International Meeting
2003 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Gerald O'Brien
President of Honour
Peace Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Prime Minister Blair in his speech to the US Congress on 17 July claimed that history will be kind to the USA and Britain.

I think not, for civilisation has not yet paid the price for the loss of the gains from the Age of Reason or the Rule of Law.

History will assuredly see what the US and Britain have done in their pre-emptive strikes and their threats as a reversion to the Law of the Jungle, as the Apotheosis of Social Darwinism, as the rejection of 250 years of social progress for humankind.

It will see humanity as finally exposed, without the protections from the United Nations organization and its protocols and conventions, and without the legal constraints of the Rule of Law and without the moral constraints of humanity's expectations.

Unless we take charge as free people of the world, as peoples seeking to advance life on earth towards prosperity and social justice for all and towards husbandry of the inherited resources of the earth in the ownership of and for the common good, then we will see our earth exposed finally to a moribund and forlorn existence alongside the gross indecency of domination of all life by the most criminal of all weapons of mass death, nuclear, atomic weapons in the hands of men without the smallest human nor animal morality.

We must now desperately strive to preserve the UN which in the wisdom of its Charter provides the only form yet devised of collectivity for the preservation of law and peace against the rapaciousness of this new resuscitated and savagely frenzied globalised imperialism.

We must do this through the people once more taking charge of the UN out of the hands of equivocaters and temporisers, that timid secretariat that stood by, mute, while the ultimate gambit of globalised imperialism set about checkmating humanity.

So our message ought to be, to those who believe history will be kind to the warmakers, that we will never share their belief that the taking of life and the threat to life will be favourably viewed by generations to follow.

This World Conference meets in a long predicted but now clearly defined new environment which has swept aside all the pretences of fifty years of diplomacy. That this Conference will address these issues I am very confident. That the tasks ahead, of meeting the conclusions which will emanate from the Conference declaration, will be hard and demand total commitment is clear.

Eighty-two years ago the forerunner of the United Nations, the League of Nations, in the report of its first Committee concerning armaments listed six serious dangers which arose from leaving armaments uncontrolled. Most of these concern the generation of war to advance further armaments profits. One of the six major points we may wryly observe refers to the justification of war through the dissemination of false reports.

But basically it could not conceive that the arms manufacturers would one day be in charge of the government of the world's most powerful nation.

When we review where we are at today, what has happened to humanity's expectations which grew from that League of Nations and its successor United Nations, we cannot see much advance, we cannot see the wresting of power by freedom loving people from the new corporate class, and the prospect of a world in peace and justice is being lost.

The Rule of Law is now being nakedly confronted and challenged and its survival awaits the response of the world's peoples. The deceptive diversion surrounding weapons of mass destruction is simply a cloak for revived imperialism. Condemnation is never allowed to be levelled against the greatest possessor and the greatest proliferator of these weapons of terror. Discussion is, through manipulated and tame news media, confined to concerns, not about world security, but about security for imperialism and its new proprietors the globalisers.

Those in charge of the World Organisation, the UN, founded to outlaw war and aggression, have been found to have failed through their silence over an illegal war in which unnumbered lost their lives and will continue to do so and which directly infringed the Charter of the UN, and which ignored the obligations arising from international treaties and the Nuremberg Judgements.

The War Crimes Tribunal has been shown to be a totally partisan construction and other judicial bodies are claimed to have no relevance to the actions of the US President and his satellite allies.

We are plunged into a world where the arguments about protection of the state through Mutually Assured Destruction are so obviously resuscitated on a worldwide scale by any and all nations which feel menaced by the world's superpower and super-rogue state and its satellites, those which absolve themselves from compliance with international law and justice.

The continued development of low yield nuclear weapons by the USA in contravention of Article 6 of the NPT goes unpunished and unchecked as does development and production of cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells.

The acceleration of proliferation is being seen by many smaller menaced nations as the only way that they can preserve their national integrity, and the world goes back fifty years.

The cogency of the demands which have emerged over nearly fifty years from this Conference, in pursuance of Resolution No.1 of the U.N. following the crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, demanding total abolition of all nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction today have an almost never before urgency.

The realisation is before us all, and ought to be before all governments, following what the New Zealand Government said at the Prepcom meeting in Geneva, that the current emphasis on horizontal proliferation is distracting from the fundamental issue of vertical proliferation.

The continual reference to existence in smaller nations of WMD's is a deliberate distraction to divert attention away from the ominous and very real danger to human existence from the vertical proliferation being undertaken, untrammelled, by the USA, such weaponry being in the hands of people referred to by New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk at the UN in 1973 as "those who have gained power but who are without responsibility" except, I add, to their shareholders.

The United States has the largest arsenal of Nuclear Weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the world and is continually developing them, yet its President regards possession of them or weapons programmes as criminals, sufficient enough to make war on their possessors.

It has said that it is willing to use them itself in first strike. It has conducted first strike. It is also the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons against a civilian population and is blatantly aggressive in its continual threat to use them in service of US interests, that is, business interests, for there are few others.

That country the USA has been at war for every year of the past fifty. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist as Tom Friedman, author of "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" has written. He wrote that McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is the US Army, Air Force and Navy and the Marine Corps. Behind them lies the sinister evil of nuclear weapons.

The military and the police remain as always the enforcement agents for the ruling corporate class. What today is called the "spin" - what Dr. Goebelle called propaganda - is created by so-called intelligence agencies and accepted without criticism, maybe even believed because it serves the common interest of the corporate class, and is used to wage war.

This is surely an unadulterated ideology of government by all for the few, for the corporate few, the terms by which a US Army Document issued in 1944 called fascism.

The Indian writer Arundhati Roy wrote a few months ago:

"We have a clear view now of America's other weapon - the free market - bearing down on the developing world with a clenched unsmiling face. The Task That Never Ends is America's perfect war, the perfect vehicle for the endless expansion of American imperialism."

Fortunately and hopefully we have the voice of American sanity and honour which one day, as it did in the Vietnam adventure, will bring about a halt to what is happening. To them we must extend our solidarity in their struggle, for never before has a national struggle for the soul of a people so clearly demonstrated the internationalism of that struggle to preserve civilisation.

Our task is to aid the creation of free peace loving non-nuclear governments everywhere and to sweep away this strutting evil that is threatening to destroy all social justice and peace and advances of humanity.

The New Zealand government continues to take initiatives supported by our NGO's. Our Peace Council President, Des Brough, plays a leading role as Chairperson of the National Consultative Committee on Disarmament, which is the principal disarmament NGO.

Disarmament Minister Marion Hobbs is seeking to revivify the New Agenda Group and to that end has pressed for the UN Disarmament office holders and NGO's to meet to act against present vertical proliferation. This meeting will take place. She is also addressing the Nuclear Free Southern Hemisphere issue with South Africa and sees the concept as needing unified action which will set aside restraints imposed by a manipulated Law of the Sea. If she can achieve this it will be a major advance. Already the Nuclear Weapons Free Zones will complement the proposed Southern Hemisphere Zone, thanks to Cuba's accession to the Tlatelolco Treaty which completes the Latin America and Caribbean free zones, and ratification is being pressed for the Rarotonga, Bangkok and Pelindaba Treaties as a matter of great importance in this process.

New Zealand with the support of its NGO's seeks a moratorium on the use of Depleted Uranium shells and cluster bombs as weapons of indiscriminate effect, and wants attention to become serious over small arms control. The Minister will on behalf of government attend our Hiroshima Day Observances in Wellington at the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Flame donated by Gensuikyo and for which we are ever grateful.

The New Zealand government through Minister Hobbs is continuing to require acknowledgement of the legally binding security assurances subscribed to by the Nuclear Weapons States in the NPT and intends presenting a Draft Instrument on the Prohibition of the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons Against Non-NWS Parties to the NPT. These steps and some number of others will be advanced in full cognisance of the US withdrawal from other of that state's international commitments.

The New Zealand government has noted, as we do in this great Conference, that the world's peoples are entitled to take as binding statements made by the UN Permanent Members on Weapons of Mass Destruction including of course Nuclear Weapons, and about their legitimacy, possession and possible use, as binding affirmations to delegitimise these weapons and to speed total abolition.

The Nuclear Weapons States cannot any longer be allowed double standards, duplicity and deceit.

Yet as we observe these diplomatic approaches we must also view closely the policing agency for world peace, the United Nations and what is happening to it, and we must do this before decline is allowed to finally destroy humanity's only hope.

Instead of allowing peoples to be deluded into illicitly chasing Korea or Iran or Syria, or Libya or whomsoever, we should concentrate all of our total efforts into disarming the nuclear states who tell us that war is the way to disarm nations. We will never agree to that but we can prosecute sanctions on a worldwide scale and use whatever legal mechanisms are available, and even though they may be directly ignored by the nuclearists we can make life difficult if they can be hit in their profits.

There would seem to be no alternative. The last fifty years of reliance on diplomacy have produced nothing but the derision of the nuclearists. The New Zealand government, for eighteen years now nuclear free, is exasperated as I have mentioned in quoting its Minister of Disarmament at the Geneva NPT Prepcom.

In New Zealand we have a coming together of the NGO's with the elected government in a universal approach supported by over 95 % of the population. If this is achievable in a nation of 4 millions then it should be possible in larger nations where there can be raised a greater power of numbers needed to disarm, those in power who deny peace.

We have to find these paths urgently. Indignation and protest is not enough to halt this juggernaut of aggression which preaches and carries out first strike against anyone defined as an enemy of US business.

The wars against Yugoslavia, against Afghanistan and now against Iraq were the fruition of the neo-imperialism of globalisation. Like the aggressions of the 1930's we have seen duplicates of the invasion by programme of the Rhineland, of Austria, of Czechoslovakia, and we fear lest the planned aggression against the next nation, if it be Korea as Prime Minister Blair stated, might equate with Poland which launched world conflagration.

The crudity of the tactics leading to the three recent wars, the lying, the deceptions, the propaganda, even the admission that neither parliaments nor governments actually found any reason for war but that the secret police did all that, must lead us to shiver at the prospect for humanity.

Wars are never fought from altruism as is now today's propaganda, but always for business, for benefit to capital, and today by the recklessness of unrestrained globalised capital.

President Bush, the man who has just conducted an illegal war without condemnation from the governments of the world or the United Nations and without accountability to the International War Crimes Tribunal for having conspired to wage aggressive war, who has absolved the USA from any continuing commitment to respect its signature to the United Nations Charter and to important agreements that have been laboriously constructed over the last fifty years to avoid repetition of the 1930's crimes, asks the world to exonerate him and his satellites because his war was waged to strip away "the most lethal weapons ever devised" - "tools of mass murder".

The G8 imperial grouping of governments in its communique from its Evian meeting, affirms that "the permanent threat to international security is the spread of nuclear weapons." We say, no, not the spread, but the existence, is the threat. Democracy around our world, the people, not the governments, is increasingly responding to the sordid, grubby litany of lies, duplicities and deceits that have resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent people for the financial advantage of an ever narrowing clique of plutocrats who, by corruption, are permitted to evade arraignment before any international war crimes judicial tribunal, even though the principle charge in the Nuremberg judgements was conspiracy to wage aggressive war. In the light of recent events court proceedings are hardly necessary, the case is so overwhelmingly obvious.

That democracy is starting to assert itself and corrupt leaders are being questioned increasingly may help bring the realisation that weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to world peace and survival of life on earth and that the possessors of the great mass of these obscene objects are the states that maintain and expand their ownership of this permanent threat to international security.

Now that possession of weapons of mass destruction has been used as the justification for waging war against their alleged possessors, then world opinion must be organised to demand that all states be required to abolish these weapons either through international treaty or by international imposition of sanctions against the nuclear weapon states.

Humanity can no longer be asked to live with "the most lethal weapons ever devised - tools of mass murder."

It is our bounden duty to rid our world of nuclear weapons. May I restate that every injury, every illness, every crippling disease, every hell on earth and every single death attributable to nuclear weapons has been caused by the existing nuclear weapons states and by those states alone-by none other. May I restate that no country, no state, no political system, is entitled to employ mass murder in order to maintain itself. This is what I believe. We are with you in Japan. We salute your Constitution and honour those who honour it. And we once more pledge our commitment to the demands of humanity for justice for the hibakusha.

No more Hiroshimas-No more Nagasakis.

Domo arigato gozaimashita. Gambarimasho.