ICAN Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech – Nuclear Weapons Ban Now

Beatrice Fihn, Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), has delivered the Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Peace Prize award to ICAN. 2 months ago the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was set for ratification and will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it. Beatrice Fihn declared: “Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us? … Mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away”. Nuclear Weapons ban now.

Key points raised in Beatrice Fihn’s speech [1] are set out below together with my amplifying comments:

  1. Anti-nuclear weapons Nobel Peace Prizes.

Beatrice Fihn: “Today, it is a great honour to accept the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of thousands of inspirational people who make up the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Together we have brought democracy to disarmament and are reshaping international law…”

Comment. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to many anti-nuclear weapons activists, namely Linus Pauling, (1962; anti-nuclear testing), International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (1985), Joseph Rotblat and Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (1995, for anti-nuclear weapons stance) , the  International Atomic Energy Agency and Mohamed El Baradei (2005, anti-nuclear weapons),  and to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN) (2017) (in similar vein it was  also awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 2013) [2, 3].

One notes sadly that the Nobel Peace Prize has also been awarded to numerous leaders of nuclear-armed, nuclear terrorist states, namely  Barack Obama (US, 2009), Jimmy Carter (US, 2002), Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin (Apartheid Israel, 1994), Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Russia, 1990), Menachem Begin (Apartheid Israel, 1978), Henry A. Kissinger (US, 1973), and to further leaders involved in making war and/or  genocide, namely Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar, 1991), Thomas Woodrow Wilson (US, 1919), and Theodore Roosevelt (US, 1906) [3, 4].  

  1. 15,000 nuclear weapons.

Beatrice Fihn: “At dozens of locations around the world – in missile silos buried in our earth, on submarines navigating through our oceans, and aboard planes flying high in our sky – lie 15,000 objects of humankind’s destruction…”

Comment. The upper  estimates of stored  nuclear weapons  are as follows: US (7,315), Russia (8,000), Apartheid Israel (400), France (300), UK (250), China (250), Pakistan (120), India (100), and North Korea (less than 10). India , Pakistan, Apartheid Israel and North Korea have not ratified the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) [2, 5]. Serial war criminal, homicidally greedy neoliberal, psychopathic racist and ignorant, anti-science buffoon Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to totally destroy North Korea and there is great fear that nuclear terrorist Apartheid Israel might use such a genocidal attack to wipe out non-nuclear armed Iran using nuclear weapons from Germany-supplied submarines [6-9].

  1. Risk – “insanity… mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away”.

Beatrice Fihn: “It is insanity to allow ourselves to be ruled by these weapons. Many critics of this movement suggest that we are the irrational ones, the idealists with no grounding in reality. That nuclear-armed states will never give up their weapons. But we represent the only rational choice. We represent those who refuse to accept nuclear weapons as a fixture in our world, those who refuse to have their fates bound up in a few lines of launch code. Ours is the only reality that is possible. The alternative is unthinkable. The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what that ending will be. Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us? One of these things will happen. The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away…”

Comment. As far as we know, the world narrowly evaded a nuclear holocaust on at least 2 occasions. Thus Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov (30 January 1926 – 19 August 1998) was a Soviet Navy officer during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  As Commander of the Soviet submarine flotilla near Cuba, he prevented the launch of a nuclear torpedo from a Soviet submarine being threatened by US depth charges, and therefore prevented a possible nuclear war. Thomas Blanton (then director of the National Security Archive) said in 2002 that “a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world” [10, 11].  Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (born in 1939) was a  lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces when on 26 September  1983 he was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early warning system.  When the system reported a missile being launched from the United States, Petrov concluded that the report was a false alarm and did not press the button to end the world. This decision by Stanislav Petrov may have prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its Western allies. Investigation later confirmed that the satellite warning system had malfunctioned [12, 13].

It is speculated from an evidential basis that the US may have used a neutron bomb to capturer Baghdad Airport intact in 2003 [14, 15]. It appears that Harry Truman considered  launching a nuclear attack on China during the Korean War [16, 17]. The “empirical annual probability” of nuclear weapons use  is very low i.e. as far as is publicly known, there have been only 2  such nuclear weapons use events in the last 72 years (Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945).  However this low  “empirical annual probability” must be balanced against the existential reality that 7.5 billion human beings will die immediately  or soon thereafter as a result of a general  nuclear exchange today [18].

  1. Speciescidal, ecocidal, omnicidal, terracidal Nuclear Winter.

Beatrice Fihn: “A calculated military escalation could lead to the indiscriminate mass murder of civilians. If only a small fraction of today’s nuclear weapons were used, soot and smoke from the firestorms would loft high into the atmosphere – cooling, darkening and drying the Earth’s surface for more than a decade. It would obliterate food crops, putting billions at risk of starvation. Yet we continue to live in denial of this existential threat…”

Comment. A nuclear exchange would wipe out most of Humanity (current population about 7.5 billion) , successively through the initial instantaneous destruction of cities, subsequent deaths from burns and  radiation sickness from radioactive fallout, and  finally  through a “Nuclear Winter” decimating agriculture, photosynthesis and photosynthate-based life in general [2]. Fred Mendelsohn (Emeritus Professor,  the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health at the University of Melbourne) (2014): “Despite the end of the Cold War, we still live under the dark shadow of some 16,300 nuclear weapons, 1,800 of them on high alert. Each is capable of levelling a city in a flash, killing hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of innocent people. Each is designed to destroy indiscriminately on a vast scale, leaving a toxic radioactive legacy for decades. Collectively, nuclear weapons pose the greatest immediate threat to the health and welfare of humankind and the future of the planet. Such was the conclusion of the world’s leading medical authority, the World Health Organization… Climate scientists now predict that even a so-called “limited” nuclear war would put up to two billion people at risk of famine from an unnatural prolonged winter. A war fought using 5 per cent of all nuclear weapons in the world today would render the planet completely and permanently uninhabitable… The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which originated in Melbourne seven years ago, has been instrumental in putting a nuclear weapons ban firmly on the global political agenda” [19].

The late Malcolm Fraser (former PM in 1975-1983 of an Australia that in 2017 fervently supports US and Israeli nuclear terrorism) and Dr Tilmann Ruff (a co-founder of ICAN in Melbourne and Associate Professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne ): “New and overwhelming evidence has been added at successive conferences about what nuclear weapons actually do to human beings and the Earth that supports all species including us. Key conclusions from all three conferences were unequivocal. Any nuclear explosion/war would have long-term catastrophic effects in almost every sphere, not constrained by borders, that could threaten the very survival of humankind. Radioactive contamination, disproportionately harming women and children, would cause genetic mutations and cancer over countless generations. The risks of nuclear weapons being used are real, and have previously been underestimated. Aggravated by international tensions, there are many circumstances in which nuclear weapons could be used by intent; or by accidental, mistaken, unauthorised or malicious use, including through machine failure, human error and increasingly, cyberattack. Limiting the role of nuclear weapons to deterrence – their claimed role in the “defence” of Australia – does not remove the danger of their use. On the contrary, the vulnerability of nuclear command and control systems, maintaining arsenals on high alert, ready to be fired within minutes, forward deployments and continuing modernisation of nuclear arsenals, increase the risks over time. Every weapon developed has been used in war. In August 1945 only two nuclear weapons existed; both were used. Despite reductions, there are now 16,400, most of them many times more powerful than the weapons which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing close to a quarter of a million people. The only assurance against nuclear war is the total elimination of nuclear weapons” [20].

  1. UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – “nuclear weapons are now illegal”.

Beatrice Fihn: “This year the hypothetical marched forward towards the actual as 122 nations negotiated and concluded a UN treaty to outlaw these weapons of mass destruction. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides the pathway forward at a moment of great global crisis…”

Comment. 127 nations out of the 193 UN members states have formally endorsed the Pledge to outlaw nuclear weapons. In addition, 23 nations have voted in favour of the Pledge resolution. [21].  Those refusing to take the Pledge or to be in favour of the Pledge resolution are nearly all European countries and allies of the nuclear terrorist nations of the US,  the UK, France  and Apartheid Israel, degenerate nations prepared to mass murder billions of human beings for some crazily  perceived profit . The European nations formally endorsing the Pledge include  Andorra, Austraia, Cyprus, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Malta and San Marino; in addition, Belarus, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland have voted in favour of the Pledge resolution [2, 21].

According to Wikipedia (2017): “The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination. It was passed on 7 July 2017. In order to come into effect, signature and ratification by at least 50 countries is required. For those nations that are party to it, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities. For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme. According to a mandate adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2016, negotiations on the treaty began in the United Nations in March 2017 and continued from 15 June to 7 July 2017. In the vote on the treaty text, 122 were in favour, 1 voted against (Netherlands), and 1 abstained (Singapore). 69 nations did not vote, among them all of the nuclear weapon states and all NATO members except the Netherlands” [2, 22].

As of 22 September 2017, 3 states have ratified the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty (Guyana, Thailand and Vatican City )  and 53 states have signed the Treaty: Algeria, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic of; Congo-Kinshasa, Zaire), Congo (Republic of; Congo-Brazzaville), Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Gambia (The), Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Kiribati, Laos, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Thailand,  Togo, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela, and Vietnam [2, 22].

Dr Tilman Ruff: “[In September 2017]  a historic ceremony will take place in the UN General Assembly – the opening for signature of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it. More than 40 are expected to sign today, and more will sign over the coming weeks and months. As it was adopted by a vote of 122 to one, it can be expected that close to 100 countries will sign before year’s end and it will enter into force in 2018… No human should have the power to end the world in an afternoon. If nuclear weapons are retained they will eventually be used. The crisis relating to North Korea, for which there is no military solution, highlights again that our luck could run out any day. The countries that have foresworn biological and chemical weapons now need to do the same for nuclear weapons. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides a credible pathway to the verified, time-bound elimination of weapons posing the most acute existential threat to people everywhere. All countries – including North Korea, the US and Australia – should join the treaty” [23].

  1. Choice – “the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us?”

Beatrice Fihn: “Nuclear weapons, like chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster munitions and land mines before them, are now illegal. Their existence is immoral. Their abolishment is in our hands. The end is inevitable. But will that end be the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us? We must choose one. We are a movement for rationality. For democracy. For freedom from fear. We are campaigners from 468 organisations who are working to safeguard the future, and we are representative of the moral majority: the billions of people who choose life over death, who together will see the end of nuclear weapons”.

Comment. Campaigning on the basis of rationality and humanity has so far failed to sway the nuclear terrorist states. As detailed below, the nuclear terrorist states and other  nuclear terrorism-supporting states should be utterly stigmatized and subject to sensibly and selectively applied Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Final comments.  

What can existentially nuclear weapons-threatened Humanity do in addition to pleading for rationality and humanity? The inescapable horrible reality is that those committed to nuclear weapons and “nuclear deterrence” are committed to the mass murder of non-combatant men, women and children and thence likely terracide – the wiping out of most terrestrial life. World fail to describe such evil – in short, they are degenerate scum who have no place in any decent society.

Complete nuclear disarmament is technically possible with resolute goodwill and commitment. Demands for (a) abolition of or intervening drastic reductions in nuclear weapons, and (b) Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) for non-compliance should be selectively applied to all nuclear terrorist states, noting that  (a) huge countries with huge numbers of nuclear weapons have more “space” for massive arms  reductions,  and (b) countries with smaller populations  and without global imperial imperatives may be more susceptible  to selectively applied, BDS-based persuasion.

Nuclear  powers with populations under 100 million like France (population 66.9 million, 290 warheads),  the UK (population 65.6 million, 120 warheads), Apartheid Israel (Jewish Israeli population 6.4 million, 400 warheads) and North Korea (population 25.4 million, circa 10 warheads) are most susceptible to pressure and may be variously persuaded by BDS impositions  to abandon nuclear weapons. Thus the UK and France have no empires left to defend,  are remote from conceivable invaders.   and should be particularly  susceptible  to Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as were successfully applied to  Apartheid South Africa and are currently being applied against Apartheid Israel. North Korea, that lost 28% of its population to US bombing in the Korean War [24],  could be granted a guarantee of safety and territorial integrity by its neighbours China and Russia. US-backed, nuclear terrorist, racist Zionist-run, genocidally racist, democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel is already subject to Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)  over its obscene, Nazi-style Apartheid race laws,  and must also be condemned for its  ongoing Palestinian Genocide, its complicity in other  genocides,  and its subversion of Western democracies [25-33]. Apartheid Israel should be de-nuclearized immediately  by overwhelming global consensus after the example of Apartheid South Africa (that obtained nuclear weapons with the help of pro-Apartheid US  and  Apartheid Israel) [34, 35].

Numerous countries that (a) host US bases, (b) host US  nuclear weapons, (c) host  nuclear-armed warships, or (d) host nuclear terrorism-related communications facilities should face Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Thus  when a US nuclear-armed warship is in an Australian port,  Australia is effectively hosting US nuclear weapons  and making Australia a nuclear target,  as well as through Australia hosting a US Marine base in Darwin, hosting nuclear-armed warships in general, and hosting  joint US-Australian  nuclear terrorism-related communications facilities such as that at Pine Gap in Central Australia.

Nuclear disarmament is possible as exampled by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and South Africa [36]. All nuclear terrorist countries and all of  the mostly European and US-allied countries that refuse to join the present 127 nations who support the Nuclear Weapons Ban or the 23 supporting the anti-nuclear weapons Pledge, should be subject to Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS).   Decent people must vote out all politicians and parties complicit in nuclear terrorism. Thus Australians who utterly abhor mass murder will utterly reject the Zionist-subverted, US lackey, US nuclear terrorism-complicit  Lib-Labs (Coalition and Labor Right), vote 1 Green and put the Coalition last.

There must be zero tolerance for racism, violence and mass murder whether actual or prospective. The world must save itself and ban all nuclear weapons now.

Written By : Dr. Gideon Polya

She is Anti-racist, humanitarian, agnostic, humanist, scientist, artist, writer, pro-peace advocate

The Editor of Millat Times English and founding member of Millat Times Group, featuring stories and reports Email: irshadayub5@gmail.com