Meditation Focus #130
Co-creating a Nuclear-Free World
What follows is the 130th Meditation Focus suggested for the next 3 weeks beginning Sunday, May 8, 2005.
CO-CREATING A NUCLEAR-FREE WORLD
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus
4. Peace Vigil for Togo
5. Visualizing a Dome of Light over Baghdad
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE IN PASSING THIS ON TO OTHERS
Global Ascension Meditation - May 16, 2005 at 7 pm GMT/3 pm EDT (New York)
Now is the time to become again fully aware of our true power of creation and truly live the love and the light, the divine essence of who we really are. Only thereby we experience the ascension into light, the way back to oneness and the creation of the New Age or Heaven on Earth. CLIP
From May 2 to May 27, the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is taking place at UN headquarters in New York. This conference brings together representatives from over 180 governments to review implementation of and compliance with their mutual obligations and commitments under the 1968 treaty. The NPT codifies one of the most important international security bargains of all time: states without nuclear weapons pledge not to acquire them, while nuclear-armed states commit to eventually give them up. At the same time, the NPT allows for the peaceful use of nuclear technology under strict and verifiable control. The NPT has made the world safer by significantly raising the political costs of developing nuclear weapons. It has also created a global consensus against the acquisition, modernization, trade, and use of nuclear weapons. Yet today, 35 years after the treaty entered into force, the nonproliferation regime is under serious strain. The NPT is not broken, but it must be strengthened if past successes are to be preserved and if today's and future proliferation threats are to be rolled back. The future viability and success of the NPT depends on universal compliance with tighter rules to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, more effective regional security strategies, and renewed progress toward fulfillment of the nuclear-weapon states' NPT disarmament obligations.
At a moment of rising nuclear tensions in the world, several speakers on the first day of this Review Conference called for concessions from many sides Iran, North Korea, America, Russia to move toward a world free of the nuclear threat. "Ultimately, the only way to guarantee that they will never be used is for our world to be free of such weapons," Annan said, and he then urged the United States and Russia to slash their nuclear arsenals irreversibly to just hundreds of warheads. Yet, on November 13, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would reduce "operationally deployed nuclear warheads" from approximately 5,300 to a level between 1,700 and 2,200 over the next decade. This scaling back would approach the 1,500 to 2,200 range that Putin had proposed for Russia. However, the Bush administration's Nuclear Posture Review, mandated by the US Congress and issued in January 2002, presents quite a different story. Although the number of deployed warheads will be reduced to 3,800 in 2007 and to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012, the warheads and many of the launch vehicles taken off deployment will be maintained in a "responsive" reserve from which they could be moved back to the operationally deployed force. Although any proposed reduction is welcome, it is doubtful that survivors - if there were any - of an exchange of 3,200 warheads (the US and Russian numbers projected for 2012), with a destructive power approximately 65,000 times that of the Hiroshima bomb, could detect a difference between the effects of such an exchange and one that would result from the launch of the current US and Russian forces totaling about 12,000 warheads.
In the meantime, a deadly legacy of the nuclear era, known as depleted uranium, is already causing a silent genocide in all the countries where ammunitions and bombs encased in depleted uranium have been used. A minimum of 500 or 600 tons now litter Afghanistan, and several times that amount are spread across Iraq. In terms of global atmospheric pollution, the equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki bombs has already been released. The numbers are overwhelming, but the potential horrors only get worse. DU dust does more than wreak havoc on the immune systems of those who breathe or touch it; the substance also alters one's genetic code. Thus, birth defects are way up in Afghanistan since the invasion: children "born with no eyes, no limbs, tumors protruding from their mouths ...deformed genitalia," according to a recent report. This ghastly toll on the unborn - on the future - has led investigators to coin the term "silent genocide" to describe the effects of this horrific weapon.
Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming three weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following two Sundays, to contribute in awakening the whole world and every politician in power to the urgent need to rid the world of nuclear weapons and to ban forever the use of depleted uranium. Aware that our planet can only rejoin the larger family of peaceful civilizations once we have created a world where the threat of nuclear annihilation and radioactive intoxication has permanently been eliminated, we will connect with all of humanity to instill in everyone's heart and mind the vision of peace, brotherhood and universal harmony that can only ensure that no one will feel threatened ever again to even conceive of the idea of resorting to war and weapons of abominable destructive power to protect themselves against a perceived enemy. May we all strive to eliminate from our own very thoughts and feelings anything this is not pure harmlessness, and may we let the shining beacon of Love for one another grow exponentially in our hearts so as to help co-create a nuclear-free world, for the Highest Good of All.
This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus130.htm
2. MEDITATION TIMES
i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation BOTH to the healing of the Earth as a whole and to reiterate our willingness and desire - if we so choose - to receive http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?day=8&month=05&year=2005&hour=16&min=0&sec=0&p1=0 to find your corresponding local time for tomorrow if a nearby city is not listed above.
3. MORE INFORMATION RELATED TO THIS MEDITATION FOCUS
This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.
"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount."
- Omar N. Bradley U.S. five-star general, known as the G.I.'s general and field commander of 1.3 million men during the Second World War. He also said, "As far as I am concerned, war itself is immoral."
1. Rewriting the contract that saved the world
2. Apocalypse Soon
3. Nuclear Renaissance
4. Cronkite: Media Failing on Nuclear Stories
5. Depleted Uranium - Silent genocide to haunt perpetrators
6. Radioactive Uranium Nano-Particles Pinpointed As Major Issue in Gulf War Syndrome
7. Silent Genocide
8. The Silent Genocide from America
Talks on Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty 'deadlocked' (May 2, 2005)
US wants to talk about Iran and North Korea, but world wants to talk about US and other nuclear powers. - If the US has its way, this week's Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty meeting at the UN will be all about Iran and North Korea. But The Associated Press reports that the rest of the world wants to focus on the US and the other big five nuclear powers (China, Britain, France and Russia), and their "slow pace" towards total nuclear disarmament. As a result, The New York Times reported Saturday, the meeting appears to be deadlocked and the goal of closing "loopholes" in the treaty that have been exploited by Iran, North Korea, and even the US in some cases, likely won't be met. The Globe and Mail reports that the conference opens with signs of defiance from North Korea, which test-fired "a short-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead" over the weekend, and from Iran who said it will probably restart its uranium enrichment program. But nonnuclear countries and other activists say US President George Bush needs to "lead by example and demonstrate a commitment to the treaty's goal of disarmament as well as nonproliferation." On Monday, the International Herald Tribune carried a commentary signed by foreign ministers from Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden, that called on the nuclear powers to "fulfill their obligations to eliminate their nuclear arsenals." CLIP
Ministers Urge N. Korea on Nuclear Talks (May 8, 2005)
KYOTO, Japan - Asian and European nations urged North Korea on Saturday to return immediately to nuclear disarmament talks as concerns grew that the communist state was preparing to test an atomic bomb. (...) A U.S. defense official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said Friday that photos by U.S. spy satellites show North Korea making moves that could be construed as preparations for an underground nuclear test.Japan's Defense Agency also said it had information that the communist nation might be preparing for a nuclear test. Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura stressed that Tokyo had not confirmed whether the preparations were real but acknowledged that the communist country posed an increasing threat. "It is very difficult to ascertain any of this," he said."In the meantime, nuclear and missile development has likely been proceeding steadily," since North Korea broke off the talks last June, Machimura said. Although North Korea has claimed it has nuclear weapons, an actual test would be a first. U.S. intelligence and other estimates put the number of their weapons between one and six.Machimura told Ban on Friday that Japan might bring North Korea's nuclear ambitions before the U.N. Security Council if the North continued to boycott talks. That would be a first step toward possible sanctions against the reclusive communist regime.North Korea's leaders have said they would consider sanctions a "declaration of war." CLIP
Nonproliferation plus disarmament (May 3)
An international conference to review the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) opens at the United Nations Monday. The 1970 treaty is riddled with inefficacy, as illustrated by North Korea's nuclear-weapons program, Iran's moves to enrich uranium, and the existence of an international black market for nuclear equipment and technology. Restoring confidence in the NPT regime largely depends on the conference.Confidence building requires resolving, or at least reducing, the deep disagreement and mistrust that exists between nuclear haves and have-nots. All treaty nations have the collective responsibility to craft a more effective international system for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. CLIP
Abolish Nuclear Weapons (April 12, 2005)
The key problem concerning the effort to abolish nuclear weapons is that it does not go far enough. The only true way to end the threat of nuclear weapons spreading throughout this world is to also put a stop to nuclear power. Radical? Yes, but consider the even more radical alternative: a world in which scores of nations can construct nuclear weaponry because they possess nuclear power technology. There are major parts of the earth - Africa, South America, the South Pacific, and others - that have now been designated nuclear-free zones. I submit that if we are really to have a world free of the horrific threat of nuclear weapons and their use, our long-term goal need be the designation of this entire planet as a nuclear-free zone - no nuclear weapons, no nuclear power (the other side of the same coin). Radical? Yes, but consider the alternative - trying to keep using carrots and sticks, juggling on the road to inevitable nuclear disaster. That may or may not occur this decade or next but sooner or later, as nuclear power continues to spread, it will. A nuclear-free world is the only way, I believe, that humanity will be free of the dark specter of nuclear warfare. CLIP
Resource Guide on Proposals to Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty http://www.armscontrol.org/pdf/NPTRevConf2005_MajorProposals.pdf
The Washington-based Arms Control Association (ACA) has published a 50-page comprehensive guide on "Major Proposals to Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty" which is now available online. The report, which is co-written by ACA research fellow Claire Applegarth and Reaching Critical Will project director Rhianna Tyson, describes key government proposals in 14 areas relating to the global nuclear nonproliferation system and analyzes the positions of major states and blocs on the proposals. CLIP
Nuclear Power Is The Problem, Not A Solution by Dr. Helen Caldicott (April 13, 2005)
There is a huge propaganda push by the nuclear industry to justify nuclear power as a panacea for the reduction of global-warming gases.
Nuclear Looks Worse than Ever (April 30, 2005)
President Bush is promoting the use of nuclear power plants to generate electricity. It seems a political choice. Investing in nuclear power plants can be attempted only by very large corporations, of the kind that are in his support base. They belong to a very exclusive big-money club, and there are many billions of dollars at stake. But to belong, one also has to be willing to forget Three Mile Island, to forget market economics, nuclear proliferation, radioactive waste and, in particular, to forget nuclear terrorism. (...) In summary: It is a fact that in the last 50 years or so, electricity-generating nuclear power plants have been tested for competitiveness in the U.S. marketplace and have failed the test. In spite of ongoing government regulatory support and incentives, no new nuclear power plants have been ordered by industry in the last 32 years. Apart from failing the market test, the industry has failed to resolve the public's concerns about radioactive materials. Rejection of nuclear power in the United States is the result of failure to resolve conflicts between the business objectives of privately owned corporations, and the extraordinary public safeguarding and security needs (including nuclear terrorism) necessitated by the use of fissionable materials and relegated to government. Our energy future is elsewhere.
More related news
Rewriting the contract that saved the world
Charles J Hanley | United Nations
07 May 2005
"Considering the devastation that would be visited upon mankind ..." is how it begins, a 2400-word contract some would say saved the world.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has helped keep the lid on that threat of devastation since 1970. Without it, dozens more countries might have joined the atomic-weapons club by now.
But the heart of the contract, the deal, grows weaker year by year. Cheaters are found on the inside, nuclear bombs on the outside. And some of the "undersigned" themselves wonder whether the deal they were handed 35 years ago was a raw one.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan last week opened a month-long conference on the NPT with an appeal to its 188 member nations to repair the troubled treaty regime.
"You must come to terms with all the nuclear dangers that threaten humanity," said Annan.
Those dangers lie not only in the Hamgyong Mountains, where North Korea may be readying its first nuclear test blast, and outside ancient Isfahan, where a long-secret uranium-fuel plant could help Iran build a bomb. Many see danger, too, in the corridors of the Pentagon, where planners talk of new nuclear arms.
The NPT deal is easily summed up: Countries without the doomsday weapons forever renounce them, in exchange for a commitment by five with the weapons -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China -- to negotiate toward giving them up. The "have-nots," meantime, are guaranteed access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In an early blow to the treaty, three nations refused to sign on. Those outsiders -- Israel, India and Pakistan -- now have nuclear arsenals.
Then insiders Iraq, North Korea and Libya turned out to be cheaters. Two of those programmes -- Iraq's and Libya's -- were shut down, but now Washington charges that Iran is a fourth case of "noncompliance," building its uranium-enrichment plant with weapons in mind, not civilian energy.
Treaty members recognise that rules must be tightened up: UN nuclear inspectors must have more resources and authority to uncover cheaters; bomb-capable technology like uranium enrichment must be better controlled, perhaps even by UN or regional bodies; members mustn't be able to exit the treaty, as North Korea did, with no consequences.
The Americans and French, in particular, say these noncompliance issues must top the agenda of the NPT conference, convened only once every five years.
"The priority in 2005 is to meet the serious challenges of the proliferation crises," France's Francois Rivasseau told fellow delegates on Thursday.
But many of those delegates are pointing to the contract language, and demanding that the five nuclear powers' obligations on the disarmament side of the deal be viewed as critically as the nonproliferation commitments of 183 others.
The "five" don't act as though they'll disarm anytime soon.
Britain is studying an upgrade of its submarine-borne nuclear missiles. Russia boasts it's developing the world's best new strategic weapons.
The non-nuclear majority is troubled most by the Bush administration, and its proposals for "bunker busters" and other new warheads, its talk of using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, and its rejection of the nuclear test-ban treaty, viewed as key to future disarmament.
Washington and Moscow have trimmed their arsenals considerably since the Cold War. But US plans allow for keeping 5 000 warheads indefinitely, and the longer "indefinitely" goes on, the greater may be the urge for some -- feeling threatened -- to reach for the bomb.
Iran's foreign minister, reiterating Tehran's denial that it has a weapons programme, called on the delegates here to press for more decisive steps to rid the world of the thousands of atomic warheads that do exist.
"The credibility of the NPT is at stake," he said.
But the dealmaker's art that forged the grand bargain of 1970 was so far lacking in 2005. The central argument, of nonproliferation vs. disarmament, deteriorated last week into backroom bickering over diplomatic language, the meaning of words.
Despite Annan's admonition that "the consequences of failure are too great," the world's nations, with one week down and three to go, had failed even to agree on an agenda, on what to talk about at a conference meant to preserve their historic but imperiled old deal. - Sapa-AP
* Charles J Hanley has covered nuclear issues for more than 20 years.
Originally from http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=2829
By Robert S. McNamara
May/June 2005 Issue
Robert McNamara is worried. He knows how close we've come. His counsel helped the Kennedy administration avert nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, he believes the United States must no longer rely on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. To do so is immoral, illegal and dreadfully dangerous.
It is time - well past time, in my view - for the United States to cease its Cold War-style reliance on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. At the risk of appearing simplistic and provocative, I would characterize current US nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, and dreadfully dangerous. The risk of an accidental or inadvertent nuclear launch is unacceptably high. Far from reducing these risks, the Bush administration has signaled that it is committed to keeping the US nuclear arsenal as a mainstay of its military power - a commitment that is simultaneously eroding the international norms that have limited the spread of nuclear weapons and fissile materials for 50 years. Much of the current US nuclear policy has been in place since before I was secretary of defense, and it has only grown more dangerous and diplomatically destructive in the intervening years.
Today, the United States has deployed approximately 4,500 strategic, offensive nuclear warheads. Russia has roughly 3,800. The strategic forces of Britain, France, and China are considerably smaller, with 200400 nuclear weapons in each state's arsenal. The new nuclear states of Pakistan and India have fewer than 100 weapons each. North Korea now claims to have developed nuclear weapons, and US intelligence agencies estimate that Pyongyang has enough fissile material for 28 bombs.
How destructive are these weapons? The average US warhead has a destructive power 20 times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Of the 8,000 active or operational US warheads, 2,000 are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched on 15 minutes' warning. How are these weapons to be used? The United States has never endorsed the policy of "no first use," not during my seven years as secretary or since. We have been and remain prepared to initiate the use of nuclear weapons - by the decision of one person, the president - against either a nuclear or nonnuclear enemy whenever we believe it is in our interest to do so. For decades, US nuclear forces have been sufficiently strong to absorb a first strike and then inflict "unacceptable" damage on an opponent. This has been and (so long as we face a nuclear-armed, potential adversary) must continue to be the foundation of our nuclear deterrent.
In my time as secretary of defense, the commander of the US Strategic Air Command (SAC) carried with him a secure telephone, no matter where he went, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The telephone of the commander, whose headquarters were in Omaha, Nebraska, was linked to the underground command post of the North American Defense Command, deep inside Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado, and to the US president, wherever he happened to be. The president always had at hand nuclear release codes in the so-called football, a briefcase carried for the president at all times by a US military officer.
The SAC commander's orders were to answer the telephone by no later than the end of the third ring. If it rang, and he was informed that a nuclear attack of enemy ballistic missiles appeared to be under way, he was allowed 2 to 3 minutes to decide whether the warning was valid (over the years, the United States has received many false warnings), and if so, how the United States should respond. He was then given approximately 10 minutes to determine what to recommend, to locate and advise the president, permit the president to discuss the situation with two or three close advisors (presumably the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and to receive the president's decision and pass it immediately, along with the codes, to the launch sites. The president essentially had two options: He could decide to ride out the attack and defer until later any decision to launch a retaliatory strike. Or, he could order an immediate retaliatory strike, from a menu of options, thereby launching US weapons that were targeted on the opponent's military-industrial assets. Our opponents in Moscow presumably had and have similar arrangements.
The whole situation seems so bizarre as to be beyond belief. On any given day, as we go about our business, the president is prepared to make a decision within 20 minutes that could launch one of the most devastating weapons in the world. To declare war requires an act of congress, but to launch a nuclear holocaust requires 20 minutes' deliberation by the president and his advisors. But that is what we have lived with for 40 years. With very few changes, this system remains largely intact, including the "football," the president's constant companion.
I was able to change some of these dangerous policies and procedures. My colleagues and I started arms control talks; we installed safeguards to reduce the risk of unauthorized launches; we added options to the nuclear war plans so that the president did not have to choose between an all-or-nothing response, and we eliminated the vulnerable and provocative nuclear missiles in Turkey. I wish I had done more, but we were in the midst of the Cold War, and our options were limited.
The United States and our NATO allies faced a strong Soviet and Warsaw Pact conventional threat. Many of the allies (and some in Washington as well) felt strongly that preserving the US option of launching a first strike was necessary for the sake of keeping the Soviets at bay. What is shocking is that today, more than a decade after the end of the Cold War, the basic US nuclear policy is unchanged. It has not adapted to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Plans and procedures have not been revised to make the United States or other countries less likely to push the button. At a minimum, we should remove all strategic nuclear weapons from "hair-trigger" alert, as others have recommended, including Gen. George Lee Butler, the last commander of SAC. That simple change would greatly reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear launch. It would also signal to other states that the United States is taking steps to end its reliance on nuclear weapons.
We pledged to work in good faith toward the eventual elimination of nuclear arsenals when we negotiated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968. In May, diplomats from more than 180 nations are meeting in New York City to review the NPT and assess whether members are living up to the agreement. The United States is focused, for understandable reasons, on persuading North Korea to rejoin the treaty and on negotiating deeper constraints on Iran's nuclear ambitions. Those states must be convinced to keep the promises they made when they originally signed the NPT - that they would not build nuclear weapons in return for access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. But the attention of many nations, including some potential new nuclear weapons states, is also on the United States. Keeping such large numbers of weapons, and maintaining them on hair-trigger alert, are potent signs that the United States is not seriously working toward the elimination of its arsenal and raises troubling questions as to why any other state should restrain its nuclear ambitions.
A Preview of the Apocalypse
The destructive power of nuclear weapons is well known, but given the United States' continued reliance on them, it's worth remembering the danger they present. A 2000 report by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War describes the likely effects of a single 1 megaton weapon - dozens of which are contained in the Russian and US inventories. At ground zero, the explosion creates a crater 300 feet deep and 1,200 feet in diameter. Within one second, the atmosphere itself ignites into a fireball more than a half-mile in diameter. The surface of the fireball radiates nearly three times the light and heat of a comparable area of the surface of the sun, extinguishing in seconds all life below and radiating outward at the speed of light, causing instantaneous severe burns to people within one to three miles. A blast wave of compressed air reaches a distance of three miles in about 12 seconds, flattening factories and commercial buildings. Debris carried by winds of 250 mph inflicts lethal injuries throughout the area. At least 50 percent of people in the area die immediately, prior to any injuries from radiation or the developing firestorm.
Of course, our knowledge of these effects is not entirely hypothetical. Nuclear weapons, with roughly one seventieth of the power of the 1 megaton bomb just described, were twice used by the United States in August 1945. One atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Around 80,000 people died immediately; approximately 200,000 died eventually. Later, a similar size bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. On Nov. 7, 1995, the mayor of Nagasaki recalled his memory of the attack in testimony to the International Court of Justice:
Nagasaki became a city of death where not even the sound of insects could be heard. After a while, countless men, women and children began to gather for a drink of water at the banks of nearby Urakami River, their hair and clothing scorched and their burnt skin hanging off in sheets like rags. Begging for help they died one after another in the water or in heaps on the banks.
Four months after the atomic bombing, 74,000 people were dead, and 75,000 had suffered injuries, that is, two-thirds of the city population had fallen victim to this calamity that came upon Nagasaki like a preview of the Apocalypse.
Why did so many civilians have to die? Because the civilians, who made up nearly 100 percent of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were unfortunately "co-located" with Japanese military and industrial targets. Their annihilation, though not the objective of those dropping the bombs, was an inevitable result of the choice of those targets. It is worth noting that during the Cold War, the United States reportedly had dozens of nuclear warheads targeted on Moscow alone, because it contained so many military targets and so much "industrial capacity."
Presumably, the Soviets similarly targeted many US cities. The statement that our nuclear weapons do not target populations per se was and remains totally misleading in the sense that the so-called collateral damage of large nuclear strikes would include tens of millions of innocent civilian dead.
This in a nutshell is what nuclear weapons do: They indiscriminately blast, burn, and irradiate with a speed and finality that are almost incomprehensible. This is exactly what countries like the United States and Russia, with nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, continue to threaten every minute of every day in this new 21st century.
No Way to Win
I have worked on issues relating to US and NATO nuclear strategy and war plans for more than 40 years. During that time, I have never seen a piece of paper that outlined a plan for the United States or NATO to initiate the use of nuclear weapons with any benefit for the United States or NATO. I have made this statement in front of audiences, including NATO defense ministers and senior military leaders, many times. No one has ever refuted it. To launch weapons against a nuclear-equipped opponent would be suicidal. To do so against a nonnuclear enemy would be militarily unnecessary, morally repugnant, and politically indefensible.
I reached these conclusions very soon after becoming secretary of defense. Although I believe Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson shared my view, it was impossible for any of us to make such statements publicly because they were totally contrary to established NATO policy. After leaving the Defense Department, I became president of the World Bank. During my 13-year tenure, from 1968 to 1981, I was prohibited, as an employee of an international institution, from commenting publicly on issues of US national security. After my retirement from the bank, I began to reflect on how I, with seven years' experience as secretary of defense, might contribute to an understanding of the issues with which I began my public service career.
At that time, much was being said and written regarding how the United States could, and why it should, be able to fight and win a nuclear war with the Soviets. This view implied, of course, that nuclear weapons did have military utility; that they could be used in battle with ultimate gain to whoever had the largest force or used them with the greatest acumen. Having studied these views, I decided to go public with some information that I knew would be controversial, but that I felt was needed to inject reality into these increasingly unreal discussions about the military utility of nuclear weapons. In articles and speeches, I criticized the fundamentally flawed assumption that nuclear weapons could be used in some limited way. There is no way to effectively contain a nuclear strike - to keep it from inflicting enormous destruction on civilian life and property, and there is no guarantee against unlimited escalation once the first nuclear strike occurs. We cannot avoid the serious and unacceptable risk of nuclear war until we recognize these facts and base our military plans and policies upon this recognition. I hold these views even more strongly today than I did when I first spoke out against the nuclear dangers our policies were creating. I know from direct experience that US nuclear policy today creates unacceptable risks to other nations and to our own.
What Castro Taught Us
Among the costs of maintaining nuclear weapons is the risk - to me an unacceptable risk - of use of the weapons either by accident or as a result of misjudgment or miscalculation in times of crisis. The Cuban Missile Crisis demonstrated that the United States and the Soviet Union - and indeed the rest of the world - came within a hair's breadth of nuclear disaster in October 1962.
Indeed, according to former Soviet military leaders, at the height of the crisis, Soviet forces in Cuba possessed 162 nuclear warheads, including at least 90 tactical warheads. At about the same time, Cuban President Fidel Castro asked the Soviet ambassador to Cuba to send a cable to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stating that Castro urged him to counter a US attack with a nuclear response. Clearly, there was a high risk that in the face of a US attack, which many in the US government were prepared to recommend to President Kennedy, the Soviet forces in Cuba would have decided to use their nuclear weapons rather than lose them. Only a few years ago did we learn that the four Soviet submarines trailing the US Naval vessels near Cuba each carried torpedoes with nuclear warheads. Each of the sub commanders had the authority to launch his torpedoes. The situation was even more frightening because, as the lead commander recounted to me, the subs were out of communication with their Soviet bases, and they continued their patrols for four days after Khrushchev announced the withdrawal of the missiles from Cuba.
The lesson, if it had not been clear before, was made so at a conference on the crisis held in Havana in 1992, when we first began to learn from former Soviet officials about their preparations for nuclear war in the event of a US invasion. Near the end of that meeting, I asked Castro whether he would have recommended that Khrushchev use the weapons in the face of a US invasion, and if so, how he thought the United States would respond. "We started from the assumption that if there was an invasion of Cuba, nuclear war would erupt," Castro replied. "We were certain of that
. [W]e would be forced to pay the price that we would disappear." He continued, "Would I have been ready to use nuclear weapons? Yes, I would have agreed to the use of nuclear weapons." And he added, "If Mr. McNamara or Mr. Kennedy had been in our place, and had their country been invaded, or their country was going to be occupied
I believe they would have used tactical nuclear weapons."
I hope that President Kennedy and I would not have behaved as Castro suggested we would have. His decision would have destroyed his country. Had we responded in a similar way the damage to the United States would have been unthinkable. But human beings are fallible. In conventional war, mistakes cost lives, sometimes thousands of lives. However, if mistakes were to affect decisions relating to the use of nuclear forces, there would be no learning curve. They would result in the destruction of nations. The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons carries a very high risk of nuclear catastrophe. There is no way to reduce the risk to acceptable levels, other than to first eliminate the hair-trigger alert policy and later to eliminate or nearly eliminate nuclear weapons. The United States should move immediately to institute these actions, in cooperation with Russia. That is the lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
A Dangerous Obsession
On Nov. 13, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would reduce "operationally deployed nuclear warheads" from approximately 5,300 to a level between 1,700 and 2,200 over the next decade. This scaling back would approach the 1,500 to 2,200 range that Putin had proposed for Russia. However, the Bush administration's Nuclear Posture Review, mandated by the US Congress and issued in January 2002, presents quite a different story. It assumes that strategic offensive nuclear weapons in much larger numbers than 1,700 to 2,200 will be part of US military forces for the next several decades. Although the number of deployed warheads will be reduced to 3,800 in 2007 and to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012, the warheads and many of the launch vehicles taken off deployment will be maintained in a "responsive" reserve from which they could be moved back to the operationally deployed force. The Nuclear Posture Review received little attention from the media. But its emphasis on strategic offensive nuclear weapons deserves vigorous public scrutiny. Although any proposed reduction is welcome, it is doubtful that survivors - if there were any - of an exchange of 3,200 warheads (the US and Russian numbers projected for 2012), with a destructive power approximately 65,000 times that of the Hiroshima bomb, could detect a difference between the effects of such an exchange and one that would result from the launch of the current US and Russian forces totaling about 12,000 warheads.
In addition to projecting the deployment of large numbers of strategic nuclear weapons far into the future, the Bush administration is planning an extensive and expensive series of programs to sustain and modernize the existing nuclear force and to begin studies for new launch vehicles, as well as new warheads for all of the launch platforms. Some members of the administration have called for new nuclear weapons that could be used as bunker busters against underground shelters (such as the shelters Saddam Hussein used in Baghdad). New production facilities for fissile materials would need to be built to support the expanded force. The plans provide for integrating a national ballistic missile defense into the new triad of offensive weapons to enhance the nation's ability to use its "power projection forces" by improving our ability to counterattack an enemy. The Bush administration also announced that it has no intention to ask congress to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and, though no decision to test has been made, the administration has ordered the national laboratories to begin research on new nuclear weapons designs and to prepare the underground test sites in Nevada for nuclear tests if necessary in the future. Clearly, the Bush administration assumes that nuclear weapons will be part of US military forces for at least the next several decades.
Good faith participation in international negotiation on nuclear disarmament - including participation in the CTBT - is a legal and political obligation of all parties to the NPT that entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995. The Bush administration's nuclear program, alongside its refusal to ratify the CTBT, will be viewed, with reason, by many nations as equivalent to a US break from the treaty. It says to the nonnuclear weapons nations, "We, with the strongest conventional military force in the world, require nuclear weapons in perpetuity, but you, facing potentially well-armed opponents, are never to be allowed even one nuclear weapon."
If the United States continues its current nuclear stance, over time, substantial proliferation of nuclear weapons will almost surely follow. Some, or all, of such nations as Egypt, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Taiwan will very likely initiate nuclear weapons programs, increasing both the risk of use of the weapons and the diversion of weapons and fissile materials into the hands of rogue states or terrorists. Diplomats and intelligence agencies believe Osama bin Laden has made several attempts to acquire nuclear weapons or fissile materials. It has been widely reported that Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, former director of Pakistan's nuclear reactor complex, met with bin Laden several times. Were al Qaeda to acquire fissile materials, especially enriched uranium, its ability to produce nuclear weapons would be great. The knowledge of how to construct a simple gun-type nuclear device, like the one we dropped on Hiroshima, is now widespread. Experts have little doubt that terrorists could construct such a primitive device if they acquired the requisite enriched uranium material. Indeed, just last summer, at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry said, "I have never been more fearful of a nuclear detonation than now.
There is a greater than 50 percent probability of a nuclear strike on US targets within a decade." I share his fears.
A Moment of Decision
We are at a critical moment in human history - perhaps not as dramatic as that of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but a moment no less crucial. Neither the Bush administration, the congress, the American people, nor the people of other nations have debated the merits of alternative, long-range nuclear weapons policies for their countries or the world. They have not examined the military utility of the weapons; the risk of inadvertent or accidental use; the moral and legal considerations relating to the use or threat of use of the weapons; or the impact of current policies on proliferation. Such debates are long overdue. If they are held, I believe they will conclude, as have I and an increasing number of senior military leaders, politicians, and civilian security experts: We must move promptly toward the elimination - or near elimination - of all nuclear weapons. For many, there is a strong temptation to cling to the strategies of the past 40 years. But to do so would be a serious mistake leading to unacceptable risks for all nations.
Also available from http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/050505C.shtml
By Jonathan Schell
05 May 2005
The review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), a five-yearly event, opened in New York on May 2 without benefit of an agenda. The conference had no agenda because the world has no agenda with respect to nuclear arms. Broadly speaking, two groups of nations are setting the pace of events. One -- the possessors of nuclear arms under the terms of the treaty, comprising the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China -- wants to hold on to its nuclear arsenals indefinitely. The other group -- call them the proliferators -- has only recently acquired the weapons or would like to do so. Notable among them are North Korea, which by its own account has built a small arsenal, and Iran, which appears to be using its domestic nuclear-power program to create a nuclear-weapon capacity.
As the conference began, Iran announced that it would soon end a moratorium on the production of fissile materials and Pyongyang declared that it had become a full-fledged nuclear power -- a declaration buttressed by testimony in the Senate from the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, that North Korea now has rockets capable of landing nuclear warheads on the United States. If the two countries establish themselves as nuclear powers, a long list of other countries in the Middle East and North Asia may seek to follow suit. In that case, the NPT will be a dead letter, and the gates of unlimited proliferation will swing open.
The two groups of nations are in collision. The possessors want to stop the proliferators, and the proliferators want to defy them as well as ask them to get rid of their own mountainous nuclear arsenals. One of the liveliest debates at the conference concerns the nuclear fuel cycle, whereby fuel for both nuclear power and nuclear bomb materials is made. In the possessor countries, proposals abound to restrict this capacity to themselves, thus digging a moat around not only their arsenals but their nuclear productive capacities as well. The proliferators respond that the world's nuclear double-standard should not be fortified but eliminated: In the long run, either everyone should have the right to the fuel cycle -- and for that matter to the bombs -- or no one should. (This was the view of Pakistan and India until, in May 1998, they remedied the inequity in their own cases by testing nuclear weapons and declaring themselves nuclear powers.)
Far more contentious is the new American military doctrine of pre-emptive war, aimed at stopping proliferation by force, as the United States said it sought to do by overthrowing the government of Iraq. Inasmuch as the Bush administration has suggested that even nuclear force might be used, the new policy represents the ultimate extreme of the double standard: The United States will use nuclear weapons to stop other countries from getting those same weapons. The proliferators accordingly fear a world whose commanding heights will be guarded by the nuclear cannons of a few nations, while the rest of the world cowers in the planet's lowlands and back alleys. Nuclear disarmament, once the domain of the peace-loving, would become a prime engine of war in an imposed, militarized global order.
The debate between the nuclear haves and have-nots is probably unresolvable anytime soon. Certainly it will not be settled at the review conference. And yet, as is true of so many adversaries, the two groups of nations have more in common with each other than with other nations: They both want nuclear weapons. And if one looks at what is happening on the ground, a remarkable uniformity appears. All the parties in this quarrel are expanding their nuclear capacities and missions. In a sense the two groups, even as they threaten each other with annihilation, are cooperating in nuclearizing the globe.
The end of the cold war was supposed to be the beginning of a farewell to nuclear danger, but now, fifteen years later, it's clear that a nuclear renaissance is under way. China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Britain are all increasing their arsenals and/or their delivery systems. (In an amazingly undernoticed development, the shadow of danger from Chinese nuclear weapons is falling over larger and larger areas of the United States.) The United States, even as it reduces the number of its alert nuclear weapons -- though not the total number of nuclear weapons, alert or otherwise -- is rotating its nuclear guns away from their traditional Cold War targets and toward Third World sites. (The United States and Russia built up such an excess of nuclear bombs during the Cold War that they can string out their dismantlement almost indefinitely without carving into their joint capacity to finish off most of human civilization.) Britain likewise is redirecting its targeting. Its Defense Secretary has stated that even the modest step of declaring no-first-use of nuclear weapons "would be incompatible with our and NATO's doctrine of deterrence, nor would it further nuclear disarmament objectives." In other words, Britain may find it necessary to initiate a nuclear war to achieve nuclear disarmament. Finally, individuals and terrorist groups are reaching for the bomb and other weapons of mass destruction. Osama bin Laden, for instance, has declared that obtaining such is the "religious duty" of Muslims, and September 11 gave us an example of how he might use them.
All but unheard in the snarling din are the true voices of peace -- voices calling on the one group of nations to resist the demonic allure of nuclear arms and on the other group to rid themselves of the ones they have, leaving the world with a single standard: no nuclear weapons. Of the countries represented at the conference, fully 183 have found it entirely possible to live without atomic arsenals, and few -- barring a breakdown of the treaty -- show any sign of changing their minds. In the UN General Assembly the vast majority of them have voted regularly for nuclear abolition. Behind those votes stand the people of the world, who, when asked, agree. Even the people of the United States are in the consensus. Presented by AP pollsters in March with the statement, "No country should be allowed to have nuclear weapons," 66% agreed. In other countries, the percentage of supporters is higher. On the day their voices are heard and their will made active, the end of the nuclear age will be in sight.
Jonathan Schell, author of The Unconquerable World, is the Nation Institute's Harold Willens Peace Fellow. The Jonathan Schell Reader was recently published by Nation Books.
This article will appear in the May 23rd issue of The Nation Magazine.
Cronkite: Media Failing on Nuclear Stories
The Associated Press
04 May 2005
United Nations - When it comes to reporting on nuclear arms, the U.S. news media let readers and viewers down, giving them only part of the story, former news anchor Walter Cronkite said Wednesday.
The celebrated CBS retiree, joining in a panel discussion on the sidelines of a U.N. conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said narrow reporting means the U.S. public is "largely unaware" that the 1970 treaty obliges their government to move toward full nuclear disarmament.
"There's been a lot in the news about nonproliferation," Cronkite said, referring to Iran and North Korea, whose nuclear programs, under fire from the U.S. government, make daily headlines.
"But, unfortunately, the nuclear disarmament obligations of the nuclear weapons states receive far less attention in news reporting, at least in our United States," he said.
Another panelist, Marian Hobbs, New Zealand's minister for disarmament, also criticized media coverage of arms control.
"We need the media. We want a media that informs us of other people's opinions, not just American opinion, or your country's opinion," she told the international audience.
Under the nonproliferation treaty, more than 180 countries commit to not pursuing nuclear arms, in exchange for a commitment by five nuclear powers -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China -- to negotiate toward nuclear disarmament.
North Korea has announced its withdrawal from the pact and says it has built nuclear weapons. Washington contends Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is meant to produce electricity, is a cover for plans to build weapons.
Nonweapons states, on the other hand, complain increasingly that U.S. actions, such as talk of building new nuclear arms, run counter to treaty obligations.
"It simply seems the United States and other nuclear weapons states are actually trying to evade their obligations and responsibilities under the treaty," he said, adding that he visited Hiroshima after the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of that Japanese city and since then has been "a campaigner to get rid of every nuclear weapon."
Depleted Uranium - Silent genocide to haunt perpetrators
August 05, 2003
A new wonder weapon - uranium-tipped anti-tank munitions and bunker-breaking missiles - is set to become a distinct liability for those using them, quite apart from killing massive numbers of civilians by acute radiation sickness, birth defects and cancer.
Gulf War I or "Desert Storm" was the first live proving ground, Kosovo was covertly nuked by Nato bombs, Afghanistan is widely contaminated and Iraq has just been given the death sentence for about half of its remaining population - uranium has been spread as a fine dust by detonating thousands of tons of "depleted" uranium in the recent US-led campaigns against these countries.
The Geneva Convention expressly forbids the use of weapons that do not distinguish between military targets and civilians. Yet, radioactive and highly toxic uranium and plutonium are released into the environment through widespread use of uranium casings of bullets and missile warheads.
Atomic warfare has long been outlawed and non proliferation is a causus belli, but Pentagon war planners have found a way around the prohibition. In a new kind of nuclear war, uranium is spread as a fine dust by "modern" weapons. Resulting radiation is no less damaging to those exposed to it than the fallout of a "conventional" atomic bomb, but it is hyped as an essential weapons system.
The stories of the affected people are harrowing documents of man's insensitivity to the plight of his fellows. Even soldiers are not unaffected. They die of leukemia, they contract mysterious respiratory illnesses, their offspring is likely to suffer from the typical deformities associated with radioactivity.
When will the press start reporting?
Isn't it time we see and overcome the fundamental evil of atomic warfare?
Those responsible should be brought to justice.
- - -
Uranium Weapons Cover-ups in Our Midst
Responsible authorities are liable under a wide range of international law beyond humanitarian law. They contaminate battlefields with military uranium and endanger health of civilians and combatants. The findings of research into the health effects of DU and other weaponry containing radiation but not causing nuclear fission or fusion explosions (which as a whole are referred to as radiological weaponry in this brief) are indisputable. Even a cursory review of humanitarian law supports the conclusion that uranium weaponry of any type is so patently illegal that the discussion should really focus on bringing to justice those who have used it and redirecting action towards the victims of these weapons. CLIP
US Military, President Out of Control -- What Does "Mildly Radioactive" Mean, Anyway? By Bob Nichols, Project Censored Award Winner (Feb 17, 2005)
The Russians just recently stopped a weight-lifter coming across the border with about 100 pounds of "highly radioactive depleted uranium." The guy said he was using it for dumbbells in weightlifting. The American Department of Defense and other government departments all are unanimous in calling so-called depleted uranium "mildly radioactive depleted uranium." They like to use it for bombs, shells and heavy caliber bullets. Highly radioactive, mildly radioactive, moderately radioactive. What does it mean? Whom to believe? The godless former Commies or the brave Iraq-smashing Americans? Decide for yourself. Radioactivity is a standard property of the metal uranium, used by Americans for bombs, shells and bullets, and one gram will always give off 12,000 "atomic disintegrations" per second. This lasts forever, as far as we are concerned. Think of the "atomic disintegrations" as little atomic bullets. The kind that are only harmful from inside the human body. What do you think? Does 12,000 per second rank high or low with you? What if it is in your lung? Delicate lung cells of 19 year old American troopers and 60-year-old Iraqi guerrillas don't have the ability to "spin" what is turning them into infection, pus and cancer. Just so you know, that is 43 million, 200 thousand little bullets per hour. This nuclear bombardment at the heart of a cell in the lung or the rest of the body never stops. Of course, the "throwaway soldiers" will get cancer and die; but, the chicken-hawk Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration say that is OK! They just don't want to pay for it. Remember the 100-hour-long First Gulf War? Only an unlucky few were killed. We Americans used 375 tons of uranium munitions. Out of the one half million, or so, soldiers in the prime of life in the war, 11,000 are now dead. and hundreds of thousands are on Medical Disability. (...) Ever since we Americans obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan with nuclear weapons in August of 1945, immediately killing an estimated quarter of a million people, the rest of the world has taken a really dim view of actually using nuclear weapons. Uranium bombs, shells and bullets are just different forms of slow-acting, stealth nuclear weapons. They are slower than the instant big boom and flash of Nagasaki type Nuclear Weapons - the atom bomb and hydrogen bomb. They are the answer to the Administration's dedicated Crusade for the Holy Grail of a "usable" nuclear weapon. Time has telescoped from 1945 instantly -- past to present; World War II is just over, and we used nuclear weapons on civilians. Now we are using the next generation of nuclear weapons on the hapless guerrillas and civilians of Iraq. They never had a chance. Not a prayer. Uranium weapons spread deadly radioactivity that kills and contaminates forever. Iraq is simply "toast" because of the indiscriminate, promiscuous and criminal use of millions of pounds of uranium weapons by our kids and friends in the US Military, at the command of their political masters. The masters and troopers are war criminals, and we, the U.S. taxpayers, are accessories to war crimes. CLIP
Many, many more related articles through http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2003/08/05/depleted_uranium_silent_genocide_to_haunt_perpetrators.htm
DU Nano Particles pose major health hazard
May 01st 2005
Several weeks ago it was mentioned in the Australian media that replacement Australian troops about to be deployed to Iraq were being warned to stay well away from old destroyed Iraqi tanks and other military weaponry because of the danger of DU dust contaminating the wrecks. No such warnings however to the Iraqi kids who find those old tanks make excellent cubby houses.
Last week there was a startling photo in the local newspaper showing a gigantic dust storm front rolling across central Iraq. What the accompanying article didnt say however, was that the dust storm was effectively picking up American DU dust and spreading the particles far and wide across the country.
Now evidence is pointing out that those DU particles present a completely new and potent hazard to all people in Iraq, not to mention nearly countries- Nano Particles. Or should we now call it Nano Wars?
Radioactive Uranium Nano-Particles Pinpointed As Major Issue in Gulf War Syndrome
By Christopher Bollyn - American Free Press Coastal Post - Bolinas,CA, USA
MARIN COUNTYS NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS (415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
Depleted uranium weapons and the untold misery they wreak on mankind are taboo subjects in the mainstream media. There are indications, however, that the media embargo is about to be breached. Despite being a grossly under-reported subject in the mainstream media, there is intense public interest in depleted uranium (DU) and the damage it inflicts on humankind and the environment. While American Free Press is actively investigating DU weapons and how they contribute to Gulf War Syndrome, the corporate-controlled press virtually ignores the illegal use of DU and its long-lasting effects on the health of veterans and the public.
In August 2004 American Free Press published a ground-breaking four- part series on DU weapons and the long-term health risks they pose to soldiers and civilians alike. Information provided to AFP by experts and scientists, some of it published for the first time in this paper, has increased public awareness of how exposure to small particles of DU can severely affect human health.
Leuren Moret, a Berkeley-based geo-scientist with expertise in atmospheric dust, corresponds with AFP on DU issues. Recently Moret provided a copy of her correspondence to a British radiation biologist, Dr. Chris Busby, about how nanometer size particles of DU- less than one-tenth of a micron and smaller-once inhaled or absorbed into the body, can cause long-term damage to ones health. Busby is one of the founders of Green Audit, a British organization that monitors companies whose activities might threaten the environment and health of citizens.
Morets letter was meant to assist Busby in a legal case being heard in the High Court in London where a former defense worker, Richard David, 49, is suing Normal Air Garrett, Ltd., an aircraft parts company now owned by Honeywell Aerospace, claiming exposure to depleted uranium on the job has made his life a living hell. David worked as a component fitter on fighter planes and bombers but had to quit due to health problems. He says he developed a cough within weeks of starting work.
Today, David suffers from a variety of symptoms like those known as Gulf War Syndrome, including respiratory and kidney problems, bowel conditions and painful joints. Medical tests reveal mutations to his DNA and damage to his chromosomes, which, he says, could only have been caused by ionizing radiation. He has also been diagnosed with a terminal lung condition.
Honeywell denies depleted uranium was ever used at the plant in Yeovil, Somerset, where David worked for 10 years until 1995. David claims that DUs existence at the plant was denied because it is an official secret.
David has asked the High Court for more time to gather evidence. The hearing is due to resume in April. I dont have any legal representation, David said, so I am representing myself. It is a real David versus Goliath case. I am confident I will win. I hope to set a precedent for other cases of people who have suffered from the effects of depleted uranium.
Morets letter on the particle effect of DU is based on research done by Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist and former scientist with the Manhattan Project and the National Laboratory at Livermore, California. Fulk, who has developed a particle theory about how DU nano-particles affect human DNA, donates his time and expertise to help bring information about DU to the public.
Asked about Fulks particle theory, Busby said it is quite sound. DU is much more dangerous than they say, Busby added. Ive always said that it contributes significantly to Gulf War Syndrome.
When Morets correspondence to Dr. Busby was posted on the Internet over the New Years holiday under the title How Depleted Uranium Weapons Are Killing Our Troops, some 6,000 people read the letter in the first two days. The following Monday, a producer from the BBCs Panorama program contacted Moret to arrange an interview. If the BBC follows up with an investigation on the health effects of DU, it may be hard for the US media to remain silent. More than 500,000 Gulf War Era vets currently receive disability compensation, many of them for a variety of symptoms generally referred to as Gulf War Syndrome. Experts blame DU for many of these symptoms. The numbers are overwhelming, but the potential horrors only get worse, Robert C. Koehler of the Chicago-based Tribune Media Services wrote in an article about DU weapons entitled Silent Genocide.
DU dust does more than wreak havoc on the immune systems of those who breathe it or touch it; the substance also alters ones genetic code, Koehler wrote. The Pentagons response to such charges is denial, denial, denial. And the American media is its moral co- conspirator.
The US government has known for at least twenty years that DU weapons produce clouds of poison gas on impact. These clouds of aerosolized DU are laden with billions of toxic sub-micron sized particles. A 1984 Dept. of Energy conference on Nuclear Airborne Waste reported that tests of DU anti-tank missiles showed that at least 31 percent of the mass of a DU penetrator is converted to nano-particles on impact. In larger bombs the percentage of aerosolized DU increases to nearly 100 percent, Fulk told AFP.
Depleted uranium is harmful in three ways, according to Fulk: Chemical toxicity, radiological toxicity, and particle toxicity. Particles in the nano-meter (one billionth of a meter) range are a new breed of cat, Moret wrote. Because the size of the nano-particles allows them to pass freely throughout the organism and into the nucleus of its cells, exposure to nano-particles causes different symptoms than exposure to larger particles of the same substance. Internalized DU particles, Fulk said, act as a non-specific catalyst in both nuclear and non-nuclear ways. This means that the uranium particle can affect human DNA and RNA because of both its chemical and radiological properties. This is why internalized DU particles cause many, many diseases, Fulk said.
Asked if this is how DU causes severe birth defects, Fulk said, Yes. The military is aware of DUs harmful effects on the human genetic code. A 2001 study of DUs effect on DNA done by Dr. Alexandra C. Miller for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, indicates that DUs chemical instability causes 1 million times more genetic damage than would be expected from its radiation effect alone, Moret wrote.
Dr. Miller requested that questions be sent in writing and copied to a military spokesman, but did tell AFP that it should be noted that her studies showing that DU is neoplastically transforming and genotoxic are based on in vitro cellular research. Studies have shown that inhaled nano-particles are far more toxic than micro-sized particles of the same basic chemical composition.
British toxicopathologist Vyvyan Howard has reported that the increased toxicity of the nano-particle is due to its size. For example, when mice were exposed to virus-size particles of Teflon (0.13 microns) in a Univ. of Rochester study, there were no ill effects. But when mice were exposed to nano-particles of Teflon for 15 minutes, nearly all the mice died within 4 hours.
Exposure pathways for depleted uranium can be through the skin, by inhalation, and ingestion Moret wrote. Nano-particles have high mobility and can easily enter the body. Inhalation of nano-particles of depleted uranium is the most hazardous exposure, because the particles pass through the lung-blood barrier directly into the blood. When inhaled through the nose, nano-particles can cross the olfactory bulb directly into the brain through the blood brain barrier, where they migrate all through the brain, she wrote. Many Gulf Era soldiers exposed to depleted uranium have been diagnosed with brain tumors, brain damage, and impaired thought processes. Uranium can interfere with the mitochondria, which provide energy for the nerve processes, and transmittal of the nerve signal across synapses in the brain. Damage to the mitochondria, which provide all energy to the cells and nerves, can cause chronic fatigue syndrome, Lou Gehrigs disease, Parkinsons Disease, and Hodgkins disease.
Also see: http://www.llrc.org/du/duframes.htm
By Robert C. Koehler
03/25/04 "Tribune Media Services" -- "After the Americans destroyed our village and killed many of us, we also lost our houses and have nothing to eat. However, we would have endured these miseries and even accepted them, if the Americans had not sentenced us all to death."
This will not be easy to read, especially if you've projected evil out of your own heart, into some cave in Afghanistan or a spider hole in Iraq, and reduced the age-old question it inspires to this one: How can we bomb it off the face of the earth?
Before the damage we inflict grows greater, before history's judgment gets worse, before we contaminate the whole world - even before we vote in the next election - we must stop what we're doing. We must stop now.
It's time to listen for a moment not to defense analysts briefing officers, pols or pundits, but to people like Jooma Khan, a grandfather who lives in a village in Laghman Province, in northeastern Afghanistan, who is quoted above. Surely he deserves 30 seconds of our undivided attention. "When I saw my deformed grandson," he told an interviewer in March of 2003, "I realized that my hopes of the future have vanished for good. (This is) different from the hopelessness of the Russian barbarism, even though at that time I lost my older son Shafiqullah. This time, however, I know we are part of the invisible genocide brought on us by America, a silent death from which I know we will not escape."
We're waging war-plus in Afghanistan and Iraq - in effect, nuclear war, with our widespread use of depleted-uranium-tipped shells and missiles. This is no secret. DU, with its extraordinary penetrating power and explode-on-impact capability, helps assure our military dominance everywhere we go. But people like Jooma Khan and his grandson reap its toxic legacy.
So, of course, do our own troops.
Kahn's words are only a sliver of the damning testimony contained in the documents of the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan, a Japanese citizens' initiative that recently concluded its two-year inquiry into the first phase of the Bush Administration's war on terror. But they say everything that we cannot hear. If we could hear Jooma Khan, and others who are sounding the alarm about DU, such as former Livermore Labs geologist Leuren Moret, who testified at the tribunal, there would not be mere thousands of people in the streets of American cities demanding that we stop the war, but hundreds of thousands, or millions - the sort of numbers that turn out in other parts of the world. The use of DU weaponry is not the extent of our criminal irresponsibility in Afghanistan and Iraq, which led to the tribunal's guilty verdict against George Bush on charges of war crimes, but it's the most chilling. (You can check out the full report at, among other places, http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/Afghanistan-Criminal-Tribunal10mar04.htm )
As Moret testified, depleted uranium turns into a infinitesimally fine dust after it explodes; individual particles are smaller than a virus or bacteria. And, "It is estimated that one millionth of a gram accumulating in a person's body would be fatal. There are no known methods of treatment."
And DU dust is everywhere. A minimum of 500 or 600 tons now litter Afghanistan, and several times that amount are spread across Iraq. In terms of global atmospheric pollution, we've already released the equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki bombs, Moret said. The numbers are overwhelming, but the potential horrors only get worse. DU dust does more than wreak havoc on the immune systems of those who breathe or touch it; the substance also alters one's genetic code.
Thus, birth defects are way up in Afghanistan since the invasion: children "born with no eyes, no limbs, tumors protruding from their mouths ...deformed genitalia," according to the tribunal report. This ghastly toll on the unborn - on the future - has led investigators to coin the term "silent genocide" to describe the effects of this horrific weapon.
The Pentagon's response to such charges is denial, denial, denial. And the American media is its moral co-conspirator.
But blame is beside the point. Surely even those who still await "conclusive proof" that DU is the cause, or a factor, in the mystery illnesses and birth defects emanating from the war zones, can see the logic in halting its use now.
Global terrorism? Listen to Jooma Khan. Then look in the mirror.
The Silent Genocide from America
February 27 2005
by Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD Director Afghan DU & Recovery Fund Mdmiraki@ameritech.net
When Bush Jr. said, "we will smoke them out
" he lived up to his promise, making life an unattainable reality for the unborn and an unsustainable reality for the living, dooming the Afghan people and their future generations to a predetermined death sentence.
"After the Americans destroyed our village and killed many of us, we also lost our houses and have nothing to eat. However, we would have endured these miseries and even accepted them, if the Americans had not sentenced us all to death. When I saw my deformed grandson, I realized that my hopes of the future have vanished for good, different from the hopelessness of the Russian barbarism, even though at that time I lost my older son Shafiqullah. This time, however, I know we are part of the invisible genocide brought on us by America, a silent death from which I know we will not escape." (Jooma Khan of Laghman province, March 2003)
These words were uttered by an aggrieved Afghan grandfather, who saw his own and other familial extinctions at the hands of the United States of America and her allies. Another Afghan, who also saw his demise, said:
"I realized this slow, yet certain death, when I saw blood in my urine and developed severe pain in my kidneys along with breathing problems I never had before. Many of my family members started to complain from confusion and the pregnant women miscarried their babies while others gave birth to disabled infants." (Akbar Khan from Paktika province, February 2003)
The perpetuation of the perpetual death in Afghanistan continues with the passage of each day. Every day, people see the silent death striking their families and friends, hopeless and terrified at the sight of the next funeral in their minds' eye. This indiscriminate murder of the Afghan people continues while those whose tax money paid for the monstrous weapons and brought about this genocide pretend all is well. The horrific pictures of those dying--whose bodies do not correlate to their age since they contain so much uranium dust that it has impacted the morphology of their bodies--remain in the memories of those still living who are fearfully waiting for their turn of disaster. The pregnant women are afraid of giving birth--horrified to see a deformity instead of a healthy child. This is the legacy of the US "liberation," an indiscriminate murder of the weak and the unarmed who do not have any means of self-defense. In fact, there is no defensive measure against such Weapons of Mass Destruction because these deadly particles of uranium oxide--the dust formed after uranium pulverizes upon impacting a target--remain in soil and water, and cover the surface of vegetation for generations to come.
When a US bomb or that of her allies landed on an Afghan village or town, the land and its people had become part of the deadly legacy of silent death. This death sentence is different from any other type because in this case, all the people, their land and future generations are condemned to an inescapable genocide. The tragedy that makes this state of affairs so dreadful is the unavoidably invisible threat that targets everyone indiscriminately. Moreover, the threat has become endemic to the fiber of existence, and has contaminated the land, the water, and all inhabitants. In fact, when Bush Jr. said, "we will smoke them out
" he lived up to his promise, making life an unattainable reality for the unborn and unsustainable reality for the living, hence fating Afghan people and their future generations to a predetermined death sentence.
The true extent of this disaster is unfolding as time goes by. In light of the continuous revelations about the quantity and types of weapons used in Afghanistan, the worse has not fully materialized. Every day, US AC 130 gunships, A-10s and B-52s bomb Afghan villages and towns at each turn when a unit of US troops encounter resistance. Consequently, not only does the perpetual death continue, but every round of depleted uranium is one additional nail in the collective coffin of the Afghan people.
The usage of great number of munitions and armaments dropped by US jets resulted in an upsurge of various health problems weeks into 2002. This pattern is different from that experienced by the Iraqis after the first Gulf War where it took years for many of the birth defects, deformities and other health conditions to surface. This points to the enormity of uranium weapons used in Afghanistan, a fact illustrated by many investigators worldwide, notably Dai Williams in England, Dr. Durakovic from the Uranium Medical Research Center in Canada, and Dr. Marc Herald in the United States, among others. Furthermore, various international newspapers and media outlets, notably Le Monde Diplomatique, Guardian, Frontier Post, BBC, CBC, and Al Jazeera, among others, have reported the types of weapon systems used against Afghan targets--villages, towns--and mountain cave complexes. According to the BBC (April 10, 2002), more than 6600 J-dam bombs were dropped on Afghanistan. On October 2002, the Boston Globe also reported:
"In contrast with older weapons, the new generation finds its way with advances such as target-elevation data and satellite signals. The JDAM already has proven itself in Afghanistan. By February , commanders had dropped 6,600 JDAMs, consultants estimate - so many that stockpiles ran low and officials had to scramble up more production from a Missouri factory."
Steve Fetter and Frank von Hippel wrote in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1999) "Radiation doses for soldiers with embedded fragments of depleted uranium may be troublesome
The ground the DU-contaminated plumes passed over would be coated with a thin layer of DU dust, some of which would be later kicked up by wind and human activity. ...The munitions could deposit a layer of [depleted uranium] dust on crops that could be eaten directly by humans or by animals later consumed by humans.
However, rough estimates suggest that the cancer risk from consumption of contaminated produce would be less than from inhalation"
What this translates into is more deformities, diseases and deaths for the poor Afghans. As I also stated in my previous report perp, it took on average five years for various deformities to emerge in Iraq after the first Gulf War; however, in Afghanistan, people started to complain from various health problems within weeks of the initial bombing. This means only one thing: that the magnitude of uranium based weapons used in Afghanistan is much higher than that in Iraq during the first Gulf War. The fact is reinforced by the news that in the first few months of the bombing more 6,600 J-dams/smart bombs had been dropped on Afghanistan, making the size of the uranium contamination much higher than in Iraq during the first Gulf War.
The emergence of excessive health problems increased curiosity and concerns among scientists worldwide of the usage of depleted uranium. The first scientific undertaking was led by the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) which consisted of two consecutive trips to Jalalabad and Kabul. The preliminary findings by the UMRC research teams concluded:
* "Radiological measurements of the uranium concentrations in Afghan civilians urine samples indicate abnormally high levels of non-depleted uranium. Radiological measurements of Afghan civilians have high concentrations of uranium in a range beginning at 4 Xs and reaching to over 20 Xs normal populations. This is 400% to 2000% higher than the study controls and normal population baselines of the concentrations of nanograms of uranium per liter of urine in a 24-hour sample."
* "The isotopic ratios of the uranium contaminant measured in Afghan civilians show that it is not Depleted Uranium (DU). The isotopes of uranium found in the Afghan civilians urine is Non-Depleted Uranium."
* "UMRC investigated the possible origins of this contamination. The preliminary results of the radiological urine analysis are corroborated by radiological measurements of debris and weapons fragment samples at OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) target sites and bomb-craters."
* "UMRCs Field Team found several hundred civilians with acute symptoms and reportedly developing, chronic symptoms of uranium internal contamination (including congenital problems in newborns). All subjects on-set of symptoms are reported to coincide with the calendar dates of the bombing and were not present prior to the bombing."
* "Radiological measurements of any populations urine specimens identify, as a standard practice, the abundance of each of the 3 naturally occurring isotopes of uranium (U234, 235, 238). These isotopes abundances (quantities) are measured as a fraction of the uranium released in a 24-hour sample of urine. The isotopic ratios (proportions) of the uranium in the urine collected in Afghanistan has the unmistakable signature of Non-Depleted Uranium. It does not express the isotopic ratio of DU. Depleted Uranium and Non-depleted Uranium are both species of uranium. UMRC is reporting the isotopic signatures of the uranium found in the Afghan civilians urine." (UMRC Preliminary Findings from Afghanistan & Operation Enduring Freedom, AfghanistanOEF)
The staff of UMRC communicated the following about Non-Depleted Uranium: "Actually, NDU, if it is "virgin uranium", is pure uranium extracted from the feed stock at the pre-enrichment phase of either the fuel or weapons development cycles and is significantly less expensive per ton than DU. The gaseous diffusion and centrifuge processes of enriching uranium require so much electrical power, they need dedicated power production sources - some powered reactors have been constructed simply to power up the enrichment process. They also are expensive technologies to operate and capitalize. DU, being the by-product of enrichment is by definition, much more expensive per ton since it had to be processed through the enrichment phase."
Along the lines of the UMRC findings, I instructed two groups of field surveyors to comb eastern and southeastern Afghanistan as well as Kabul for effects on uranium on local populations, they have found many dreadful conditions.
They targeted wide areas all over Afghanistan, however, the depth of the contamination is situated in the Pashtun dominated areas, east, southeast, south and southwestern Afghanistan. More than thousands tons of non-depleted uranium along with depleted uranium (mostly from A-10 and AC-130 Gatling guns) has been used by the US and her allies against the defenseless people of Afghanistan.
The bulk of the contamination is in ToraBora, Bagram frontline--north of Kabul, Shaikoot, Paktia, Paktika, Mazar-i-sharif, and Kundoz frontline. (Field surveyors)
Data Collected by field surveyors:
Subsequent to the contamination, newborn children have physical deformities and those that do not have physical deformity are suffering from mental retardation. These cases are reported from Paktia, Nanagrhar, Bagram, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kundoz.
As in my previous report, the survey team reported again that in bombardments of ToraBora, Shaikoot and Bagram frontline large number of anti-aircraft weapons and rifles had melted.
During the bombardments of ToraBora, Bagram frontlines, Kundoz and Mazar-e-Sharif, many Taliban soldiers were seen with blood issuing from their mouths, noses and ears. Meanwhile, those Taliban soldiers who returned to their respective villages started to vomit blood and produced bloody stool. Subsequently, many have died from their conditions.
During bombardment of Kuram village, Surkhrod district of Nangarhar, the village was completely destroyed and many people were killed without any physical injuries.
After bombardment in Khost public health workers have reported some skin lesions. Those that developed the skin lesions died.
In Pachir Wa Agam district near to ToraBora targeted area, women started to suffer from a deadly condition. Several months after the bombing, women of the area would become angry by petty things; and that anger turns into rage, which subsequently causes the women to collapse and die. (Field Surveyors of the Afghan DU & Recovery Fund)
My team also reported that many children are born with no limbs, no eyes, or tumors protruding out from their mouths and their eyes. The following testimonies and photos--filmed in Iraq are used here to exhibit the identical conditions of Afghan victims--exhibit the horrific conditions from which children in Afghanistan, similar to those in Iraq, suffer from.
CLIP - Read the entire article at http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article.php/20050227104549992
4. PEACE VIGIL FOR TOGO
Here are some of the latest developments in Togo. Please also keep this situation in mind during your meditations in the coming three weeks to help ensure that peace prevail there.
1. TOGO: Diplomatic documents surface citing fraud in April poll
2. Togo inaugurates Gnassingbe as president after disputed polls
Refugees unsure they'll return to Togo (May 7, 2005)
Thousands fled the violence after a disputed vote in West Africa - COME, BENIN - Hundreds of West Africa's newest refugees cower under tents of plastic sheeting, many wondering when or whether they will make the trek back to their homeland of Togo, shaken by deadly riots after a presidential-succession crisis. More than 20,000 Togolese have fled the nation of 5.7 million since April 26, when street battles erupted between security forces and opposition supporters after the announcement that Faure Gnassingbe, son of the country's late dictator, had been declared winner of disputed presidential elections. Gnassingbe was sworn in as president on Wednesday.
CRISIS PROFILE: A brief history of Togo's crisis (3 May 2005)
LONDON (AlertNet) - The disputed results of a presidential vote on April 24, 2005, to elect a successor to Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years, created a political crisis in the West African nation and forced thousands of people to flee to neighbouring Benin and Ghana. Here is a brief political history of Togo and a timeline of events leading up to the crisis. CLIP
More related news
TOGO: Diplomatic documents surface citing fraud in April poll
DAKAR, 6 May (IRIN) - In confidential reports that surfaced on Friday, western diplomats cite incidents of massive fraud in last month's disputed presidential polls in Togo, including allegations that there were almost a million phantom voters which swelled the ranks of those eligible to vote by a third.
The allegations were listed in four briefing reports written for European Union headquarters in Brussels in the week following the 24 April election. The papers were published in French on a Togolese opposition website: http://www.diastode.org. The reports were also quoted at length on Radio France Internationale.
IRIN obtained confirmation from European diplomatic sources of the authenticity of the documents, which were penned as urban violence erupted in the Togolese capital Lome and other cities following the initial announcement that Faure Gnassingbe would succeed his father as president of the small West African nation.
One report written 27 April in Lome underlined that the 150 foreign observers sent in by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) "were deployed at the last moment on Saturday 23 April and were assigned to observe the vote but not the count."
"The ECOWAS mission did not involve two key steps: the revising of the electoral rolls and the count; operations during which there were many irregularities," the briefing note said.
"Observation by diplomatic missions....on voting day highlighted the lack of reliability of the electoral rolls, an apparently widespread system of fake pro-Gnassingbe votes and numerous cases of the military snatching ballot-boxes ahead of the count," the document said.
It noted that there were 900,000 phantom voters on Togo's electoral register nationwide, which increased the roll-call by 34 percent. Half of those fictitious names were found in areas of Togo said to favour Gnassingbe's ruling Rally for the Togolese People (RPT).
According to the document, the percentage of voter cards handed out in RPT strongholds was between 80 and 95 percent, while only 41 percent were distributed in the capital Lome, seen as a support base for the six-party opposition coalition that fielded Emmanuel Bob-Akitani as its candidate in the race. Likewise, turnout was twice as high in the RPT strongholds as in Lome.
Another of the papers, dated 28 April, said the authorities had been planning to force their way into the German embassy where the country's former Interior Minister Francois Akila Boko had sought refuge.
The reports also cited numerous instances of intimidation and heavy-handed repression by security forces and members of the RPT party.
Turning to diplomatic affairs, it said that Brussels and Washington were both critical of the election process, unlike former colonial power France.
"The United States and the European Commission, unlike France, believe that the conditions in which the 24 April elections and Faure Gnassingbe's victory were held were questionable and far removed from the path of national reconciliation."
"At this stage the situation in Togo is far from being stabilised," the 28 April report said.
A spokesman at EU headquarters in Brussels declined to comment on the leaked reports. But in a statement issued there on Friday, Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel called on Gnassingbe, who was sworn in as president this week, to work for "opening and dialogue."
"It is essential that Togo take the path of national reconciliation, which alone can bring calm and serenity," he said.
Diplomats say more than 100 people have been killed in post-election clashes between opposition supporters and security forces.
The opposition -- which had been hoping for change after 38 years of rule by Gnassingbe's father, Gnassingbe Eyadema -- has said the election was rigged and has blasted the international community for failing to ensure a fully fair and free vote.
Both France and ECOWAS described the vote as basically fair, while conceding there had been a few irregularities.
But in a sharp statement last week the US State Department said "the legitimacy of Togo's presidential elections fell short of the aspirations of the Togolese people and the expectations of Togo's friends in the international community."
In his statement on Friday, Michel said the EU would be watching to see whether Togo complied with pledges it made last year to respect human rights and public liberties.
The EU, which helped establish 22 commitments in April 2004 to promote democracy and civil liberties, has a financial stick that it can wield to exert pressure on the government in Lome. The EU cut off aid to the former French colony in 1993 because of "democratic deficiencies".
Togo inaugurates Gnassingbe as president after disputed polls
LOME (AFP) - Faure Gnassingbe was sworn in as the new president of Togo, capping weeks of turmoil that claimed at least 100 lives after a disputed election to succeed his late father.
Some 3,000 of the ruling Rally for the Togolese People party stood outside the congressional palace, many wearing T-shirts with the smiling face of their new 39-year-old president, whose rise to power extends the dynasty begun with a coup in 1967 by his father Gnassingbe Eyadema that has lasted nearly four decades.
The streets of the seaside capital were calm Wednesday, patrolled by security forces anxious to avoid a reprise of the violence that followed last week's announcement of provisional results.
Some 18,500 panicked civilians have fled into neighboring countries to escape the unrest that diplomats said killed 100 people in various parts of the country in clashes between opposition supporters and police.
The French- and US-educated Gnassingbe, 39, was vaulted into office on the back of a loyal military and parliament after the sudden death of Eyadema on February 5, incurring the wrath, backed by sanctions, of regional and pan-African groupings loath to see another African country head further away from democracy.
Gnassingbe was temporarily replaced by an interim president whose term ended with the swearing-in conducted by the constitutional court, which on Tuesday had certified results giving Gnassingbe 60 percent of some 3.6 million votes cast.
Opposition candidate Emmanuel Akitani Bob has alleged widespread fraud and ballot-box stuffing, and has rejected the results.
The opposition tried Wednesday to block the inauguration, saying the constitutional court's ruling was not legitimate because only five judges certified the result, but the protests went unheeded.
Though the conduct of the polls were endorsed by African and international bodies, there has been a call for a government of national unity, which Gnassingbe has said he was disposed to consider but which has been soundly rejected by the opposition.
"The only way out is to have a transitional or interim government for six months to prepare real presidential and legislative elections, with the presidency to alternate monthly," Gilchrist Olympio, exiled leader of the main opposition Union of Forces for Change, told AFP on Tuesday in Ghana.
Regional analysts anticipate that the transition will be a step forward for Togo, which has been cut off from international aid for a decade for its "democratic deficiencies" under Eyadema.
After two terms as a deputy in the central region of Blitta, Gnassingbe was appointed as minister of mines, telecommunications and the postal service and has earned a reputation for discretion, all the while carving out a role as the head of the RPT's progressive wing.
He inherits a country riven by poverty with few bankable assets: production in Togo's phosphate mines, the world's fourth-largest, has fallen off due to power shortages and infrastructure costs. Subsistence agriculture accounts for 65 percent of employment, according to US government statistics.
5. VISUALIZING A DOME OF LIGHT OVER BAGHDAD
Light over Baghdad
By David Spangler
01 May 2005
Occasionally the inner world sends me a message I can't ignore and asks me to pass it on. This happened recently.
I was working about the house when I felt a familiar sensation that indicates someone on spiritual levels is about to communicate. It feels like a door opening to one side of me with a warm and friendly light shining through, bathing me in its energy.
The communication was a simple one, taking the form of an image. I saw the city of Baghdad. Rising over it was a small dome of Light. The feeling of this dome was that it was a portal through which a sacred Light and blessing could pour out into the city and beyond into the country of Iraq and the Middle East in general.
It felt to me like a similar portal that came into being above the site of the World Trade Towers right after their collapse on 9/11. At that time I felt and saw that a tremendous and loving sacrifice was being made, that the deaths that occurred that day would not be in vain but would hold open a doorway through which a spiritual power could pour into the earth.
I felt the same this time seeing this dome of Light growing in the midst of the turmoil, the pain, the suffering and the deaths in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. Something wondrous and blessed was taking place, emerging in part through the will of the citizens of that city and country to bring an end to the fighting and the dying. But I also saw that this portal was being held open and sustained by hundreds of souls--Iraqis, Americans, other nationalities, and even those who had been insurgents and terrorists--all of whom had died as a result of the Iraqi war.
Through an act of will and love, these individuals were choosing not to move on in the postmortem worlds but to remain close to earth to be instruments to open this portal through which healing and a sacred Light can be accessible to those of us on the physical side of life. They were adding their contribution to enable Baghdad to become a holy place, a place of peace and new vision. I had a strong sense that this dome of Light would continue to grow in the days ahead.
With this image came a request that I share it so that others who wished to do so might join their prayers for peace and healing to the Light of this dome and to the efforts of those brave and forgiving souls who, having moved, often violently, beyond the physical realm, have turned back to give us a gift of spirit. A simple act of visualizing this dome of Light in our minds and seeing its radiance spread through out Baghdad and the country beyond, pushing back darkness, fear and hatred, would be of great value.
May our spirits meet theirs in co-creative partnership. May our prayers and Light, sent in whatever way is most comfortable and holy to us, match with theirs in offering blessing for Baghdad, for Iraq, for the Middle East, and indeed, for all humanity.
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