The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (Human Survival Project), and the Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) at Sydney University, with co-sponsorship by People for Nuclear Disarmament (PND) NSW and Aotearoa Lawyers For Peace, have successfully staged the Tribunal's hearings in the Woolley Building Common Room, University of Sydney, from Thursday-Friday July 2016. Goal I: The ultimate goal of the Project is to save humanity and all other living and prospective sentient species on the planet (together with the environments and habitats they depend upon) from nuclear holocaust and its aftermath of civilisational collapse and deadly somatic and environmental effects. A most urgent priority is to show the absurdity, the logic-free fantasy of received deterrence theory and nuclear “defence” postures.
Goal II : The proximate goal of the project is to undertake and encourage research in neglected areas of nuclear survival concern and help bring about radically new policy settings and weltanschauungen of peoples, governments and global civil society to cope with the master threat of nuclear war. Two obviously neglected areas of research here are: (a) The actual likelihood of an accidental nuclear war, on which valuable work has been done by Prof Martin Hellman at Stanford University, by Colonel Valery Yarynich, dearly lamented above, and currently by Seth Baum, Anthony Barrett and others, and (b) the actual effects of nuclear weapons use, particularly more wide-ranging and better funded research on the global climatic impact of readily imaginable nuclear wars. Thus the rationale for grotesquely large Big Power arsenals and their outrageously high alert status (the potential End of the World in three minutes of decision-making time) is that destroying an opponent’s missiles by pre-emption or even prevention can be meaningful and that deterrence can only be upheld by threat of, and willingness to carry out, nuclear annihilation, and by actually undertaking it in some circumstances.
In the age of Potential Nuclear Winter these hackneyed ideas in reality amount to saying that “deterrence stability” –for the Big Two rests–and must rest--on a threat of mutual double suicide followed by human omnicide. Thus are genocide, omnicide and ecocide tacitly legitimated in strategic discourse, but the task of deconstruction is not only moral. And the payoff for accomplishing this deconstruction and successfully advocating it, if a Human Survival Project can help bring that off, could be a new or renewed global willingness to accomplish some long-identified and painfully urgent tasks: not only negotiating and legislating radical nuclear deproliferation and disarmament (”Global Zero”), but also laws and conventions that would see nuclear weaponry and even its threat arsenal declared inhuman and illegal both nationally and internationally in our lifetimes before they become our death times. As things stand a healthy and head-clearing first step would be to prosecute one or more nuclear proliferationists before a World Citizens’ Tribunal under an extended version of the UN Genocide Convention which would make planning or arming for nuclear war a crime against humanity.
Alternatively, as Alyn Ware has pointed out, employment—or even, eventually, deployment—of nuclear weapons could be included in the crimes over which the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction.
HSP Explains Itself: The Threat That Can End All ThreatsThe splitting of the atom marked a turning point for humanity.


The HSP grew out of efforts by Steven Starr, Peter King and John Hallam in 2009-10 to lobby the ICNND (International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament), an excellent initiative of the Rudd government in Canberra, on the twin issues of nuclear hyperalert and nuclear winter—efforts which met with some success.
The HSP has had discussions with the principals and is keen to cooperate with the ICNND’s follow-up initiative to monitor key nuclear developments world-wide --the Australian National University’s Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament under the leadership of Gareth Evans and Ramesh Thakur. King and Hallam had many discussions with ICNND principals and supported the ICNND’s follow-up initiative to monitor key nuclear developments world-wide through the Australian National University’s Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, now under the leadership of Ramesh Thakur. However in 2012 they decided to set up the the Human Survival Project (HSP) which was approved by the Council of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University in June 2012 as a joint initiative of CPACS and PND (People for Nuclear Disarmament, NSW). Ever since 2006 John Hallam has represented PND and, after October 2012, also the HSP at UN First Committee disarmament sessions.
The latter effects include both catastrophic climate change (nuclear winter) and world-wide, long-lasting radiation hazards, as well as massive destruction of the atmospheric ozone layer. A transformed global mentality towards nuclear affairs must be the guiding light for advocacy and research, and a first step is to comprehend and overcome the danger of denying, ignoring, overlooking, minimizing or rationalizing our common nuclear danger. This has been largely thanks to the moral-intellectual disorder known as deterrence theory which fuels a bizarre willingness to legitimate the place of nuclear weapons in current diplomacy and strategy, especially for current well-established possessors and their all-too-deferential allies—supposed beneficiaries of “extended deterrence” and complicit in the potential multiple genocide of actual weapon use. Any initial or retaliatory attack is doubly suicidal in that it invites the destruction of one’s own society by the Other and also guarantees that destruction even in the absence of the Other’s retaliation, thanks to the global environmental, economic, social and health effects of one’s own first strike.
Biological and chemical “WMD” weapons already have this—the ultimate WMD has nothing much apart from an unratified nuclear test ban treaty and an unfulfilled NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), with its nuclear members in breach of their treaty obligation to negotiate disarmament. Happily the Republic of the Marshall Islands has come to the rescue here with it brave initiative from April 24, 2014 to “file applications in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hold the nine nuclear-armed states accountable for violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.“ Its nine cases continue with HSP support. For the first time we created the possibility of destroying not only ourselves, but the ecological fabric of planet Earth.


MAPW (the Medical Association for the Prevention of War) in Australia signalled support and Anne Noonan joined our steering committee. In April 2013 Hallam together with Peter King attended and presented on Human Survival at NGO briefings during the Geneva Prepcom (Preparatory Commission) of the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Given the current post Cold War state of widespread ignorance and complacency, research in the area must be heroic, as Vaclav Havel would have it, in tackling the nuclear lacunae in historical, sociological, ecological and politological studies as they are presently practised.
The Project was officially launched by Colonel Valery Yarynich, formerly of the Soviet and Russian Strategic Rocket Forces and a world authority on “the [outrageously high] operational status of [ex superpower] nuclear weapons” at an inaugural lecture (delivered by him) in August 2012. Valery was a strong supporter of the HSP initiative until his much-lamented death in December that year, and the HSP continues to seek and find global partners for its research and advocacy effort. Each of these froids monstres, as the French used to call them, holds about a thousand strategic nuclear missiles on seemingly permanent high alert, and each side is capable separately of terminating the planet. That is why a Big Two nuclear war involving over 95 per cent of the global nuclear arsenal is practically a guarantee of human and multi-species extinction by nuclear winter even independently of the effects of firestorm, blast, radiation and fallout on six continents. The HSP will tap into that growing discourse and will strive to restore a moral as well as a pragmatic dimension to the debate, echoing Helen Caldicott (quoted below) on the need to change the priorities and passions of our lives in the interests of a planetary future.



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