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      The Peace Exchange Bulletin

      Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.

      Tuesday
      Sep092014

      Gov. Jerry Brown: What Happens Here, Doesn't Stay Here

      What the television media noticed was former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and current governor Jerry Brown shaking hands, but a significant story on how California is leading the world on climate change went unreported this week. 

      Schwarzenegger might be the blocking back to Brown's broken-field runner in the race to protect the planet.

      Click to read more ...

      Tuesday
      Sep092014

      Hayden: Where is Obama’s Exit Strategy?

      A disturbing omission in President Obama's proposed Iraq War speech was its lack of an exit strategy. Spokesmen for the White House and Pentagon speak of the mission taking years beyond Obama's tenure.

      Click to read more ...

      Thursday
      Sep042014

      Democracy Project Petition: Letter to Dr. Jefferey Sachs

      September 3, 2014

      Dr. Jeffrey Sachs

      UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

      314 Low Library, 535 W. 116

      New York City 10027

       

      Petition: More nuclear power is not the answer to the climate crisis

      Thank you for the impressive scope of your preparatory research and recommendations for the 2015 UN climate talks. However, we wish to submit our strong dissent from your assertion that the public must accept a major role for nuclear fission to reach the level of greenhouse gas reductions needed to avert catastrophe.

      We believe that expanding the role of nuclear power may threaten the planet as surely as the global warming you seek to mitigate.

      Countless Americans would have died of radiation exposure had the 9/11 hijackers chosen to fly their planes into the Indian Point 2 and 3 nuclear plants in the heart of New York's metropolitan area. Southern California could have been wiped out if the 2000 attempt to bomb LAX had successfully attacked the nuclear reactor at San Onofre instead. We are permanent hostages to terrorist targeting of nuclear reactors and nuclear waste sites.  

      Japan's Fukushima catastrophe further shows that nuclear power plants cannot be protected from inevitable natural disasters like tsunamis even in an advanced technological society. Global warming increases the frequency of flooding, typhoons and other disasters in the coastal regions where most nuclear plants are located.

      We have experienced no less than five critical meltdowns since 1970: Three Mile Island [1979], Chernobyl (1986), and three at Fukushima three years ago. That's an average of one every eight years.

      Since 1972 there have been eight armed attacks on nuclear plants around the world, including a threat from a hijacked plane 8,000 feet above the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site, which was resolved only by concessions to the hijackers.

      With at least 435 reactors in over thirty countries, and more being planned, projections of a nuclear catastrophe cannot be dismissed. Ukraine, the current focus of an escalating conflict between nuclear-armed powers, obtains over 46 percent of its electricity from nuclear plants, hardly a comforting figure.

      Yet despite the unresolved issues of safety, storage and economic cost, a drumbeat for nuclear power continues, not simply from interest groups but from a small number of respected climate scientists whose advocacy has found its way into the pages of your report. On p. xviii, you recommend, "advanced nuclear power technology that sustains public confidence and support." On p. 17, you write of "fourth-generation nuclear power" as potentially solving safety and security issues. We note that you are measured, however, in stating that "breakthroughs in safety systems, reliability, fuel security, fuel recycling, and dependably low costs will likely be needed in order for nuclear energy to remain a significant part of the decarbonization pathways of major emitting economies."

      These blinking yellow lights should be turned into red ones, i.e. by drawing on the same research to conclude that nuclear power cannot be considered part of any climate solution unless all its safety and cost issues are resolved in a process that includes democratic public consent. [1]

      In their urgency, the pro-nuclear climate scientists underplay their own evidence that the time is too short to feasibly create enough nuclear plants in the time period they claim is critical. To simply fast track those plants around the world would increase the nuclear risk and further centralize decision-making in the hands of a narrow nuclear priesthood rather than the citizens whose fates are at stake.

      We oppose any exploitation of the climate crisis to further the agenda of nuclear power.

      Current nuclear plants, of course, are significant contributors to electricity generation in a number of countries. France, for example, the host of the 2015 summit, also is host to some 70 nuclear reactors. There are 107 plants in the United States. But the fact of their existence is not a license to multiply under the cover of "clean" energy. Any viable climate stabilization agreement must include scenarios for their decommissioning during the transition to a genuine clean energy future.

      Nuclear power is not the "fix" which its proponents proclaim. The US, Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK and India presently rely on nuclear power for no more than twenty percent of their electricity, levels which can be sharply lowered if status-quo thinking is replaced by the urgency of putting conservation and renewables first. Besides France, the bulk of nuclear power is in Sweden, Belgium and the former Eastern European countries. If a Marshall Plan helped European recovery after World War 2, surely a similar effort could save Europe from a likely nuclear meltdown in the years ahead. We note that nuclear power is a relatively minor issue - thus far - among the developing countries who most need rapid action against climate change. Brazil's nuclear program, for example, generates three percent of its electrical power, while South Africa's rate is five percent. But if the US and Europe insist on a nuclear path, the global South will have an incentive to follow.

      In conclusion, the important and unresolved debate about nuclear power should be continued parallel to the climate talks, not incorporated as if it is a necessary bargain with the devil of global warming.

      We urge you to develop further scenarios between 2015 and 2050 that stabilize the climate without delivering humanity to what has been described as a nuclear winter.

      Sincerely,

      Tom Hayden

       

      Reid Hall

      4 Rue De Chevreuse

      75006 Paris

       

      New Delhi

      N21, 2nd Floor

      Green Park extension

      New Delhi

      110016

       

      [1] We note that research on nuclear fusion energy is a legitimate policy goal, though not a short-term means of climate stabilization. 

      Friday
      Aug292014

      The President's Sand Trap

      To use a golf analogy, Obama is stuck in a sand trap. His military and diplomatic advisers are not useful caddies, because they are handing him the wrong clubs, military ones, for a struggle, which he says has no military solution. On Syria, the first question is whether the peace movement should push hard for a Congressional authorization. I don't think there's any choice, although this time Congress may be more hawkish than Obama. If so, that's that. We take names and visit their district offices.

      Click to read more ...

      Friday
      Aug292014

      James Foley, In His Own Words

      James Foley, beheaded in Syria last week, was a decent, committed humanitarian, according to the famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who interviewed Foley on the streets of Chicago while filming there in 2012. Wexler, who did a documentary on Vietnam with Jane Fonda and myself in 1974, said that Foley told him the Syrian conflict could never be settled by bullets. The interview reveals an intelligence, sincerity and humanism about Foley that will be terribly missed.

      Foley touched many lives. The headmaster of our son's school, Walter Landberg, was a one of a small circle of his close friends from New Hampshire. They enjoyed many reunions while their lives unfolded into their forties. Still in shock, the circle spent the last week on the phone with each other. Landberg says Foley never lived only behind the camera, but loved people, checking in with old friends and new, doing small favors wherever he went. Coming from a military family, he was drawn to crisis zones - embedding in Iraq and Afghanistan - but carried only a camera. He was a peaceful man. Just before leaving for Syria, Foley was delighted for Landberg's appointment and the two agreed that Foley would come out to speak to the Santa Monica students. Foley had decided that he was "done" - not going back after one last trip - before he was captured a final time.

      For more on James Foley, see "Dumbest Policy Ever: We Don't Negoiate With Terrorists"

      Thursday
      Aug282014

      Dumbest Policy Ever: We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists

      This is the policy of officials who are simply wound too tight. It's not even true, it justifies high-risk daredevil raids, and leaves hostages like James Foley dead. At least 50 foreign hostages were released in the past five years in exchange for ransom. Just recently ISIS handed over eleven ransomed hostages to Turkey. It turns out that ISIS offered to release Foley for money, but was secretly rejected by the US.

      Click to read more ...

      Thursday
      Aug282014

      The Growing Power of the Green Regions

      Governor Jerry Brown will play a pivotal role in the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23 as he encourages the growth of a virtual Green Bloc of regions committed to serious fossil fuel reductions during global climate talks in the coming year. Brown's unorthodox strategy becomes critical as the Obama administration deals with a hostile Congress beholden to fossil fuel lobbyists, climate deniers and religious fundamentalists. The Brown strategy uses the UN timetable to assemble a powerful bloc of states committed to building low carbon clean energy economies. The policy goal of this de facto Green Bloc is to progress towards the goal of 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions below 1990 levels by 2050, a reduction considered essential to avoid a catastrophic overheating of the planet. 

      Click to read more ...

      Monday
      Aug252014

      Peace Movement A Minority Again

      Suddenly the American peace movement is back to the status of a prophetic minority. That's putting the best cast on the fact that 54 percent of the American public supports air strikes against ISIS, according to polls done before last week's beheading of James Foley. Since 2006, when a majority first decided in a Gallup Poll that the Iraq War was a "mistake", peace sentiment has been a powerful factor in the 2006 congressional elections and the two elections of President Barack Obama.

      Click to read more ...

      Friday
      Aug222014

      Karzai Copying Obama on Whistleblowing?

      Whatever will the United States say and do about the expulsion of New York Times' reporter Matthew Rosenberg from Afghanistan? Would Rosenberg be prosecuted by the Justice Department as a "leaker" if he refused to reveal his Afghan sources on a story about an American coup plot? The Times' James Risen, for example, is facing prison time for refusing to divulge his sources in a story about the CIA and an Iran nuclear controversy.

      Click to read more ...

      Wednesday
      Aug202014

      Tom Hayden discusses Iraq with Thom Hartmann

      Tom Hayden on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann on August 19 discussing the Long War in Iraq