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Tell Me About the New START Treaty!

What is the New START treaty?

The New START treaty is a treaty that will, if ratified, "replace" the START treaty that was signed in 1991 and expired in 2009. Secretary Clinton stated today that the three goals of the START treaty are to promote stability, transparency and predictability between the U.S. and Russia on the topic of nuclear arms control.

Will the New START treaty cut the total number of nuclear weapons held by both the United States and Russia?

Yes. START will reduce the total number of nuclear weapons held both the United States and Russia. Essentially, START will place limits on the number of nuclear warheads and deployed nuclear delivery vehicles for both the United States and Russia. Each country will be permitted to have a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads and a maximum of 700 deployed nuclear delivery vehicles.

Will the New START treaty adversely affect our missile defense or compromise United States national security?

No. There is nothing in the treaty that will limit the United States ability to continue to cultivate the U.S. missile defense program. Additionally, the New START treaty will not compromise the United States ability to protect itself and does include a provision for a strong verification regime.

Will the New START treaty have any effect on Iran and North Korea?

Will Judge Garzon Join the ICC?

On May 12, 2010 the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court confirmed that that it has requested Judge Baltasar Garzon of Spain to assist the office in improving its investigation methods. Judge Garzon is a slightly controversial figure. Judge Garzon, in 2008, investigated the execution or disappearance of more than 100,000 Spanish civilians. These executions and disappearances are a reflection of the crimes committed during Spain's 1936-39 Civil War and under General Francisco Franco's rule. In 1977 the Spanish Parliament granted amnesty over these crimes in an effort to move the county towards reconciliation. But as a result of Judge Garzon investigating these crimes which are covered by an amnesty he has been charged with knowingly going beyond the limits of his jurisdiction.

Despite Judge Garzon's history, the Office of the Prosecutor has chosen to focus on the more positive aspects of Judge Garzon's career. Judge Garzon is respected for targeting international figures which include the late Chilean military ruler Augusto Pinochet and al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, among others.

Additionally, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo stated "Judge Garzon's extensive experience in investigating massive crimes committed by States and non state organizations will be a great contribution to my office."

Will Judge Garzon join Prosector Moreno-Ocampo at the ICC? The answer is still up in the air. Judge Garzon asked Spain's Judicial Oversight Board if he could take a seven month leave of absence to join the ICC, but Spain's Judicial Oversight Board has yet to make a decision to either grant or deny Judge Garzon's request.

Q&A: The American Power Act

Is the idea of 'achieving energy security' an attainable reality or will it remain a mere proposal?

For those who deeply believe in the importance of energy security and want to see the United States take on a leadership role in the field of renewable energy, the American Power Act, the bill introduced yesterday, might represent a critical step towards making energy security a big priority and as leaders in this emerging field. The American Power Act addresses major topics which include: the expansion of the nuclear power industry, carbon capture and sequestration, and revenue sharing for states that want to conduct more offshore oil and gas production. The bill articulates the goals of reducing carbon emission by 17% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Furthermore, the bill offers multiple tax credits as incentives to encourage truck and heavy-duty fleets to use natural gas in addition to encouraging manufacturers of vehicles to create cleaner vehicles and adopt more energy efficient production methods.

What effect will the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have on the American Power Act?

Due to what has happened in the Gulf, the American Power Act permits coastal governments to veto exploratory oil drilling up to 75 miles from their shores.

Will it encourage the Senate to pass the energy bill that was unveiled today by Senators Kerry and Lieberman?

President Obama responded to this question by essentially saying that the recent event in the Gulf highlights why this bill must be passed by the Senate and added to our portfolio of energy legislation which includes the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the House.

The Court of Last Resort

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is responsible for prosecuting individuals who have been charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes. Currently the crime of aggression is included in the Rome Statute of the ICC. However the Court can only prosecute aggression if the ICC's governing body, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), amends the Statute to define the crime and sets out the conditions for the Court's exercise of jurisdiction.

One year ago, the ICC issued a global arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir as a result of charges brought against him for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bashir's warrant has also caused diplomats to refuse to attend meeting if he is there and to get up from lunch tables upon his arrival; in essence many of our nations leaders avoid him at all costs. The most recent manifestation of leaders wanting to avoid Bashir has come from Paris who made it very clear that Mr. Bashir would be on the guest list for the upcoming African-French summit meeting in Nice, France. Each and every time a President or Prime Minister refuses to be in the company of Bashir, that President or Prime Minister is making a profound statement, a statement which says "we will not tolerate war crimes or crimes against humanity." For more information, CLICK HERE.

Mother's Day: A Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament?

As hopefully everyone remembered, Sunday was Mother's Day!

This weekend, GlobalSolutions.org held its May Partners Call, a nationwide conference call with CGS members and expert speakers on nuclear security issues. This call, we focused on the New START Treaty with Russia that will cut back strategic nuclear weapons in each country by almost one-third. During the call, we learned quite a bit about the prospects of the New START treaty being ratified by the Senate as well as the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference that is going on right now. 

You might wonder why I'm talking about nuclear weapons in reference to Mother's Day. As I learned this weekend from one of our members in Cincinnati, Fr. Ben Urmston, Mother's Day was originally founded as a Women's Day for peace and disarmament in 1870. Julia Ward Howe is famously quoted as saying "From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!" Of course these women weren't talking about nuclear disarmament, but the quote is certainly prophetic.

In memory of the women that pioneered Mother's Day in the name of disarmament, let's continue to celebrate our mothers and grandmothers today.

Mass Atrocities Response Operations (MARO) Project Release Military Planning Handbook

Though the government supports preventive measures for stopping genocide from ever starting and organizations like GlobalSolutions.org advocate for genocide prevention, what can we do when prevention fails? This week, an important military planning handbook was released to guide the government's actions for Mass Atrocity Response Operations, otherwise known as MARO.

The book is a joint product of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard and the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, making the project a unique cooperation between academia and the military. MARO can become necessary when there is widespread and systematic killing of civilians, such as in the case of ongoing genocide. If the U.S. government makes the decision to intervene militarily in a situation in order to stop the killing and end the violence against civilians, this handbook gives options and scenarios for how that type of operation might be executed.

The Sixty-Fifth Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day: A Reason to Rejoice

"We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing..." These words were spoken by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on May 8th, 1945, immediately after he announced the German surrender that marked the end of the Second World War in Europe.  Sixty-five years later, the legacy of World War Two still exerts a powerful impact, particularly on issues such as genocide prevention and the International Criminal Court (ICC) which are fundamental to the mission of GlobalSolutions.org.

Although the period of postwar rejoicing was to be "brief" because the war with Japan was not yet over (it would continue until August of that year), the British people and many others throughout Europe had good reason to rejoice on V-E Day.  The Second World War had been a human catastrophe unequalled in all of history.  However, despite the delirium of the crowds in London and other cities as they celebrated the end of the war, the reality was that much of the continent lay in ruins after the devastating six-year conflict.  Cities such as London and Berlin had suffered heavy bombing damage with many civilian casualties; others such as Warsaw were little more than smoking rubble.  In the former Soviet Union alone, a staggering total of approximately twenty-five million people had been killed during the war.  And the world's attention was brought as never before to the horrendous problem of genocide in the aftermath of the murders of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust at the hands of Nazi Germany.

Celebrate Mother's Day and Support Women Around the World

Here Don Kraus, CEO, and Abby Long, Programs Coordinator, talk about why CEDAW is so important:

We know that women and girls around the world face violence and discrimination daily. We also know that CEDAW, the Women's Treaty, helps women and girls to go to school, to own and inherit property, to take part in public life, and to fight violence and oppression. We need Senate action on the CEDAW Treaty (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) to give the U.S. greater clout to help women worldwide win these basic rights.

This Mother's Day, GlobalSolutions.org is working with dozens of national partners to ensure that we ratify CEDAW now. Please CLICK HERE to ask your Senators to celebrate Mother's Day by showing their support for the CEDAW Treaty.

While we celebrate our own mothers and grandmothers today (Happy Mother's Day, Mom!), let's stand together for women and girls around the world.  Click here to ask your Senators to support CEDAW today.

An NPT Review Conference Update: Iran stirs up trouble, U.S. announces size of stockpile, and Indonesia ratifies the CTBT!

The Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference has just wrapped up its 3rd day in what has been a highly charged arena: the place of a showdown between the U.S. and Iran and historic announcements from the U.S. and Indonesia.

On the first day, President Ahmadinejad's deriding speech was met with sharp criticism from Secretary Clinton and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Iranian cooperation with the IAEA.  Ahmadinejad insists that nuclear developments have peaceful intentions, but there is good reason to suspect that this is not the case. Thus far, Iran has made more enemies than friends. This might even be an opportunity for President Obama to garner support for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran and strengthen the role of the IAEA in monitoring Iran's development of nuclear capabilities. Plus, with Iran in the spotlight, the divide between the nuclear haves and have-nots seems less stark.

Secretary Clinton spoke after Ahmadinejad, making the long-awaited announcement that the U.S. arsenal contains 5, 113 deployed warheads (as of September 2009). The U.S. has never before released this number. It is down from 31, 255 in 1967, when the U.S. nuclear arsenal was at its height. Still, some NGOs estimate that there are 4,600 in reserve.

Global Solutions is off to the races - You can help

Want to know where your lawmakers stand on global issues?  As the 2010 midterm elections approach, GlobalSolutions.org is rolling out our 2010 Congressional Report Card.  This report "grades" members of the Senate and House of Representatives on their record of support for CGS legislative priorities over the past several years, as well as highlighting additional work certain members of Congress have undertaken which has helped to advance the goals of CGS.  It is the only publication that rates Congress based on their global votes.

The 2010 Congressional Report Card focuses on ten Senate and eleven House rollcall votes which took place between 2007 and 2009 on issues which are of particular importance to CGS and its supporters.  These votes cover topics such as providing appropriate levels of funding for international and multilateral organizations; addressing climate change; prohibiting torture; and ensuring protection of human rights around the globe.  Each member of Congress was given a grade between an A+ and an F based on how frequently their votes aligned with CGS's positions on these issues.

Additionally, since not all the hard work of members of Congress is revealed solely through their records on roll call votes, CGS invited House and Senate offices to apply for "extra credit" by telling us about other work they have done on these and other issues that are CGS priorities.  This extra credit might come from making floor speeches, sponsoring legislation, or publishing op-eds on issues important to CGS.  Lawmakers must earn extra credit in order to receive the highest grade of A+.