HELSINKI 1984 AND THE CONCEPT OF UNINTENTIONAL NUCLEAR WAR IN THE STORY OF THE NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT IN EUROPE - IPB-ITALIA - Associazione per la pace, il disarmo, la soluzione nonviolenta dei conflitti


Associazione per la pace, il disarmo, la soluzione nonviolenta dei conflitti

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Mazzarino (CL), Italy, november, 27th, 2009

International Conference: “Peace is in our hands”


Michele Di Paolantonio, MD, President of IPPNW Italy, Peace Prized Nobel 1985 Organization (

Mr. Iranians and Italians Mayors for Peace, Authorities, Misses and Misters, I thought to treat the following argument to try to give the most possible productive and useful contribution to the works of this international Conference. We are in the hearth of the Mediterranean Region, and in the world’s agenda the problem of Iranian nuclear power is crucial. Therefore I would like to try to give the same kind of knowledge that twentyfive years ago I gave in Helsinki, to a path for peace and nuclear disarmament that developed quickly some month later, soon after that USA and USSR, in the Summit in Geneva between Reagan and Gorbaciov on November, 7th, 1985, agreed only and rapidly on a unique point; the existence of the concept of “Unintentional Nuclear War”, in other words for technical or human mistakes.

After the foundation of the Italian Section of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the organization founded by three eminent sovietician medical doctors and three eminent american medical doctors in the extreme chance to develop a dialogue between USA and USSR in the core of the nuclear arms race and of the Cold War, I was sent to London, to the most important strategic centre of the western world by my italian University, the University for Studies of Bologna, to develop a thesis of specialization in Preventive Medicine focusing the nuclear military risk that came as a black cloud on my nation and my people for the deployment even in Italy, and specifically just here, in Sicily, at Comiso, of american nuclear euromissiles Cruise, answering to the deployment towards Western Europe of sovietician nuclear euromissiles SS20.

The target of that thesis was to understand the kind of most effective and possible answer to avoid the risk.

I knew in London that the NATO, with complex instruments of Elint, Electronic Intelligence, in other words electronic espionage, had known that sovietician Mig airplanes, leaving from lybic airbases, and flying in the international air space upon the Sicily Channel, made photos of each part of the Sicily’s ground, to check and localize every TEL, Transporters Erectors Launchers, in other words the jant american military trucksequipped with mobile system to launch each four nuclear Cruise missiles. In Comiso, in fact, arrived, at the end of 1983, 112 Cruise missiles, deployed on 28 jant truchs TEL. The sovietician action trended to find every truck TEL to shut it further selectively with nuclearheads vehicoled by missiles SS20, but this temptative, I knew during my journej to London, was unuseful, because the necessary technical time to use the information, in other words the time between the moment of aerial photo and the missile’s arrival on that site was six hours, therefore in six hours the truck TEL, in the photo there, should have been moved in every other part of the island. They explaned me in London that the kind of attack waited on Sicily in case of a nuclear war scenario should have been determined by the (I never more will forget it!) “capacity of disabiliting” of the nuclear system Cruise: a massive nuclear attack against the island, with a number of nuclear warheads between 80 and 200, depending by the possible use of thermonuclear bombs of 1 Megaton or 150 kilotons, in other words bombs of different size. I must remember that the small bombs, 150 kilotons, were equivalent, each, to near 10 bombs of Hiroshima, of 1 Megaton, were equivalent, each, to near 80 bombs of Hiroshima. Only in this way sovieticians, launching a third of their SS20 vehicles on Sicily, should have destroyed 112 Cruise missiles here deployed.

Well, when, in June 1984, in Helsinki, I showed my thesis and its conclusions in the workshop on Strategies for the Prevention of Nuclear War, at the IV World Congress of IPPNW, happened an extraordinary event: the whole discussion was developed about my thesis. Other than these informations, all the participants were shocked by something else, much more warrying, that I had found and that I showed: the concept of Unintentional Nuclear War.

In fact I had reached in my thesis the knowledge that on june, 4th, 1980, the nuclear war had began and ended in 15 minutes without the launch of missiles, when at the General Command of Defense of the United States, the NORAD, the main computer showed on monitors the arrival of an intercontinental balistic attack from the Soviet Union. The men of NORAD needed 15 minutes to discover the mistake. If that mistake could have happened in Europe, where a sovietician euromissiles SS20 or an american Pershing II should have reached in only 12 minutes their target the nuclear could have started even by a mistake. Between those persons that were earing me was also a great man: Pavel Palachenko, in other words the man that in the following months was chosen by Reagan and Gorbaciov as their unique interpeter in their talks that brought them in two years to agree to dismantle the intermediate nuclear missiles from Europe.

After Helsinki and our workshop, and after the common acceptance of the concept of unintentional nuclear war in the technical protocol of agreement of the Summit Reagan-Gorbaciov, interpreted by Pave, of November, 7th, 1985 in Geneva, I myself gave on December, 12, 1985, in Oslo, to the Italian Ambassador in Norway, in occasion of my participation at the ceremony of giving of the Peace Prize Nobel 1985, informations about that protocol. After that, I met again Pavel in Moscow, at the end of may 1987, in occasion of the World Congress of IPPNW, two days before the Reagan Gorbaciov signing of the INF Treaty about the Intermediate Nuclear Forces, that dismantled even the Cruises missiles from Sicily, and we greeten kindly each other. But I felt the most great pleasure and proudness in Rome, at the IV Summit of Peace Prized Nobel Laureates, in November 2003, when, met again Pavel, near Gorbaciov, whose he is the Special Advisor, after 15 years since then, I could see with happiness that he remembered very well the work made together in Helsinki in June 1984, before the Peace Prize Nobel given to my organization, and before the dismantelling from Europe of the intermediate nuclear missiles.

Dearest friends, I am telling you this my personal experience, hoping that those prudent and long seeing choices that had been made in 1987 in Europe dismantelling the euromissiles and saving a continent could be useful to your cities, to your citizens, to your government, to your nation. Today is not possible anymore the development of new national nuclear arsenals, even if is a right of each nation to search and to develop energy from civil nuclearpower plants. Facing the existing alert in the world against new nuclear proliferation the national proudness of a government or of a people must leave the way to the prudence of a good father of family, as well as each Mayor, all over the world, should be. Finally, allow me to greet the Mayor of Halabja, that knew the horror of the use of chemical weapons of mass destruction against his citizens only twenty years ago, and that we thank warmly having accepted again the invitation to be with all of us.

Have you a good work, dearest Iranians Mayors, wishing you to can tell your success, for your Country and for the world, in defending peace, Not Nuclear Proliferation, and the solution of the racing international crisis about the Iran’s Nuclear Power in the next World Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War that we will held in Switzerland, in Basel, next august.

Peace is in our hands.