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No to NATO military exercises in UkraineWe note with great concern that U.S. and other NATO troops are scheduled to participate in joint military exercises in Ukraine in July as part of NATO’s Rapid Trident maneuvers. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Its participation in military exercises by a nuclear-armed alliance with a first-strike policy can only further destabilize the country.
Stop Fracked Gas Exports at Cove PointAt an idyllic place called Cove Point, just 50 miles south of the White House on the Chesapeake Bay, a company called Dominion Resources wants to build a massive export terminal to take gas from fracking wells across Appalachia, liquefy it and ship it overseas to be burned in Asia. Cove Point would be the first liquefied natural gas, or LNG, export terminal on the East Coast. It would trigger massive new amounts of climate pollution and incentivize a wave of new fracking and pipelines across the region – all so a few gas companies can make bigger profits. Given evidence that Dominion’s proposed Cove Point project will harm regional air and water quality, increase the demand for dangerous natural gas fracking, and trigger an exorbitant amount of greenhouse gas pollution – potentially equal to all of Maryland’s coal-fired power plants combined – this project is not in the public interest. The only way that FERC could possibly justify the Cove Point project is by sweeping the dangers under the rug, and that’s exactly what the draft “Environmental Assessment” (EA) does. If FERC takes any next step on this project, it must be to conduct a full, comprehensive, and credible Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), specifically one that: 1) Analyzes the “upstream” damage that Cove Point could trigger via expanded fracking and gas infrastructure, given that a major Pennsylvania fracking company – Cabot Oil & Gas - has committed to pipe gas to Cove Point for export. 2) Accounts for the cumulative, lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions Cove Point would trigger from fracking well to pipeline to tanker ship to final smoke stack. 3) Includes an independent, quantitative risk assessment of explosion hazards that could reach nearby homes. FERC’s reliance on Dominion’s own data – and Dominion’s proposed system of untested “vapor barrier” walls -- to dismiss off-site safety concerns is unacceptable. Any thorough and credible examination of the impacts of this project will show that the public and the environment will come out a significant loser, while the gas industry profits. I urge you to deny Dominion’s application right now or, at absolute minimum, conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement. FERC recently released a draft environmental review of this Cove Point project that sweeps its dangers under the rug – paving the way for Dominion and the gas industry. During the 30-day public comment period, it’s our turn to speak, and we need to make a LOT of noise. Find out more information at stopcovepoint.org!
President Obama: Act Now to Avoid War over UkraineIn 2014, on the one century anniversary of World War I, European nations are again mobilizing for war. The “War to All End Wars” began on July 28, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918, killing more than 9 million combatants. A 2014 war, involving the major European powers and the U.S., could kill many millions more. The Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors loaded with a 1000 tons or more of radioactive fuels. The largest nuclear reactor in Europe is on the Dnieper River, a little north of Crimea. Plus, there are the 4 Chernobyl reactors, still leaking radiation, still needing constant attention. The world cannot afford war in a region with nuclear reactors. Veterans For Peace, a U.S.-based organization of ex-military members and associates, has been following the crisis in Ukraine very closely. We who have experienced the horror and futility of war feel compelled to act urgently to head off the very real threat of war between nuclear-armed nations. We are appalled at the misinformation coming from the U.S. government officials and the mass media alike. The American people are not being told the truth: that the U.S. and western European nations bear much responsibility for this crisis by aggressively expanding NATO, even to the borders of Russia; that neo-Nazi militias played key roles in the violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government, that those same right-wing extremists now hold key positions in the interim Ukrainian government, which is being advised by CIA and FBI agents as it attacks Russian-speaking activists in eastern Ukraine, now conveniently labeled “terrorists.” It is critically important that we understand and take into account the legitimate concerns of different national groups and regions within Ukraine, and that we encourage diplomacy and a nonviolent outcome to this dangerous crisis. Washington and its European allies ought to reverse course and turn Ukraine into a field of cooperation rather than confrontation with Russia. Good relations with both Russia and the European Union are in the best interests of all the Ukrainian people. A just and peaceful resolution that averts the threat of war is in the interests of all the world's people. Veterans For Peace wishes to thank Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) for providing us with some of the analysis and wording for this petition.
Don't Send U.S. Troops (or more arms) to IraqThe Iraqi government is struggling with a devastated nation, in the wake of a war that killed a half a million to a million-and-a-half people, created millions of refugees, destroyed infrastructure, healthcare and education, and left behind environmental contamination that has produced an epidemic of cancer and birth defects. Using U.S. weapons, the Iraqi government is attacking other Iraqis, under the false belief that eventually this endless cycle of sectarian violence will lead to a stable civil society at peace with its neighbors and itself. What it is producing is more sectarian conflict that is degenerating into a civil war. Caught between the government and private militias are Iraqi citizens who simply want to rebuild their country and lead their lives in peace. And now U.S. troops and more arms are being sent back into what is quite clearly a civil war. We've been down that road before. We can't bomb Iraq into becoming a stable democratic country. If Iraqis establish a stable government that fairly represents all Sunnis, Shia, Kurds and Christians, ISIS will become isolated. If they do not, sending fighters, bombers, drones (and eventually troops) will only create another generation of Iraqis who see the U.S. as the enemy. This petition was posted by U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)
Sample Petition for a Local Resolution on DronesIn the absence of state or federal laws, localities around the United States are proceeding to put unmanned aerial vehicles in our skies as they see fit. The federal government has authorized the flight of 30,000 drones, and the use of drones up to 400 feet by police departments, at least 300 of which already have surveillance drones in operation. Drones are not safe. Surveillance by drones cannot comply with the Fourth Amendment. And the arming of drones with tear gas and rubber bullets, already under way in many U.S. localities, is an outrageous threat to our First Amendment right to assemble and petition our governments for a redress of grievances. City councilors and members of boards of supervisors take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. The same is established in the Jefferson Manual, the rulebook for the House originally written by Thomas Jefferson for the Senate. In 1967, a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey, 67 Cal.2d 325) that “one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known.” Abolitionists passed local resolutions against U.S. policies on slavery. The anti-apartheid movement did the same, as did the nuclear freeze movement, the movement against the PATRIOT Act, the movement in favor of the Kyoto Protocol, etc. Here are resolutions that have already passed and other resources: http://bit.ly/droneres START A PETITION LIKE THIS FOR YOUR LOCALITY AND ROOTSACTION CAN HELP YOU PROMOTE IT. Click "Start a campaign" at the top of this page to get started. Contact us for help: info at rootsaction dot org.
Assemblymember Marc Levine, stop being a corporate tool.In 2010 with its “Citizens United” ruling, and again this year in its “McCutcheon” ruling, the US Supreme Court has equated money with free speech and eliminated many of the restrictions on how much cash corporations and wealthy individuals may contribute to political campaigns. These rulings give great power to those who have megamillions to spend on electing politicians who will vote their way. Billionaires and huge corporations paying to put politicians into office is the opposite of democracy. As Comcast Executive Vice-President David L. Cohen said, “My priorities in political giving are Comcast’s priorities. I don’t kid myself.” Are big Pharma, Agribusiness and Assemblymember Levine’s other donors any different? Levine was elected to represent California Assembly District 10, which encompasses one of California’s most progressive regions: Marin County and part of Sonoma County. Yet he has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from big business interests, and has voted or abstained from voting in line with those interests instead of in the interests of his constituents in the district. It’s hard to believe that Mr. Levine is anything but a Corporate Democrat when we see six-figure donations from big business, while he toes the line and votes the way big business wants him to vote. Marc Levine, we urge you to return those donations, start voting the way your constituents want you to vote, and support public financing of campaigns!
Pass the Drone Strike Transparency BillThere's been a huge discrepancy between what the government has publicly said about who has been killed by U.S. drone strikes - in particular, how many civilians have been killed - and the record of independent reporting. Because of the secrecy of the program, there's been little accountability for this discrepancy. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have now introduced legislation (1) – the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act – to require an annual report on the number of combatants and civilians killed or injured annually by U.S. drone strikes. The requirement is retroactive for five years. It also requires that the report include the definitions of combatants and civilian noncombatants used. (2) The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act has been endorsed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. (3) References: 1. “H.R.4372 - To require the President to make publicly available an annual report on the use of targeted lethal force by remotely-piloted aircraft,” http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/4372/ 2. “Reps. Adam Schiff and Walter Jones Introduce Bipartisan Bill Requiring Annual Reporting on Drone Casualties,” April 2, 2014, http://schiff.house.gov/press-releases/reps-adam-schiff-and-walter-jones-introduce-bipartisan-bill-requiring-annual-reporting-on-drone-casualties/ 3. “Joint Statement in Support of The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act,” April 2, 2014, http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/joint-statement-in-support-of-the-targeted-lethal-force-transparency-act
Action Against Drones: IF NOT YOU, THEN WHO?On the occasion of Spring Days of Action against the killer drones the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance issues this call to action: The National Security Agency is not only violating the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution by taking away the privacy rights of Americans and others around the world, but contributing to the deaths and the maiming of innocents, including children, in the NSA's role supporting the US CIA and US Military drone strikes. The Obama Administration has already violated the 5th Amendment rights of Americans killed by the drones including Anwar al-Awlaki and his son in Yemen. International law has been violated, as the US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq are war crimes. The NSA is culpable, and we must nonviolently express our First Amendment rights and responsibilities under international law to oppose the US Government and the Obama Administration's extrajudicial killings carried out in our name and with our tax money. On Saturday, May 3, 2014 we will gather and peacefully assemble at the National Security Agency to hold a public witness against the its role in violations of international law, war crimes, and crimes against peace. Across the United States, citizen activists have been involved in challenging the killer drone program, and some of them have been arrested and jailed for being voices for the voiceless drone victims. The demonstration at the NSA will be nonviolent, and is open to all peace with justice people. Some participants may be moved to risk arrest, however, the demonstration is open to all. Please let the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance know if you are able to be at the NSA on May 3 by emailing Joy First at email@example.com A final planning meeting will be held on Friday May 2. Contact Malachy Kilbride at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on this important planning session. The NSA, former employer of Edward Snowden, is located at Fort Meade, Maryland where the courageous US war crimes whistle-blower, Chelsea Manning, was tried and convicted. If not you, then who, will join us on May 3, 2014? Come out for peace with justice for all and be a voice FOR the drone victims and AGAINST US militarism and the violence of empire. For more information contact Joy First, convener of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance at: email@example.com
Pass SB 1132 California Fracking MoratoriumLast year, under pressure from the oil industry, the California Legislature failed to pass a moratorium on fracking. Since then, fracking has continued to expand in California, putting our communities, our water supply and the climate at risk. Now we have another chance to pass a fracking moratorium bill. State Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno introduced SB 1132, a strong moratorium bill that, if passed, will protect California from fracking and other well stimulation techniques. SB 1132 just got a yes vote at the first committee hearing. The next vote is on April 30. We have a real opportunity to pass a fracking moratorium in California this year. The oil industry will spend huge amounts of money and political capital fighting this bill. We need your help before the next vote on April 30. Please sign the petition to urge our California State Legislators to vote yes on SB 1132 for a fracking moratorium now.