What's new in INES, January 2013
New German INES bank account:
Lucas Wirl wegen INES
Account Number: 1062441881
We wish you a good start in the New Year and would like to invite you to read the first edition of “What’s new in INES” in the year 2013. This month’s edition will present to you some of the activities INES engages in and conducts during the next months as well as activities of INES member organizations and other interesting materials.
One of the most foresighted activities is the networking and preparation of “2014 – 100 years of World War I”. Here, INES engages in the preparatory process of international events in Sarajevo, Bosnia in June 2014. Some of INES’ German member organizations are majorly engaged in national networks on 100 years of World War I, launching webpages, preparing campaigns and events. In Spring 2013, INES engages in manifold other activities: the Middle Powers Initiative’s Framework Forum and a public event on nuclear weapons in Berlin in late February, the World Forum on Science and Democracy and the World Social Forum in Tunis in late March, and the NPT PrepCom with official UN side events and evening events in the city of Geneva.
Furthermore, the edition of “What’s new in INES” gives you interesting articles, information to events, and news from the INES family as well as its surroundings.
He fell in October 1918, at a day which was peacefully quiet at the war front-line, a day when army daily news briefing only was summarized by one sentence: All quiet on the western front. One could be forgiven to think that he was sleeping; his body lay quietly and was bending like a curve. On turning his body one could see that he did not suffer long, his face bore no trace of torment and gave the impression that he was almost at peace with his death.
Erich Maria Remarque “All quiet on the Western Front” 1928WE STAND FIRM TO ACHIEVE PEACE WITHOUT WEAPONS!
EVERY WAR IS A DEFEAT OF HUMANITY:
In 2014 the peace movement is going to mark the historical anniversary with a critical reflection, creative activities, and initiatives. We are not going to let the centenary – 1914-2014 – be turned into an uncritical celebration of the “civil force” European Union. Today a lot of money, resource, and intellect is being poured into military technology. The goal of the United Nations is to protect future generation from war, however it is being counteracted by the so called humanitarian operations. Today Germany is shifting from a defence army to a worldwide operation troop, is fuelling conflicts worldwide as the third world arms-exporter, and engages in the modernization of nuclear weapons instead of abolishing them.
On the contrary, it is paramount to draw attention to the challenges of the future. In today’s world, every minute a human dies of want and every sixth does not have access to clean drinking water. The peace movement will celebrate 2014 by pushing for lessons to be drawn from the devastating world wars and the system controversy during the cold war. It is a challenge to us all, a challenge to societies as a whole, to social movements, a challenge to scientists, to politicians, to youth organisations, to trade unions, and a challenge to world religions to map out strategies of peaceful conflict resolution.
Bring past and presence into question!
Why do peace negotiations fail? What could be prevented, what should be done? Chip in with ideas and competence be it in politics, art, science - whatever and wherever you are.
Develop peace strategies! How can we reach a future without weapons and military? Call a spade and name the challenges of peace by name. Get to know peace projects and initiatives all around the world.
Give support and make the year 2014 here at home and abroad a year of peace-culture.
Be active for a world without war and spread the word on disarmament and civil conflict resolution, on non-violence and international law.
Aim at an atmosphere of peace at home and worldwide. Be active and say no to all forms of militarism.
Creativity has no borders www.1914-2014.eu
is a platform for new ideas.
Register under info1914-2014eu
Share your projects and initiatives.
Peace is international and interconnected We are giving support to the peace rally to be held in Sarajevo in June 2014.
Peace-culture celebrations at Brandenburg Gate Concerts and networking groups will meet in summer 2014 at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to mark the occasion.
Memorial sites All the “heroes” memorial sites build after 1918 will be our memorial points of protest and counter-information.
The anti-war symbol of the broken rifle can be used to create new memorials. Information-dissemination Discussions, public events, rallies, films, city tours, visits to war memorial sites and graves – the involvement with the history needs your creativity.
Let us all create places in 2014 in which the young and old can develop strategies of peace for our future.
www.1914-2014.eu – be part of the platform!
Paths to a nuclear weapon-free world
20. February 2013
This public event on the wake of the Middle Powers Initiative's (MPI) framework meeting in Berlin will discuss ways to abolish nuclear weapons.Organizors are IALANA, INES, IPPNW, IPB and the German network Future without nuclear weapons and Friedrich-Ebert Foundation with the support of MPI and PNND.
Wednesday, February 20 2013 7-9 pm
Humboldt University, Jakob‐Grimm‐Zentrum, Geschwister‐Scholl‐Str. 1‐3, 10117 Berlin.
Welcoming words: Christine Hoffman, ZOA, Niels Annen, FES; Susanne Baumann, Auswärtiges Amt (tbc); Vice‐president of Humboldt Universtity Peter Frensch
Angela Kane, UN Office of Disarmament Affairs: (tbc)
Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Chair of MPI, former Mayor of Hiroshima
Dr. Lars Pohlmeier, MD : Catastrophic Humanitarian Consequences
Susi Snyder, International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear weapons (ICAN): What can civil society do?
Abolition of nuclear weapons – but how? What strategy should we focus on to get rid of nuclear
weapons? With representatives from different sections of civil society
‐ Science: Prof. Jürgen Scheffran, INES
‐ Trade Union: Frank Bsirske, ver.di (tbc)
‐ Youth: Judith Achenbach, IPPNW‐ Student
‐ International Law – Otto Jäckel, IALANA
‐ Parliament ‐ Agnieszka Brugger, PNND (tbc)
Facilitators: Xanthe Hall, Reiner Braun
26.-30. March 2013
This year’s World Social Forum will take place from March 26 to 30 in Tunis. Prior to the World Social Forum, the World Forum on Science and Democracy will take place. At both events INES will be present.More information on the World Social Forum can be found here: http://www.fsm2013.org/en More information on the World Forum on Science and Democracy can be found here: http://www.fmsd-wfsd.org/
January 18th 2013
Location: NGO conference room at the Palais des Nation
1. Monday April 22, 10-13
IALANA, INES, INESAP, NAPF: Nuclear Weapons in Europe
2. Tuesday April 23, 15-18
INES, IPB, WFC: Science, Technology as Driving Forces for Nuclear Armament Processes - Modernisation and New Weapons Systems and their Scientific and Research Background
3. Wednesday April 24, 10-13
IALANA, INES, IPB: Strategy of the nuclear weapons abolition movement
4. Thursday, April 25, 10-13
IPB, Peace Depot (Japan), Peace Network (S. Korea). The 60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice and the Future of NEA-NWFZ
5. Friday, April 26, 13:15-14:45
IALANA, ICBUW: Depleted Uranium and Ecological Consequences
Independent events during the NPT PrepCom:
I.Monday 18:30 or 19:00
IALANA, INES: Military Research and Civil Alternatives, i.e. Civil Clause (informal evening event)
II.Tuesday 12.00 -> afternoon
Protest action at Place des Nations with an “inflatable power plant” + banners + Flash mob / street theatre. Intended to attract press and media.
Organisers/participants: WCC, BANg, CANVA, IPB, IALANA, INES, IPPNW, ICAN ….
III.Tuesday 18:30 -- Social evening at Maison des Associations
Meal and informal discussion with participants from the afternoon action + any others of the NPT Prepcom. Focus on future plans. Languages : French/English
IV.Wednesday 16:00 – 18.30
IALANA, INES, Austrian organisations, IPB and other: Nuclear Technology as Dinosaur-Technologies and the Role of the IAEA in promoting renewable energy and IRENA
V. IALANA, INES, IPB: 1914-2014 - Discussion on Events and Actions (informal evening event)
President Obama's Second Term: Fulfilling the Promise of Nuclear Disarmament
by Richard Falk and David Krieger
January 16, 2013
Any great and important goal requires boldness to be achieved. Leadership itself requires boldness and persistence. Shortly after assuming office in 2009, President Obama demonstrated this boldness in a widely acclaimed speech in Prague. To rousing applause, he said, “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
Unfortunately, in the next breath, he reversed direction, offering a familiar reassurance to the military-industrial-governmental complex: “I'm not naïve,” he said. “This goal will not be reached quickly -- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence.” Before finishing this coded message to the security establishment back home, he reversed direction once again, declaring, “But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’”
In a matter of seconds, less time than it would take to launch America’s civilization-destroying (or omnicidal) nuclear arsenal, the new President seemed to engage in a debate with himself. America has a commitment to zero nuclear weapons. However, it won’t happen quickly. But, on the other hand, the world can change and it can happen. It was perhaps an unintended glimpse of the incoherence that results from trying to blend Obama the visionary with Obama the realist.
The principal missing elements for realizing the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons are political will and clarity of intention. In President Obama’s first term the realist side of his geopolitical bipolarity clearly emerged as dominant. We can only hope that in his second term the visionary side will gain ascendancy, which also happens to coincide with what will best contribute to American security and world peace. President Obama has an unparalleled opportunity to realize his vision to move the world boldly toward nuclear zero.
Why should he do so? Nuclear weapons should not really be viewed as weapons at all. They are insanely destructive devices of annihilation, not only immoral, but irrational. They cannot be used without the most flagrant violations of the laws of warfare: killing indiscriminately and causing unnecessary suffering. Their effects cannot be contained in time or space. They harm not only present generations; they threaten to foreclose the future altogether. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the great moral leaders of our time, regards nuclear weapons as an “obscenity.” They are also extraordinarily expensive, having cost the US alone more than $7.5 trillion since the onset of the Nuclear Age, and they invite others to mimic our irresponsible behavior.
Further, President Obama should act because there has never been a time in world politics more supportive of major moves toward zero nuclear weapons. None of the leading states in the world is locked in strategic or ideological struggle. This unprecedented calm on the global stage offers a rare opportunity to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It will not last forever, and should be seized upon by every government on the planet including our own.
What should President Obama do to demonstrate the requisite political will to move forward? First, he needs to explain his goal and raise the awareness of the American people and the people of the world, letting them know why a world without nuclear weapons will make them safer. He needs to explain that nuclear deterrence is only a theory, one that relies upon human rationality and infallibility, even in times of stress, and thus is subject to failure at any time, as well as irrelevant to the nature of current security threats.
Second, Obama needs to make bold proposals for fulfilling the Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations of the US and other nuclear weapon states to engage in good faith negotiations for an immediate end of the nuclear arms race, for total nuclear disarmament, and for a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. Most important, he needs to convene the countries of the world, including the nine nuclear weapon states, to begin negotiations for a new treaty, a Nuclear Weapons Convention, based on a detailed proposal for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.
Third, he could signal the US commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons by a pledging never to use nuclear weapons first, and taking steps to adapt US nuclear policy to this pledge. Lowering the alert status of the US nuclear arsenal and ending the policy of launch on warning would demonstrate his seriousness of purpose. These steps would also make the US more secure by reducing the possibilities of accidental nuclear war.
It must be presumed that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 on the basis of promise, not performance. His second term offers a golden opportunity to show the world that the people in Oslo knew what they were doing, but he has little time to waste!
Richard Falk is NAPF Senior Vice President and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Stuart Parkinson celebrates Scientists for Global Responsibility.
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) – whose aim is to promote science, design and technology that contribute to peace, social justice and environmental sustainability – reached its 20th anniversary in June 2012.
Questioning military involvement
Over the years, we have raised concerns about many issues including climate change, weapons technologies, nuclear power and genetically-modified crops, while also promoting sustainable solutions which take account of environmental limits and help to tackle the roots of conflict and injustice.
In the last ten years, we have focused a lot of effort on the problems caused by large-scale military and corporate involvement in science and technology. We have documented how such interests encourage narrow and short-sighted approaches to tackling problems such as international insecurity or global environmental damage.
One encouraging development in this area over the last decade has been a significant shift in UK government funding for R&D – which has seen a 40 per cent fall in spending on military R&D against a large rise in civilian funding. Nevertheless, UK military R&D funding still remains markedly higher than that in some other major economies like Germany or Japan, and it is still focused on developing large offensive weapons systems which do more to fuel international arms races than improve national or international security.
Problems with engagement
Over the 20 years of SGR, it has been encouraging to see that professional science institutions and individual scientists have increasingly given higher priority to communication with the public, and that the nature of this communication has changed. There has been a move away from the old ‘explaining the facts to the ignorant’ and more towards ‘respectful engagement’. However, there are still serious problems to be addressed.
Firstly the role of powerful narrowly-focused interests – especially large corporations – in both steering research agendas and funding communication activities urgently needs to be curbed. Research Councils, for example, need to seek greater involvement from wider society to balance the influence of industry. Furthermore, the involvement of controversial companies – such as arms and oil corporations – in science fairs and museums is especially unhelpful.
Secondly, and more broadly, there needs to be a more honest dialogue with the public about the ways in which science and technology can be used, both intentionally and unintentionally, to harm individuals, society and the wider environment. Without such changes, science communication activity risks being just another public relations exercise.
A brief history of SGR
SGR was founded in dark days of the Cold War in the early 1980s, when concern about the threat of nuclear war was at its height. Several science and technology organisations – including Scientists Against Nuclear Arms (SANA) – were formed in this period. They aimed to provide the peace movement with reliable technical information to support their campaigning and to give a voice to many in the science and engineering professions who objected to the way that technical skills were being used to fuel the nuclear arms race.
With the end of the Cold War and the growing concern about global environmental issues in the early 1990s, SANA and other organisations merged to form SGR. Members felt strongly that the experience gained from working on peace-related questions should be applied to a wider range of concerns, including environmental and social justice issues.
In particular, the organisation felt it should try to raise the profile of ethical issues across science and technology, both with other professionals and with society at large.
An open letter to President Obama:
The time on the Doomsday Clock is five minutes to midnight
By Robert Socolow, Thomas Rosenbaum, Lawrence J. Korb, Lynn Eden, Rod Ewing,
Alexander Glaser, James E. Hansen, Sivan Kartha, Edward "Rocky" Kolb ,
Lawrence M. Krauss, Leon Lederman, Ramamurti Rajaraman, M. V. Ramana, Robert
Rosner, Jennifer Sims, Richard C. J. Somerville, and Elizabeth J. Wilson |
14 January 2013
The Bulletin's Science and Security Board announces its 2013 decision to
keep in place the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock: It will remain at five
minutes to midnight. In this open letter to US President Barack Obama, the
Board presents its views on the key issues that affected its decision and
provides the president with recommendations to consider in 2013 and
throughout his second term.
Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had
helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in
1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom
of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and
the planet. The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is
made every year by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation
with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has
become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to
catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies
emerging in other domains.
January 14, 2013
Dear President Obama,
2012 was a year in which the problems of the world pressed forward, but too
many of its citizens stood back. In the US elections the focus was "the
economy, stupid," with barely a word about the severe long-term trends that
threaten the population's well-being to a far greater extent: climate
change, the continuing menace of nuclear oblivion, and the vulnerabilities
of the world's energy sources. 2012 was the hottest year on record in the
contiguous United States, marked by devastating drought and brutal storms.
These extreme events are exactly what climate models predict for an
atmosphere overburdened with greenhouse gases. 2012 was a year of unrealized
opportunity to reduce nuclear stockpiles, to lower the immediacy of
destruction from missiles on alert, and to control the spread of fissile
materials and keep nuclear terrorism at bay. 2012 was a year in which -- one
year after the partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power
Station -- the Japanese nation continued to be at the earliest stages of
what will be a costly and long recovery.
The stasis of 2012 convinces us, the Science and Security Board, to keep the
hands of the Doomsday Clock in place.
Mr. President, we see 2013 as a year for vision and engagement. We know that
decisive action can make the world safer. Humanity awaits the US leadership
that can secure a future free of nuclear weapons. US action can induce the
world's nations to negotiate international agreements to avert the worst
calamities of climate change. We turn to you, Mr. President, to lead us
toward a safer world and to help us turn back the hands of the Doomsday
It remains five minutes to midnight.
Nuclear weapons. Mr. President, we applaud the steps your administration has
already taken: ratifying the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New
START), holding to firm account potential violators of the keystone Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), strengthening the global nuclear security
regime, and reducing the opportunities and chances of success for terrorists
to get hold of fissile material. We are glad that your commitment to the
Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban
Treaty -- for which we are confident you will seek Senate approval -- has
In 2009 you stood in Hradcany Square and boldly stated: "America's
commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear
weapons," and you specified that the United States will "reduce the role of
nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the
same." Four years after the visionary speech, we see progress, but we also
see how much remains to be done.
When the United States and Russia ratified New START, both countries agreed
to limit the number of deployed warheads to 1,550. But 20 years after the
end of the Cold War, this is not enough, and the United States must commit
to cutting well below 1,000 warheads. The stockpile of non-deployed
strategic nuclear warheads should be significantly reduced and tactical
nuclear warheads must be eliminated. Mr. President, such actions will signal
a decreasing role for nuclear weapons in US national security strategy --
and they will demonstrate America's commitment to Article VI of the NPT to
significantly reduce nuclear weapons and to strive for nuclear disarmament.
Mr. President, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review PDF considered eliminating a
leg of the nuclear triad as part of the planned reductions under New START.
We believe that, by cutting well below 1,000 warheads, the arguments for
keeping all three legs of the triad are less convincing than they may have
been in the past. The triad is an expensive legacy of a bygone era that
makes it increasingly difficult to implement deeper cuts in the global
nuclear arsenal. Now is the time to examine the options to fundamentally
restructure US nuclear forces.
In addition, much more can be done to signal your commitment to reducing the
role of nuclear weapons in national security strategy: You could increase
the dismantlement rate of retired nuclear warheads, and consider seriously
reducing both the 1,152 nuclear warheads on the submarine-launched ballistic
missiles, as well as the 300 nuclear warheads assigned to bombers.
These measures would send a strong message of America's commitment to work
toward a world without nuclear weapons.
As was the case in your first term, we hope that your second term will also
begin with an updated statement articulating your future plans to reduce the
role of nuclear weapons in US national security strategy.
Fissile materials. Within months of taking office in 2009, you announced the
goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within
four years. This was a key public acknowledgment that all fissile material
-- whether separated for weapons purposes or civilian use -- carries
substantial proliferation risks. 2013 is the time to rejuvenate and expand
the fissile-material agenda.
In 2010, you convened the first Nuclear Security Summit. However, these
biennial meetings of heads of state have dealt primarily with securing and
consolidating civilian stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in
non-nuclear weapon states, which account for less than 2 percent of the
global stockpile of fissile material. Moreover, civilian HEU is not the only
problem. To quote the speech you delivered last year at Hankuk University in
South Korea: "We simply can't go on accumulating huge amounts of the very
material, like separated plutonium, that we're trying to keep away from
Mr. President, we call on you to launch, immediately, a comprehensive
approach to fissile materials that deals with civilian and military
stockpiles -- plutonium, as well as highly enriched uranium. Independent
estimates of the global stockpile suggest that there are 1,440 tons of HEU
and 500 tons of separated plutonium. PDF In principle, this is enough for
several hundred thousand nuclear weapons.
Since the 1970s, the United States has refrained from reprocessing of
civilian spent nuclear fuel and the separation of fissile materials. In
2013, the United States should discourage Japan from commissioning its
Rokkasho plant and encourage South Korea to reconsider its reprocessing
This year, the United States should declare excess all fissile material not
in nuclear warheads -- deployed or in reserve -- and offer this material for
international monitoring. 2013 is the year in which the United States should
seek further reductions in its own fissile material stocks, as well as those
held by Russia and other nuclear weapon states.
Mr. President, in 2013, the United States -- in coordination with the other
NPT nuclear weapon states, as well as India, Pakistan, Israel, and North
Korea -- should announce a moratorium on producing more fissile material for
weapons, pending a formal treaty.
Climate change. Human activities are now the dominant cause of global
climate change. Emissions of heat-trapping gases continued to climb in 2012,
with atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide -- the most important greenhouse
gas affected by human activities -- reaching levels higher than at any time
in the past 800,000 years. 2012 was the hottest year on record for the
contiguous United States. Arctic sea ice continued to rapidly diminish in
extent, reaching a record low this past year that fell under the previous
low by an area the size of Texas. Glaciers are retreating, and the massive
Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass. Extreme weather events,
such as last year's Superstorm Sandy and Typhoon Bopha, now strike in an
environment altered by climate change, with higher sea surface temperatures
and more water vapor in the atmosphere to fuel and sustain their destructive
But 2012 also provided further evidence of the viability of renewable
sources of energy and more efficient ways of powering the global economy,
pointing toward an alternative to the high-carbon development model. Wind
and solar power, for example, expanded at rates greatly exceeding what
energy agencies forecasted earlier this decade. Owing to supportive
policies, power generation from these sources expanded nearly fourfold over
the past five years in the United States, and even more so in other
countries, including Germany and China, where there they enjoyed stronger
support. The new US automobile fuel economy standard was another welcome
development, promising nearly a doubling of vehicle efficiency by 2025.
This trend, while encouraging, is by no means evidence that the climate
challenge has been met. In fact, the growth in low-carbon energy sources is
dwarfed by the continued expansion of fossil fuels like coal -- as was
exemplified last year by the explosive development of unconventional fossil
resources, such as tar sands, oil shale, and shale gas. With life-cycle
greenhouse gas emissions that are even worse than their conventional
counterparts, these unconventional fossil resources threaten to crowd out
investment in renewables and to entrench a long-term dependency on
carbon-intensive energy supplies.
Avoiding this scenario will require your administration to considerably
speed the process of reforming the patchwork of federal subsidies, taxes,
and other incentives and disincentives that distort energy markets. We look
forward to substantial progress toward rational energy markets in 2013,
including the pricing of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the economy.
2012 saw the arrival of an apparently abundant domestic natural gas
resource, which could be an important contributor to a more environmentally
sound energy future. We call on your administration to see that
commercialization of this resource is pursued in ways that mitigate its
environmental impacts, including its climate change impacts. Specifically,
we urge you to create strong regulations for gas developers to minimize
methane leakage and safeguard water resources, and for power-plant
developers to incorporate carbon dioxide capture and storage.
Mr. President, you have taken some steps to help nudge the country along a
more rational energy path. You kept alive the incentives for wind and other
renewable power, and you strengthened vehicle fuel-efficiency standards.
These are important steps, but without a concerted effort to launch a
comprehensive and ambitious response to the climate challenge in 2013, we
face diminishing prospects for averting the worst and most costly effects of
a disrupted climate.
Since your re-election, you have noted with concern that the Earth is
warming and the Arctic ice cap is melting even faster than scientists had
predicted, while extraordinary weather events -- from storms to droughts --
are taking their toll in the United States and around the world. You also
stressed that we have an obligation to future generations to do something
about climate change, and you promised that this would be a priority of your
In September 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will
publish its fifth assessment of climate science, which will authoritatively
document the changing climate. We call on you to commit your administration
to firmly accept the panel's scientific findings, urgently integrate these
findings into national policy, and confidently face those who irresponsibly
argue that climate change science is not relevant.
Emerging threats. In 2012, Mr. President, it became clear that cyber
technologies, for all their benefits, could trigger a new kind of
self-inflicted Doomsday. But how, when, and for whom remains unclear.
Developments in 2012 underscored the vulnerabilities of government,
international banking, finance, and industry to cyber attack. Saudi Aramco
suffered the most damaging cyber attack on a company to date when
three-quarters of its corporate computers were attacked by a virus that
erased all data, replacing it with an image of a burning US flag. The
malware used in the attack at Saudi Aramco has been linked to the same
malware used in Stuxnet and related malware, Wiper and Flame. Such
developments have advertised the destructive possibilities of hostile cyber
operations, governments' plans to use them, and the blowback that can happen
when they do.
The proliferation and commoditization of digital data has, in the words of
one senior US government official, contributed to a "new threat matrix of
digital espionage, crime and warfare" that puts personal security and
liberties at risk.
What should we make of this new technological challenge? Is the evolution of
cyber technology outpacing societies' capacities to manage it equitably --
the same kind of socio-scientific gap that inspired scientists in the
nuclear domain to press for international institution-building and
arms-control initiatives so many decades ago? The Science and Security Board
is studying a way forward on this issue, and hopes your administration, Mr.
President, will continue to do so as well.
Next steps. Mr. President, with your second inauguration one week away, we
have as much hope for your presidency as we did in 2010, when we moved back
the hands of the Doomsday Clock after your first year in office. You have an
extraordinary capacity to articulate the global desire for peace and
security, and you have the tools to deliver tangible progress. Your Prague
speech on nuclear disarmament and your efforts at Copenhagen to coordinate
world leaders to slow the onset of climate change are high water marks in
their respective basins of activity. We call on you to reinvigorate these
• Implement your Prague vision to diminish the role of nuclear weapons
-the-time-the-doomsday-clock-five-minutes-to-midn curity strategy by
committing to cut -- to under 1,000 -- the deployed strategic nuclear
• Announce an effort to stop all new production and eliminate existing
stocks of separated fissile materials, both civilian and military,
worldwide. It would greatly strengthen the nonproliferation regime, support
nuclear disarmament, and provide the ultimate protection against nuclear
• Prioritize climate change at a level that recognizes the gravity of
the climate threat. You have the ability to educate and inspire the United
States to launch an ambitious response, confront entrenched interests that
have forestalled action, and, if Congressional dysfunction prevents
legislative action, you are able to use your executive powers to achieve
progress on a rational energy and climate strategy for the nation.
• Partner with other world leaders to forge the comprehensive global
response that the climate threat demands, based on equity and cooperation
across countries. A global solution will only be within reach if the United
States commits to doing its fair share by investing at home and globally to
curb greenhouse gas emissions, while building resilience in the face of the
climate disruption that is now unavoidable.
• Reform the patchwork of federal subsidies, taxes, and other
incentives and disincentives so as to encourage large reductions in US
greenhouse gas emissions.
Fear is being spread in the Kashmir region of India that nuclear war is imminent with Pakistan. People are being told to dig air raid shelters. Recent reports of some gruesome happenings on the borders between India and Pakistan have led to comments, magnified multi-fold in these highly networked times, of a nature designed to stoke further hostility rather than to calm heightened fury.
Not only has the border skirmish led to diplomatic tensions, military build-up and war hysteria in the sections of the media on both sides of the border, but the Jammu and Kashmir Police, on the Indian side, has reportedly issued advisories for its citizens on how to conduct themselves in the event of a nuclear exchange. This is nothing but pure insanity.
As revealed by saner sections of media and some public intellectuals, unfortunate violent skirmishes on Indo-Pak border have become routine, only to be overplayed occasionally by either side for their political convenience. Given that both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed, it is highly imperative that saner counsels prevail.
We, the undersigned, call upon politicians, the civil society and the public at large in both countries, to exercise caution as regards jingoistic media reports and commentaries. We urge all concerned to re-engage instead in working for the common prosperity of people on the both sides.
For organizations to sign on to the above statement please send an email to Kumar Sundaram in India at editordianukeorg or on Facebook at
Kumar's web page at
For more information about this nuclear crisis please see
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
LONDON, Jan. 18, 2013 – As the International Security Assistance Force transitions to a sustaining role in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, will NATO retreat from its responsibilities, or innovate to develop and share the capabilities needed to meet growing, global security challenges?
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta delivered a speech at King's College here today, built around that question. The audience included students and faculty members of the school's Department of War Studies and the secretary noted it was "especially these young leaders" he wished to address.
The more than 60-year-old NATO alliance "remains the bedrock of America’s global ... partnerships," Panetta said. "But today, after over 11 years of war, I believe we are at another turning point in the history of the transatlantic alliance."
NATO nations came together in 1949 to form a common defense against the monolithic Soviet superpower. Now, Panetta noted, the alliance -- if it is to remain an effective, capable, enduring multilateral security alliance -- must prepare to quickly respond to a wide range of security threats even as member nations, under budget pressures, spend less on their militaries.
"The bottom line is that no one nation can confront the threats ... alone," the secretary said. "We have got to build an innovative, flexible, and rotational model for forward-deployed presence and training.”
In transforming its capabilities, NATO must develop innovative alliance cooperation, invest in new frontiers, and build regional partnerships, he said.
Innovative cooperation, Panetta said, involves positioning and equipping forces so they can respond to threats rapidly and effectively. For example, he noted, the Defense Department has moved two heavy Army brigades out of Europe.
"But ... this effort is not primarily about cuts," he said. "We will be supporting new rotational deployments, enhanced training and exercises, and other new initiatives that bolster the readiness of our forces and build their capacity to seamlessly work together."
The secretary listed some of those U.S. initiatives: deploying ballistic missile defense-equipped [Aegis] destroyers to Rota, Spain; establishing a new U.S. aviation detachment in Poland; and deploying U.S. Army battalions on a rotational basis to participate in the NATO Response Force.
"We are making tangible investments in these new forms of cooperation to make the alliance more responsive and more agile," the secretary said. "And we are doing so in a cost-effective way that meets our fiscal responsibilities."
Turning to "new frontiers," Panetta urged NATO commitment to cyber defense.
"For years, I have been deeply concerned by intellectual property theft, by attacks against private sector institutions, and the continued probing of military and critical infrastructure networks," he said. Panetta said cyber- attacks could "paralyze our economies" and potentially destroy national power grids, government systems, financial and banking networks.
"That technology is real and threatening today," Panetta said. "As societies that rely on cyberspace, Europe and the United States have more to gain from stronger cyber security than anyone else. And our economies are so interdependent; failing to act together could leave all of us dangerously exposed."
NATO must consider what its role should be in defending member nations from cyber attacks, the secretary said.
"We must begin to take the necessary steps to develop additional alliance cyber defense capabilities," he said. "To that end, I urge that in the coming year [that] NATO ministers hold a session to closely examine how the alliance can bolster its defensive cyber operational capabilities."
Other key capabilities for the future that require investment, Panetta said, include unmanned systems, surveillance and intelligence platforms, space defense and special operations forces.
"The time has come when nations can share critical capabilities ... that enhance [our common] ability to ... respond to common threats," he said.
Panetta said the third pillar for building the transatlantic alliance of the 21st century "must be a determined and proactive effort to build strong partnerships with nations and security organizations in other regions of the world."