From the Newsletter (6/30/11)   

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Why Socialism - by Albert Einstein


The Path to Climate Security passes through Gaza: a Prologue to Rethinking Strategy- by David Schwartzman


The Relevance of Appropriate Technology - by John Tharakan


Expropriation, Appropriation and Privatization of Biological Resources by Jane Zara


An Appropriate Technology Checklist - by Charles C. Verharen and John Tharakan


Hibashuka Speak Out on Fukushima - pieces by Shoso Hirai in Le Matin and Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (full articles below)


Education for environmental justice: Benning Road - by Members of DC Metro SftP


Recent Books: Six short reviewsby Peter Caplan and Jane Zara (full article below)


Prolific Tear Gas Use by Israel - citizens group demands investigationby Jane Zara


Hibashuka Speak Out on Fukushima



Part 1: A rough translation from an interview of Hiroshima survivor Shoso Hirai in Le Matin, March 25, 2011 by Simon Koch


Shoso Hirai was 16 years old when he saw the mushroom cloud over the city of Hiroshima, and 81 years old when white smoke rose from the Fukushima nuclear plant. He lost his father and his little brother in the explosion of the A-bomb. His mother died a few years later of thyroid cancer caused by radiation.

Today, he is a pacifist advocate.

Today Shoso Hirai believes he has been deceived by the prospects of peaceful nuclear energy. "I feel betrayed. We have always been told that nuclear energy was clean and safe. Until Fukushima, I had nothing against nuclear energy. Today, in light of the risks of radiation, I believe we must give it up. " There are over 200 000 Hibakushas in Japan today, among them some 2000 suffer from illnesses caused by radioactivity.

Associations of Hibakusha fear that those who have been exposed to radiation in Fukushima may endure the same discriminations as the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including in terms of employment, as uneducated people feared they could be contaminated by working with them. Hirai Shoso doesn't want to be negative: "In Hiroshima, nobody knew anything about radiation. That's why rumors spread." He expects today's victims of radiation will receive appropriate medical treatment. "Even if they are left with long-term effects, I do not believe they will be discriminated against. I hope that those irradiated in Fukushima can count on the goodwill and kindness of the Japanese people. I hope they find the courage to continue living. "

Shoso Hirai knows what he is talking about: it demanded of him him a lot of courage on August 6, 1945, when the nuclear bomb turned Hiroshima into ruins, instantly killing 70,000 people. On that very morning, he was heading towards the munitions plant where the government had assigned him to work. He was walking some 4 km away from the epicenter when the atomic bomb exploded.. "Everything around me became dark. After a few minutes, I looked toward the city. I saw a huge black mushroom-shaped cloud. "

The then-young Shoso only had one thing in mind: find his mother, who had stayed at home, in the family house located just 2km from the epicenter. But he was unable to get close to it, as the center of Hiroshima was on fire. After long hours, Shoso's mother finally appeared, her arms and face wounded by pieces of glass. They spent the night together in a farmhouse.

The next day, Shoso ventured into town with his mother to look for his father. In place of their family home lay their bathtube standing in fire. He never found anything else than his father's bike in his office. And never found the remains of his 13-year-old little brother, either.


After the war, Hirai Shoso became an advocate for nuclear disarmament. He now works as a volunteer guide at the Hiroshima Peace Museum and gives testimonies around the world onboard Peace Boat, a Japanese NGO.

The accident at the plant in Fukushima has changed his views, extending his opposition beyond nuclear weapons to nuclear energy. "We must rethink the way we consume energy and move away gradually from the atom. In the past, people were more respectful of nature. They used to thank the sun for allowing them to have a good day of work." But he is aware that changes take time. According to him, many Japanese have a hard time adjusting to their evolving lifestyle in a society obsessed with money.


Meanwhile, Shoso Hirai calls on people to remain humble: "The Fukushima incident should be read as a sign that no human technology can withstand the force of nature."



2. Requests regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Power Plant Disaster Submitted by Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo)* Sunao Tsuboi and Sumiteru Taniguchi, co-Chairs and Terumi Tanaka, Secretary General

As survivors of the atomic bombs which wreaked unprecedented devastation on humanity, we Hibakusha now expect much of the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) as they make efforts for recovery from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster and to aid those affected.

While a triple disaster on such a scale does indeed occur only rarely,from our experiences we are anxious that current efforts are focused on immediate measures, while comprehensive policies are being delayed and crucial aspects neglected.

We atomic bomb survivors continue to suffer in all parts of our bodies, hearts and lives from the effects of our experiences 66 years ago and since. We have accumulated achievements as a movement calling for assistance for Hibakusha. In this capacity, we call for necessary emergency measures to be taken for the survivors of the recent disaster.Based on our own experiences, we make the following recommendations:


We call on the Japanese Government and TEPCO to accept these with sincerity and take steps for their implementation.

1. To issue all survivors and evacuees of the earthquake, tsunami andradiation leaks with Disaster Victim Certificates. At the time of the atomic bombings, authorities including the police made exhausting efforts to issue Disaster Victim Certificates. These were extremely effective afterwards in confirming that the holder was a survivor of the bombings. As time passes and survivors become more dispersed, activities to confirm the victims become more difficult. The certificates issued in this case should include a section for information about the situation of experiencing the disaster (including people whose whereabouts is unknown) and movements after the disaster. We expect the Government to implement sufficient policies for reliefand recovery, and call for all efforts to be made for initialmeasures, with an understanding of the overall damage and situation as a prerequisite. To issue all survivors and evacuees of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks with Disaster Victim Certificates.


2. To issue all victims of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident with a health monitoring book, and the state to take responsibility to conduct regular medical checks at least annually. We Hibakusha are still suffering even after 66 years. Radiation disease caused by nuclear fallout rarely occurs within the short-term; most cases occur after a considerable amount of time. The Government and TEPCO must take responsibility for long-term policies including life-long regular health checks and medical measures. Furthermore, we call for health monitoring books to also be issued toall workers who are now risking their lives to work inside the nuclearpower plant upon TEPCO's orders. The Government and TEPCO must bear theresponsibility to take full measures for those people in the nearby areas who were issued with evacuation orders or voluntary evacuation advisories. Measures must be taken assuming the worst case scenario.


3. Until the lives and medical care of the survivors can be properly secured, the evacuation centres where survivors are sheltering must not be closed. Policies must also be made to care for childrenorphaned by the disaster. Having seen many children orphaned by the atomic bombs and the war rendered homeless, we are deeply anxious that the recent disaster could also create more orphans. We call for particular consideration to be made for policies to care for children.


4. To provide accurate information regarding the damage caused by radiation, to ease anxiety of citizens and to eradicate harmfulr umours and discrimination against survivors.


5. To make a major transformation of energy and electricity policy from reliance on nuclear energy to research, development and use of renewable energy. In the immediate future, we call for maximum measures to be made to ensure the safety of existing nuclear power plants, while protecting the three principles of the peaceful use of nuclear energy (independent, democratic, made public) and assuming the worst case scenario.


6. To learn from the severity of this nuclear power plant disaster and make progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. To cease the concept of protecting Japan through military means, and change to a policy of peace and security that gives the highest priority to diplomacy, aiming for the co-existence of humanity and based on Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.


7. TEPCO to take full responsibility for the nuclear power plant accident, and give compensation for the damage it caused. * This document was submitted to the Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).On August 10th, 2009, Ms. Kazumi Tsuchida, of Nagasaki, spoke at the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Committee’s 28th annual Commemoration, held at the World War II Memorial between the Washington and Lincoln Monuments. She spoke softly and yet with great courage, and at length, about the suffering of herself, her family, her community; and her later gaining of knowledge about the suffering of the world at large following the “suicidal act” of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

She writes that what she learned through a lifetime of personal suffering is part of a wider world of generations of people in many, many countries yearning for peace, yearning for justice, yearning for freedom from the threat of “extinction and destruction of the Earth.”

We in the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Pace Committee of the National Capital Area, along with our partners, the Washington Peace Center and DC Metro Science for the People, also feel this way about the world, and about the suffering it is still generationally going through as a result of this genocidal act by the military-industrial-nuclear complex that still creates suffering everywhere, and still threatens destruction of the earth. We are hoping to oppose all nuclear programs in all nations and help to advance this Earth of ours to the state of peace that all people justly deserve. We are hoping you can support our efforts to see and live on a nuclear-free planet that can offer everyone an equal opportunity for peace and justice throughout the world. Contact us and learn how your efforts can help make a great difference. For the past few years we have been sponsoring a youth delegation to the World Conference Against A-&-H-Bombs held in early August in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Mrs Tsuchida's Jona House speech can be found here.


Recent Books: Six short reviewsby Peter Caplan and Jane Zara

books and computers

by Peter Caplan and Jane Zara
The emphasis of most of these selections is the impact of computers and the internet on the social and political systems we have created.

  • "Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth" by Mark Hertsgaard
  • "You Are Not a Gadget", by Jaron Lanier
  • "The Information", by James Gleick
  • "World Wide Mind", by Michael Choros
  • "The Net Delusion" , by Yevgeny Morozov
  • "Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth" by Mark
  • "Culture Change. Civil Liberty, Peak Oil, and the End of Empire by Alexis Zeigler

"Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth" , Mark Hertsgaard - 339 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Do we need yet another book on climate warming? Yes. Hertsgaard warns that predictions of the severity of heat waves, droughts and sea level rise are continually being adjusted upward and that even if strong cutbacks in carbon emissions are begun today, very large further changes are already in the pipeline. He writes in the Feb 7 The Nation "Children in today's Washington, DC, are likely to witness in the course of their lifetimes sea level rise combined with stronger storm surges to regularly ring the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials with moats and submerge half of the National Mall.". Reviews can be found in the Globe, NY Times, Climateprogress, and excerpts from reviews on the website of Politics and Prose.

"You Are Not a Gadget" A Manifesto By Jaron Lanier 209 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. "...technologists [writes Znet reviewer Justin Podur] something ...powerful: they make designs which, if they are adopted, make you live the ideology so you may not even realize that you are living according to some technologist's choice. This is powerful, and a lot of the book tries to identify what some of these ideologies are, that are buried in the technology that we are using." Michio Kakutani of the NY Times says that the book is "necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace."

"The Information":A History. A Theory. A Flood. By James Gleick. Illustrated. 526 pp. Pantheon Books.
Gleick, author of the widely-acclaimed "Chaos" and "Genius" has scored again with a very timely account that traces the story from "a time when every thought and utterance vanishes as soon as it is born...[to] the invention of scripts and alphabets to the ..information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness." (from the Random House blurb).
Reviewer Gary Doctorow of boingboing enthuses about "...a section on randomness that is so transcendently exciting that I couldn't put the book down and read it while walking, so distracted I got lost twice within blocks of my office. "

"World Wide Mind" - The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet Free Press, by Michael Chorost, February 2011, 256 pp . We have Facebook and Blackberry and Twitter; why not wire everybody? Implanted computers would let people "be effortlessly aware of what their friends and colleagues are doing." It would let each person know what the others "are seeing and feeling, thus enabling much richer forms of communication." (Katherine Bouton NYTimes). Reviewer Jens Clausen in New Scientist has some doubts: ..."a thought-provoking story about how technology will connect with the brain ever more intimately, merging humanity and the internet, providing technologically shared experiences and emotions...setting aside the risks of surgery, less technophilic readers may nevertheless ask, why should we want to establish a global emotional network?"

"The Net Delusion", The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Yevgeny Morozov , 408 pp. PublicAffairs.
Is the internet a force for revolution against despotic regimes? The book was published just before the explosions began in North Africa. In a January 9 review in the Guardian, Tom Chatfield, quotes Morozov thus - "...the naive hope that instant international exposure via new media will necessarily result in a diminishing of violence in Africa and the Middle East...". A month later, viewing events in Egypt and Tunisia, Lee Siegel the NY Times would write "It's not often that a nonfiction book appears whose thesis is immediately tested by events." He pointed out that there were examples in these cases of the use of the internet by the rebels as well as by the governments. Cory Doctorow's timely critique in a major essay that appeared in the Guardian (on Jan 25, the day the crowds hit the streets of Cairo) is not so gentle; he concludes that the internet "...has provided a disproportionate benefit to dissidents and outsiders (who, by definition, have fewer resources to start with) than it has to the incumbent and powerful..."

"Culture Change: Civil Liberty, Peak Oil, and the End of Empire" by Alexis Zeigler (isbn 0-9665048-2-8)
Excerpts from chapter 2: Women's Rights: What the Heck is Going on in South Dakota? The conservatives' campaign to restrict women's access to abortion, and ultimately to birth control, has become a juggernaut in American politics. No one seems to know how, or why, but this unstoppable force seems to be moving through the legislatures in the street, slowly eroding women's access to reproductive choices... When the South Dakota state legislature banned abortion in February 2006, it was obvious enough they were trying to force the issue before the Supreme Court, freshly stocked with conservative judges as it is. The overturning of the South Dakota law by referendum in November 2006 only begs the question. Why is this debate happening in South Dakota? For so many Americans who would be hard pressed to locate the state on map, it makes no sense at all. For many Americans, it seems ludicrous in our sophisticated age that we would be sliding back into the dark ages of gender relations.

The story grows even more sinister when you realize that the "Christian" right has been engaged in a relentless campaign to restrict not only abortion, but access to contraception as well... he Center for Disease Control has been stopped from giving contraceptive advice. Numerous states have passed laws allowing pharmacists to not dispense contraceptives if they choose not to...


Prolific Tear Gas Use by Israel - citizens group demands investigation - Edited by Jane Zara
Proposition One in 2010! Campaign Promoting Disarmament Initiatives Nationwide


Many people only know the work of Proposition One from the anti-nuclear peace vigil signs in front of the White House in Lafayette Park (24/7 for 28 years). Others remember the 1993 initiative campaign that put nuclear disarmament on the ballot in DC (Initiative 37), and won! This summer, the Proposition One in 2010! Campaign Crew (Prop.1 co-founder Ellen Thomas, local activist Jay Marx, longtime vigiler Troy Kovacs, and Sophie the Wonderdog) took a 19 state tour of the American West, telling the story of DC's disarmament initiative and the White House vigil, and urging citizen action across the country. Proposition One is unique in that it combines nuclear disarmament with economic conversion--aiming to take the $50+ Billion the US spends yearly on nukes and spend it instead on peaceful purposes and human needs (like Health Care and Solar Panels, not Missiles & Bombs). The next six months are a historic opportunity for disarmament and conversion action, as President Obama's agenda coincides with a new US "Nuclear Posture" review, senate votes to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and renew the US/Russia START agreement, and - most crucially - the 5-year Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the UN in New York in early May. The world is eager to disarm, now that the US is (finally) leading that way, and Obama's Nobel Peace Prize has provided even more momentum in a peaceful direction.


The Israel Nuclear Weapons Program* - by John Steinbach

          With several hundred weapons and a robust delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s fifth-largest nuclear power, and now rivals France and China in terms of the size of its nuclear arsenal. Although it maintains an official policy of nuclear ambiguity – neither acknowledging nor denying possession of nuclear weapons – Israel is universally recognized as a major nuclear power. As former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix has noted, “The whole world is fairly sure that they have about 200 weapons, and beating around the bush I think doesn’t change very much—they are part of the nuclear landscape”[i]; and according to the authoritative Center for Defense Information, “the Israeli nuclear weapon infrastructure is probably quite large, including the full range of strategic and tactical battlefield weapons.”[ii] While much attention has recently been lavished on the potential threat posed by Iranian weapons of mass destruction, the major nuclear power in the region, Israel, has been largely ignored. Possessing a sophisticated nuclear arsenal with an integrated strategy for its use in combat, Israel’s nuclear monopoly provides the major regional impetus for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With India and Pakistan, the other nuclear-armed non-signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the Israeli nuclear program imperils future nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Israel’s nuclear arsenal reinforces the prospect that future conflicts in the region could rapidly escalate into a regional or global nuclear cataclysm. In 1963, Shimon Peres enunciated Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity or opacity, neither confirming nor denying its nuclear program; “Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons in [the Middle East]”.[iii] In 2001, Aluf Benn writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists discussed the policy of Israel’s Nuclear opacity; “although everyone knows what capabilities Israel has, it remains silent about them.”[iv] Because of its draconian military censorship, the world has derived most of its knowledge about the Israeli nuclear program from whistle-blowers, unguarded comments by Israeli political leaders, and analysis of evidence by scientists and arms control experts. Information contained in this paper was collected from the historical record and from contemporary authoritative sources and press accounts. Where possible, direct quotes from Israeli officials, commentators and nuclear experts are used to illustrate points, and primary sources are referenced. Careful analysis and cautious skepticism are prerequisites for presenting an accurate overview of Israel’s nuclear program.



*A complete version of this paper appears in, a project of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.