DEADLINE: September 1
Friends, here is an opportunity for you or your organization to speak out to the powers that be on launch on warning….
John Hallam of Nuclear Flashpoints wrote:
Urgently drawing your attention to the letter on nuclear weapons operating status to George Bush and Putin, who are due to meet in Sydney Australia on September 8th.
You/your organisation are urged to sign it.
To sign, please simply make a reply email, to
ensuring that it is clear what organisation you are signing for and who you are.
Hoping to get your signatures,
Dear NGO or Parliamentarian –
Bush and Putin will be in Sydney on 8 September.
Accordingly I am writing to them (below) urging them to take nuke weapons off Launch – on – Warning status.
It would be great to have your signature.
(just reply to sign)
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
PRESIDENT HU JINTAO
PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE
(Other APEC participants as listed)
RE: NUCLEAR WEAPONS OPERATING STATUS
Dear Presidents Bush and Putin:
We are writing to you on the occasion of your upcoming meeting at the APEC summit in Sydney.
Clearly, many vital issues will be on the table at that important meeting.
One of the most important issues that could be discussed, though not officially on the agenda, is that of nuclear weapons.
We hope very much that both of you will at some time, whether officially or in conversation, broach this issue, which like that of Global Warming/climate change, bears – to put it as bluntly as one can – on whether human beings will survive the next century or so, and whether civilisation as we know it will continue and flourish or will be stricken by catastrophe.
An accidental exchange of nuclear weapons between the US and Russia, even at the much reduced levels of current nuclear arsenals, and even at the levels envisaged by the Moscow Treaty, would still, according to the most recent research by climate experts, be a global catastrophe.
The lowering of nuclear weapons operating status from ‘launch-on-warning’ has been a strong reccommendatrion of a number of high-level commissions starting with the 1996 Canberra Commission held by the Australian Government, and going through to the 2006 Blix Commission.
More recently, statements by Kofi Annan, by Henry Kissinger, William Perry and Sam Nunn, by the 18-nobel advisory board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the Rome Declaration of Nobel Peace- Prize winners (chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev) have urged progress on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and all have contained the lowering of nuclear weapons alert status as a high priority item.
William Perry, who served as U.S. defense secretary in 1994-97, said, (notes in a July 20 editorial in Ria Novosti):
“Both American and Russian missiles remain in a launch-on-warning mode, and the inherent danger of this status is aggravated by the fact that the Russian warning system has deteriorated since the ending of the Cold War.”
The Nobel Prize-winning Pugwash group, has also called, in a meeting of 5-7 July, for:
“….Immediate de-alerting of the thousands of nuclear weapons, on quick reaction alert, that could be launched by accident, miscalculation, or unauthorized computer hacking of command and control systems;…”
The US and Russia have already agreed to the establishment of a strategic stability centre outside Moscow in which data on missile launches would be exchanged. However, while a memorandum on the establishment of this centre has been signed, and announcements have been made a number of times, the agreement has never, tragically, been implemented.
The lowering of nuclear weapons alert status is by no means the only measure that needs to be taken to make the world a safer place, but it is a vital first step. High-level group after high-level group has called for decisive action to be taken on the matter of nuclear disarmament, and the lowering of nuclear weapons alert status by the US and Russia, (and where appicable by others) would be a real step forward toward the fulfillment of the obligations of nuclear weapons states under the NPT to accomplish the elimination of nuclear arsenals.
President Bush spoke eloquently of the need to deal with the issue of nuclear weapons on alert in the Year 2000 presidential campaign. We are encouraged by recent statements coming from Russia, that discussions on further arms control measures might take place. The APEC summit would be an excellent venue to discuss this vital matter and to discuss other steps that might be taken on further reductions in nuclear weapons systems. The time for further progress in this area has well and truly come.
Nuclear Flashpoints is an independent project auspiced by People for Nuclear Disarmament NSW
306/99 Lilyfield Road Lilyfield NSW Australia 2040