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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
Tell Congress – End Secrecy on 9/11, Declassify the 28 PagesRemember the shocking revelation that the Bush White House let 140 Saudis fly out of the country in the days immediately after the 9/11 attacks, even though it claimed 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis? One of these flights had two dozen bin Laden family members on board and another had elite Saudi royals including Prince Ahmed bin Salman, a reported intermediary between Al Qaeda and the House of Saud. Then, causing great concern to high-ranking members of the Congressional Joint Intelligence Committee which in 2002 produced the first investigative report of the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration blacked out 28 full pages that document members of the Saudi royal family as the principle financiers of the Sept. 11 attacks. Despite promising 9/11 family members that he would release them, President Obama has so far maintained the suppression of these 28 pages. Former Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the Joint Intelligence Committees' investigation, has said that the 28 pages “primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.” Graham has also said that the 28 Pages reveal the Saudi funding came primarily through the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Saudi Arabian Ambassador at the time was Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the very same Bandar nicknamed “Bandar Bush” by George W. because of his longstanding close affiliations with the Bush family. In addition to Graham, both co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission and even former CIA Directors have called for their release. All of the members of Congress who have read the 28 pages are saying that releasing them would not compromise national security. Quite the opposite. On June 2, Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) went so far as to say that the 28 pages contain the "best intelligence" we have for preventing another 9/11. Senator Graham has said the U.S. government’s shielding of Saudi Arabia’s role in funding extremism helped pave the way for the rise of ISIS. The content of the pages is so shocking that Massie has also stated: “I had to stop every couple of pages and … try to rearrange my understanding of history … It challenges you to rethink everything.” On June 2, 2015, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a Senate bill, the Transparency for Families of 9/11 Victims and Survivors Act of 2015 (S.B. 1471) – the companion bill to bi-partisan House Resolution 14 (H.RES.14). S.B. 1471 mandates the immediate declassification and release of the 28 Pages. We need your help to get a filibuster-proof majority of Senators to read the pages and become co-sponsors. Over 70 percent of the 400 questions compiled by the 9/11 Families Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission -- many on the U.S.-Saudi relationship -- were never answered, and now the Supreme Court has allowed the 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudis in federal court. They need your help to get the 28 Pages finally released.
Create Truth and Reconciliation Commission for U.S. and NATO WarsTunisia is the latest example of a nation using truth and reconciliation to address past horrors, specifically torture. The United States has not put an end to torture, to lawless imprisonment, to warrantless spying, or to any of the other criminal elements of its aggressive warmaking, which continues ever more free from even the pretense of adherence to law.
America Must Stop Justifying the Business of Making WarPeople tend to ignore the fact that the issues we face against Iran, started with ignoring the will of the People of Iran after World War II, when we helped install the Shah of Iran. The real issue was controlling oil then just as it is now. The real issue in Vietnam was the desire to be rid of a colonial presence, just as it was in 1776 in America. We can be the leader of the World pursuing peace, but we have to stop relying on the business of war making to prove our point.
Support German Campaign to Remove Ramstein Drone RelayAll lethal US drone strikes are guided via the Satellite Relay Station located on the US Air Force Base Ramstein. More than 10,000 people worldwide have been killed by these drone strikes. The bin Ali Jaber family lost two of its members through a drone strike in Hadramout in Yemen. Now Reprieve and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) have filed a lawsuit against the German government in a German court on behalf of the bin Ali Jaber family. The suit demands that the German government “take legal and political responsibility for the US drone war in Yemen” and “forbid use of the Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein.” Wednesday, May 27th 2015, 11 a.m., German Bundestag (Meadow) : this case will begin with a hearing before the high administrative court in Cologne. The military base in Ramstein remains under the legal jurisdiction of the German federal government even though the US Air Force has been allowed to use the base. If illegal activities are conducted from Ramstein -- such as extra-judicial killings – and the US judicial authorities do not condemn these crimes and mandate an end to them, then German justice authorities have a duty to act. The United States Government claims the right to deploy killer drones everywhere in the world, but extrajudicial killing is against United States constitutional law as well as German and international law. Extra-judicial killing, the killing of 'suspects' is a grievous violation of the United States Constitution. The initiation and prosecution of wars in sovereign countries that do not threaten the US mainland are in violation of international Treaties the United States has signed and which have been ratified by our Congress. These include the United Nations Charter, the Nuremberg Judgement and the Kellogg Briand Pact, all signed into US Law at the time of their ratification. Extra- judicial killings carried out by armed drones that are guided to their targets and controlled via Ramstein on German sovereign territory are also violations of both German law and international law. In deference to the suffering of drone victims, and to the deep antiwar sentiment of the German people, as citizens of the United States, we stand in solidarity with the bin Ali Jaber family of Yemen, and the urgent demand by German activists that the (German) Attorney General’s Office act to initiate investigations against military personnel working at Ramstein. The Two-plus- Four-Treaty (the constitutional founding document of the reunited Federal Republic of Germany) grants Germany “complete sovereignty at home and abroad” and emphasizes that “there shall be only peaceful activities from German territory.” The 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War was just celebrated in Europe and Russia. This is a reminder of the devastation caused by war. The German people have not forgotten this. In accordance with the Treaty and in solidarity with the German people and drone victims everywhere, we demand that: > The German Attorney General’s Office immediately initiate investigations on the US military base Ramstein against those individuals who are participating in the operation of the Satellite Relay Station. > The German Government work for the immediate closing of the Satellite Relay Station at Ramstein and abstain from acquiring weaponized drones for the German military. You can get more information by listening to David Swanson's interview with Andreas Schueller on Talk Nation Radio: http://davidswanson.org/node/4725 and Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of America's Drone War, Jeremy Scahill's article in the Intercept: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/17/ramstein/
Tell United States and All Non-Members to Join the ICCGlobal justice requires global participation. Partial and biased justice damages the cause of establishing the rule of law and the nonviolent settlement of disputes. To succeed, the ICC must include all nations and treat all crimes equally regardless of where committed or by whom. Here is the list of which countries are members: http://bit.ly/1IDMGbe
Wage Peace!American University produces some of the most influential experts on US Foreign Policy in the country. SIS graduates make up the staff of countless government offices, NGOs, and media organizations. It is therefore regrettable that these students and leaders are given a limited approach to issues of international affairs, weighted heavily towards the National Security perspective. There must be a Peace program at the "Peace University." If we continue to allow our elevated academic institutions to produce people hamstrung by an imperialist ideological framework, there is no reason to expect any change in US Foreign Policy or its structure. Moreover, young people of ages 18 or 19 come to AU with idealistic vigor and the desire to improve the world. They are then subjected to a range of course options that skew their idealism towards militarism and economic subversion of foreign nations. This is an unconscionable state of affairs and we need your support to resist. USFPAC is running a campaign on AU's campus to give prospective students a clear picture of what AU has to offer in terms of Peace studies. We are inviting them (and you!) to sign this petition and join us in the effort to reform SIS academic programming. Our simple demand is that a School of International Service must reflect its charter. Eisenhower founded the institution on the dictum "wage peace." It is time we retrieve his principle.
Abolish NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)NATO is the greatest threat to peace in the world today. U.S. and Western imperialism use NATO to force regime change in countries with independent non-aligned politics. NATO has played a role in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and now Venezuela. Sending advisors and playing war simulation exercises on the borders of sovereign nations in pursuit of imperialist aims brings the world to the brink of WW III. This must be stopped NOW!
STOP ALL AERIAL ASSAULTSBombings and/or drone attacks are now being conducted by the United States and its allies against some of the poorest, most militarily defenseless people in the world, notably in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. These attacks are slaughtering thousands of people and forcing hundreds of thousands more out of their homes into the wasteland of refugee camps. As examples of the suffering caused by aerial attack, we point to the devastation caused by United States bombing of Tikrit, Iraq and the United States-assisted Saudi Arabian bombing campaign in Yemen. We fear for the people of Mosul the next city in Iraq slated for bombing; after that will almost certainly come Fallujah, of the most war-damaged cities in the world. The primary victims of bombings have been and will continue to be civilians. The criminality of "air wars" is astounding, and indeed we would like to see an international ban on air attacks. As such it is despicable and unacceptable as a fundamental military tactic of any nation. Sources: While there are a number of news articles on U.S. bombing and drone attacks, and more recently on Saudi Arabian air attacks, there is no significant coverage of the overall impact of air attacks on civilian populations, a dramatic indication of how little regard there is for civilians under air attack. Rather there are piece-meal reports such as an April 8, 2015 CNN report saying “Civilian Toll Rising From Air Strikes in Yemen”, which noted that six children were killed when a school in southwestern Yemen was bombed. A report of the McClatchy news service of February 24, 2015 entitled: “U.N. Officials Fear an Attack on Mosul Will Displace 1.5 Million People” gives an idea of what will happen to civilians in the coming assault on Mosul, Iraq, which almost certainly will include U.S. air attacks such as those conducted recently at Tikrit, where air and ground assaults devastated the city.
Initiate a World Peace ConferenceThe United States of America is moving the world toward a new Cold War, which as you have warned "could become a real war." When Germany reunited, the United States promised you that NATO would not expand eastward. Now NATO stands in the Baltic States, in Poland, in Romania and in Bulgaria. Symbolicly at the end of February, in the Estonian city of Narva, a U.S. tank with stars and stripes positioned itself at the border with Russia. In March 3,000 NATO soldiers with 750 tanks and heavy equipment held maneuvers in the Baltics. NATO naval ships are rehearsing in the Black Sea. Bases on Russia's borders have been expanded and new military structures have been created there. Threats to world peace are not limited to Ukraine. At no time since the end of World War II have there been as many military conflicts and wars as now, and at no time have there been so many refugees. These wars are driven by economic power and profit, sources of raw materials, and strategically important spheres of influence. No other power on earth defends its interests so aggressively as NATO with the United States at its helm. The intelligence services of the U.S. and Britain are actually spying electronically on the whole of humanity. Germany is moving away from the principle that no war can be launched from German soil. The statement by the German President Joachim Gauck at the Security Conference 2014 in Munich, that Germany must take on more responsibility, means a stronger military commitment. Since then, German military missions abroad have been expanded and more money spent on armaments. The new NATO Secretary General declared that Germany is the second most important power within NATO. Germany is the "leading nation" of the new rapid reaction force of 30,000 NATO soldiers. This rapid reaction force is being mobilized in reaction to the "danger of Russia" in Eastern Europe. We reject this new role for Germany in world politics. We therefore urge the dissolution of NATO and its replacement by a collective security system involving Russia, a project which has disarmament as a central goal. This petition was inspired by our friends in Germany who created this petition in German, which you should also sign: http://www.weltfriedenskonferenz.org This effort was begun by 20 members of the German Parliament. This English language petition has been signed by: Heinrich Buecker, Coop Anti-War Cafe Berlin Miriam Volkmann, Vigil for World Peace and Human Rights Berlin David Hartsough, World Beyond War David Swanson, World Beyond War