Much progress has been made towards abolition of nuclear weapons in the past year. An important contributor is the Abolition 2000 Network, a confederation of over 700 international, national and local peace, justice, environmental, church, student, etc. groups who are calling for a global convention with the purpose of abolishing nuclear weapons worldwide.

· Rep. Major Owens (D-NY) has circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter and wrote to President Clinton "urging him to take the lead in negotiating to achieve complete nuclear disarmament." In his letter, he reminds Mr. Clinton,

"On July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in response to a request from the United Nations, concluded that 'the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict', and that 'there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. On December 10, 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 51/45M following up on the ICJ decision. The UN called for the beginning in 1997 of negotiations leading to the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention which would prohibit the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination…. Mr. President, at the 51st United Nations General Assembly, you spoke about the desirability of a 21st Century free from the threat of nuclear weapons. We call upon you to make such a dream real."

· A professional poll of 1006 people by Lake Sosin Snell & Associates released April 3, 1997, shows that 84% of the American public would feel safer in a world in which no country, including the United States, has nuclear weapons. All ages, religions, political parties, sexes, races had similar responses.

Rep. Elizabeth Furse (D-OR) said about the poll, "You have dynamite information here, so get out there and use it. We know what peace activists want," she added, saying Congress probably won't pay attention "until you get us resolutions from ordinary citizens" - students, teachers, social workers, etc.

· In a statement issued in December, 1996, 62 retired Admirals and Generals called for step-by-step, complete elimination of nuclear weapons. General Butler, the former head of SAC, who ordered that missiles no longer be aimed at any country when the Soviet Union collapsed, made a strong appeal that nuclear weapons are unnecessary, unsafe, and insane.

· Last summer, both the Washington Post and the Washington Times reported that Pentagon sources made a 'conservative estimate of a $5 trillion nuclear weapons price tag.

· BAD News: The Senate passed S-104, the "Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1997." The House version, HR-1270, already has 114 cosponsors. This is very dangerous legislation. This bill would allow shipment of the nuclear waste currently cooking in cooling ponds, from some 109 commercial reactors and over a dozen federal nuclear facilities, to be driven across our nation's highways, through farms, suburbs, interstates, mountains, storms, mechanical errors, drunks, etc., etc. President Clinton has said he will veto if it passes, but he's subject to changing his mind. Please oppose this act.

· Talk about the left hand (disarmament negotiators) not knowing what the right hand (pentagon) is doing. The U.S. has developed a whole new class of super-bombs, nuclear warheads that can burrow underground to target bunkers.

· A new group, the "Depleted Uranium Project," is promoting a book by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Dr. Helen Caldicott, and other luminaries, entitled "Metal of Dishonor," which reveals government secretiveness regarding the medical problems some Gulf War veterans are experiencing, including "jellyfish babies," which appear to be caused by exposure to radioactive, uranium-tipped artillery shells and tanks used by the U.S. in the Persian Gulf war. This information was revealed in a CBS documentary in early 1994, but little else said until now. A demonstration by victims' families and physicians was held in Lafayette (Peace) Park outside the White House in April 1997. Ask the Clinton administration why they remain silent on this, when the pollution was committed under George Bush's watch.

· Bottom line: Most of us know what makes sense. Most of the politicians still don't see. The reasons for this irony could occupy philosophers for years. Somehow we need to swing the pendulum. Please help us advise the politicians.