Fifty-Seven Years From Hiroshima, World Is Further Away Than Ever From Nuclear Disarmament

August 6, 2002

Fifty-Seven Years From Hiroshima, World Is Further Away Than Ever From Nuclear Disarmament

Friends Of The Earth Australia
Australian Peace Committee
Australian Anti-Bases Campaign
Medical Association For The Prevention Of War

Fifty-seven years from the day on which the US bomber Enola Gay dropped the first nuclear weapon ever to be used, the world is as far away as ever from eliminating nuclear weapons, and may be inching closer to actually using them again.

John Hallam, Friends of the Earth warns;
"The trends for global nuclear stability do not look at all good, and this is to a large extent due to the unilateral policies of the current US administration."

For example, the recent US/Russian agreement is a game of political rhetoric, taking the number of 'operational' warheads held by the US and Russia from approximately sixty times as many as would wipe out human civilisation and most life in the 1980s, to roughly four times the number we need to do that job now. The agreement does not remove strategic delivery systems (ICBMs) from 'launch-on warning' or 'hair trigger' status, does not require the destruction of warheads or delivery systems, and permits the deployment by the US of the strategically destabilising missile defence system.

"The US defence system firmly entrenches the possible use of nuclear weapons into its strategy, including with 'pre-emptive'' strikes in its 'war on terror'. After the horrifying consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the aftermath of radiation effects on humans and the environment, we should have abolished nuclear weapons after Nagasaki." says Giji Gya from the Medical Association for Prevention of War.

"Instead, nuclear powers are trying to kid us that wee 'mini-nukes'' are a solution to hidden terrorists. We are being lied to. Not only would a mini-nuke cause more damage and civilian deaths in bursting at or in ground level by expelling more radioactive debris, it is simply immoral and illegal to even contemplate their use, let alone developing them".

The folly of US refusal to ratify the nuclear test-ban treaty (CTBT) has been made clearer by a recent report compiled by the US National Academy of Science. The report shows that none of the arguments against signing the CTBT hold any water, while the overall impact on global and US security from the weakened nonproliferation regime that results from the US refusal to support the CTBT is strongly negative.

Meanwhile in South Asia, the second most populous nation in the world, and fellow Commonwealth member India, has been poised on the brink of a nuclear exchange with neighbouring Pakistan, that could kill 12 million people according to Pentagon estimates.

On this Hiroshima Day, we all need to urge the Australian government not to support the nuclear-tainted military policies of the current US administration, to insist that the required 44 states ratify and support the CTBT to allow entry into force, and for nuclear states to act seriously on commitments to global nuclear disarmament. Australia must urge the US not to commit itself and the world to an unending and open-ended 'war on terror' whose next installment could be an attack on Iraq.

Hiroshima will be commemorated in Sydney by a march commencing at 12 noon in Town Hall Square (0418-290-663 Denis Doherty) and in Melbourne by a Nagasaki Day commemoration on Friday at 5.30. (0402-246-491 Jacob Grech)

For further information contact:

John Hallam
Ph: (02) 9567 7533

Giji Gya
Mob: 0413-594-717

Irene Gale
Ph: (08) 8364 229

Dennis Doherty
Mob: 0418 290 663

Jacob Grech
Mob: 0402-246-491