

And then there is that mountain of nuclear waste, 70 years high that has no place on earth that it can safely go. Some of the most dangerous radio nuclides already generated by the nuclear industry will be with us killing the planet and its life forms for thousands of years. We have no choice but to  stop this failed human experiment before it is too late for life on earth.

Photo: WILPF Geneva Reaching Critical WIll staff participated in and reported on the UN Human RIghts Council special session on fully autonomous killer drones. Photo courtesy of WILPF Reaching Critical Will.