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Portland No More GuantanamosThere are 52 detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have never been charged with any crime and have been cleared by all levels of government for transfer, meaning they have been found to pose no security threat to the U.S. or the world. Most of these detainees were cleared for transfer in 2009 but have remained at the facility because of complications with returning them to their home countries. Their continued and indefinite detention is a violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and human rights treaties to which the United States is a party. The U.S. Congress refuses to accept these cleared detainees onto our own soil because the American people have been misinformed on the subject and continue to believe that all detainees at the facility represent “the worst of the worst.” The Obama Administration, which is working to close the facility, is sending ambassadors around the world asking for sanctuary for these detainees in other countries. We as a country need to step up and take responsibility for our own mistakes; if these detainees are no security risk, as the government asserts, we should be ready to accept them on our own soil. Progressive, informed U.S. cities must take the lead on this, if the U.S. Congress will not. If this resolution passes, it will be a victory for human rights law and will send a message to our own community that we do not subscribe to Islamophobic fears based on ignorance and misinformation. It will promote a more inclusive city that is welcoming to people of all backgrounds, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Other cities have already passed such resolutions: ◦ Berkeley, CA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/berkeleytresolutionclosingguantanamo ◦ Amherst, MA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/proclamationunitednationsinternationaldaysupportvictimstorture ◦ Leverett, MA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/resolutiontownleverettmaassistsaferesettlementclearedguant%C3%A1namodetainees
Clean up Unexploded Bombs in LaosThe USA has been EXTRAORDINARILY NEGLIGENT in dealing with the problems it caused by dropping 240 million bombs on Laos without even declaring war. (The last time the USA declared war was in 1941.) The donations the USA makes to the clean up effort are miniscule. Pathetic is a word that comes to mind. You need to have a head honcho, office space in Vientiane and a few secretaries and that eats up most of the funds so there is precious little left over for actual cleaning up of the 80 million unexploded bombs. I would like to set up a bomb clearing project in Laos using HeroRats as used by apopo.org in Mozambique and now Cambodia to sniff out unexploded ordnance.
No U.S. Nuclear Weapons in EuropeThe United States keeps nuclear weapons in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey, in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which bans the transfer of nuclear weapons from a nuclear weapon state to a non-nuclear weapon state. Now, the U.S. wants to upgrade its nukes in Europe, to make them "precision" and "guided," and therefore more likely to be used, even as tensions build between the United States and Russia. The U.S. plans to deploy newly designed type B 61-12 nuclear bombs. Instead it should remove existing nuclear bombs. The NATO strategy of so-called "nuclear sharing" is a violation of Articles 1 and 2 of the NPT. Those provisions state that every party to the treaty promises "not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly" and also promises that every "non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons." The policy of placing U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe also violates local laws. For example, the German Parliament (the Bundestag) voted in March 2010, by a large majority, that the German Government should "press for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany."
Ultimate Control of All Satellites to the United NationsA 2014 Gallup International survey found that, by a wide margin, people believe that the United States is the biggest threat to wold peace. It's hard to believe that these people want the US controlling their skies. A 1967 international agreement signed by all the major powers banned weapons from earth orbit. Several major powers (including the USA) have violated that ban. When one space faring nation explodes a competitor's satellite, each of thousands of high velocity pieces can destroy other "innocent" satellites for decades. Our planet must avoid an arms race in space.
Open Letter to Ban-Ki Moon on Upcoming 70th Anniversary of U.N. CharterWorld Beyond War has outlined specific reforms that would democratize the United Nations, and make nonviolent actions the primary activity engaged in. Please read them here. http://worldbeyondwar.org/reforming-united-nations INITIAL SIGNERS: David Swanson Coleen Rowley David Hartsough Patrick Hiller Alice Slater Kevin Zeese Heinrich Buecker Norman Solomon Sandra Osei Twumasi Jeff Cohen Leah Bolger Robert Scheer
Ask the U.S. Institute of Peace to Work for PeaceThe U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a federal government institute created by a bill signed into law in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan and funded annually by Congress as well as sometimes receiving funding from the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the military. The law states that the "Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Director of Central Intelligence each may assign officers and employees of his respective department or agency, on a rotating basis to be determined by the Board, to the Institute." The Institute has never opposed a U.S. war and claims that it can only support things, not oppose them. But in fact, the law only forbids it from seeking "to influence the passage or defeat of legislation ... except that the personnel of the Institute may testify or make other appropriate communication when formally requested to do so by a legislative body, a committee, or a member thereof." Most U.S. wars, including the war on Libya, the newly revived war on Iraq (and Syria), and the drone wars on Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, have been launched without legislation. And, even if there were legislation involved, it would not be at all difficult for USIP to ask a single member of Congress to request its opinion, thereby freeing it to provide its views and its research. USIP makes no claim that it cannot provide the public with information on the negative results of U.S. wars; it simply fails to do so. The Institute in fact makes recommendations to Congress, including in formally presented testimony, it just recommends things like supporting the Syrian opposition, training and arming troops to fight both ISIS and the Syrian government, and creating a "no fly zone" in Syria, rather than working toward an arms embargo or aid or diplomacy. The Institute has recommended diplomacy with Iran, and could do so in a dozen other cases, although its notion that weapons sales is part of diplomacy may be less than helpful. The law requires that the USIP Board include 15 voting members, including the Secretaries of State and "Defense," the President of the National "Defense" University, and 12 members appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and each having "practical or academic experience in peace and conflict resolution." The law also states that "No member of the Board may participate in any decision, action, or recommendation with respect to any matter which directly and financially benefits the member or pertains specifically to any public body or any private or nonprofit firm or organization with which the member is then formally associated or has been formally associated within a period of two years." There are a number of mechanisms for removing a board member, including 8 or more board members making that recommendation to the President. The USIP does do some work aimed at peace, including hosting speakers and producing publications aimed at peace, sending skilled mediators into conflict zones, making research grants, holding essay contests, and conducting conflict-resolution trainings, but such efforts are deeply compromised by the following concerns: USIP board member and chairman, Stephen Hadley, urges the bombing of Syria and the militarization of Ukraine, while encouraging European nations to double their military spending, and himself profiting from war as a board member of Raytheon. USIP board member Eric Edelman, a former undersecretary at the Pentagon, promotes higher military spending, an attack on Iran, and deployment of nuclear weapons to nations on Russia's border. USIP board member Major General Frederick M. Padilla, USMC, is career military. USIP promotes the overthrow of the Syrian government. USIP is not known to have ever opposed a U.S. war, U.S. weapons exports, U.S. foreign bases, or U.S. military spending. USIP promotes trade embargoes, economic austerity programs, and electoral interventions as tools of aggression, not peace building. USIP funds many more supporters than opponents of militarism. USIP hosts pro-war talks by leading war advocates. Appropriate board members for USIP exist in large numbers, and many of them would no doubt be happy to serve. Here are a few examples of the many possible names: Kathy Kelly, Michael McPhearson, Ann Wright, Paul Chappell, Noura Erekat, Dennis Kucinich, David Vine, Matt Daloisio, John Dear, Bruce Gagnon, Phil Donahue, Mel Duncan, David Hartsough, Mubarak Awad, Leslie Cagan, Roy Bourgeois, Cornell West, Lennox Yearwood, Osagyefo Sekou, Phyllis Bennis, Andy Shallal, Helena Cobban, Noam Chomsky, Elliott Adams.
Letter to Pope FrancisSome endorsers: Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan Rev Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Nyack, NY Deacon Tom Cornell, Catholic Worker Farm, Marlboro, NY Johnny Zokovitch, FL David Swanson Sister Rose Marie Cummins Sr. Miriam MacGillis, OP, Genesis Farm Dr. Paul E. Ivory Debbie & Bill Quigley, New Orleans, LA Herbert Bix, Cambridge, MA Kathy Kelly, Chicago, IL Fr. Tim Taugher, St Francis of Assisi, Binghamton, NY Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ Deacon Jim Rauner, Diocese of Kalamazoo, Watervliet, MI Jane F. Morissey, ssj, Massachusetts Rev Robert E. Osborne, Louisville, KY Sister Kathleen Desautels, SP, Chicago, IL Elliott Adams Fr. Regis Ryan, Dio. of Pittsburgh Fr. Tony Gallagher, Toledo, OH Sally Bostwick, ret. USN Commander Karl Meyer, Greenlands Catholic Worker, Nashville, TN William H. Privett, NY Victoria B. Ross, Western NY Peace Center, Buffalo, NY Ardeth Platte, OP, Jonah House Carol Gilbert, OP, Jonah House Jack Gilroy, NY Elizabeth McAlister, Jonah House, Baltimore, MD Pat Ferrone, Pax Christi Massachusetts Pat McSweeney, Massachusetts Pax Christi Greensburg, PA Robert M. Smith Brandywine Peace Community, Philadelphia, PA Neil Himber, Youngsville, Pennsylvania Nick Mottern, New York Molly Rush, Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh, PA Sister Rosemary McSorley, shcj Anne Symens-Bucher, Canticle Farm, Oakland, CA Wally Inglis, Honolulu, HI R. Barry Martin, Good Shepherd & McCauley House, Philadelphia, PA Victor Hummert, Indiana Mary Aileen/ Purdy Dame, Medford, MA Nancy O'Byrne, Pax Christi Florida Ray Mack Faye Hinze, Bay Area, CA Mike Wisniewski, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, CA Raquel Falk, St . Peter Claver Catholic Worker, South Bend, IN Fr. Jim Hogan, Dio. of Helena, MT Stephen Kobasa Michael Ifrate, Wheeling, WV Nancy Wallace Fr. Jim Murphy, Dio. of Madison, Highland, WI JoAnne Lingle Rev Louis Arseneaux, C.M., Pax Christi New Orleans Mary Ann Buckley Carolyn McDonnell, Mercy Associates, IL Patricia Donohue Roy Bourgeois, Founder SOAW, Columbus, GA Paula Ewers Fr. Donald Fisher, McKees Rocks, PA Libby Pappalardo Frances Rossi William Houston, Jr Mary Elizabeth Crane John Amidon, Albany, NY Jeanne Allen Eve Tetaz Maureen Hearn Henri A. Fourroux, III Karen McLoughlin Malachy Kilbride, Quaker Ben Gordon, Pax Christi, New Orleans (a partial listing)
President Obama, meet with President Putin.These are dangerous times. The U.S. is “modernizing” its nuclear arsenal and placing NATO bases and troops on the Russian border. In response, President Putin is building 40 intercontinental ballistic weapons, saying he has no choice. On July 4, 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin called the White House and wished President Barack Obama Happy Fourth of July. “In his message of congratulations, the Russian President noted that, …Russian-American relations remain the most important factor of international stability and security,” Reuters reported. “Mr. Putin expressed confidence that Russia and the United States could find solutions to the most complicated international issues and work together to meet global threats and challenges," the Kremlin said. 60 years ago, on July 9, 1955, the Russell—Einstein Manifesto was signed. They denounced the dangerous drive toward war between the world’s two nuclear nations. “Here, then,” it stated, “is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall” humanity “renounce war?” Today, we must add a second and terrible threat to the “Earth’s biosphere”: climate change, which would be greatly exacerbated due to the pollution of our lands, seas and sky by nuclear war. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock from 5 minutes to 3 minutes to minutes to midnight because "the constant threat of nuclear war and ‘unchecked climate change’ severely threaten human civilization.” The U.S. and the Soviet Union worked together to defeat Nazi Germany. They cooperated again in the P5+1/Iran nuclear agreement and President Putin said the deal will ...“assist in strengthening global and regional security” and “global nuclear non-proliferation”. President Obama, please accept President Putin’s offer to meet to discuss Russian—American relations. This could help create mutual understanding and reduce the threat of nuclear war. It could be an important step toward saving the human race and our precious Earth. Lee Loe, Houston, TX Grandmother for Peace & Survival
Don't showcase Confederate "heroes" during International Bicycle Race.In the aftermath of the horrific white-supremacist massacre of nine African-Americans in Charleston, S.C., calls are being raised across the country for the removal of Confederate symbols from public places. But in Richmond, Va., the former capital of the slavery-defending Confederacy, during the 150th anniversary year of Emancipation and the end of the Civil War, prominent elected officials are defending their decision to spotlight racist symbols in an international sports event. The UCI Road Word Championships bicycle race, scheduled to take place in Richmond Sept. 19-27, is one of the cycling world's most prestigious competitions. It also likely will be the largest sports event held in the United States in 2015. Some 450,000 people are expected to attend, along with representatives of 500 U.S. news outlets, reporters from 100 countries and a worldwide TV viewing audience of 300 million. Truly, this event will showcase not only Richmond and the state of Virginia, but the entire country. And yet, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones – all Northern-born Democrats and chairmen of Richmond 2015, the official race organizing committee – have chosen to highlight Richmond's Monument Avenue, a virtual shrine to the Confederacy. (The fourth committee chairman is Thomas F. Farrell II, Chairman, CEO and President of Dominion Resources, Virginia's most politically influential corporation.) Hundreds of millions of people will watch as riders pass statues of Generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart and Naval Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury. Then, for the critical half-way point of the race, the riders will circle around the towering monument to Jefferson Davis, the slave-owning Confederate president. The route even manages to skip the avenue's one statue dedicated to an African-American, Richmond-born tennis champion and human rights activist Arthur Ashe, who was particularly known for his activism against the racist apartheid system of South Africa. The route then continues over Shockoe Bottom, the former slave-trading area that once was the epicenter of the U.S. domestic slave trade and an area that Gov. McAuliffe and Mayor Jones had been promoting for a commercial baseball stadium, until that for-profit developer's scheme was blocked by a prolonged community struggle. Many of the corporate principals of Richmond 2015 are the same business leaders who heavily promoted the stadium proposal. So, 150 years after Emancipation and the end of the Civil War, Sen. Warner, Gov. McAuliffe, Mayor Jones and CEO Farrell are saying that the finest this country has to present to the world are the monuments to the traitors who fought to preserve slavery – and that this outrageous statement is being made at the same time they are failing dismally to properly memorialize the site that once was the fountainhead of the domestic slave trade. Simply put, the message is: Black Lives and History Really Do Not Matter. In Richmond, the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, a community organization and a founding member of UNAC that has been fighting since 2002 to reclaim Shockoe Bottom, is calling on the race organizers to move the route off Monument Avenue and for the city to finally commit to a proper memorialization of Shockoe Bottom. The Defenders also are calling for progressives to join them in a National Presence in Richmond at noon on Saturday, Sept. 19, the opening day of the UCI race – at the Jefferson Davis monument. UNAC endorses these demands and strongly encourages all our members and allies to be in Richmond on Sept. 19 to let the world know that we reject this honoring of the slavery-defending Confederacy and demand a proper memorialization of all slavery-related sites, including Richmond's Shockoe Bottom.
MANIFESTO ON THE FUTURE OF WAR AND CLIMATE CHANGEThis effort is endorsed by Foreign Policy in Focus, the Asia Institute, and World Beyond War, and is being launched on July 9, 2015. You can sign, and ask everyone you know to sign, this declaration here: http://diy.rootsaction.org/p/man Exactly 60 years ago today, leading intellectuals led by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein gathered in London to sign a manifesto voicing their concern that the struggle between the Communist and Anti-Communist blocs in the age of the hydrogen bomb guaranteed annihilation for humanity. Although we have so far avoided the nuclear war that those intellectuals dreaded, the danger has merely been postponed. The threat, which has reemerged recently with the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, has only grown more dire. Moreover, the rapid acceleration of technological development threatens to put nuclear weapons, and many other weapons of similar destructiveness, into the hands of a growing circle of nations (and potentially even of “non-state actors”). At the same time, the early possessors of nuclear weapons have failed to abide by their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to destroy their stockpiles. And now we are faced with an existential threat that may rival the destructive consequences even of a full-scale nuclear war: climate change. The rapacious exploitation of our resources and a thoughtless over-reliance upon fossil fuels have caused an unprecedented disruption of our climate. Combined with an unmitigated attack on our forests, our wetlands, our oceans, and our farmland in the pursuit of short-term gains, this unsustainable economic expansion has brought us to the edge of an abyss. The original 1955 manifesto states: “We are speaking on this occasion, not as members of this or that nation, continent, or creed, but as human beings,” members of the human species “whose continued existence is in doubt.” The time has come for us to break out of the distorted and misleading conception of progress and development that has so seduced us and led us towards destruction. Not only intellectuals but anyone informed, aware, and caring bears a particular responsibility of leadership by virtue of their specialized expertise and insight regarding the scientific, cultural, and historical forces that have led to our predicament. Between a mercenary element that pursues an agenda of narrow interests without regard to consequences and a frequently discouraged, misled, and sometimes apathetic citizenry stand the responsible individuals in every field of study and sphere of activity. It falls to us to decry the reckless acceleration of armaments and the criminal destruction of the ecosystem. The time has come for us to raise our voices in a concerted effort. The original text, issued in London on July 9, 1955, is here: http://www.umich.edu/~pugwash/Manifesto.html SIGNERS OF THE NEW PETITION INCLUDE: Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus, MIT Helen Caldicott, author, activist Naomi Klein, author Larry Wilkerson, Retired United States Army Colonel. Benjamin R. Barber, President, Global Parliament of Mayors Project David Swanson, Director, World Beyond War John Feffer, Director, Foreign Policy in Focus Emanuel Pastreich, Director, The Asia Institute Leah Bolger, Chair, Coordinating Committee, World Beyond War Ben Griffin, Coordinator, Veterans For Peace UK Michael Nagler, Founder and President, The Metta Center for Nonviolence John Horgan, Science journalist & author of "The End of War" Kevin Zeese, Co-director, Popular Resistance Margaret Flowers, M.D., Co-director, Popular Resistance Dahr Jamail, Staff Reporter, Truthout John Kiriakou, Associate Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies and CIA Torture Whistleblower Kim Hyung yul, President of The Asia Institute, Professor of History, Sook Myung University Choi Murim, Professor of Medicine, Seoul National University Coleen Rowley, Retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel Ann Wright, Retired U.S. Army Colonel and former US diplomat Mike Madden Vice President, Veterans For Peace, Chapter 27 Chante Wolf, 12 year Air Force, Desert Shield/Storm veteran Member of Chapter 27, Veterans For Peace William Binney, Former NSA Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, Co-founder of the SIGINT Automation Research Center. Jean Bricmont, professor, Université Catholique de Louvain