Comedian John Oliver's weekly HBO program "Last Week Tonight" went after the absurdity of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and public apathy in the face of such catastrophic risks. He discusses the dubious management of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including degraded facilities, and scandals involving U.S. nuclear missileers. He also chronicles a number of nuclear near-misses, "Almost-ageddons," he calls them.
Beyond Nuclear advocates for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and argues that removing them can only make us safer, not more vulnerable. The expansion of commercial nuclear power across the globe only increases the chance that more nuclear weapons will be built and is counterproductive to disarmament.
Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was invited by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Committee of Washington, D.C.'s coordinator, John Steinbach (see photo, left), to give an update on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe at this year's commemoration of the atomic bombings in 1945. The event took place, for the first time, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Monument, on the National Mall.
Presentations were also made by Hibakusa -- survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings -- both first generation, as well as second generation.
I would also ask you to pray with us at Trinity Site on July 16. Everyone is always as welcome as the Mother of Jesus to come and pray with us at this 24 hour prayer vigil at Trinity Site. Recognizing though, that a journey to Trinity Site is very difficult, physically and financially, for you and for many, I would invite you to set aside a piece of time that day with folks in your Church, with your P&J group or with God and yourself to pray that humanity be protected and save from the scourge of evil that human beings have brought upon themselves. If ever there was an example of and incontestable evidence for the truth of Jesus' warning to Peter and to all humanity in the Gethsemane, "The one who lives by the sword will perish by the sword," Trinity Site on July 16, 1945 is it. The sword of nuclear murder was drawn on that day, but unlike the sword Peter drew in the Gospel it was not "Put up." So, for the pass sixty-nine years nuclear murder, in various disguises, has been ravaging the men, women and children of the society that created, drew and used the first nuclear sword. Since then other societies have gotten into the lucrative business of possessing and producing nuclear weapons and devises to assure their survival and future prosperity with the same multi-level anti-survival, self-destructive results from Semipalatinsk in Kazakhastan, to Chernobyl in the Ukraine, to St. George, Utah in the United States, to Fukushima in Japan—and everywhere in between!
Here is an short excerpt from the Statement of Purpose of the Day of Prayer, composed for the first such Day in 1990 and used for every Trinity Site Prayer Vigil since:
"July 16 is the symbol and reality of weaponry that kills even if it is never used, as well as, weaponry that kills long after it is used. By its cost alone it murders the working class and poor by depriving them of indispensable resources, which they need to live, and to which every human being has an inalienable right—a right conferred simply by the fact that he or she is a human being.
Once the soul and the soil are seeded by the production of such weapons, no one on the planet can protect himself or herself from being contaminated by their ever-mutating spiritual and physical manifestations. They have already created within humanity a cauldron of physical, spiritual, social, personal, and economic pathologies that have infected and affected humanity in ways never before seen. Every child in the womb, every farm, every lake, every person, every person’s loved ones and offspring for untold generations must eventually wind up living downwind from the mushroom cloud."
Jesus tells His disciples when they are unable to remove an evil spirit from their midst, "This kind of evil can be driven out only by prayer" (Mk 9:29). The only way that prayer would be inefficacious and of no importance is if no One were listening. But, IAM, I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life, I am the resurrection is listening.
Attached are two items of pertinence, an Icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Trinity Site [see above left]...and the full Statement of Purpose for this July 16 Prayer Vigil at Trinity Site [linked here].
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy"
As reported by an AP article carried by the Japan Times, a Chinese Communist Party youth newspaper's depiction of mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, alongside headlines readings “Japan wants a war again,” and “Have we been too friendly to Japan in the past?”, has prompted protests by the Japanese national government.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has expressed concern over recent changes to the interpretation by Japan's ruling party of its peace constitution, which would apparently allow the Japanese military to come to the aid of allies for the first time since World War II.
As the article concludes:
"In the closing days of World War II, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, ultimately killing 140,000 people, and a second one on Nagasaki three days later, killing another 90,000, prompting Japan’s surrender."
As reported by Reuters, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have seized 88 pounds of nuclear material from a university in Mosul, Iraq. The Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations has reported the theft to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and called on the UN for assistance in the nuclear material's recovery.
Reuters reports that Iraq's U.N. Ambassador, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, wrote in his July 8 letter:
"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials "can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction."
"These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts," said Alhakim.
He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.
"The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad," Alhakim wrote.
The incident is reminiscent of the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when unguarded nuclear facilities were systematically looted.