by Gloria Tatum with Glenn Carroll……….
The Treaty on the Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons a/k/a the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, was adopted by the United Nations in 2017. Fifty-one countries have ratified the treaty, so far, and on January 22, 2021, it became international law with the goal of total elimination of nuclear weapons.
The Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty prohibits the countries who signed the treaty from participating in any nuclear weapons activities. It prohibits the signatories from producing, acquiring, testing, stockpiling, or allowing any nuclear explosive device to be in their country.
None of the nine countries with nuclear weapons have signed the treaty — this includes the United States, China, Russia, France, the UK, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. NATO member nations also boycotted Treaty proceedings. The rest of the world was frustrated with over 50 years of nuclear countries’ promises to get rid of their weapons while they continued to build more nuclear weapons.
This Treaty does not end nuclear weapons outright but is an important first step in the direction of eventually banning all nuclear weapons. It offers support against expanding nuclear arsenals and makes nuclear weapons illegal for all who signed the treaty. It established a new international legal standard against which all nuclear policies will now be judged.
Ann Suellentrop with Physicians for Social Responsibility in Kansas City, MO, where Honeywell has a major factory which builds components for nuclear weapons explains how the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty can affect U.S. nuclear weapons manufacturers.
“The Ban Treaty stigmatizes nuclear weapons and restricts the 36 multinational corporations that make them,” says Ms. Suellentrop, a registered nurse. “The 51 countries (and counting) that have ratified the Ban Treaty inside their own country can have absolutely nothing to do with nuclear weapons or assist these companies in any way.
“For example,” she continues, “Ireland already has made this law punishable by fine or imprisonment for life. Another example is Mexico. Honeywell has a factory in Mexico that makes air conditioners. Mexico could pass a law that prohibits government or private financial support for the factory. It could prohibit Mexican citizens from working at the factory. And if the Honeywell CEO visited the factory, he could be arrested. International treaties affect the U.S. even if we don’t sign them. For instance, we didn’t sign the landmine international treaty, but no company in the U.S. makes landmines anymore.”
The Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty was preceded by similar treaties banning land mines, chemical weapons and biological weapons. Although the U.S. did not sign any of these treaties, the outlawed weapons are no longer manufactured.
Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous weapons on Earth capable of destroying everything for millions of years. The U.S. has over 1,750 nuclear weapons, according to the Federation of American Scientists. One mistake could destroy human civilization forever.
Nuclear Watch South, Beyond Trident, Susie King Taylor Women’s Ecology Institute, and Coastal Black Women’s Ocean Memory and Conservation Collective held a peace vigil at the gates of the Kings Bay Trident nuclear submarine base in St. Marys, Georgia. The vigil was to celebrate the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons becoming international law.
Participants exposed little known facts that 25% of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is deployed from Kings Bay. A single Trident submarine carries enough nuclear firepower to destroy 240 cities and is capable of ending civilization in 30 minutes. The U.S is starting a new nuclear arms race and planning to spend $100 billion over the next 30 years to replace the Trident submarine fleet with 12 bigger Trident subs, each capable of carrying 16 nuclear missiles topped with multiple warheads.
Kings Bay Trident Nuclear submarine base located in the Cumberland Sound occupies the only known calving waters of the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, a species of large baleen whale. Pregnant females migrate to Georgia every November through April to give birth and nurture their newborns. There are only about 365 of these whales left. So far in this calving season 14 newborns have been sighted making it the most successful calving season in more than a decade.
“For 75 years our beautiful planet and all of its inhabitants have been held hostage by the terrifying prospect of nuclear annihilation. Fortunately, we have averted the wholesale destruction of nuclear war, so far, although the trillions of dollars squandered on these weapons of mass destruction have been a direct theft from the people of our country who need homes and food and healthcare. It is powerfully symbolic that nuclear weapons are being outlawed internationally during the week in which we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His prophetic words echo through the corridors of history as he calls on his country to disavow the ‘giant triplets’ of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. At last, the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons has come!” Glenn Carroll, coordinator of Nuclear Watch South said in a press release.
Hermina Glass-Hill, executive director of the Susie King Taylor Women’s Ecology Institute says, “This ban on nuclear weapons by the 51 nations is a good sign of contagious compassion from the least among us for our common home — Mother Earth, and the ripple effect is the potential for true peace, equity, and equality for all of her citizens.”
Teresa Grady, founder of the Beyond Trident Campaign and sister of one of the Kings Bay Plowshares defendants states, “The 51 States Parties who have ratified this Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, though seemingly insignificant, will have an effect on those nuclear states who depend on the use of their lands for mining, manufacturing, transport, and deployment of these weapons. Banks invested in the nuclear weapons industry will be boycotted by these States Parties; we must uphold their courage, and urge our communities and nations to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Robert Randall has maintained a presence at Kings Bay for more than 30 years and is one of the organizers with Beyond Trident. He says, “Because of the Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons coming into force we have no choice now but to Think Beyond Trident.”