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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
Peace & Planet Call for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United States atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It also marks 45 years since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force, obligating all States parties to undertake good faith negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Instead, the world’s nuclear-armed nations are spending over $100 billion per year to maintain and modernize their nuclear arsenals. The danger of wars among nuclear-armed States is growing, and with it the threat of unimaginable death and suffering. From April 27 – May 22, 2015 representatives of the 189 members of the NPT, including the original nuclear-armed States (the U.S., Russia, the U.K, France, and China) will come together at the United Nations in New York City to review the Treaty’s operation. The recent Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons set up the potential for a direct challenge to the nuclear- armed States: States not possessing nuclear weapons will be demanding a new diplomatic process to achieve nuclear disarmament. It is long past time for the world’s governments to implement the global obligation to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world. We are at a crucial juncture, a time when the unresolved tensions of a deeply inequitable society, great power ambitions, and the destructive effects of an unsustainable economic system are exploding into overlapping crises. This petition campaign is part of the Peace & Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World. In a demonstration of their determination to build a fair, democratic, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful future, people will gather in New York City and around the world for international days of action April 24 – 26, 2015.
Admit that torture does not workThe popularity and acceptability of torture have soared in the United States and around the world. This is not simply because the United States has tortured. The U.S. government, many of its policies, its wars, and key torture supporters have not seen similar boosts in popularity. A major contributor to torture's improved image has been Hollywood, led by two productions that have popularized the false belief that torture can produce life-saving information. The U.S. Senate report's summary makes clear that torture has not worked in the real world. In fact, torture has generally not been used to stop an imminent attack, and has been used in some cases to compel agreement with lies about Iraqi links to al Qaeda -- lies aimed at starting a war. The fantasy situation in which a torturer knows his victim has life-saving information that cannot be obtained elsewhere, and that his victim won't lie, and that torture will work better than legal interrogation exists only in fiction. But belief in it creates acceptance of torture. Experts agree on this, but people need to hear it from the fictional experts they've heard of for it to seem real to them. People need to hear Keifer Sutherland, star of "24," and Kathryn Bigelow, director of "Zero Dark Thirty," admit that torture does not work in real life. Sutherland and Bigelow don't need to criticize or apologize for their art. They don't need to begin self-censoring. They just need to admit that they are aware of the facts, that torture did not help find Osama bin Laden, that torture has not prevented deaths or destruction -- quite the contrary. U.S. torture has been a recruiting bonanza for anti-U.S. terrorist groups. This fact is trumpted most loudly by defenders of torture and opponents of releasing reports, photos, or videos of what was done. The open secret that we need key public figures to acknowledge is that there's no up-side to weigh against the harm done. On March 1, 2015, the Independent claimed to change everything with this headline: "Revealed: How torture was used to foil al-Qaeda 2010 plot to bomb two airliners 17 minutes before explosion." The claims in the article are not well documented and quite possibly entirely false. There is no evidence that questioning without torture wouldn't have worked as well or better than torturing. The bomb in the story may have been planted in the first place as retaliation for torture. And the serious argument against torture is not "It's just wrong" but that allowing it creates its widespread use and contributes to other brutal policies including war that kill and injure countless people driving forward vicious cycles of violence. Torture creates enemies, causes horrific suffering, and dehumanizes the torturers including those who passively allow it. A torturer cannot know that someone has lifesaving information and is most likely to reveal it under torture. And once we pretend that a torturer might know that, we cannot stop the torturers from torturing large numbers of people. Learn more with: Gareth Porter: How the CIA Covered Up Its Lie on Torture and bin Laden http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28060-how-the-cia-covered-up-its-lie-on-torture-and-bin-laden Patrick Cockburn: CIA Torture Report: It Didn't Work Then, It Doesn't Work Now http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/torture-it-didnt-work-then-it-doesnt-work-now-9923288.html Donald Canestraro: Experienced Interrogator: Torture Doesn't Work http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/226866-experienced-interrogator-torture-doesnt-work
Defund Bratton's Army!Whether it's a counterterrorism-unit build up or mobile units for neighborhood “safety” and disorder control, New Yorkers say NO to Department of Homeland Security-funded NYPD militarization! The War Resisters League's campaign, "Demilitarize Health and Security," condemns the unveiling of a DHS-funded 900-officer counterterrorism and special operations overhaul by New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. According to Bratton, in amendments to his original statements on January 29th, both the 350-member counterterrorist auxiliary unit - equipped with "long rifles and machine guns" designed for "disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities" - and the 500-officer special-operations unit Strategic Response Group (SRG) mandated to monitor protests and “sudden rises in crime” will be rolled out in the Summer of 2015. Bratton’s conflation of “terrorism issues, crime issues and demonstrations issues” will only further criminalize our communities, violate our right to protest, and curtail our ability to survive and thrive. We demand an end to the build up of Bratton’s army because militarization is a threat to our safety! We urge Mayor de Blasio to stand with New Yorkers and call for the defunding of Bratton’s two newly proposed units. Together, we can create real solutions for community safety and wellness without tanks and assault rifles!
Stop Torture: Accountability: YES – Impunity: NOIt is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in the torture report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. It is critical that we hold accountable those who authorized, those who legally sanctioned and those who implemented the torture policies.
No New Nukes, Dismantle Old OnesIt is an outrage that the U.S. President is planning to ask the Congress for ONE TRILLION DOLLARS over the next 30 years to perpetuate the nuclear terror by building a new nuclear bomb factory, as well as new nuclear bombs, and their delivery systems -- missiles, planes and submarines capable of destroying all life on earth many times over. We can either eliminate all nuclear weapons or we can watch them proliferate. There’s no middle way. We can either have no nuclear weapons states, or we can have many. As long as some states have nuclear weapons others will desire them, and the more that have them the more easily they will spread to others still. If nuclear weapons continue to exist, there will very likely be a nuclear catastrophe, and the more the weapons have proliferated, the sooner it will come. Hundreds of incidents have nearly destroyed our world through accident, confusion, misunderstanding, and extremely irrational machismo. Recently nuclear bombs were mistakenly flown to Mississippi from their bases in North Dakota and no one knew they were missing for over 38 hours. And a number of soldiers with their finger on the nuclear button in the missile launch silos were dismissed for drunkeness and cheating on tests, while silo doors were found to be improperly secured. Possessing nuclear weapons does absolutely nothing to keep us safe, so that there is really no trade-off involved in eliminating them. They do not deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors in any way. Nor do they add an iota to a military’s ability to deter nations from attacking, given the United States’ ability to destroy anything anywhere at any time with non-nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China have all lost wars against non-nuclear powers while possessing nukes. The elimination of nuclear weapons is globally a widely recognized need, as well as a legally mandated action, and a step toward a world beyond war.
No to War, Hot or Cold, with RussiaNATO encirclement, the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border, a U.S. nuclear first-strike policy, are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy. Tensions between Russia and the U.S. are being fueled every day by players who would benefit financially from a resumption of the Cold War which, from 1948 to 1991 cost U.S. taxpayers $20 TRILLION dollars (in 2014 dollars), an amount exceeding our $18 trillion National Debt. The resolution just passed by the House calls for “the President, in consultation with Congress, to conduct a review of the force posture, readiness and responsibilities of United States Armed Forces and the forces of other members of NATO to determine if the contributions and actions of each are sufficient to meet the obligations of collective self-defense under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, and to specify the measures needed to remedy any deficiencies...” In other words, "let’s get ready for war with Russia." This is a dangerous and costly direction. Using diplomacy, rather than poor substitutes for it, would save dollars and lives, while allowing us to prioritize useful projects and collaborate with our international allies. This is a moment in which we all must raise our voices to make that change.
No War in Ukraine!The threat of nuclear war is very real. Currently US foreign policy towards Ukraine has made nuclear war with Russia far more likely. The United States has recklessly brought NATO – a nuclear armed alliance – into conflict with Russia – a nuclear armed state. Recently, Russia has unveiled an updated arsenal of nuclear weapons, which in turn has brought the US into a new nuclear arms race, obliterating the gains of nuclear disarmament and containment. This needs to stop if the world is to avoid yet more needless war.
Sign the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Depleted UraniumI served in the Parachute Regiment and the Special Air Service for eight years. I have spoken out about the reality of the war in Iraq on numerous occasions since I left the army but only recently have I learned about another of its cruel legacies; chemically toxic and radioactive depleted uranium (DU). I was not surprised last week when I heard the UK and US had voted against a United Nations General Assembly Resolution that asked states to provide help to Iraq in dealing with DU contamination and for UN agencies to carry out more research into its potential negative effects on public health and the environment. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has long argued that DU weapons are effective and necessary to save soldiers’ lives, but they refuse to take into account the effect on civilian populations that especially as they can continue long after a war has ended. When it is fired it creates a DU dust which, if breathed in, has the potential to mutate DNA and cause cancers and birth defects. In Iraq, the battles took place in towns and cities full of people. The Iraqi government knows of 300 contaminated sites today – hundreds more are unidentified. This contamination poses a threat to the Iraqi people, particularly pregnant women and children who are especially susceptible to exposure from toxic materials. The MoD claims that there is no evidence that DU has caused health problems in Iraq. However, there is no evidence because there have been no health studies carried out specifically on civilians living in contaminated areas. Last year, the former director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Iraq programme, Dr Neel Mani, said that the organisation knew of abnormal rates of health problems as far back as 2001. However, cynicism from ‘certain member states’ and a politicised funding structure had left them unable to do anything about it. He is not the first person to speak out but the denial and the political power of the offending states means that this public health crisis continues. Within Iraq, many people continue to speak out about this. The International Committee of the Red Cross have reports of being approached by tribal leaders who say that clean-up of DU ‘exceeded any other humanitarian concerns’. As the father to three beautiful, healthy children I found it so distressing when I heard Dr Samira Alaani, an Iraqi paediatrician report: ‘The first question I am asked when a child is born is not ‘is it a boy or a girl?’ but ‘is my child healthy?’ It makes me so angry that, for all of our promises of freeing Iraq, what we have left them is a toxic legacy that will last for generations to come. As a former soldier who fought in Iraq, I can safely say that this is not why I joined the British Army. Nor do I believe that many other soldiers are happy with the fact that they are being made complicit with these acts. Doctors across Iraq have been reporting much higher than normal incidences of cancer and birth defects for years now. It has been estimated that cleaning up the 300 known contamination sites would cost between US$30-45 million. To people like me and you that is a lot of money but to governments that have spent billions on war, it is a drop in the ocean. If they cannot afford to clean it up, they should not have made us use it in the first place. In December the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will take a second vote on a draft resolution on DU weapons. It will be the fifth one of its kind and will no doubt, once more, see a majority of the states vote in favour of it – 155 did last time. The UNGA draft resolution asks states that have fired DU to provide firing locations. It asks international organisations to carry out further research. It asks any states with the means to do so to provide assistance to countries affected by DU. It is not a lot to ask, so why do the UK and US persistently vote against these resolutions? Just last month the Iraqi government joined the doctors and people of Iraq in asking for help to clean up this mess and to conduct research into the problems their country is facing. They know they cannot do it alone; this will take an international effort and it needs to be done sooner rather than later. We must support the people of Iraq, which is why I am demanding that the UK and US support the current UN resolution. Please add your voice to this campaign and demand that the US and UK take responsibility for their actions.
Congress, Return to Session Immediately and Vote to End the U.S. War in Syria and Iraq.1. The U.S. government is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. 2. Many U.S. citizens want Congress to do its job, debate war powers and vote no to this illegal war. 3. If Congress voted Yes they would be violating the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. 4. It is immoral to wait months while innocent people are being killed, laws broken, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. 5. There are alternatives: pursue a ceasefire and negotiations, an arms embargo, work through the United Nations and the Arab League and provide humanitarian aid. 6. America should not let terrorists make us violate our own laws.