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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.
Negotiate with North Korea on Its Offer to Cancel Nuclear TestsThe DPRK government (North Korea) disclosed on Jan. 10, 2015, that it had delivered to the United States the day before an important proposal to “create a peaceful climate on the Korean Peninsula.” This year, we observe the 70th anniversary of the tragic division of Korea in 1945. The U.S. government played a major role in the arbitrary division of the country, as well as in the horrific Korean civil war of 1950-53, wreaking catastrophic devastation on North Korea, with millions of Korean deaths as well as the deaths of 50,000 American soldiers. It is hard to believe that the U.S. still keeps nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea today, even though the Armistice Agreement was signed back in 1953. According to KCNA, the North Korean news agency, the DPRK’s message stated that if the United States “contribute(s) to easing tension on the Korean Peninsula by temporarily suspending joint military exercises in South Korea and its vicinity this year,” then “the DPRK is ready to take such responsive steps as temporarily suspending the nuclear test over which the U.S. is concerned.” Unfortunately, it is reported that the U.S. State Department rejected the offer on Jan. 10, claiming that the two issues are separate. Such a quick spurning of the North’s proposal is not only arrogant but also violates one of the basic principles of the U.N. Charter, which requires of its members to “settle their international disputes by peaceful means.” (Article 2 ). To reduce the dangerous military tensions on the Korean Peninsula today, it is urgent that the two hostile States engage in mutual dialogue and negotiation for a peaceful settlement of the lingering Korean War, without any preconditions. The North's proposal comes at a time of increasing tensions between the U.S. and DPRK over a Sony film, which depicts a brutal CIA-induced assassination of the current North Korean leader. In spite of the growing doubts by many security experts, the Obama administration hastily blamed the North for last November’s hacking of the Sony Pictures’ computer system and subsequently imposed new sanctions on the country. Pyongyang proposed a joint investigation, denying its responsibility for the cyber-attacks. The winter U.S.-R.O.K. (South Korea) war drill usually takes place in late Feb. DPRK put its troops on high military alert on such occasions in the past and conducted its own war drills in response. Pyongyang regards the large-scale joint war drills as a U.S. rehearsal for military attacks, including nuclear strikes, against North Korea. In the last year’s drill, the U.S. flew in B-2 stealth bombers, which can drop nuclear bombs, from the U.S. mainland, as well as bringing in U.S. troops from abroad. In fact, these threatening moves not only provoke the North but also violate the Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953. Instead of intensifying further sanctions and military pressures against the DPRK, the Obama administration should accept the recent offer from the North in good faith, and engage in negotiations to reach positive agreements to reduce military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. INITIAL SIGNERS: John Kim, Veterans for Peace, Korea Peace Campaign Project, Coordinator Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY Dr. Helen Caldicott David Swanson, World Beyond War Jim Haber Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u.,Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk for Justice and Peace, U.S. Province David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Sheila Croke Alfred L. Marder,U.S. Peace Council David Hartsough, Peaceworkers, San Francisco, CA Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent/legal counsel and peace activist John D. Baldwin Bernadette Evangelist Arnie Saiki, Coordinator Moana Nui Regina Birchem, Women’s International League for Peace and Justice, US Rosalie Sylen, Code Pink, Long Island, Suffolk Peace Network Kristin Norderval Helen Jaccard, Veterans For Peace Nuclear Abolition Working Group, Co-chair Nydia Leaf Heinrich Buecker, Coop Anti-War Cafe Berlin Sung-Hee Choi, Gangjeong village international team, Korea Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War References: 1) NYT, 1/10/2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/world/asia/north-korea-offers-us-deal-to-halt-nuclear-test-.html?_r=0 2) KCNA, 1/10/2015 3) Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, “Strategic Patience with North Korea,” 11/21/2013, www.thediplomat/2013/11/strategic-patience-with-North-Korea.
FIre Top Three Secret Intelligence OfficialsTorture is not the only secret program that has failed to produce intelligence with integrity – this failure is true of every part of the secret world from the CIA, which relies on foreign liaison hand-outs for the bulk of its “clandestine” intelligence to the NSA, which processes less than 1% of what it collects, to the NRO and NGA that are inept at “Big Data” and incapable of providing all-source fused data to the end-user at a desk in Washington or in a foxhole abroad. This is about far more than torture – this is about the complicity of military and civilian intelligence in assassinating thousands (with a documented 98% innocents along the way) while spending over a trillion dollars in a manner that is not helpful to Whole of Government strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations. SHORT URL for Open Letter: http://tinyurl.com/fire-intel-3
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.
Increase funding to the World Food Programme to support Syrian refugeesNearly four years of civil and sectarian conflict in Syria has created a humanitarian crisis on a scale not seen since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Nearly 200,000 have been killed, while almost half of Syria's population has been displaced. While just under 7 million remain displaced inside of Syria, over 3 million have fled and sought refuge and protection in the fragile neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and northern Iraq. Since June 2013, Road to Mafraq, Inc. has partnered with grassroots movements and NGOs serving refugees in Jordan in an effort to help meet some of the physical and emotional needs facing Jordan's 630,000 registered Syrian refugees. To date, we have raised nearly $22,000 to support their efforts. The families we serve are not permitted to legally work inside of Jordan and therefore, they rely solely on the World Food Programme voucher system for food assistance. The NGO's we partner with assist them in getting additional needs met. The WFP voucher system is vital not only to helping Syrians get proper nutrition, but also to preserving their dignity, as it allows them flexibility in food choices. Furthermore, it supports the local Jordanian economy, which has been devastated by the strain of supporting the rapid and mass influx of Syrians, by allowing refugees to buy locally. Due to a lack of fulfillment of government pledges to the World Food Programme, over 1.7 million Syrian refugees have been cut off from food assistance effective December 1, 2014. If assistance is not immediately restored to these families, the impact to the people of Syria and the nations that host them will be devastating, expansive, and irreversible. The families we serve cannot make it without WFP food assistance. They will be forced to make very difficult and potentially dangerous choices in order to feed their families. This includes, but is not limited to: -- Engaging in illicit work -- Sending their children to work -- Putting their children in compromising and dangerous situations, including marrying off their young girls or selling their children into prostitution -- Returning to Syria for lack of better opportunity in Jordan, where the situation remains very unsafe, and their status as having fled the regime as refugees leaves them vulnerable to violent retaliation by the Syrian regime When we visit with Syrian families in Jordan, they always want to know one thing: "Why is the world ignoring us? How can they sit by and watch this happen to us?" The United States and other wealthy nations have the opportunity to prove these families wrong; to show that the world is not ignoring them; to remind them that we see them, we hear them, and we care for them. Please act now to fully fund the U.S.'s current pledge to the UN's World Food Programme and to increase this assistance beyond our current obligations to ensure that Syria's refugees do not go hungry this winter.
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.
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
Pardon Dr. Michael BransomeWe must honor dissenters as we honor in this case vets, and in this case because the dissenters were right, and we leave no one behind. When so many pardons are being given to convicted drug dealers, we should grant pardons to (as many) addiction experts (as possible), too. Doing the right thing is always important.