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Hiroshima Day commemoration in Carshalton

On 6th August 2017 the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945 was marked at Carshalton Ponds.

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Supporters and friends of Sutton for Peace & Justice along with local residents and ward councillor Chris Williams gathered at the ponds at dusk.

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Doris Richards (right) led a short ceremony, with readings by Junko Osanai, Naomi Aruliah and Mike McLoughlin, which expressed deep sorrow for the events of the 6th August, 1945, when the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and, three days later, on Nagasaki, and honoured the victims.

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Hiroshima17 reading2.jpgThose present urged everyone to do all they can to ensure that such barbarity is never repeated and nuclear weapons are not used again, and called on the UK government to scrap the Trident missile system.

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Participants then floated flower petals on the ponds before observing a minute’s silence.

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Hiroshima Day

On August 6, Sutton for Peace and Justice was joined by supporters and local residents at Carshalton Ponds to mark Hiroshima Day.

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The short commemoration ceremony was led by Doris Richards (right), with readings by Junko Osanai, Naomi Aruliah and Mike McLoughlin.

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Participants floated flower petals on the ponds before observing a minute’s silence.

Hiroshima Day – Carshalton – 6 August

Hiroshima Day commemoration event in Carshalton

At dusk on 6th August 2017 supporters and friends of Sutton for Peace & Justice will remember the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs at Carshalton Ponds, Carshalton Surrey.

Please join us as we remember with deep sorrow the 6th August, 1945, when the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and, three days later, on Nagasaki.

We honour the victims. And we reaffirm that we must do all we can to ensure that such barbarity is never repeated and nuclear weapons are not used again.

The commemoration will take place at 8.00pm on Sunday 6 August, with readings and floating petals on the pond.

Please gather at 7.45 at the War Memorial, Carshalton Ponds, Honeywood Walk, Carshalton, SM5 2QJ.

(Short walk from Carshalton Station and Carshalton High Street; free parking in High Street car park from 6.30.)



The ancestry of the nuclear bomb

Guest post by Noel Hamel of Kingston Peace Council / CND.

A virtually unknown warmonger’s ideas led to the development of nuclear weapons. After the First World War it was realised trench warfare simply led to carnage and stalemate. Italian General Giulio Douhet, 1869–1930, argued for an airforce to bomb the enemy and bypass troops on the ground. His ideas for aerial warfare clashed with the military establishment and he was sacked.

In 1921 Giulio Douhet published “The Command of the Air” (still available on Amazon) insisting that future wars would be won by air supremacy. He believed in total war, not simply bombing the military, industry and communication but also cities and civilians. His plan was to use explosives, incendiaries and gas to spread terror and despair till civilians rose up and demanded surrender. In the USA, Germany and the UK there were other less extreme advocates of aerial warfare. In 1932 proposals for an international ban on bombing withered for lack of interest. After World War 2, though targeting civilians is clearly a war crime, no one was tried for bombing raids since the victors were the worst offenders.

Douhet’s theory was tested in places like Guernica, Coventry, London Docks, Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo. The main effect was to harden civilian resolve. In Japan Hiroshima and Nagasaki were discounted as just another two cities destroyed. Hence a thoroughly discredited theory?

Today nuclear bombing would certainly destroy all side’s citizens, and innocent citizens not involved, with blast, radiation poisoning and atmospheric damage. Is Douhet’s theory of air supremacy due a rethink after 70 years? Trident submarines have 40 warheads, each 8 X the Hiroshima bomb.

S4P&J at the Environmental Fair

Sutton for Peace and Justice will once again be at the Environmental Fair in Carshalton Park on Bank Holiday Monday, 31 August 2015.

We will be at pitch K05&K06.

This year we will be hosting a series of informal and open discussions at our stall on a range of peace and justice issues, that we have billed as ‘The Colloquium in Carshalton Park’. The sessions are planned to be:

11.15    What is wrong with TTIP and ISDS
12.00    Trident – renew or scrap? (in association with Kingston Peace Council)
12.45    House demolitions in Palestine
13.30    The challenge of Climate Change
14.15    Trident – renew or scrap? (in association with Kingston Peace Council)
15.00    What is wrong with TTIP and ISDS
15.45    House demolitions in Palestine
Please come along and hear about these important issues – find out more, have your say and join the debate.

Colloquium – an informal gathering for the exchange of views, from the latin ‘to talk together’;  a seminar usually led by a different academic or expert speaker at each meeting.

We will also have Zaytoun fair trade goods from Palestine for sale.

The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

By Mike McLoughlin

At 2:45 a.m. on Monday, August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, took off from a North Pacific island 1,500 miles south of Japan.

A twelve-man crew was on board to make sure this secret mission went smoothly. Just before take-off, the plane’s nickname was painted on its side. The pilot, nicknamed the B-29 the “Enola Gay” after his mother.

The chief of the Ordnance Division in the “Manhattan Project” was the Enola Gay’s weaponeer. Since he had been instrumental in the development of the bomb, he was now responsible for arming it while in flight. About fifteen minutes into the flight he began to arm the atomic bomb; taking him another fifteen minutes. Parsons thought while arming the bomb nicknamed “Little Boy”: “I knew the Japs were in for it, but I felt no particular emotion about it.”

“Little Boy”, using radioactive uranium-235, was a product of $2 billion of research, had never been tested, nor been dropped from a plane. Some politicians pushed for not warning Japan of the bombing in order to save face in case the bomb malfunctioned.

Four cities were chosen as possible targets: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nagasaki, and Niigata. The cities were chosen because they had been relatively untouched during the war. The Target Committee wanted the first bomb to be “sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when publicity on it was released.”

On August 6, 1945, the first choice target, Hiroshima, had clear weather. At 8:15 a.m. (local time), the Enola Gay’s door sprang open and “Little Boy” Was dropped. The bomb exploded 1,900 feet above the city

The tail-gunner, described what he saw: “The mushroom cloud itself was a spectacular sight, a bubbling mass of purple-gray smoke and you could see it had a red core in it and everything was burning inside. . . . It looked like lava or molasses covering a whole city. . .

The co-pilot, said, “Where we had seen a clear city two minutes before, we could no longer see the city. We could see smoke and fires creeping up the sides of the mountains.” Two-thirds of Hiroshima was destroyed. Within three miles of the explosion, 60,000 of the 90,000 buildings were demolished.

Clay roof tiles melted together. Shadows had imprinted on buildings and other hard surfaces. Metal and stone had melted.

The aim of this raid had not been a military installation but rather an entire city. The atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima killed civilians, women, men and children. Hiroshima’s population has been estimated at 350,000; approximately 70,000 died immediately from the explosion and another 70,000 died from radiation within five years.

A survivor described the damage to people:

The appearance of people was . . . well, they all had skin blackened by burns. . . . They had no hair because their hair was burned, and at a glance you couldn’t tell whether you were looking at them from in front or in back. . . . They held their arms bent [forward] like this . . . and their skin – not only on their hands, but on their faces and bodies too – hung down. . . . If there had been only one or two such people . . . perhaps I would not have had such a strong impression. But wherever I walked I met these people. . . . Many of them died along the road – I can still picture them in my mind — like walking ghosts.

Trident should be allowed to expire

Britain still has the world’s fourth largest military budget, spending about £34bn per annum – about 2.5% of GDP – on defence. In January, the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, published figures that show the Government is committed to expenditure of £159bn on new weapons systems, and by far the largest part of the bill is £35.8bn, earmarked for the replacement of the Vanguard submarines to carry Trident nuclear weapons.

The Government tells us the country does not have the money to maintain much-needed public services. At the same time it plans to spend 20 to 30 billion pounds building 4 vast Vanguard submarines, that will then cost us another £3 billion per year for say 30 years to keep patrolling the oceans waggling our Trident nuclear bomb at… well, at who actually? And then we will have to spend several billion more to decommission them.

Yet our national security strategy has downgraded the nuclear threat to “secondary”, and we have had no identified nuclear adversary since the end of the cold war. When the primary threat to our national security is the likes of the London tube bombers and international attacks on IT and the internet, how exactly is Trident supposed to deter our enemies?

Lord King, former Conservative defence secretary, has said having a nuclear deterrent no longer guarantees the UK a place at the “top table” of nations, and that he was no longer convinced by the argument that a nuclear deterrent gave the UK more diplomatic and military clout.

Danny Alexander MP, Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that a replacement for Trident is ‘not financially realistic’, and that a like-for-like replacement was not needed.

Nick Harvey, Armed Forces Minister until September 2012, said that keeping a constant sea-bound nuclear deterrent is “complete insanity” that costs too much and is militarily illogical. He added that it would be cheaper for the government to give every Trident worker £2m “so they could go an live in the Bahamas”.

Trident is too expensive, militarily ineffective and its renewal would go against Britain’s claims to be against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Those opposing renewal of Trident include an increasing number of Britain’s most senior military figures

It would be far better just to let the existing Trident fleet expire. This way Britain could disarm gradually, and set an example to the rest of the world and outing us in a position to vigorously promote international nuclear disarmament.