nuclear weapons

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
Daniel Ellsberg
Bloomsbury, 2017
420 pages

After the controversy of US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning being refused a visa on “character” grounds, Phil Shannon takes a look at a book by one of Manning’s forerunners – Daniel Ellsberg, best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971, exposing US military secrets.

As the Nobel Committee announced on October 6 in Oslo that  the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons had won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, US President Donald Trump is expected to “decertify” the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal next week. Democracy Now! spoke with Tim Wright, the Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The full transcript follows the video.

US President Donald Trump made the unprecedented threat to “totally destroy” North Korea, not in a tweet or off the cuff remark, but in a written speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 20. No other leader of a country has ever stood before the UN and openly stated its intention to destroy another country. 

Coupled with Trump’s earlier threat to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea, this threat must be seen as one that at least includes the possibility of a nuclear attack.

The unthinkable possibility of nuclear war is once again in the headlines after US officials reacted with shrill threats to the North Korean government claim to have tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.

This is the latest escalation in a game of nuclear chicken, with calculated provocations on all sides. But to judge from the mainstream media, it is only North Korea’s Kim Jung-un who is driving the world to the brink of a nightmare.

This is false.

Despite the rain, about 100 people rallied in Hyde Park on August 6 to declare, "Hiroshima Never Again," on the 71st anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. The themes of the rally were: "Ban nuclear weapons," and "No nuclear waste dumps in Australia".

A dramatic round of traditional drumming by a local Japanese cultural group and a set by the band Urban Guerrillas kicked off the rally.

The 70th anniversary of the United States' atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a reminder that when the United States' enemies commit crimes, they are crimes. But when the United States commits crimes, they did not happen.

In 1928, Arthur Ponsonby, a British politician, said: “When war is declared, the first casualty is the truth”. But he never specified what the distorted “truth” might be. If one were to examine all wars the US has engaged in, however, one might conclude the casualty to be civilian death counts.

Seventy years ago, two split second explosions changed the course of history. The blinding light and fireballs that scorched Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the start of the atomic age. More than 200,000 people died either instantly or within a couple of months. Thousands more have died in the years since due to the radiological impacts of the bombs.

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