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City of Cambridge refuses to "Bank on the Bomb"

Posted by Martin Fleck on April 7, 2016

Mayor Denise Simmons of Cambridge, Massachusetts announced that by unanimous City Council vote on March 21, Cambridge will divest its $1 billion pension fund from "any entities that are involved in or support the production or upgrading of nuclear weapons systems." Mayor Simmons announced divestment at an April 2 MIT symposium, Reducing the Dangers of Nuclear War, organized by The Future of Life Institute, where PSR Board Member and IPPNW Co-president Ira Helfand, MD delivered a plenary talk on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. "Not in our name!", said Mayor Simmons, provoking a standing ovation. "It's my hope that this will inspire other municipalities, companies and individuals to look at their investments and make similar moves."

The Cambridge divestment is part of an international program called "Don't Bank on the Bomb" which is supported by PSR, IPPNW, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and many other disarmament groups. Massachusetts Peace Action spearheaded the Cambridge divestment campaign. MIT professor Stephen Hawking said: "If you want to slow the nuclear arms race, then put your money where your mouth is and don't bank on the bomb " According to Susi Snyder, who leads the Don't Bank on the Bomb campaign, "in Europe, over 50 large institutions have already limited their nuclear weapon investments, but this is our first big success in America."

Do you know of a municipality, university, pension fund, or hedge fund that should divest? Then here are some useful tools:

Don't Bank on the Bomb Website

MIT physicist Max Tegmark has created a handy app for figuring out how to divest.

Tegmark is also featured in a snappy 3 minute, 14 second video arguing for divestment, titled Why You Should Care About Nukes.

To investigate why and how nuclear weapons contractors keep a stranglehold on the congressional budget process, read PSR's report: The Persuasive Power of the Nuclear Weapons Industry: Following the Money Trail by Kathryn Deaton

For an example of divestment legislation, check out the City of Cambridge Policy Order

Comments

Daniel Kerlinsky MD said ..

The nuclear weapons refurbishment and modernization program is as vulnerable to closure as are the larger submarine, bomber, ICBM and cruise missile proposals. Join me following every nuclear weapon story on the Washington Post with comments and proposed Op-eds. Here's my latest proposed Op-ed for President Obama's Hiroshima Day trip to Japan: The Editorial Board is right about President Obama’s opportunity to lead in Hiroshima this year (Washington Post April 15, 2016). But he can do more than reflect on history. President Obama can declare a Moratorium on nuclear weapons production, refurbishment, modernization, upgrades and tritium gas replacement. He can start a Tritium Clock Countdown towards the end of modern, missile-borne, miniaturized, MIRV'ed, hollow plutonium pit, tritium-boosted warhead destructive power. Twenty years ago President Clinton faced a choice. Gorbachev had stopped Soviet Testing. President GHW Bush accepted the moratorium. Now DOE Secretary Hazel O’Leary challenged the Clinton Cabinet with a daring proposal – a zero-yield comprehensive test ban treaty. No one else was in favor of closing the Nevada Test Site and forbidding even small, mini-nuke explosions, ones that could be secretly scaled up. C. Paul Robinson at Sandia and George Miller at Livermore were sure we would have another threshold test ban treaty. But Hazel O’Leary succeeded. US and Russian nuclear weapons development programs – and test explosions to prove their yield ceased. As a citizen activist I was inside the fortress due to President Clinton’s community stakeholder program. As a child psychiatrist from Physicians for Social Responsibility I was meeting and interviewing weapons scientists as part of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Alternative Futures for the National Labs. I know what a pivotal moment feels like in group therapy. President Obama has a pivotal moment coming. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is unique in his three decades of nuclear weapons expertise. Energy Secretary Moniz has gained the public trust for his work with Iran and can explain the science. Start a Tritium Clock Countdown. Stop tritium replacement. Set Carter and Moniz to give high priority to an experienced nuclear weapons physics and engineering team to produce a timetable for the expected decrease in warhead yield for each weapon in the enduring stockpile. Task liaison teams to work with allies France and Great Britain in preparing comparable timetables. And select envoys to approach Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea for their estimates and participation in the Moratorium. There is no mathematical model for reducing nuclear arsenals below 1000 weapons that does not have infinite stops along the way to recalculate potential nuclear war-fighting options. Consider Zeno's paradox of the tortoise and the hare. But the Tritium Clock Countdown runs with a law of physics. The half-life of 12.32 years does not change for any location, amount of tritium, or number of warheads. Tritium half-life applies to all. The end of the Nuclear Weapons Danger to the world can come more quickly than anticipated. A Moratorium on all nuclear weapons production costs the United States nothing. There are no political leaders or NNSA nuclear laboratory weapons leaders who can advocate effectively against a Presidential moratorium. The refurbishment and modernization program is moving slowly and lacks expertise. Changes made in the vicinity of the nuclear weapon primary can lead to unpredicted changes in the timing and geometry of the plasma flow towards the secondary, as Presidential adviser Herb York repeatedly noted in our SEAB Task Force discussion, recommending no changes be made to the warheads in the enduring stockpile. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has held for twenty years. Let's honor that with the next logical step: Stop Production of Nuclear Weapons. Start the Tritium Clock Countdown. Assemble a treaty-negotiating conference and ride this through your retirement, Mr. President, to another Nobel Prize. - Daniel Kerlinsky MD - Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force member 1994-1995

April 16, 2016

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