'Those without a lot of wealth or a lot of power are getting absolutely killed in America today," writes Michael Snyder from "The American Dream," and the same could be said world wide. The big corporations, the major financial institutions, the ultra-wealthy and those connected to the top levels of government are thriving even though the economies overall are in shambles. Meanwhile, ordinary people are being abused, harassed, regulated, taxed and mistreated like never before.
To maintain this status quo, the nuclear nations spend $100 billion yearly upgrading nuclear arsenals, according to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and they aren't stopping.
Enter onto this world stage a tiny nation, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, abused for 60 years by U.S. nuclear testing, accompanying deadly nuclear radiation and resulting suffering and deaths. Sixty-seven nuclear bombs were detonated there from 1946 to 1958, according to Nuclear Zero. This David-and-Goliath little nation has filed landmark cases in the International Court of Justice and U.S. Federal District Court against the nuclear giants, claiming that the nine nuclear-armed nations with their 17,000 nuclear bombs have failed to comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law, to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.
They are acting for the 7 billion of us who live on this planet, they say, "to end the nuclear weapons threat hanging over all humanity."
The nuclear nations who have signed on to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China. Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed on but are nuclear nations "bound to the obligations by customary international law," according to the Nuclear Zero law suits.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty countries meet every five years at a Review Conference to assess the implementation of the treaty. There is a Preparatory Committee conference that meets for two weeks in the three years leading up to the Review Conference. One has just convened at the United Nations in New York in preparation for the 2015 Review Conference. Undoubtedly these landmark lawsuits will be highlighted at the conference, as well as the rattling of nuclear sabers — the Russia-U.S.-Ukraine struggle.
May the little guy, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, win. The world will be infinitely safer.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.