News Release

“Nuclear Security Summit” — Hypocrisy, Profiteering, Spectacle


Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 3.14.33 PMThe White House claims of the Nuclear Security Summit taking place in Washington, D.C. this week: “The Obama administration’s focus on nuclear security is part of a comprehensive nuclear policy presented by the President in Prague in 2009. In that speech, President Obama described a four-pronged agenda to pursue a world without nuclear weapons. He laid out new U.S. policies and initiatives towards nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, and nuclear energy.” See for upcoming events.

Sr. MEGAN RICE, [in D.C.] mrice12 at
Rice, a nun, is one of the Transform Now Plowshares, a group of three activists who were convicted of allegedly intending to harm national security by entering into the Y-12 National Security Complex, a nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The activists spent two years in prison before their sentences were finally overturned last year. Their actions — which included pouring blood and painting “The Fruit of Justice is Peace” — sparked Congressional hearings on the vulnerability of major nuclear facilities. See Washington Post coverage of their trial, including a video interview of Sister Rice. Also: “The Prophets of Oak Ridge,” and “3 Peace Activists Sentenced for Breaking into Nuclear Site.”

She said today: “The reality is that the rewards of the nuclear weapons industrial complex are so vast, unaccountable and surely at this stage, ‘a dark hole’ — how can anyone account for close to $10 trillion dollars in 70 years, let alone the next three decades for $1 trillion plus more? The ultimate in profiteering.” See: “The Trillion Dollar Question the Media Have Neglected to Ask Presidential Candidates” about the non-discussion on the $1 trillion allocated toward “modernizing” U.S. nuclear weapons.

GREG MELLO, gmello at, @TrishABQ
Mello is executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group and is a leading expert on nuclear weapons.

He said today: “The Nuclear Security Summits are a spectacle designed to enhance the status and power of the United States, using the nuclear security issue as a foil. ‘Nuclear security,’ as a meme, has become much more, and also much less, than it seems. It is much more, because anti-terrorist, nonproliferation agenda has grown to encompass the entire agenda, displacing nuclear disarmament entirely, even as hypocrisy. It is much less than it seems because nuclear disarmament is off the table as a topic for the ‘serious’ people.”

While a letter “35 Nobel Laureates in the Sciences Call on World Leaders to Take Action on Nuclear Terrorism” [PDF] has been made public, Mello counters: “They are only explicitly concerned with SOME nuclear terrorism, that which is still potential, not actual. They are worried about nuclear explosives, and radiation dispersal devices, which do not now exist. They do not mention the thousands of nuclear weapons which DO exist, and which ARE being used in postures of threat.”

Background: Mello, in his detailed review of the latest U.S. Nuclear Posture Review in 2010, noted: “Both the text of the NPR and Secretary [Robert] Gate’s oral remarks were careful to leave open the possibility of nuclear use (either reprisal or preemptive first strike, as present doctrine allows) in the event of planned or actual biological attacks that exceed some unspecified threat or danger threshold.” That is, the U.S. government continues to reserve the right to be the first to use nuclear weapons.

The U.S. obligation to disarm under the NPT has been acknowledged by former Secretary of Defense McNamara (the U.S. signed the treaty during the Johnson administration, in which McNamara served). In 2005, he told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “The NPT was signed by a president. It was submitted to the Senate; it was ratified by the Senate. It is today the law of the land. The U.S. government is not adhering to Article VI of the NPT and we show no signs of planning to adhere to its requirements to move forward with the elimination — not reduction, but elimination — of nuclear weapons. That was the agreement, these other countries would not develop nuclear weapons and the nuclear powers would move to elimination. We are violating that.” In 2009, shortly before his death, McNamara wrote the piece “Apocalypse Soon.”