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A Nobel Prize for Chernobyl?

by ALICE SLATER

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee has given peace a black eye by awarding its annual honor to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director, Mohammed El Baradei, ironically, for working to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The IAEA has been the world’s most effective agent for increasing the spread of nuclear weapons around the planet with its industry-dominated promotion of so-called “peaceful” nuclear technology.

The nuclear crisis we face today is a direct result of the export of peaceful nuclear technology to countries such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Indeed, every nuclear reactor enables a country to develop its own nuclear weapons, as we have seen in the case of India, Pakistan, and Israel, who never joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty and now have nuclear arsenals as a result of “peaceful” nuclear technology. Under the guise of “peace”, other countries, such as South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Libya were also well on their way to developing nuclear bombs, which they later abandoned.

The international community has already acknowledged that peaceful nuclear technology is a gateway to nuclear weapons proliferation when it required the signatures of 44 “nuclear-capable” nations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before it could take effect. These are the 44 countries in possession of the 440 nuclear reactors around the world, spewing out their toxic radioactive waste which can be turned into bombs. The signers of the CTB were well aware that by having a nuclear reactor, a nation had been given the keys to a bomb factory and would need to be included in any effort to ban nuclear tests, regardless of whether they proclaimed any intention to develop weapons.

The IAEA has been instrumental in covering up the disastrous health effects of the Chernobyl tragedy, understating the number of deaths by attributing only 50 deaths directly to the accident. This was a whitewash of health studies performed by Russia and the Ukraine which estimated thousands of deaths and thousands who suffered thyroid cancer and leukemia as a result of the accident. This cover-up was no doubt due to the collusive agreement between the IAEA and the World Health Organization, which provides that if either of the organizations initiates any program or activity in which the other has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult with the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement. Thus our scientists and researchers at the WHO are required to have their work vetted by the industry’s champion for “peaceful” nuclear technology, the IAEA. For example, WHO abandoned its original 1961 agenda for research on the basic human health implications of food irradiation. It ceded to the IAEA, whose mission is preserving the nuclear industry not the health of people, the ultimate power of researching the safety of irradiated foods. The IAEA is leading a global campaign to further the legalization, commercialization and consumer acceptance of irradiated foods. “We must confer with experts in the various fields of advertising and psychology to put the public at ease,” one IAEA report states, also recommending that the process “should not be required on the label.

It is time for the IAEA to give up its dual mission in nuclear technology. While the Agency may play a useful role in inspecting and verifying compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements, it cannot continue to act with a manifest conflict of interest as a shill for the nuclear industry. Instead, the global community should establish an International Sustainable Energy Agency and give our peace prize to that more laudable effort. We need to give peace a chance.

ALICE SLATER is a founder of Abolition 2000, a global network working for a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons and is the Co-Convenor of the Abolition 2000 Working Group for Sustainable Energy. She also serves as President of the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE), a nonprofit organization working to form links between research, policy, and grassroots communities in order to promote solutions to preserve the future of the planet and protect the quality of the environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

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Alice Slater is a founder of Abolition 2000, which works for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. 

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