Shocking Number Of Nuclear Weapons Still Held By U.S.
Shocking Number Of Nuclear Weapons Still Held By U.S.
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Sixty-five years ago today, on July 16, 1945, the United States exploded the first nuclear bomb, at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Along with Russia, this country still holds over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Haven’t we learned anything in all these years?
Some Nuclear History
Research on nuclear fission advanced rapidly during the 1930’s, so that by the time World War II broke out, the potential for nuclear weapons was known. The leaders of the Allied Nations were concerned about Germany producing such weapons, and so began the Manhattan Project, bringing together the top minds in nuclear physics, led by Robert Oppenheimer, in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The work involved many of the world’s greatest physicists, but excluded the Soviet Union, which was not informed.
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the U.S. conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the United States dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed three days later by the detonation of “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9. These two events are the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000 – 166,000 people in Hiroshima, and 60,000 – 80,000 more in Nagasaki; about half of these deaths occurred on the first day.
But rather than such horrifying numbers acting as a deterrent to further developments, research on nuclear weapons became a desperate international competition: on August 9, 1949, the Soviet Union detonated its own first atomic device, and gradually the list of countries with the power to destroy the world many times over has escalated.
We know how dangerous this race can be: think only of the Cold War, the threats of potential nuclear disasters, or even just the number of nuclear test explosions: 2,044 worldwide. It’s estimated that the total yield of all the atmospheric tests conducted is 438 megatons, which is the equivalent of 29,200 Hiroshima-size bombs.
That’s why it’s important to act now. As it stands, the United States and Russia possess over 20,000 nuclear warheads, or 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. We need to stop this madness by acting immediately.
Recently President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which will remove significant numbers of weapons from the arsenals of both countries. This is an important first step towards a peaceful world, but in order to be implemented, the treaty needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate. Please take action by clicking here to sign the petition to Demand a World Without Nuclear Weapons, START now!
Israelis ignored SOS calls
By Robert Booth, The Guardian |
June 03, 2010
Sarah Colborneo insists that troops fired live ammunition at activists Link to this video.
The first British survivor of the assault on the Mavi Marmara Gaza aid ship to return to London has told of her terror as Israeli troops ignored SOS calls for medical aid and continued to fire live rounds at activists.
Sarah Colborne, director of campaigns and operations at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who was on board the Turkish ship when the Israeli navy mounted a raid early on Monday, gave a press conference in central London still wearing her grey prison fatigues from her spell in jail in Be’er Sheva, southern Israel. She described how she saw one man fatally wounded from a gun shot to the head and how passengers feared for their lives as Israeli troops trained laser sights on the activists through the ship’s windows.
Colborne, 43, from London, insisted the activists on the boat were on a purely humanitarian mission and the passengers were aged between one and 89. She claimed:
• Unarmed activists were shot by Israelis using live ammunition;
• The death toll of nine is likely to rise, because some activists remain missing;
• The Israelis ignored calls over the Tannoy and on written signs calling for them stop firing and to evacuate the critically injured;
• The Israeli forces handcuffed members of the activists’ medical team who were sent to help treat the injured.
Colborne said she was positioned on the deck when the assault was at its peak.
“It felt a bit surreal,” she said. “I couldn’t quite believe they were doing what they were doing.
“There was live ammunition flying around and I could hear the sounds of the bullets flying and the whirr of the helicopter blades as people were dropped down onto the roof. What I saw was guns being used by the Israelis on unarmed civilians. I saw a bullet wound in someone’s head. It was very clear it was live ammunition.”
She said the activists had set up a makeshift medical centre below deck on the previous evening, after Israeli naval vessels were detected on the ship’s radar. They also donned lifejackets and some went to sleep.
“At around 4.10am I woke up, went up to the deck so I could see outside and I saw small dinghies bristling with guns and Israeli military speeding towards the ship,” she said.
“Helicopters then appeared and gas and sound bombs were used … We then had the first passenger fatally injured. He was brought to the back of the deck below. He was shot in the head.
“I saw him. He was in a very bad way and he subsequently died. There were bullets flying all over the place. We asked for the Israelis to stop the attacks. We asked this in English: ‘We are not resisting, please help the injured.’ Instead of helping the injured the saloon remained surrounded by soldiers targeting individuals with laser sights.
“The captain announced live ammunition was being used, to stop resisting and to go downstairs. At 5.15am we started broadcasting over the Tannoy for help to evacuate the critically injured and for emergency medical assistance. We asked the Israelis to stop the attacks in English.”
She said she could “see the red of the laser sights sweeping over people’s heads”.
“The Israeli military were firing on us,” she said. “We had no arms. We made two attempts to get the message across in the written form. We wrote a sign in Hebrew saying ‘SOS! Need medical assistance. People are dying. Urgent.'”
After 7am, after the commandos had taken control of the boat, she said they handcuffed everyone using cable ties, confiscated their phones and told them to sit in lines on the deck in the sun for several hours, before being taken into the cabin after some complained of dehydration.
“It was terrifying,” she said. “If you talked they pointed a gun at you.”
She said they were then taken to the port of Ashdod where men and women were separated, before being bussed to prison at Be’er Sheva.
Asked if the trip had been worth it, she said: “We are hoping that the horrific deaths of the people will not be in vain. We are hoping this will act as a wake up call internationally …
“We can’t sit by and watch Israel violate international law every day. We want the British government to take action, ensure there is no future attacks on humanitarian aid convoys, to ensure there is a search carried out for those that remain missing, to ensure that those people who have been detained illegally will be released and most importantly to end the siege of Gaza.”