- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Law Enforcement
- Post Office
- Retirement and Healthcare
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.
Apologize to the people of LibyaBackground: In 2011, the Swedish government under prime minister Fredrik Reinfelt decided to participate in the Nato-led attack on Libya, which has led to chaos in Libya and caused many Libyans to flee their country. It is obvious that Sweden's involvement was much motivated by the desire to use the Swedish warplane Gripen in war, in order to help the manufacturer SAAB in the promotion of further sales of the plane. In August 2014, prime minister Fredrik Reinfelt appealed to the Swedish people to open their hearts to refugees. It would be a terrible hypocrisy if he does not also apologize to the people, who have become refugees in part because of his government's decision regarding Libya. Image: "Gripen ag2". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0-fr via Wikimedia Commons
Call For Independent Inquiry of the Airplane Crash in Ukraine and its Catastrophic AftermathIt’s important because there is so much misinformation and disinformation in the media that we are careening towards a new cold war with Russia over this. Initial Signatories for petition: (Organizations for Identification Only) Hon. Douglas Roche, OC, Canada David Swanson, co-founder, World Beyond War Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space Alice Slater, JD, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY Professor Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists David Hartsough, co-founder, World Beyond War Larry Dansinger, Resources for Organizing and Social Change Ellen Judd, Project Peacemakers Coleen Rowley, Women Against Military Madness Medea Benjamin, Code Pink Brian Noyes Pulling, M. Div. Anni Cooper, Peaceworks Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Veterans for Peace Raymond McGovern, former CIA analyst, VA Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance Gloria McMillan, Tucson Balkan Peace Support Group Ellen E. Barfield, Veterans for Peace Cecile Pineda, author. Devil's Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step Jill McManus Steve Leeper, Visiting professor, Hiroshima Jogakuin University,Nagasaki University Kyoto University of Art and Design William H. Slavick, Pax Christi Maine Helen Caldicott, Helen Caldicott Foundation David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Brigadier Vijai K Nair, VSM [Retd] Ph.D. , Magoo Strategic Infotech Pvt Ltd Kevin Martin, Peace Action Carol Reilly Urner, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Ann E. Ruthsdottir Kay Cumbow Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility Tiffany Tool, Peaceworkers Sukla Sen, Committee for Communal Amnity, Mumbai India Joan Russow, PhD, Coordinator, Global Compliance Research Project Rob Mulford, Veterans for Peace, North Star Chapter, Alaska Jacqueline Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation, United for Peace and Justice Ingeborg Breines, Co-president International Peace Bureau Judith LeBlanc, Peace Action Felicity Ruby Jerry Stein, The Peace Farm, Amarillo , Texas Michael Andregg, professor, St. Paul, Minnesota Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council, ret.: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Washington Robert Shetterly, artist, “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” Maine Katharine Gun, United Kingdom Dave Webb, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, UK Amber Garland, St. Paul, Minnesota John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus Beverly Bailey, Richfield, Minnesota Joseph Gerson, Convener, Working Group for Peace & Demiitarization in Asia and the Pacific Stephen McKeown, Richfield, Minnesota Dominique Lalanne, France Bill Rood, Rochester, Minnesota Tom Klammer, radio host, Kansas City, Missouri Barbara Vaile, Minneapolis, Minnesota Mali Lightfoot, Helen Caldicott Foundation Tony Henderson, spokesperson for universal humanism, Hong Kong Darlene M. Coffman, Rochester, Minnesota Sister Gladys Schmitz, Mankato, Minnesota Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.) J. Kirk Wiebe, NSA Senior Analyst (ret.), MD William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.) Jill Stein, Green Party 2012 Presidential nominee Cheri Honkala, Green Shadow Cabinet Ed Asner Norman Solomon, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting Agneta Norberg, Sweden Rick Rosoff, Stop NATO Kathleen Sullivan, Hibakusha Stories Michael Eisenscher, US Labor Against the War Clare Coss, playwright Jean-Marie Matagne, President, Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire (France) Carolyn Rusti Eisenberg, United for Peace and Justice Ben Manski, president, Liberty Tree Foundation
Marriott: Don’t Host Urban Shield!The militarized lockdown and attack on Ferguson's Black community is not an anomaly. Police repression is growing across the US and globally through coordinated efforts to militarize policing tactics and weapons. Local police departments are now directly funded by the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. From September 4th-8th, one such DHS-backed program, Urban Shield, will be hosted by Oakland's Marriott Hotel Convention Center through a contract with the City of Oakland. This event - hosting SWAT training, national and transnational police networking, and weaponry sales - is coordinated by the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI.) UASI is an initiative in which the St. Louis area police actively participate. The military tanks, tear-gas, rubber bullets and SWAT armor attacking the people of Ferguson are there because of these programs. People across communities are rising up to resist policing. We cannot allow this engine of state repression to continue. Take a stand with War Resisters League and our partners in Oakland to oppose Marriott's profiteering from the militarized repression of our communities. Build pressure against Urban Shield and the Marriott Hotel - sign and share this petition as a nonviolent demonstration of people power!