“Failure to Disarm: Holding Our Government Accountable”
Hiroshima Commemoration, Protest & Nonviolent Direct Action at Livermore Lab Highlights Courageous “Nuclear Zero” Lawsuits Brought by the Marshall Islands.
California peace advocates marked the 69th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Livermore Lab, where the U.S. is spending billions of dollars to create new and modified nuclear weapons. The aptly titled event, “Failure to Disarm,” highlighted the landmark litigation filed recently by the tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), used as a U.S. nuclear test site for 12 years, against the nine nuclear weapons states for their failure to disarm under the Nuclear Non-‐Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. The RMI also filed a separate case against the U.S. in Federal Court in San Francisco. The complaint specifically cites Livermore Lab’s activities to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile as a breach of the NPT and flagrant violation of international law.
Excerpts – Protest & Nonviolent Direct Action at Livermore Lab
Rick Wayman – Keynote
Rick Wayman delivered the keynote. Wayman is Director of Programs for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He worked on nuclear policy with the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament before moving to Santa Barbara in 2007 to join NAPF. Wayman works closely with the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to coordinate the educational, policy and legal components of the litigation.
Jackie Cabasso – Nuclear Militarism
Jackie Cabasso addresses resurgent U.S. militarism in Asia-‐Pacific and the growing dangers of great power wars among nuclear armed nations. Cabasso, Executive Director of the Oakland-‐based Western States Legal Foundation since 1984, is an internationally recognized leading voice for nuclear weapons abolition. She was the recipient of the 2008 Sean McBride Peace Prize.
Chizu Hamada – Hiroshima & Fukushima
Chizu Hamada speaks on the links between nuclear weapons, nuclear power and the ongoing dangers at Fukushima Daiichi. Hamada is a San Francisco business owner and spokesperson for the No Nukes Action Committee, a group of Japanese citizens, Japanese-‐Americans and others who came together after the 3/11/2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Scott Yundt – New Nuclear Weapons
Scott Yundt details weapons activities currently underway at Livermore Lab. Yundt is Staff Attorney at the Livermore-‐based Tri-‐Valley CAREs. He manages the group’s environmental and “right to know” litigation, and is preparing an amicus brief in support of the Marshall Islands’ Federal case. Yundt facilitates a support group for Livermore Lab and other workers made ill by on the job exposures.
On the 69th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, activists gathered at the location where scientists are developing new and modified nuclear weapons. The Livermore Lab budget request reveals that 89% of the money will go to nuclear weapons activities in the coming fiscal year.
Overall, the U.S. government spends nearly $2 million each hour on the nuclear weapons stockpile. U.S. spending will reach nearly $4 million each hour by 2030. This reality stands in stark contrast to the President’s rhetoric of seeking a “world without nuclear weapons” and the U.S. legal commitment to disarm under the NPT.
The tiny Pacific Island Nation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands has filed valiant “Nuclear Zero” lawsuits against the U.S. and eight other nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The nuclear nine are: the U.S., Russia, UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. The Marshallese have also filed separately against the United States in the U.S. Federal District Court in San Francisco. The Marshall Islanders know all too well the devastating effects of living in the nuclear age.
From 1946 to 1958, the U.S conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands. Their explosive power was estimated to be 1,000 times greater than the atomic bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet, the Marshallese are not seeking damages in their historic litigation. Instead they seek to compel compliance with the nuclear disarmament obligation enshrined in the NPT and in customary international law binding on all states.
The Japanese Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) also speak for global nuclear disarmament. Each August 6 and 9th, their voices are raised to cry “never again,” so that no others shall ever feel the horrific blast, heat, thirst, radiation sickness and either bloody death or [often] lingering illness that follows. On this August 6th, participants remembered with sadness our government’s use of nuclear weapons on the Japanese people and recommit with joy to our ongoing our efforts to abolish nuclear weapons – an urgent necessity for our collective survival. They stood, also, in solidarity with the people of the Marshall Islands as their historic litigation for nuclear zero wends its way through the international and domestic court systems.