Palestine in Pictures: June 2021
Palestinian children gather at their home in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, destroyed in recent Israeli airstrikes, 1 June.APA images
SEEKING JUSTICE FOR THE UNKNOWING, UNWILLING, AND UNCOMPENSATED, INNOCENT VICTIMS OF THE JULY 16, 1945, TRINITY TEST IN SOUTH CENTRAL NEW MEXICO
Trinity Downwinders: 75 Years And Waiting
DID YOU KNOW
There were families living as close as 12 miles to the Trinity test site in 1945 and there were Thousands of families living in a 50 mile radius.
The bomb was a plutonium based bomb and it was packed with 13 pounds of weapons grade plutonium but only 3 pounds of the plutonium fissioned. The remaining 10 pounds of plutonium was joined with the soil, sand, animal and plant life and incinerated. The resultant fireball exceeded the atmosphere and penetrated the stratosphere traveling more than 7 miles high.
The bomb produced more heat and more light than the sun. Many people who we’ve spoken to that were alive at the time thought they were experiencing the end of the world.
Plutonium has a half life of more than 24,000 years. Once the radioactive ash fell from the sky as fallout it settled on everything on the soil, in the water and on the skin of every living thing both human and animal.
In 1945 most if not all the small villages inside a 50 mile radius of the Trinity Site had no running water. The water sources at the time were cisterns, holding ponds or ditches. As a result of the fallout the water sources were contaminated.
In 1945 there were no grocery stores in the small villages surrounding the Trinity site. All the meat, dairy and produce people consumed was either raised, harvested or grown by them. It too was contaminated.
As a result of the overexposure to radiation, there was an increase in infant mortality in the months following the Trinity test in New Mexico. The National average death rate was 38.3 deaths per thousand live births, and the average in New Mexico was 100.8 deaths per thousand, which was the highest in the nation. A paper that addresses this issue, was published by Tucker/Alvarez in 2019, titled Trinity: “The most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project”, which you can access here.
Since 1990 the US Government has been compensating “Downwinders” who lived adjacent to the Nevada Test Site. The fund set up to extend compensation and medical care is called the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). The Downwinders in New Mexico have never been included or compensated although they were the first people to be exposed to radiation any place in the world. New Mexicans were also downwind of the Nevada test site through the summer of 1962, well documented.
The fund has paid out more than 2.3 billion dollars in claims and provides much needed health care coverage to some claimants. The health care coverage portion, if extended to the people of New Mexico, would save lives and reduce the financial burden to patients and families as they travel from their rural communities to receive treatment.
The TBDC is fighting for the same compensation that other Downwinders receive, and for the health care coverage to be extended to all Downwinders. We often say we don’t want one dime more or one dime less than what other Downwinders are receiving and have received for over 30 years.
On June 27, 2018, a representative of the TBDC testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about the need to amend the RECA in order to compensate the New Mexico Downwinders. The testimony is available here. The hearing begins at 20 minutes. Tina Cordova, co-founder of TBDC, begins her testimony at 1:02:20.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC PLACES DOWNWINDERS AT GREATER THAN NORMAL RISK
Members of the TBDC Steering Committee have completed a letter to the US Congressional Leadership requesting that they add the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) Amendments in House Bill, HR 3783 to any of the upcoming COVID-19 relief bills under consideration. Over 120 organizations from all across the country, Canada, Guam and the Pacific Islands have signed onto the letter in support. Please see the full letter here.
Letter from peace allies to the Progressive Caucus & the House Defense Spending Reduction Caucus/Committee and Subcommittee Chairs:
As peace and social justice organizations calling for human-centered security and opposed to the proposed record high military budget, please send a version of the letter below to House and Senate lawmakers who oversee budgeting for the Pentagon and Department of Energy:
As members of the United States Congress sent to Washington to provide oversight and serve our constituents, we stand united in our opposition to the proposed increased $753 billion military budget and urge you to reduce the military budget by at least 10%-30% , exempting military pay and benefits, before the budget leaves your committee.
It is time to shift to a human-centered definition of security that prioritizes the urgent needs of those highlighted in the Poor People’s Campaign for a moral budget. The campaign points out that 87-million Americans lack adequate health care coverage, eleven million people are houseless, 35 million are food insecure and one in three Black and Latinx households are steeped in debt. .
We call for re-evaluating US priorities to reduce Pentagon and Department of Energy spending to instead invest in health care, education, housing, climate sustainability, racial justice and more. We call this the Peace Dividend: increased investment in public goods as the result of winding down US wars.
With President Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and his review of the necessity of 800 overseas bases in 80 countries, we expect and hope to spend less, not more on the military. We reject a proposed US pivot to Asia that increases troop deployments to the South China Sea, opens new military bases, and greenlights nuclear warships and mock nuclear strikes--all of which threaten to provoke another war, this one with a nuclear armed nation.
We stand united in opposition to spending billions of dollars in 2022, $1.7 trillion over the next decades, to develop new nuclear weapons that will escalate the arms race, increase the odds of a catastrophic accident and risk global annihilation.
Respectfully, we ask committee chairs preparing the military budget to remove expenditures for new nuclear weapons from the base bill or any document that merges with an overall budget bill, scrap the euphemistically titled “nuclear modernization” plan that fails to reflect modern thinking on the imperative of peace in the midst of a global climate crisis, budget to begin closing some overseas bases and re-evaluate billions of dollars for a US Space Force that will also escalate the arms race.
Progressive Democrats of America
World BEYOND War
Rainforest Action Network
Physicians for Social Responsibility
United for Peace and Justice
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Veterans For Peace
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom US
Women Against Military Madness
United We Dream Network
Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW
Nuclear Free World Committee
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team
Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement
War Resisters League
Women Cross DMZ
An Economy of Our Own
U.S. Peace Council
WORLD PEACE NETWORK
Massachusetts Peace Action
Wisconsin Peace Action
INVESTING IN CURES BEFORE MISSILES ACT
For years, many weapons experts and activists have been warning that ICBMs are the single most dangerous part of the nuclear threat that hangs over all of us. Now, some members of Congress are stepping up to do something about it -- and you can do something to help in the next couple of minutes.
Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Ro Khanna have introduced a bill that would curtail the current plans to sink vast amounts of money into a new version of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), and instead would devote resources to developing a universal coronavirus vaccine that would save countless lives.
Now, the bill needs co-sponsors -- and you can quickly send emails to your senators and representative to urge them to sign onto this vital bill.
The new ICBM program is part of an unhinged plan to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal at a projected cost of $1.7 trillion. This plan would not only squander money that's desperately needed to meet human needs -- it would also make everyone less safe, because ICBMs are on "hair-trigger" alert due to their vulnerability on the ground.
Long story short, ICBMs increase the risks of nuclear annihilation.
RootsAction strongly supports the Markey-Khanna "ICBM Act" as a step toward sanity. We urge you to take action as a constituent to use our action page and quickly send emails to your members of Congress on this crucial matter.
The lives we save could include our own and those of our loved ones.
For more information, please see the Background links below.
>> News Release: Sen. Markey, Rep. Khanna Introduce the â€œICBM Actâ€
>> Text of "ICBM Act"
>> Report from the Center for International Policy: " Inside the ICBM Lobby: Special Interests or the National Interest?"
Arms & Security Program CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICY
TRANSFERRING ARMS TO THE UAE IS
April 2021 | Washington, D.C. NOT IN U.S. SECURITY INTERESTS
William D. Hartung | Arms & Security Program
MQ-9 armed drones, and $10 billion in bombs and missiles to the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) contradicts its pledge to make human rights and long-term U.S. interests the central
factors in deciding which nations to supply with U.S. arms. The UAE is an unreliable partner
that has fueled conflict, transferred U.S.-supplied weapons to extremist groups, and inflicted
severe human rights abuses on its own population. Its conduct has done more harm than
good with respect to U.S. security interests. Whatever pledges the UAE may make regarding
its use of the U.S. weapons involved in the current package, the UAE’s record does not
inspire confidence that it will abide by them.
Conduct that should disqualify the UAE from receiving U.S. arms includes:
• Despite claims to the contrary, the UAE continues to play a role in the brutal war in
Yemen, which has resulted in nearly a quarter of a million deaths and pushed millions
to the brink of famine, even as it has created more space for extremist groups like Al
Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to operate and recruit new members and driven
the Houthi rebels closer to Iran.
U.S. and Emirati soldiers participate in joint exercise Native Fury 20 in the United Arab Emirates on March 15, 2020. Sgt. Kyle McNan U.S. Marine Corps/DVIDS
Arms & Security Program CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICY
• The UAE is a primary supplier of weaponry to the forces of Gen. Khalifa Haftar in Libya
and has engaged in drone strikes that have killed civilians, all in violation of a United
Nations arms embargo. There is also evidence to suggest it has financed the Wagner
Group, a collection of Russian-backed mercenaries fighting in Yemen.
• The UAE has transferred U.S. supplied weapons, including armored vehicles, to extremist militias in Yemen, some of which have ties to AQAP. The UAE has security ties to Russia and China and has purchased Russian missile defense systems, raising the danger of
sensitive U.S. technology being supplied to these two nations.
• The weapons in the $23 billion package are more likely to be used in wars like those in
Libya and Yemen than to deter or fight Tehran.
• UAE purchases of arms from Russia could subject it to sanctions under the Countering
America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which, if enforced, could preclude it from receiving advanced U.S. weaponry, as happened with Turkey with respect
to its purchases of Russian S-400s and its exclusion from the F-35 program.
• The sale of F-35s to the UAE could open the door to sales of these aircraft to other Gulf
States, spurring an arms race in the region.
• The sales will likely include the transfer of U.S. technology and jobs to the UAE via offset
agreements with U.S. companies. For example, the UAE is seeking the opportunity to
build parts for the F-35 that will be used not just on the jets they are purchasing but on
all U.S. F-35s produced worldwide, reducing jobs in the United States as a result.
Destruction caused to a Yememi school in Sa’ada by 2015 Saudi-led coalition airstrike. Philippe Kropf/United Nations OCHA Flickr
Tuesday, April 6, 7 PM, Capitol Calling Party: Immigration Justice
On Tuesday, April 6, 2021,. CODEPINK Congress will ask the question: What would immigration justice look like? We will be joined by two guests:
Arturo Viscarra, an immigration attorney living in Mexico and working with The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), will discuss the influx of migrants at the border and CHIRLA’s campaign for a moratorium on immigrant arrests and deportations, as well as a path to citizenship.
President Biden, who halted the construction of the border wall, has come under criticism following the release of photos showing migrant children in Texas packed together in makeshift rooms with mattresses on the floor. In response, the administration announced the opening of “16,000 emergency beds for migrant children” in new housing facilities.
Despite Republican charges that Biden advocates "open borders," the Biden administration has left Trump's policy of expelling asylum seekers in place.
So what's the answer? Let's talk about it, then take action!
After our discussion, join us for our Capitol Calling Party to ask members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 694, the Roadmap to Freedom (Jayapal, D-WA), & H.R. 536, the New Way Forward Act to provide a path to citizenship, promote family reunification & end mandatory detention for some immigrants.
End US Neocolonialism in Haiti
March 29 is the anniversary of the 1987 Haitian Constitution written after the 1986 overthrow of the brutal Jean-Claude Duvalier dictatorship. The 1987 Constitution was designed to create “a socially just, economically free, and politically independent Haitian nation.” Those ideals are again in crisis.
The US-backed de facto president of Haiti Jovenel Moïse is refusing to leave office even though his term ended on February 7. Moïse and his Western allies – the US, Canada, Brazil, France, Spain and the European Union – are trying to push through a new constitution that takes power away from the people
The Haitian people have been bravely holding mass demonstrations, especially on Sundays, for months calling for Moïse to step down so they can appoint an interim leader and hold an election. The state response to their demonstrations has been violent repression.
The Biden administration and the Democrats who have been so vocal over Trump’s threats to stay in office are enabling the same behavior by a president in Haiti. The Biden administration and Democrats have loudly stated that Black lives matter while being silent about the violence perpetrated against Haitians.
We demand that the Biden administration:
1. End its support for Jovenel Moïse.
2. Withdraw from participation in Haiti’s constitutional process.
3. Stop interfering in the internal affairs of Haiti.
4. Stop deporting Haitians who are fleeing their country.
More destroyers to defend America?
Bath Iron Works here in Maine presently is working on six new destroyers at the shipyard. They have put a call out for even more workers. In their call they say, "Shipfitters and Pipefitters! Pipefitters are responsible for installing the 30 miles of pipe it takes to build an Arleigh Burke [Aegis] destroyer. If you have plumbing knowledge, experience reading a tape measure and basic math skills, join our team as a Pipefitter and help us build the ships that defend America!"
That's quite interesting - the defend America bit. Once these warships are sent to sea they are no where near American shores. Right now two of them are harassing Russia in the Black Sea and they've lately been repeatedly bumping up against the Chinese coastline 'defending the right of passage in international waters'. Yeah right...
Can't we just admit the truth here? It is about profit$ for General Dynamics (which owns BIW) and also about a forward deployed aggressive US naval strategy. These destroyers carry first-strike attack nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missiles onboard. They also have SM-3 interceptor missiles that are the shield to pick-off Chinese or Russian nuclear retaliatory responses after a Pentagon first-strike attack. (Something that is annually war-gamed at the Space Command in Colorado.)
These warships are about offense not defense!
Just last week the Maine and Mississippi congressional delegations sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Navy shipbuilding. (The two naval shipyards that build large surface warships are in Maine and Mississippi.)
In the letter the two congressional delegations said, "We write to express our strong support for a robust Navy shipbuilding budget, including funding for the continued procurement of Large Surface Combatants, and urge you to endorse unambiguously the long-standing and congressionally mandated requirement for a larger Navy fleet... China, which each of you identified during your recent Senate nomination hearings as the foremost national security challenge facing our nation, currently has the largest Navy in the world, including approximately 350 ships... In the era of great-power competition, a stronger U.S. Navy capable of projecting power around the world [my emphasis] is necessary to ensure America’s national and economic security during peacetime as well as to defeat our adversaries should deterrence fail."
(At least they admit that the purpose of these warships is projecting power around the world and not the tired old excuse of 'defending America' as the young potential workers are misleadingly told by BIW.)
Among the signers of the letter was Maine's 'most liberal' representative in Washington, Rep. Chellie Pingree (Democrat from Maine's southern first district). Pingree claims to care about the poor and unemployed, climate crisis, and all the other hot-button issues that liberals usually demand more money to deal with. But she always votes for more Pentagon spending and of course more warships for BIW.
Rep. Pingree is the classic liberal who talks a good game about the need for social spending but then turns around and ensures that there won't be enough money to deal with human, environmental and infrastructure needs because the Pentagon is sitting on the buried national treasure chest. Typical pirate behavior.
Where do the Aegis go?
As the Pentagon accelerates deployment of US warships around the globe, they must have more ports to dock at for fuel and resupply. So in places like the Philippines (where the US was kicked out of in 1992, but now back), South Korea (where a new Navy base was forced on Jeju Island that has ripped apart a 500-year old fishing and farming community), Japan, Guam, Australia, and Okinawa local residents oppose these increased deployments. Why? Two basic reasons, first it makes them a prime target if a war starts and secondly, in every case, these toxic military bases destroy the local environment.
Do you think the 'good liberal' Rep. Pingree cares about the environmental damage that accompanies these destroyers as they port in these various nations? Obviously not. During the Obama administration his ambassador to Japan was Carolyn Kennedy (daughter of JFK). For years the people of Okinawa begged that 'good liberal' to meet and hear their pleas about expanding US bases on their island. Her answer? No meeting.
That's just in the Pacific. The warships that are sent to poke Russia with the nuclear-stick are similarly ported at US bases throughout the Mediterranean region and in the Nordic region where they are making aggressive maneuvers in the Barents Sea. As I noted above, right now these destroyers are in the Black Sea.
If we are honest about this situation, it is quite apparent just who the aggressor really is. If China or Russia had military bases in Mexico, Canada or Cuba then Washington would be going ballistic! But when Washington does it in reverse, it is always sold to the public as 'defending democracy' and other claptrap like that.
It's no wonder much of the world hates the USA today. Our blind arrogance rankles the people in these nations that see how the US is provoking WW III which will reduce their homelands to radioactive dust.
Isn't it time for the American people to wake up and stop swallowing the 'liberal' line about 'projecting power to defend the freedom of navigation'?
Our focus in 2020
- How is the UN dealing with corona virus pandemic?
- How is corona virus pandemic impacting UN disarmament processes?
- Will the UN Security Council support or block the Korea peace and denuclearisation process?
- How will the UN deal with the unravelling of the INF Treaty?
- Will the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enter-into force? If so, will it make any difference?
Keep informed and engaged with UNFOLD ZERO.
Protect People and the Planet:
Appeal for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World
Global Appeal to end the nuclear threat, abolish nuclear weapons and shift the weapons budgets and investments to support public health, COVID-19 recovery, the climate and sustainable development.
The nuclear weapons possessed by nine countries threaten us all. Any use of these weapons by accident, miscalculation or malicious intent, would have catastrophic human, economic and environmental consequences. The use of just a small fraction of the 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world’s stockpiles could end civilization as we know it.
In addition, the $100 billion spent annually on nuclear weapons is sorely needed for environmental, economic and human needs, including addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the climate and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
We, the undersigned, call on our cities, parliaments and governments to:
- Affirm that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and therefore the nuclear armed States should stand down their nuclear forces and affirm policies never to initiate a nuclear war (no-first-use policies);
- Commit to the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations;
- Cut nuclear weapons budgets (if they are a nuclear-weapon State), end investments in the nuclear weapons industry (all governments), and redirect these investments and budgets to support the United Nations, COVID-19 management and recovery, drastic reductions in carbon emissions to protect the climate, and financing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
January 22: Global Action Day for the Entry into Force
- In the city of Nagasaki, a special countdown clock tower has been established in front of the Nagasaki City Council; it will celebrate turning to zero at midnight local time.
- Diet Member’s Building, Tokyo / 10:00-16:00 (TBC): A delegation of Hibakusha will meet with Japanese government officials and Diet members to urge Japan to sign and ratify the TPNW (subject to cancellation or downscale due to the current state of emergency)
- Survivors and local citizens will gather in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima at 6pm local time to create a candle message (18:00)
- School children will gather in front of the Children’s Peace Monument in the Hiroshima Peace Park (18:30)
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will host a live international news conference at 10 a.m. EST/1500 GMT on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, to announce the 2021 time of the Doomsday Clock. The news conference will take place virtually via Zoom. Watch the announcement live on our website or on our Facebook page.
Speakers for the Doomsday Clock announcement on January 27, 2021 include:
- Governor Jerry Brown, executive chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; former Governor, State of California
- Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, member, The Elders; former Prime Minister, Norway; former Director-General, World Health Organization
- Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Dr. Rachel Bronson, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
- Dr. Steve Fetter, Science and Security Board member, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; associate provost, dean of the graduate school, and professor of public policy, University of Maryland
- Dr. Asha George, Science and Security Board member, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; executive director, Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
- Dr. Susan Solomon, Science and Security Board member, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For Immediate Release
MONDAY, DECEMBER 21
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK, [email protected], 415-235-6517
Marcy Winograd, Progressive Democrats of America, [email protected], 424-443-9338
Jeremy Varon, Witness Against Torture, [email protected] ,732-979-3119
Torture Victims & Their Advocates Oppose Morell & Haines for National Security Positions in the Biden Administration.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, torture survivors and their advocates released an Open Letter urging President-Elect Biden not to nominate torture defender Mike Morell for CIA Director and asking the Senate not to approve Biden’s nominee Avril Haines, a torture enabler, as Director of National Intelligence. The letter was also delivered this morning to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as President-Elect Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris.
Signatories include: Mansoor Adayfi, a writer from Yemen imprisoned for 14 years without charge at Guantanamo Bay, where he was force fed for two years; Moazzam Begg, a British-Pakistani ex-Guantanamo detainee and Outreach Director for CAGE, a service organization for torture survivors and communities impacted by the War on Terror; Sister Dianna Ortiz, a US missionary tortured by members of the CIA-funded Guatemalan army; Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Whistleblower and Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell; John Kiriakou, former CIA officer imprisoned after exposing CIA waterboarding; and musician Roger Waters (formerly with Pink Floyd), whose song “Each Small Candle” is a tribute to torture victims.
The organizers of the letter, Marcy Winograd of Progressive Democrats of America, Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, and Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture, have been lobbying against the inclusion of torture apologists in the Biden administration since the August Democratic National Convention, Their efforts include a letter to Biden from 450 DNC delegates, a CODEPINK petition signed by over 4,000, and calls to the offices of the Senators on the Intelligence Committee. “When we started this campaign,” says 2020 DNC Delegate Marcy Winograd, “Morell was considered the frontrunner, but opposition to his disgraceful defense of torture has cast a pall on his nomination. We want to make sure his nomination is off the table, and that Biden and the Senate also understand we reject Avril Haines for her complicity in suppressing evidence of CIA torture,”.
Morell, a CIA analyst under Bush and Deputy and Acting CIA Director under Obama, has defended the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program, objecting to use of the word “torture” to characterize waterboarding, sleep deprivation, starvation diets, sexual humiliation, hypothermia and painful bodily contortions. Morrell also falsely claimed that torture “worked” in foiling terrorists plots. In addition, Morell defended the CIA’s destruction of nearly 90 videotapes documenting brutal interrogations at CIA black site prisons.
As CIA Deputy Director from 2013-2014, Avril Haines overruled the CIA Inspector General in choosing not to punish agency personnel accused of hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers during their investigation into the CIA’s use of torture. She was also part of the team that suppressed evidence of CIA torture by redacting the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark torture report, reducing a 6,000 page document to 500 pages.
Both Morell and Haines supported Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to CIA Director — a nomination that then-Senator Kamala Harris, other prominent Democrats, and Senator John McCain opposed. Haspel supervised a black site prison in Thailand and authorized a memo authorizing the destruction of CIA videotapes documenting torture.
Jeremy Varon, Witness Against Torture:
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised to restore transparency, integrity, and respect for the rule of law to government. So how can their National Security team be led by people who endorsed, or tried to cover up, the clear crime of torture? It makes no sense.”
Djamel Ameziane, Former Guantanamo Prisoner (2002-2013):
“Elevating torture apologists to a leadership position within the Biden administration will damage the USA’s standing and give the world’s dictators succor and comfort.”
Jeffrey Kaye, Author, “Cover-Up at Guantanamo:
“Morell and Haines have put loyalty to CIA torturers above adherence to US treaties and domestic law, as well as basic morality. To allow them to serve in government would send a message to all that accountability for torture is passé, and that war crimes will always be dismissed with a wink from those in high office.”
John Kiriakou, Former CIA officer who blew the whistle on agency torture:
“Morell has disingenuously said that he was unaware of the CIA’s torture program at the same time that he was the Agency’s fourth-ranking officer. As deputy CIA Director and Acting CIA Director, he oversaw illegal activities around the world. I can’t believe that any sane person could or would consider Mike Morell as a serious candidate for CIA Director.”
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK:
“We can’t allow the new Biden administration to include people who have been involved–in any way–in heinous acts of torture. That’s why we are part of a groundswell of opposition to both Mike Morell and Avril Haines for key intelligence positions. No torture apologists should be allowed to serve in this administration. Period.”
Torture Survivor Mansoor Adayfi on Morell’s assertion that torture is effective: “In Guantanamo, when they put you under very bad circumstances—like 72 hours under very cold air conditioning, and you are tied to the ground and someone comes and pours cold water on you—you are going to tell them whatever they want you to say. I will sign anything, I will admit anything!,” says Dayfi.
Torture Survivor Moazzem Begg on his treatment at Bagram Air Base before arriving at Guantanamo: “They tied me up with my hands behind my back to my legs, kicked me in the head, kicked me in the back, threatened to take me to Egypt to be tortured, to be raped, to be electrocuted. They had a woman screaming in the next room whom I believed at that time was my wife. They bought pictures of my children and told me I would never see them again.”
Colonel Larry Wilkerson, torture whistleblower: “Kidnapping, torture and assassination have no place in a democracy and turn the CIA into a secret police …Abuses of the kind documented in the Senate’s report could happen again.”
James Dorsey, attorney for released Guantanamo detainee Ahcene Zemiri. “As a Marine Corps veteran, I have always understood that when our servicemen have been captured and tortured in the past, a real source of strength for them has been knowing that their country would never engage in such conduct. “
Also available for interviews:
Send a message to Michigan's Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) today.
American Rivers, a national conservation group, has designated the Menominee River on the Michigan-Wisconsin border, one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the U.S. because of the threat of toxic sulfide mining next to the river.
Please go to American Rivers' website and send a message to Michigan's Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to ban the dangerous tailings dam associated with toxic mining and deny a permit for the proposed Back Forty mine:
More information at https://www.americanrivers.org/
Alert sent to WNPJ by Al Gedicks of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council- [email protected]
Nukes + climate change is a dangerous combo
KOREA PEACE NOW! Peace Action of WI Zoom Meeting October 8, 2020, Thursday at 7 PM, central time
Update from the Korea Peace Network by National Peace Action’s Kevin Martin and UWM Professor Nan Kim of Women Cross DMZ
The Korea Peace Network, coordinated by Peace Action President Kevin Martin, is a network comprised of peace, social justice, human rights, faith, veterans and Korean-American groups and individuals advocating peace on the Korean peninsula.
War with North Korea should be avoided at all costs. Even a limited military strike would very likely lead to war with North Korea, which would imperil millions of lives. It’s time to try diplomacy without preconditions. Successful diplomacy is about open-minded dialogue, not making demands. Urge your members of Congress to join our call for direct diplomacy with North Korea, and an end to the Korean War.
Women Cross DMZ
On May 24, 2015 thirty women peacemakers from fifteen countries, including Nan Kim, crossed the De-Militarized Zone from North to South Korea on International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament. They held peace symposia with hundreds of Korean women in Pyongyang and Seoul and walked with 10,000 women on the streets of Pyongyang, Kaesong and Paju. They walked to call world attention to the un-ended Korean war, unite families, and ensure women’s leadership in the peace building process.
Stop Teaching War and Killing at Marquette University!
Stand with Us Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, at 11:30 AM
Rally be at 14th and Wisconsin, in front of the Raynor Memorial Library.
Marquette Hosts Three Department of Defense military programs, the Department of Navy/Marines, Department of Army, and Department of the Air Force. These three Department of Marquette are fully funded by the Department of Defense and serve all colleges and universities in Southeastern Wisconsin that are forced by US government to offer ROTC training for students in order to qualify for all US funds and grants by the Solomon Amendment of 1996. The law requires colleges and universities to offer ROTC training but not to host it. MU is the host for all colleges and universities in SE Wisconsin MU also supports militarization via Defense grants and investments.
Golden Eagle Battalion Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at Marquette, Martin Luther King, Jr
Sponsored by the Ad Hoc Stop Militarism at Marquette University Committee of the End the Wars Coalition of Milwaukee. Signs will be provided.
On Thursday, April 9, fast from sunrise to sunset in solidarity with the people of Yemen.
JWE launching webinar series on Syria March 25
Just World Admin March 18, 2020
We are delighted to announce that on March 25, we’ll be launching a web-based educational program, “Commonsense on Syria.” This series of 10 webinar sessions aims to expand the discourse on Syria here in the United States (and elsewhere) by presenting interactive, web-based panel discussions among people with real expertise on Syria. Our panelists will represent a range of views, including views that have been un- or under-represented in Western corporate media over the past decade.
“Commonsense On Syria” will run biweekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from March 25 through April 25. Each session will start at 1 pm New York Time and will last 45-60 minutes.
The full schedule of the 10 sessions is given below. Registration is required for each session: it is currently open for the first two sessions. Click on the links to register:
- Session 1, March 25: “Introduction to Syria, its people, and history pre-2011.” This session will feature Amb. Peter Ford and Prof. Joshua Landis. Shorts bios are below.
- Session 2, March 28: “The Syrian Uprising in the context of the Arab Spring.” This one will feature Prof. Richard Falk and Ms. Vanessa Beeley. Their bios are below.
Session 1, March 25:
The first session of the series, March 25, will be “Introduction to Syria, its people, and history pre-2011” and will feature two great experts:
** Amb. Peter Ford, who was the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Syria, 2003-2006. Ford went on from there to be the chief representative of the head of the UN agency UNRWA to the Arab world. In that capacity he traveled throughout the Arab world, including on a number of occasions to Syria, which is host to more than 500,000 UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugees.
** Prof. Joshua Landis, who is the Sandra Mackey Chair and Director, Center of Middle East Studies & Arabic at the University of Oklahoma. Landis has published widely on Syria and is the publisher of (and a frequent writer at) the “Syria Comment” blog.
JWE President Helena Cobban, who has also researched and written widely on Syria, will be moderating the discussion.
Session 2, March 28:
Session 2 will be “The Syrian Uprising in the context of the Arab Spring”, and will feature a probing discussion (moderated by Helena Cobban) between these two great panelists:
** Prof. Richard Falk, a world-renowned expert on international law who spent six years, 2008-14 as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories. (We are also proud that Falk is a member of the Just World Ed board.)
** Ms. Vanessa Beeley, a British journalist who has reported from Libya, Syria and elsewhere. Beeley was a finalist for the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism whose groundbreaking work from Syria has been endorsed by John Pilger and other leading investigative reporters.
Schedule for the whole series:
Details of the presenters for the other sessions in this webinar series will be posted as we are able to confirm them, but the basic schedule for the entire series is currently planned to be as follows. Check back here frequently to see details of the additional panelists as they are confirmed.
|Mar. 25||Introduction to Syria, its people, and history pre-2011|
|Mar. 28||The Syrian Uprising in the context of the Arab Spring|
|April 1||US policy toward Syria|
|April 4||Western media’s role, including on the chemical weapons issue|
|April 8||Israel’s role in Syria|
|April 11||Syria in the region|
|April 15||Syrian refugees & IDPs|
|April 18||Palestinian refugees in Syria|
|April 22||Sanctions & their effects on reconstruction|
|April 25||Negotiations over constitutional reform.|
On Feb 18th at noon, Congresswoman Gwen Moore has agreed to take a picture with peace activists standing under a peace billboard (see below) at Wells and James Lowell (7th St).
Billboard at Wells and James Lovell: 3% of U.S. Military Spending Could End Starvation on Earth
A billboard at the south-east corner of Wells and James Lovell (7th) Streets, across the street from the Milwaukee Public Museum through the month of February and again for the month of July when the Democratic National Convention is held nearby, reads:
"3% of U.S. Military Spending Could End Starvation on Earth"
Is it a joke?
Hardly. Milwaukeeans and others around the country with little money of their own to spare have been chipping in to put up billboards like this one in an effort to call attention to the biggest elephant in the American room -- even if, in political mascot terms, it's a hybrid elephant-donkey: the U.S. military budget.
Organizations that have contributed to this billboard include World BEYOND War, Milwaukee Veterans For Peace Chapter 102, and Progressive Democrats of America.
Paul Moriarity, president of Milwaukee Veterans For Peace remarked: "As veterans, we know that endless wars and the Pentagon's corporate handouts do nothing to make us safe. We waste hundreds of billions of dollars that would be better spent on pressing needs like education, health care, and averting catastrophic climate change. Educating and reminding people of the true costs of war is a primary mission of Veterans For Peace. We are happy to be a partner in this effort by World BEYOND War."
World BEYOND War has put up billboards in numerous cities. The organization's Executive Director David Swanson said the approach has helped create conversations that otherwise don't happen. "In the most recent presidential primary debate on CNN, as is typical," he said, "the moderators asked the candidates what various projects would cost and how they would be paid for, but lost all interest in cost when it came to questions of war. The single biggest item in the federal discretionary budget, taking up over half of it alone, is perhaps the least-discussed item: military spending."
Jim Carpenter, local contact for the Progressive Democrats of America, said he believes Senator Bernie Sanders is correct when he says we must "bring together the leaders of the major industrial nations with the goal of using the trillions of dollars our nations spend on misguided wars and weapons of mass destruction to instead work together internationally to combat our climate crises and take on the fossil fuel industry. We are uniquely positioned to lead the planet in a wholesale shift away from militarism."
As of 2019, the annual Pentagon base budget, plus war budget, plus nuclear weapons in the Department of Energy, plus military spending by the Department of Homeland Security, plus interest on deficit military spending, and other military spending totaled $1.25 trillion (as calculated by William Hartung and Many Smithberger).
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors in 2019 passed a resolution that read in part:
"WHEREAS, according to the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, spending $1 billion on domestic priorities produces 'substantially more jobs within the U.S. economy than would the same $1 billion spent on the military'; and
"WHEREAS, Congress should reallocate federal military outlays toward human and environmental needs: aid toward the goal of providing free, superior education from pre-school through college, end world hunger, convert the United States to clean energy, provide clean drinking water everywhere needed, build high speed trains between all major U.S. cities, finance a full-employment jobs program, and double non-military foreign aid."
"End world hunger," said Swanson, "is rightly only one small item in the list of what would be possible by redirecting a portion of destructive and counter-productive military spending. It would, however, constitute a major shift in foreign policy. Imagine what the world would think of the United States, if it were known as the country that ended world starvation. The decrease in hostility could be dramatic."
World BEYOND War explains the 3 percent figure this way:
In 2008, the United Nations said that $30 billion per year could end hunger on earth, as reported in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) tells us that number is still up to date. Thirty billion is only 2.4 percent of 1.25 trillion. So, 3 percent is a conservative estimate of what would be needed. As noted on the billboard, this is explained in some detail at worldbeyondwar.org/explained
On Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 10:49 PM Erik Sperling of Just Foreign Policy <[email protected]> wrote:.
We are circulating a letter in Congress now. I've pasted those details below. We NEED people like Rashida Talib, Barbara Lee, Gwen Moore -- and any other champions that folks may be connected to -- on this letter. So anything you can do to do outreach to Congressional offices would be huge. To give you a sense of how horrific the climate is on the Hill right now around this, check out this pretty irritating article: https://thehill.com/policy/international/americas/471180-sanders-doubles-down-on-bolivia-coup-few-follow-suit
Getting a good turnout on this letter would really go a long way to change the narrative and support Bernie's terrific comments.We did two blasts to our list with petitions, one targeting the NYT for endorsing the coup, and one targeting members of Congress. Thanks
Related Legislative Issues
Emergency Rally! Against the Military Coup in Bolivia!
Special Stand for Peace
Saturday, Nov.16, Noon, at Martin Luther King, Jr. and Locusts St.
Party for Socialism & Liberation, Peace Action of WI, WI Bail Out the People Movement, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Veterans for Peace of Milwaukee-Chapter 102, and many other
National Call-in Day for Korea Peace
Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
The American Friends Service Committee, Korea Peace Network, Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network, Peace Treaty Now, United for Peace and Justice, and Win Without War are jointly announcing a National Call-in Day for Korea Peace, on Tuesday, October 8, while our Congress members are back in their local District Offices.
On this important day, please take just 3 minutes to call your District Office and urge your House Representative to co-sponsor H. Res. (House Resolution) 152: Calling for a formal end to the Korean War. The Korean War -- now 70 years-old -- is the longest continuing US conflict in the world. It’s time to end it, and we need your help!
SUGGESTED SCRIPT A (For those who have not co-sponsored H Res 152
Hi, my name is ____, calling from ____(city/town)____. I’m calling to urge Representative _____ to co-sponsor House Resolution 152: Calling for a formal end to the Korean War.
You can use any (or all) of the following options for supporting arguments:
- The Korea issue is bigger than Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un. We should not lose sight of what’s at stake: the lives of 80 million Koreans in North and South Korea and 28,500 US troops in South Korea. Also, there are tens of thousands of Korean Americans who have family members in South and North Korea who will be impacted. For lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, we must end the Korean War with a formal peace agreement now, so that genuine diplomacy can begin. Please urge Representative __________to co-sponsor and support H.Res.152. Thank you.
- The American public is tired of endless wars. It’s time to shift our national priorities from war to jobs and human needs at home. The Korean War -- now 70 years-old -- is the longest US conflict in the world. Let’s finally end the Korean War so that genuine diplomacy can begin. Please urge Representative __________to co-sponsor and support H.Res.152. Thank you.
SUGGESTED SCRIPT B (For those who have already co-sponsored)
Hi, my name is ____, calling from ____(city/town)____. I want to thank Representative _________ for co-sponsoring House Resolution 152: Calling for a formal end to the Korean War. I appreciate (her/his) support very much and hope (she/he) will find opportunities to urge other colleagues in the House to do the same, as well as voice support for Korea peace in public statements and presentations whenever possible. We need more champions for peace in Korea! Thank you.
DEMONSTRATION AGAINST WAR
SEPT. 16, 2019, 5-6 PM
Milwaukee Lakefront- Bradford Beach Overpass
Sponsored by Peace Action of Wisconsin
Co-sponsors: Veterans for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Building Unity, United Nations Association of Milwaukee, Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice, Racine Central America Solidarity Coalition, Friends Committee on National Legislation- Milwaukee, Palestine Action Network- Milwaukee, WI Cuba Coalition, and more tba
For information: peaceactionwi.org, 414-269-9525