Jacqueline Cabasso’s MacBride Peace Prize acceptance speech

November 24, 2008
Jacqueline Cabasso’s November 14, 2008 speech in Copenhagen accepting the Sean MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau is now online at www.lcnp.org. Excerpts are included in the below press release. For photos and more information about the prize, see www.ipb.org.
Copenhagen, Nov. 17, 2008.  Contact: Colin Archer, Geneva Tel. +41 22 731 6429, mailbox@ipb.org
On Friday, Nov. 14, the International Peace Bureau (IPB) presented its annual award, the Sean MacBride Peace Prize, to Jacqueline Cabasso, a well-known US advocate of nuclear disarmament. The prize was awarded during the IPB’s annual seminar, this year held in Copenhagen. IPB President Tomas Magnusson declared: “At this crucial time in history, just days after the momentous US election result, IPB believes this award to Jackie Cabasso will help underline the urgency for the new administration and for all other nuclear-armed states, of taking bold steps towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. She has played a vital role within the movement by acting as a constant ‘watchdog’, monitoring closely and challenging the work going on inside the nuclear weapons laboratories; and as critical voice in the nuclear debate ‘beyond the Washington beltway’.”
The Geneva-based International Peace Bureau is a global network of over 300 peace organisations in 70 countries. It won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910.  Every year IPB awards the MacBride Peace Prize to a person or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. These were the principal concerns of Sean MacBride, the distinguished Irish statesman who was Chairman of IPB from 1968-74 and President from 1974-1985. He was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (1974) – awarded for his wide-ranging work, which included roles such as co-founder of Amnesty International, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, and UN Commissioner for Namibia. Past winners of the MacBride Peace Prize include: (2007) Jayantha Dhanapala, Sri Lanka, former UN Under Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs; (2002) Barbara Lee, only member of the US Congress to vote against the open-ended authorization for the “war on terror”; and (1998) John Hume, a member of the European Parliament who consistently advocated non-violent solutions in Northern Ireland and was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. For more information on IPB and the MacBride Peace Prize, see www.ipb.org.
Jacqueline Cabasso has served as Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation (WSLF) in Oakland, California, USA, since 1984, and has been involved in nuclear disarmament, peace and environmental advocacy at the local, national and international levels for over 25 years. In her home region, with WSLF, she has provided legal support for nonviolent protesters; engaged in environmental review proceedings and litigation to challenge new nuclear facilities, transportation of nuclear waste, and proposals to base nuclear-armed warships; and organized grassroots multi-issue coalitions. Cabasso is a leading voice for nuclear weapons abolition, speaking at events across North America, Europe, and Asia.  She serves on the Steering Committee of United for Peace and Justice, the largest anti-war coalition in the US, and convenes its Nuclear Disarmament & Redefining Security working group.  In 1995 she was a “founding mother” of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, the largest anti-nuclear network in the world, and she continues to serve on its Coordinating Committee. Since August 2007, Cabasso has served as the North American Coordinator for Mayors for Peace. She is a contributor to Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis and Paths to Peace (2007) and the co‑author of Risking Peace: Why We Sat in the Road (1985), an account of the huge 1983 nonviolent protest at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory and the subsequent mass trial conducted by WSLF.  Her writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the journal Social Justice, the Oakland Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Cabasso said in part:
“The Encarta Encyclopedia describes militarism as ‘advocacy of an ever-stronger military as a primary goal of society, even at the cost of other social priorities and liberties.’  As disquieting as it may be, this definition accurately describes the trajectory of United Statesnational security policy that the next U.S. President will inherit. And it is reflected in the national security policies of a growing number of other countries.
The policy of the nuclear weapon states, in particular the U.S., U.K. and France can be characterized as ‘fewer but newer,’ and is increasingly ‘capacity-based.’  These states cling to the notion of ‘deterrence,’ but the ‘threat’ they seek to deter is an unknown and uncertain future.  They claim that reductions in numbers from the insane heights of the Cold War constitute meaningful disarmament, but disarmament is not just about the numbers.  Led by the U.S., they are modernizing and qualitatively improving their ‘enduring’ nuclear arsenals – both warheads and delivery systems.
What is to be done?  The answer is clear to ordinary people.  We need to fundamentally redefine security.  We must put universal human security and ecological sustainability at the heart of conflict resolution and prevention.  We must divest precious resources from militarism and invest them instead in this new security paradigm.

What’s called for is a straightforward, unambiguous demand for the global abolition of nuclear weapons.  This suggests the need forimmediate negotiations and a timebound framework.  Our demand, however, must be coupled with a clear-eyed recognition of the central role nuclear weapons continue to play in the National Security State, firmly in place since 1945, and a much deeper understanding of the powerful forces that have successfully perpetuated the nuclear weapons enterprise despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War nearly 20 years ago.

With the global economy in collapse and the worldwide surge of hope in response to the election of Barack Obama as U.S. President, the time is ripe for another massive surge of public demand – from the bottom up – for the abolition of nuclear weapons.  But this time, we must understand that nuclear disarmament is not enough, and that we can’t achieve it alone.  This time we must insist that nuclear disarmament serve as the leading edge of a global trend towards demilitarization and redirection of military expenditures to meet human needs and save the environment.”

Cabasso can be reached at cell +1 (510) 306-0119 and beginning Nov. 19 in California at +1 (510) 839-5877. Email: wslf (at) earthlink.net.

Ernie Regehr on Obama and nuclear disarmament

November 6, 2008

Go to http://www.igloo.org/disarmingconflict/obamaonnuc for Ernie Regehr’s blog posting on yesterday’s election and the hope for change in US approaches to nuclear disarmament.

Yesterday’s election offers the genuine hope of a dramatic change in US approaches to nuclear weapons and the Treaties and agreements that are intended to control and eventually eliminate them.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations in Ottawa

August 11, 2008

I have been a longtime member of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI). Earlier this year, I started up the Brampton Chapter. In the meantime, I had been campaigning my City of Brampton to join the 2020 Vision Campaign and become a Peace City. My efforts were successful: in August of last year, Mayor Susan Fennell filled out the paperwork to join the global Mayors for Peace, making Brampton officially a Peace City. Canada has 70 Peace Cities so far. If your city is not on this list, I strongly urge you to read about this campaign and get your mayor on board. Working together toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, we can ensure that the horrible devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated again. If humans have any hope of survival on this planet, we must work together to abolish nuclear weapons.

The message below from CDPI Co-Chair, Bill Bhaneja, is an update about the Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemorations that were held last week in Ottawa, which is also a Peace City.


Ottawa CDPI chapter together with members of other Ottawa peace groups under the umbrella of Ottawa Peace Assembly marked Aug 6 and 9 days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations. On Aug 6, a petition signing campaign in downtown Byeward Market on nuclear weapons abolition got signatures from over 350 people (plus 50 more on Aug 9). On Aug 9 event at Friends/Quaker House in Glebe the commemoration was attended by over 100 people. The event included preparing of lanterns and the reading of statement from Mayor Akiba, the current Chair, Mayors of Peace. The following excerpt from the statement may be of interest:

“….We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth’s population, has endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan’s UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the President of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival. To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty….”

Mayor Akiba visited Ottawa four years ago and got support of then Ottawa Mayor for declaration of Ottawa as City of Peace.

Two powerful inspiring presentations were made by the First Nations anti-Uranium mining activist Professor Robert Lovelace and by Murray Thomson on the imminent need of unity among those campaigning to save the planet from environmental degrardation and nuclear destruction. Murray Thomson PowerPoint presentation prepared together with former PGS Director Debbie Grisdale is available for presentations elsewhere. Later in the evening, the group carrying lanterns singing peace songs walked to the nearby pond inlet to float lanterns to commemorate innocent civilian victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by dropping of atom bombs 63 years ago.

In Nonkilling Peace

Bill Bhaneja
Co-Chair, Ottawa Chapter
Canadian Department of Peace Initiative(CDPI)

Mayor of Hiroshima – 2008 Peace Declaration

August 8, 2008

Below is you will find the 2008 Hiroshima Peace Declaration from the Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan. You may also read the declaration online along with the list of local peace events across the county this Saturday, August 9th, 2008 at www.vowpeace.org.  The Nagasaki Peace Declaration coming soon…

August 6, 2008
Another August 6, and the horrors of 63 years ago arise undiminished in the minds of our hibakusha, whose average age now exceeds 75. “Water, please!” “Help me!” “Mommy!” – On this day, we, too, etch in our hearts the voices, faces and forms that vanished in the hell no hibakusha can ever forget, renewing our determination that “No one else should ever suffer as we did.”

Because the effects of that atomic bomb, still eating away at the minds and bodies of the hibakusha, have for decades been so underestimated, a complete picture of the damage has yet to emerge. Most severely neglected have been the emotional injuries. Therefore, the city of Hiroshima is initiating a two-year scientific exploration of the psychological impact of the A-bomb experience.

This study should teach us the grave import of the truth, born of tragedy and suffering, that “the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished.”

This truth received strong support from a report compiled last November by the city of Hiroshima. Scientists and other nuclear-related experts exploring the damage from a postulated nuclear attack found once again that only way to protect citizens from such an attack is the total abolition of nuclear weapons. This is precisely why the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Court of Justice advisory opinion state clearly that all nations are obligated to engage in good-faith negotiations leading to complete nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, even leaders previously central to creating and implementing US nuclear policy are now repeatedly demanding a world without nuclear weapons.

We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth’s population, has endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan’s UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the President of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival.

To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2,368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This Protocol calls for an immediate halt to all efforts, including by nuclear-weapon states, to obtain or deploy nuclear weapons, with a legal ban on all acquisition or use to follow by 2015. Thus, it draws a concrete road map to a nuclear-weapon-free world. Now, with our destination and the map to that destination clear, all we need is the strong will and capacity to act to guard the future for our children.

World citizens and like-minded nations have achieved treaties banning anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. Meanwhile, the most effective measures against global warming are coming from cities. Citizens cooperating at the city level can solve the problems of the human family because cities are home to the majority of the world’s population, cities do not have militaries, and cities have built genuine partnerships around the world based on mutual understanding and trust.

The Japanese Constitution is an appropriate point of departure for a “paradigm shift” toward modeling the world on intercity relationships. I hereby call on the Japanese government to fiercely defend our Constitution, press all governments to adopt the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and play a leading role in the effort to abolish nuclear weapons. I further request greater generosity in designating A-bomb illnesses and in relief measures appropriate to the current situations of our aging hibakusha, including those exposed in “black rain areas” and those living overseas.

Next month the G8 Speakers’ Meeting will, for the first time, take place in Japan. I fervently hope that Hiroshima’s hosting of this meeting will help our “hibakusha philosophy” spread throughout the world.

Now, on the occasion of this 63rd anniversary Peace Memorial Ceremony, we offer our heartfelt lamentations for the souls of the atomic bomb victims and, in concert with the city of Nagasaki and with citizens around the world, pledge to do everything in our power to accomplish the total eradication of nuclear weapons.

Tadatoshi Akiba
The City of Hiroshima

A message to Toronto by Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba

August 6, 2008

Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba has sent a special message to Toronto by video for the opening of an exhibition of photographs from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and drawings by atom bomb survivors that opens today inside Toronto City Hall at 5:30 and runs until August 11. The exhibition will be opened by the Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow. Phyllis Creighton is the MC. The Toronto
Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration will take place at the Toronto City Hall Peace Garden August 9 at 6:30 pm.


Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am more than happy to send this message to Toronto, an important ally in the struggle against nuclear weapons.

I am aware that Toronto holds a ceremony every year to commemorate Hiroshima Day, and I thank Mayor Miller, a Mayor for Peace, for his support in maintaining this tradition.

I want to thank Setsuko and James Thurlow who have been instrumental in the Toronto commemoration from the beginning. And I thank the people of Toronto for your ongoing support and concern.

Setsuko has been a vital presence for decades, one of the few A-bomb survivors with the ability and devotion to travel throughout Canada and the U.S. to communicate the horror of the atomic bombings and Hiroshima’s message that it must never happen again.

James has worked closely with Hiroshima since the 1970s to build and reinforce the relationship between Hiroshima and Toronto. He has spearheaded A-bomb exhibitions, essay contests and the transfer of our peace flame to your Peace Garden.

The Thurlows, the City of Toronto and many of you have been doing more than your duty but the danger is still with us. In fact, it is growing and unfortunately we need you now to work like never before.

I understand that you will soon be hearing my peace declaration for this year so I will not repeat that message here. Instead, let me get straight to my request:

Today, we will ask Mayor Miller to sign an appeal in support of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki protocol and I am asking all of you to sign our on-line petition. Please go to our website to learn the content and strategic importance of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki protocol. All I want to do now is to assure you that no public document is more important to your future.

The Hiroshima-Nagasaki protocol is the way a world leader can express his or her unequivocal commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world. It is our collective task now to demand that all our leaders make this commitment.

Nuclear weapons are cruel, inhumane and cannot be limited to the battlefield in either time or space. They are obviously illegal under the Geneva Conventions and they should have been banned decades ago. In addition, we face the immanent danger that the so-called “war on terror” will go nuclear.

It is time for the international community to take action. We face a critical moment. In the next two years, the human family will decide whether to eliminate nuclear weapons or to let them spread and be used. To ensure that we make the right decision, the people of this planet need to stand up and demand clearly and forcibly that our leaders liberate us from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Please google “Mayors for Peace” and the “2020 Vision Campaign” to find our website and sign our online petition. Finally, please do everything you can to support our 2020 Vision Campaign. With your help, we can be rid of nuclear weapons by 2020 and bequeath to our children a safer and saner and more co-operative world. Thank you very much.

Tadatoshi Akiba
Mayor of Hiroshima
President, Mayors for Peace

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol:

16-year-old Wins Disarmament Video Contest: “We Started It. Let’s End It.” (watch video)

August 2, 2008
Teenager Erik Choquette created a remarkable animated video to claim the $1,000 first prize in the 2008 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest.
The top three videos can be viewed on line at :

“I’m incredibly uncomfortable living with the fact that there are almost 27,000 nuclear weapons in the world,” he said when he received his first place check. “We have used these [nuclear weapons] on people. I want to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Erik, 16, is going into his junior year at Santa Barbara High School in California. Starting this autumn, he will be the Director and Editor of the SBHS News Bulletin – a 15 minute weekly newscast of school events. He said the prize money would go into a savings fund for his first car – he plans to get his drivers’ license soon.

“Erik’s video is a powerful and creative expression by a concerned young person,” says Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President David Krieger. “It sends a message to other young people – as well as older people – that US leadership is essential as we work towards a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Second prize, and $750, went to the animated video, “Wooden Bombs” by Drew Madson of Minnetonka, Minnesota. Third prize, and $250, was awarded to “Testing” by Sagesse Graham of Seattle, Washington.

The top three videos can be viewed on line at :
All videos had to be three minutes or less.

The topic for the contest was: “There are about 27,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Use your creativity to make a short video about why US leadership is necessary to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.”

This year’s Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest was a first for the Foundation [Nuclear Age Peace Foundation]. The Swackhamer was an essay competition in past years.

The video contest will be held annually. There will be an announcement about the next contest in March 2009.

If you haven’t already signed, please join the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Walter Cronkite and thousands of others in sending a message to the next occupant of the White House. It’s easy. Make it clear you support US leadership for a world free of nuclear weapons. It only takes a few seconds to help make the world safer.
Sign the Appeal today

Hiroshima/Nagaski Photo Exhibit August 6-11 – Toronto City Hall

July 29, 2008

The Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition (THDC) cordially invites you to attend the unveiling of the powerful exhibition of photographs from the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Rotunda inside Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 5:30 pm.

THDC is honoured to announce that the City of Toronto has been selected to host the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibit to be held concurrently with 101 cities across the United States. THDC is also very pleased to present Setsuko Thurlow, Member of the Order of Canada and Hibakusha (Hiroshima survivor), who will introduce the exhibition.

Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima will also offer a personal video greeting to the citizens of Toronto in mutual respect for the decades of work done by the citizens of Toronto and Hiroshima on global peacebuilding and the Mayors for Peace campaign pressing together in solidarity for the abolition of nuclear weapons. “Our goal is to create awareness of the destructive power of nuclear weapons,” says Setsuko Thurlow, “and the 25,000 armed nuclear weapons of which are still threatening humanity today.”

The Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibit features pictures and educational facts about the devastation of nuclear war. The exhibit also displays dramatic drawings and paintings from dozens of Hibakusha survivors of their painful memories during the first moments on the ground after the 1945 atomic bombings in Japan with the urgent message “never again”.

The exhibit runs from August 6th -11th, 2008 in conjunction with the “Paths to Hope” Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony on Saturday, August 9th, 2008 at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 6:30 pm.

To RSVP for the August 6th, 2008 unveiling of the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibition at the Rotunda, Toronto City Hall, please contact Helen Chilas, National Coordinator of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, via email h-chilas@rogers.com or cell at 416-473-8238

Note: If you would like to reserve a table at the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Annual Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony (August 9th at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square), please contact Dr. Barbara Birkett with Physicians for Global Survival at bbirkett@interlog.com.