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Saturday 6 September 2014

Our world is governed by nuclear terrorists

"Civil society and popular movements must start to act", yes, and I am willing to spread this message, but as long as the question of European nuclear disarmament is not high on our agenda, our "Peace in Europe" action will be groping in the dark and our future will be decided by the great powers and big corporations. And the Ukrainian crisis will continue to escalate into a new "Cold War", and the world will continue to drift towards a "Hot War" in which nuclear weapons will be used.

1.

A senior analyst of US-Russian relations, prof. Stehen F. Cohen, recently stated (here comes four full paragraphs of quotation):

"Ukraine is linked to Russia not only in terms of being Russias essential security zone, but its linked conjugally, so to speak, intermarriage. There are millions, if not tens of millions, of Russian and Ukrainians married together. Put it in NATO, and youre going to put a barricade through millions of families. Russia will react militarily.

"In fact, Russia is already reacting militarily, because look what they're doing in Wales today. They're going to create a so-called rapid deployment force of 4,000 fighters. What is 4,000 fighters? Fifteen thousand or less rebels in Ukraine are crushing a 50,000-member Ukrainian army. Four thousand against a million-man Russian army, its nonsense. The real reason for creating the so-called rapid deployment force is they say it needs infrastructure. And the infrastructurethat is, in plain language is military basesneed to be on Russias borders. And they've said where they're going to put them: in the Baltic republic, Poland and Romania.

"Now, why is this important? Because NATO has expanded for 20 years, but its been primarily a political expansion, bringing these countries of eastern Europe into our sphere of political influence; now its becoming a military expansion. So, within a short period of time, we will have a new -- well, we have a new Cold War, but here's the difference. The last Cold War, the military confrontation was in Berlin, far from Russia. Now it will be, if they go ahead with this NATO decision, right plunk on Russias borders. Russia will then leave the historic nuclear agreement that Reagan and Gorbachev signed in 1987 to abolish short-range nuclear missiles. It was the first time nuclear -- a category of nuclear weapons had ever been abolished. Where are, by the way, the nuclear abolitionists today? Where is the grassroots movement, you know, FREEZE, SANE? Where have these people gone to? Because were looking at a new nuclear arms race. Russia moves these intermediate missiles now to protect its own borders, as the West comes toward Russia. And the tripwire for using these weapons is enormous."

"One other thing. Russia has about, I think, 10,000 tactical nuclear weapons, sometimes called battlefield nuclear weapons. You use these for short distances. They can be fired; you dont need an airplane or a missile to fly them. They can be fired from artillery. But they're nuclear. They're radioactive. They've never been used. Russia has about 10,000. We have about 500. Russia's military doctrine clearly says that if Russia is threatened by overwhelming conventional forces, we will use tactical nuclear weapons. So when Obama boasts, as he has on two occasions, that our conventional weapons are vastly superior to Russia, he's feeding into this argument by the Russian hawks that we have to get our tactical nuclear weapons ready." (You ought to look up the full interview with Stephen F. Cohen yesterday at Democracy Now!, -- thanks to Toshimuro Ogura who pointed at it at WSF-Discuss)

2.

Prof. Cohen mentioned the huge American mass movements FREEZE and SANE of the 1980s. He also ought to have mentioned END, that is, European Nuclear Disarmament, the immense popular and anti-systemic European movement of the same decade.

END, being a non-aligned and Neutralist movement, not committed to "the East" nor to "The West", was opening a perspective towards an alternative world system. Our Social Forum has hitherto lacked this perspective. It has postponed it, and in so doing it has been mistaken. Another world is not possible without nuclear disarmament, and nuclear disarmament will not be decided multilaterally. It has to begin in some particular country and/or region. It has to start unilaterally.

Unilateral nuclear disarmament is the right thing to do, morally. But it is also the right thing to do from a military, strategical, point of view -- a necessary condition for what can possibly be meant with "a victory".

It is politically right, because the "weapons" of today (the nuclear, but also the new genetic, nanotech and robotic weapons) are incompatible with justice and democracy.

Economically: disarmament indeed opens up an economic perspective, and the nuclear armament systems are the top of the iceberg, that is, of our "war economy", which contributes, probably more than anything else, to destroying the conditions of life on this planet.

And culturally?

3.

Our world is governed by nuclear terrorists.

"It is hopeless. And we are not giving up." -- Jan Erik Vold

Saturday 26 April 2014

Your strategy will prevail


It is hopeless. And we do not give up.
--Jan-Erik Vold, Norwegian poet, b. 1939.

When you have a long period without a major war, you tend to forget the peace all while the states continue to prepare for that major war.

Last year they spent 1700 billions on their armies and nuclear weapons space missile defenses while talking about the climate.

They. You. And me.

In these days, it looks like we, the peace movement of 2014, would be shrinking as rapidly as the peace movement of 1914.

And we do not give up. How about a joint Russian-European nuclear disarmament initiative "from below"?

Coda

To win a war you need to fight. To win the fight you need a plan, a strategy. But first of all you need courage.

Take courage, implement your strategy. Nuclear disarmament will prevail.

Thursday 20 March 2014

A letter from Brussels

Dear all,

Wall Street Journal yesterday (19 March) had an editorial speaking volumes about how they see the situation. Subject: Ukraine and nuclear proliferation. Thesis: The lesson learnt most recently is that Ukraine would had been better off in its conflict with Russia had it not decided to abandon its nuclear arsenals to Russia in the 1990s. Iran, North Korea, etc. will have learned the lesson. Corollarium: V. Putin is reponsible for causing even more nuclear proliferation. My comment: yes, the nukes are political weapons. Unfortunately, they are also nuclear weapons. Would it be possible to  prove that the nukes are not only political weapons? Of course, after a nuclear attack (and a possible counter-attack) one could say: Look, I was right!  But then, who would like to be proven right in that case?  It is wiser to  prefer nuclear disarmament. Would not nuclear disarmement, too, be a kind of proof?

The situation reminds me about le pari de Pascal. Oppenheimer might have agreed with the comparison. Yet it is not Shiva who has become the multi-faceted Destryoer of Worlds. It is us. After the nuclear war, it would no longer be possible to determine who was responsible. We would all be. The Mayor of den Haag is said to have forbidden demonstrations during the Nuclear Security Summit there next Monday and Tuesday. Demonstrations and protest there will certainly be, nevertheless. And for a good reason: nuclear disarmament and general denuclearisation! And against the hypocrisy about nuclear non-proliferation and the possible (because I am afraid it is possible, after all) nuclear terrorism. May I remind you once again that Altiero Spinelli was in favour of American military disengagement from Europe, and European denuclearisation, already in the sixties. He actually said so in the American journal Foreign Affairs. Of course that was well before Chernobyl and Fukushima and the fall of the USSR. And well before the internet. Which does not mean that the Spinelli's opinion has become obsolete.

I have just returned from the NATO in Brussels where I was one in a group of visitors from Finland. I did not go there to protest or demonstrate. It was more like a fact-finding mission. And it proved to be an interesting visit. However, in the short time we had, it was not possible to go very deeply into the nuclear issues. After the main lecture, I managed to ask whether all member states of NATO do have a say about the nuclear weapons and their use, or whether NATO should have or use such weapons at all. Background: the question whether  my country (Finland) should now join NATO is presently being discussed with fervour there, and I have heard people say, that Finland should join, because then we the Finns could influence NATO to become better, read: to abolish its nuclear weapons doctrine. The answer I got was that NATO is not really the forum for discussions about nuclear weapons. The weather is sunny and warm here in Brussels. Have a good day,

Mikael

Wednesday 19 March 2014

The size of Guy Verhofstadt's slice

Like so many others, I was rather disturbed by Guy Verhofstadt's way of presenting Europe to the people on Maidan. Also, I was thinking about the size of the slice of the Spinellian legacy that Guy Verhofstadt believes that he has managed to cut for himself. However, to try to polemicize directly with the leaders of the Spinelli Group seems to me less likely to be successful. True Eurofederalists now rather need to develop and update the legacy of Spinelli, that is, to present an alternative Spinellian vision, one that is more based on the Manifesto of Ventotene and the original plans of a Defense Union (from the beginnigs of the 1950s) than on the perhaps a bit too corporation-friendly Spinelli the Commissioner of the 1970s. The nuclear question is key, even more today than in the period of the Cold War: how to get rid of the WMDs, the NPPs and the existing (and ever growing) huge stockpiles of radwaste, enriched uranium, plutonium, etc.? That goal needs to be written clearly into a new edition of the Spinellian constitutional Treaty of EU which the EP would have preferred to see adopted (1984). The EU ought to take the lead in the necessary general nuclear exit.

A second essential question is internet governance. A clever solution on how to build a common - not corporate - telecoms infrastructure is badly needed. I would opt for a public and municipally owned physical (fiber optics) infrastructure, and a strong role of the public libraries and their personnel - the librarians - as "governors" oft the internet - to the extent that ihe internet needs to be governed. The Internet is, and it has to remain, a predominantly self-governing ("cybernetic") institution. And we all need to start talking more about cyberpeace instead of cyberwar.

Addition to what was said above on the nuclear issues: notice the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in den Haag next Monday and Tuesday (24-25 March)? Ironically, it is only meant to be about nuclear terrorism. Admittedly, that's a big issue in itself. But then, the root of the problem is the very use of the nuclear technology itself (both the "military" and "civil" variants) by governments and corporations.

Also Ironically, Ukraine's stockpiles of highly enriched uranium (HEU) - which is precisely the material that supposed nuclear terrorist most want to get their hands on - has been one of the big issues of previous NSSs.

Friday 18 May 2012

The hunger strike of Jean-Marie Matagne

Jean-Marie Matagne, an anti-nuclear militant living in the town of Saintes of Southwestern France, went on hunger strike last Tuesday. Matagne, a 68-year doctor of philosophy, is calling attention to the nuclear omertà, that is, the shameful silence about France's nuclear weapons during the recent elections. I hope this theme will also be discussed at the ongoing Blockupy in Frankfurt, because I do not believe that a real and democratic European Union could possess nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction. As Matagne says in his communiqué (see www.acdn.net) , the French people has never been heard about the construction of such criminal weapons. To show my solidarity with dr Matagne, I inserted the following comment on the website of the French newspaper "Sud-Ouest", where Matagne's hunger strike is being discussed:

@Pignon et autres, merci de ne pas refuser la conscience! Je pense que le lien entre les armes nucléaires et le statut de grande puissance peut être dissous en Europe, par les peuples européens eux-mêmes. Nous avons besoin d’un mouvement européen pro-européen pour le désarmement nucléaire. Pro-européen, c’est-à-dire en faveur de la création d’un Etat européen démocratique - une véritable Union européenne. Une telle Union ne peut pas disposer des armes de destruction massive. Comme le dit M. Matagne, ces armes ne sont pas du people ni pour le peuple. Salutations de Nord-Ouest, c'est-à-dire de la Finlande,

Mikael Böök

Loviisa

PS Pardon, la Finlande, c'est évidemment le Nord-Est! And once I am on it, why don't I add the idea in English, too:

The link between nuclear weapons and great power status can be broken in Europe, by the peoples of Europe. We need a pro-European movement for European Nuclear Disarmament. Pro-European means being in favour of establishing a democratic European state - a real European Union.

Not to speak about the need to uncover the links between the austerity measures and all the money that goes into the military-industrial production and consumption (the EADS, the BAE, the Finmeccanica, the missile defence systems, the "nuclear capable" aircraft), and so on... Greetings to Frankfurt! the same

Tuesday 19 July 2011

We need Eurobonds and a new charter for Europe, but is it possible without ...

Susan George, in a recent interview, asks the Europeans to end the financial control of their governance, to issue Eurobonds, and to ceate a new charter for Europe. Read the interview at the Transnational Institute, here!

If we were to use our possibilities to discuss the current situation and arrive at common conclusions, then I would propose that we take this interview with Susan George as our starting point. Here the problems of the present are analysed in their historical setting, the much hyped "debt crisis" is reduced to realistic proportions, and some of the necessary steps towards the solution of the problems are explained. Let me repeat Susan George's proposals:

"How should social movements respond to the crisis? What alternatives can we put on the table? * Carry out debt audits to determine how much is "odious". * Develop a debt workout mechanism that isn't skewed entirely in favour of creditors. * We need Eurobonds and a new charter for Europe with an ECB that's much closer to the US Federal Reserve. * Use Keynes' bancor as the currency for trade. We'll need another interview to talk about that! * Meanwhile, I'd be more than happy with public, non-profit ratings agencies and governments that govern for citizens rather than for banks."

However necessary these economic and political measures, one may of course doubt that they are sufficient. In order to arrive aa an alternative to the Treaty of Lisbon, I think that we must also take on the problems which belong in the area of defence and military strategy, because

a) the present economy is militaristic, it is a war economy built around the military-industrial-academic complex, which is integrated with the nuclear complex, the aerospace and space industries, and so many other sectors of the economy. This is the elephant in our drawing room, which the media fail to see.

b) achieving "a new charter of Europe" is not possible without a common European understanding of human security in the age of nuclear weapons, nanotechnology, robotics and genetech. The road to a better future for our continent goes via denuclearisation and a military reform, which starts from the idea of human security.

Sunday 6 September 2009

Put an end to 'the refusal of consciousness' (contd.)

It is necessary to strive towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention * However, I do not believe that the process of nuclear disarmament will ever start with a NWC. An NWC will, hopefully, come in the middle of the process, and will enhance the pressure on states which risk being the sole nuclear states left on the globe. (It is considered, for instance, that Israel does not support a NWC. )

Thus I am not trying to say that those who work towards a NWC are mistaken or misguided, but I continue to maintain the view that general nuclear abolition must start to happen somewhere, to begin with, and then spread from there to other places. That 'somewhere', for us who live in Europe, must be our country and ourselves. We also need to understand that European Nuclear Disarmament and European Union presuppose each other.

Monday 6 July 2009

Global Zero



Dear F.,

I signed the Avaaz petition for Global Zero, although without enthusiasm. Yes, I believe in the good will of Queen Noor. But I don't believe in interstate negotiations on nuclear disarmament -- 'the disarmament game', as Alva Myrdal called it in the title of her 1976 book. The more realistic way, in my opinion, is unilateral nuclear abolition. Bertrand Russell, at least, would have agreed. (I just re-read his 17 February 1961 article in "The New Statesman", in which he called for massive civil disobedience against the nuclear rulers.) Probably also Tony Benn is of the same opinion, and perhaps yourself, too, when you take a close look at the matter.

The nuclear rulers are hypocrites. Not only are they usual fools, like we all are. They are worse, because the nuclear power, both in the political and the physical sense, is irreconcilable with truth and democracy. Their nuclear power is dictatorship and catastrophe, and they know it.

When I let such a judgment flow out from my keyboard, I always feel that it is necessary to exemplify. This time, I would like to point to Mr Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs who, at the opening plenary of the 2009 meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, said:

"In recent times, nuclear energy has become more and more important. The "nuclear renaissance" is not just a trend, it is a fact of life. For several reasons more and more countries want to use, develop or import nuclear energy. Diversification of the energy mix, reduction of CO2 emissions and a general increasing demand for energy are all valid reasons to invest into nuclear energy. The Dutch government regards nuclear energy as one of the available instruments to combat climate change and reinforce energy security. A decision on the future of nuclear energy in the Netherlands is presently being prepared. Many developing countries see nuclear energy as an important way to deal with their fast growing energy needs. Worldwide, 45 new nuclear power plants are under construction. Of course, we have to make sure that non-proliferation standards and safeguards like the Additional Protocol are respected. Great powers and safeguards like the Additional Protocol are respected. Great powers and possibilities come with great responsibilities."


This statement should be read together with the final paragraph of the chapter on nuclear energy in E.F.Schumacher's book "Small is Beautiful. Economics As If People Mattered" (1973):

"No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows how to make safe and which remain an incalculable danger to the whole of creation for historical or even geological ages. To do such a thing is a transgression against life itself, a transgression infinitely more serious than any crime perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilization could sustain itself on such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economical affairs of man as if people did not matter at all." -- E. F. Schumacher Small is Beautiful


How is your website going? You know, our web might become our salvation, if we can avoid that it becomes the Spider's web. Just consider how utterly obsolete the system of "sovereign" national states, with all their WMD, has become in this era of the World Wide Web.

All the best.

- Mika

Wednesday 11 March 2009

More about Abolition

Dear J-M,

many thanks for your thoughts, and for the presentation of the radioactivity and waste problems of the nuclear power industry by Marie-Christine Gamberini from Friends of the Earth!

You ended your message with this sentence: Il faut articuler les deux : l'informationnel et le politique. (One has to articulate both The Informational and The Political)

Evidemment, but the transformation of The Informational is about to transform The Political in a way which is comparable to what happened during the 15th century with the breakthrough of the movable type and the printing press.

The global spread of internet use, still a relatively young development, leads to new forms of social and political praxis. This email message, which I am writing to you and copying to a public webpage (blog), is an example. Instantly public coordination of thoughts and actions between persons living in different corners of Europe has only become possible after, say, 2001 (to choose an ominous year), with email, blogs and wikis. Still more recently, it has become a part of our everyday life. The likes of Sarkozy, Blair, Merkel and Vanhanen (Vanhanen is the prime minister of my country, Finland) are losing, or have to a big extent already lost, their control over the framework(s) of our communication and action. The interesting political problem now is , of course, to determine how big that extent is. Through the internet we, the people, are each day gaining a little bit more control over them, the modern princes.

The present political structure is utterly obsolete and extremely destructive; its ideology inherently militaristic and racist. The leaders of the national governments more often than not appear as dangerous criminals. Their biggest crime is to incessantly threaten mankind with extermination. Obviously, their everlasting "modernization" of the existing nuclear weapons systems, their ongoing armaments in outher space and missile defense installations, are crimes against humanity.

While they continue to waste our planet's resources on their private, Nationalist bads (as opposed to the global public goods we all need), these hypocrites speak about solving the climate crisis.

Yet their present political system, which consists of 191 mutually competing and more or less militant (militaristic) "sovereign" National States with the trillion-dollars-yearly-military-budget United States of America on top, is the biggest single obstacle to ecological, non-wasteful and CO2-emissions reducing solutions.

What can we do? We can think globally, but we can only act locally as well as, hopefully, regionally. In the immediate present, European action is key, because Europe is a particularly weak link in the global chain of power. Here, the false consciousness may still give away to reason, as we have seen in the European Nuclear Disarmament movements of the 1980s.

The conditions are at hand for a very large assembly of ourselves, the peoples of Europe, against the Berlusconis!

The European Union must become a real European Union, founded on disarmament and international cooperation instead of NATO and market fundamentalism. The vision of the "Manifesto For a Free and United Europe", written by the Ernesto Rossi and Altiero Spinelli on the prison island of Ventotene, must finally become reality, let be that the context of 2009 differs wildly from 1941, when the Ventotene manifesto was written.

The French and British nuclear weapons systems are the top of the iceberg. Those who point out that the American and Russian warheads are counted by the thousands, while the British and French ones are only counted by the tens or hundreds, are numb. They have let themselves to be brainwashed by the Game of Disarmament (as Alva Myrdal bitterly called her 1976 book about the disarmament negotiations in the UN); the cynical, multilateral business of arms control.

The 60 new M51 missiles, which are presently being produced for the French nuclear submarines by EADS Astrium (EADS Astrium is an aerospace subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS, based in Portsmouth and Stevenage, England; their factories and subcontractors are spread over the EU and the world) could alone destroy our planet, as each missile will carry six independently targetable TN 75 thermonuclear hydrogen bombs.

To start with: let's get rid of these remnants of the European colonial Empires, the "independent" French and British nuclear arms. The rest will follow suit. The necessary rethinking and refoundation of democracy, security, our models of production and consumption, will become possible once we agree to European unification on the basis of European nuclear disarmament. We need to gradually phase out the nuclear power stations as well, because they produce ever growing heaps of radioactive waste and plutonium. As everybody knows, we have to invest in renewable energy sources like wind-, solar and geothermal energy. Moreover, the present financial-economic-political crisis cannot and will not end without breaking the system of the militaristic national states. In order to create a stable secure financial system, we need, first and foremostly, to break out of the permanent war economy.

Europe must be founded as a democratic state on the abolition of its own nuclear weapons systems and a gradual phasing out of its nuclear power plants. Through its denuclearisation, Europe will acquire a new identity and become the bearer of the emerging political system, which is based on the new internet of mankind. The internet is the new global Informational Power, which can check and balance the previously existing national Executive, Legislative and Judicial state powers. It does not need a chairman or a decision-making body, because it is self-regulating, cybernetical. It is an extension of our literacy and library. Its governing principle is the ethic of the public librarian: to deliver all information to all without delay.

Whether it happens in Europe or elsewhere, "We, the People" of the internet will finally break the obsolete and criminal political structures of today. The most probable alternatives are either world war and utter destruction, or a Neo-Fascist American world dictatorship. The latter is still a possible outcome even if the unusually positive figure of president Obama dominates the picture for the time being.

All the best.

Mikael