New Visions for the Pacific, Feminist Peace Initiative Roundtable
Aug 4, 2022
Feminist Response to RIMPAC and the US War Against China (June 28, 2022) Christine Ahn
US and NATO Escalate Tensions with Asia-Pacific War Games (June 29, 2022) Ann Wright
With RIMPAC, South Korea Expand Its Military Footprint (July 13, 2022) Choi Sung-hee
End the Korean War and Stop the US-China Arms Race (July 14, 2022) Youkyoung Ko
Guam: The Sharpening of the Spear’s Tip (July 20, 2022) Kenneth Gofigan Kuper
A Call to Cancel RIMPAC in Hawaii (July 26, 2022) Kim Compoc, Joy Lehuanani Enomoto
The Impacts of RIMPAC on Okinawa and Japan (Aug 1, 2022) Kozue Akibayashi, Suzuyo Takazato
Although the RIMPAC exercises are set to conclude this week, military presence in the Pacific continues and so do the legacies of community resistance that many of our panelists spoke to.
Cancel RIMPAC - A Collective Poem video.
Best, Kate Alexander MADRE for the Feminist Peace Initiative
How is RIMPAC and the intensifying militarization due to the US-China conflict impacting your community? How does this connect with other fights?
Joy Enomoto of Hawai’i Peace and Justice
RIMPAC has been ongoing since 1971, occuring every 2 years.
Hawaiians have opposed these exercises since their inception. Earliest opposition was around 1976 in relation to nuclear-free in the Pacific, Indigenous sovereignty, and anti-militarism movements.
Consistently fighting the Navy, seeing Hawai’i as the “head of the octopus” with tentacles extending across the Pacific.
Other militaries come to Hawai’i to train to suppress other indigenous communities.
10 million marine animals have been killed in relation to RIMPAC exercises since 2018.
Rise of sex trade and sexual exploitation when military troops enter Hawai’i, which is widely recognized and capitalized upon, e.g. strip clubs advertising “welcome RIMPAC.”
There is a pervasive view that the islands are “here for the taking,” and for the military’s pleasure.
The military has poisoned 90,000 with tanks dating back to WWII.
Sunghee Choi from Gangjeong/Jeju island
RIMPAC gives a chance for the South Korean military to continue growing and for the defense industry to continue exporting arms.
3 warships left from Jeju base, which is strategically located at the southern tip of Korea close to China. These warships included amphibious assault ships, carrying assault vehicles which have destroyed the beaches of Hawai’i.
South Korea was very aggressive during this year’s RIMPAC, sending 9 amphibious assault vehicles — its largest-ever contingent in RIMPAC.
Jeju’s base has increasingly been becoming a US strategic base against China.
RIMPAC also gives the chance for the ROK-US military alliance to carry out exercises against North Korea.
Before RIMPAC started, South Korea and the US were conducting war drills in the sea of Okinawa including the 3 warships sent to RIMPAC (which was not widely reported in the media)
Through RIMPAC, the South Korean military introduced arms to other countries (e.g. Poland, other NATO countries).
People in Jeju have been protesting daily, calling to cancel RIMPAC because it destroys ecosystems in Hawai’i and across the Pacific, and increases military tensions in the region. Joining in solidarity with others across the Pacific is the only way forward.
Can you tell us a story about organizing underway now in your community, or a story about the impact of militarism in your community, that sticks with you?
Ken Kuper from Guahan
Guahan is in a precarious position. As tensions escalate, Guahan is stuck in the middle.
In a crisis, Guahan is one of the first places that China would target to “neutralize.”
African proverb: “When two elephants fight, the grass gets stomped on.” Everyone in this region is part of this, and we are all under fire. The work we are doing is to help prevent the spread.
Daughter was frightened by military presence, talking about bombs at 3 years old. Cannot reassure her that there is no danger.
There is constant insecurity and existential precarity on Guahan.
Sarah Raymundo from the Philippines
The alliance between the US and Philippines is the longest standing in Southeast Asia and is a priority of Biden’s. This region is central to US-China competition and the new cold war that the US is pursuing to advance its economic interests.
The fight against RIMPAC comes from a long legacy of organizing against militarism and for human rights.
In 1991, the world applauded the Filipino people for closing a US military base.
Anti-war, anti-imperialist, and peace movements are based on the interests of different sectors, especially the peasantry.
The decision to reject military bases 30 years ago was revived by subsequent agreements with the US — the US has never changed its policy toward the Philippines or the rest of Asia.
The Philippines has signed agreements with the US regarding Balikatan exercises - thousands of troops coming to train with the Philippines army.
Lingering impact of military bases on different sectors (workers and farmers especially)
Conversion of bases into free trade zones (special economic zones) → building unions, collective actions (strikes)
US military actions have resulted in grave ecological damage. And such retaliatory measures against the closure of the bases have resulted in sickness and premature death to children and elders residing near the bases.
Women’s movement in Philippines has been raising the issue of red light districts and prostitution, which have been minimized by the closure of the base but still persistent.
War games scattered throughout different provinces.
An agreement signed by Obama and Philippines’ president in 2014 provided the US military full access to station on facilities of the armed forces of the Philippines.
In October 2014, US marine Joseph Pemberton killed Jennifer Laude, a trans Filipina woman. President Duterte later pardoned Pemberton.
The Philippines has a partnership with China as well. China’s extraterritorial claim to the West Philippines sea has dire effects for fishermen and the fishing industry. Fishermen’s reduced income has additionally caused women in these families to seek migrant work abroad.
Diminished livelihood and separated family arrangements is a direct result of militarization. US militarism and Chinese expansionism is affecting the fabric of Filipino society.
When will the war in Ukraine end? It’s up to us!
Our coalition includes local, national and international groups across four continents presenting a unified call to support negotiations--not more weapons or troops--to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. We must de-escalate in the face of a proxy war between the United States and Russia, the two more heavily armed nuclear nations.
This devastating war in Ukraine is killing thousands, displacing millions, and causing hunger, inflation, unrest, and increased militarism globally. It is not far-fetched to foresee a protracted war that goes on for years. Just look at the decades-long US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 7-years of fighting in the Donbas, and the interest the U.S. has in bleeding the Russian economy dry.
Add to that the confusion of the U.S. public. People have tremendous sympathy for Ukrainians, but don’t understand that the way to save Ukrainian lives is to stop the war and negotiate a ceasefire.
So we need you to get out and educate your community. We are recommending flyering at farmers' markets, town squares, post offices or similar well-trafficked places. If you would like to collect hard copy signatures, you can print this petition from CODEPINK.
We also call for rallies or standouts at Congressional offices or meetings with members of Congress when they return home for Congress' summer recess.
In solidarity with anti-war protesters in Russia and across Europe, we call on the world’s peace-loving people, including conscripted front-line soldiers, to join us in a massive unified response to say:
No to War in Ukraine; Yes to Negotiations and Peace!
Let’s Replicate Chicago’s Antiwar Organizing Victory Against Boeing
MEET THE EX-CIA AGENTS DECIDING FACEBOOK’S CONTENT POLICY
To: Legislators of 26 participating countries
CANCEL RIMPAC 2022-THE WORLD'S LARGEST & MOST DANGEROUS NAVAL WAR MANEUVERS
JUN. 30, 2022
PHOTO COURTESY ROGER HANSEN
Friends Milwaukee Advocacy Team during a visit to Tom Petri, policy staff for Sen. Ron Johnson.
The Quakers played a leading role in opposing slavery before the Civil War and have remained a voice of conscience ever since. In the 1940s, the Quakers formed a Congressional lobbying group, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, working to move U.S. policy in a progressive direction. Six years ago, the Friends Committee began to organize advocacy teams to work with members of Congress locally in their own states and districts.
The Milwaukee Advocacy Team was first in line to receive training from the Friends Committee. “We responded quickly,” says original team member Roger Hansen. Now, there are 120 advocacy teams working across the U.S.
According to Hansen, the Friends Committee and its advocacy teams represent a “unique approach in working for social change, for peace and justice. We do our best to overcome the polarization in our society. We are on one side of the issues we work for, but we try to listen to everyone we talk to …”
“And build relationships,” adds Milwaukee team member Barbara Markoff. “Our objectives are to be fact based, respectful, loving, non-partisan and truth seeking. One thing we hear about often is the reputation of the Friends on the Hill. We are respected for our unique approach.”
Rather than shout slogans, the advocacy teams schedule meetings and holds discussions with politicians who have the power to make change happen. Each year the Friends Committee gives their teams a single issue to work on, sending them to meet with legislators or their staff with a specific “ask.” Congress passed one of their asking points, to cut aid to the Saudis in the Yemeni Civil War, but it was vetoed by Donald Trump.
The Milwaukee Advocacy Team has met often with Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Gwen Moore, and regularly with staff members for Sen. Ron Johnson and other GOP legislators. They have had some success in finding common ground with conservatives. Hansen cites Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s support for reducing mass incarceration based on Roman Catholic social doctrine.
“We tend to be fairly successful in getting (Republican) staff members to meet with us even as the political divide has gotten wider,” Markoff adds. “We think about what stories to tell to touch a particular person’s heart and mind. Success cannot be measured within one year. Often, we’re planting the seed of an idea.”
In recent decades, the Friends Committee on National Legislation played a role in establishing the Peace Corps, advocating for civil rights legislation, passing the nuclear treaty with Iran and the Atrocities Prevention Act (2018) mandating that Foreign Service officers report act of genocide in the countries where they are stationed.
“We want to rehabilitate the word ‘lobbyist,’” Hansen concludes. “The word is associated with corporations and deep pockets, but lobbying can be used in progressive ways. I’ve been to lots of demonstrations in my life, but this is a way of speaking directly to the people who make decisions.”
To learn more about, contact Roger Hansen at [email protected].
Times investigates: Cheaper than machines, working 70 hours under exploitive laws – life of 500,000 US child farmworkers
GT investigates: Millions of prison laborers in US produce billions in annual profits while working in harsh conditions, risking their lives for pennies
By GT staff reporters
Jun 29, 2022
Wisconsin’s leading gun control advocate stays motivated
Jeri Bonavia of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort keeps pushing for change
Jeri Bonavia was an unlikely candidate to become a leading advocate for gun control. But her 5-year-old daughter changed her life.
“So many kids are being killed with guns,” young Jenna told her mother. “Fix it, Mommy.”
“I wasn’t an activist, wasn’t political. I’m an introvert. It wasn’t a natural fit,” says Bonavia, the mother of three, who grew up in a gun-loving Milwaukee home with a father who was a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). I didn’t have any negative feelings about guns. But I couldn’t set aside what she had said.”
Almost 30 years later, Bonavia is still at it, as executive director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE), the state’s leading organization promoting common-sense regulations to prevent firearms violence.
Prompted by her daughter, Bonavia began to research the issue in 1993, working with a Peace Action committee supporting a Milwaukee referendum to ban handguns, which failed. When the gun issue began to overwhelm Peace Action’s other agenda, WAVE became a separate organization. Bonavia, a former X-ray technician who was beginning to have some success as a playwright, became WAVE’s executive director.
She said she was “naïve enough” at the start to think you could just do the research, put the facts together, present them to public officials and effect change, while being respectful of Wisconsin’s gun culture. She has learned that is not how it works, as even common-sense policies supported by 80% or more of Wisconsin citizens die in the state Legislature without even a hearing or debate.
Her role makes her a prime target for insults, harassment, intimidation and even violent threats from pro-gun activists, delivered online, by telephone, email, letter and, in one memorable case, face-to-face.
She was canvassing door-to-door to collect signatures when a man told her, “You’re the kind of person who should be shot, execution style, and I have the guns to do it.”
“I don’t dwell on threats, that’s for sure,” she says. “I try to focus on what we’re doing, the good we can do and keep all my thoughts over in that lane.” But WAVE takes precautions. Its address is a post office box and it doesn’t share the location of the office with the public. The website does not list names or photos of the seven staff members and lists only a general phone number and email. But the staff are often front and center at public events.
“We have created a really strong infrastructure, even if we can’t accomplish all we want to, that we can carry forward to the next generation of leaders,” Bonavia said. WAVE has 80,000 supporters spread among all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and in all 99 State Assembly districts.
WAVE-supported priority bills for universal background checks, domestic violence prevention and a “red flag” law to allow family members to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from people at high risk of committing violence were introduced this session. But all died in the Republican-controlled Legislature. “The hardest thing for me,” Bonavia says, “is seeing how much devastation gun violence has brought to the people of our state and watching the Legislature react with this callousness and indifference.” But there are positive, if less visible, accomplishments. “We are working hard with partner organizations and communities to make sure they have what they need to do important violence prevention programs in their communities. We were able to get the governor to commit $25 million to violence prevention efforts and $20 million to support victim services. We are looking at the intersection between gun violence and systemic racism,” she says.
After almost 30 years of trying to push the huge boulder of gun control up the mountain of resistance, how does she keep doing it every day? “I am a fan of Sisyphus and recognize the similarities,” she says, but she stays motivated. She is not the only long-time WAVE advocate. Two of the original 1994 board members are still involved, one as a staff member and the other as a returning board member.
Bonavia remains optimistic about the long term. “I have always believed that we will take steps to end gun violence in our country, but we are in for some very rough waters until we get to the other shore,” she said. “History tells us the pendulum swings back strongly. We are not there yet because guns are so deeply embedded in our culture wars. That will have to hit a tipping point, too. The NRA is not the beast it once was. If guns were a stand-alone issue, now is when we might see real change. But it is so deeply ingrained with the other culture war fights it will take a little bit longer. It is outrageous, but while we wait there will be more mass shootings.”
Bonavia says she knows that WAVE has made a difference. “It is difficult to pass the important life-saving policies, but we have been able to stop some of the most radical pieces of the gun lobby agenda,” she says. Several years ago, when she was visiting the state Capitol to speak with legislators, she recalls, “The NRA lobbyist said to me, ‘Because of WAVE, Wisconsin is the only gun-friendly state where the NRA can’t get everything the NRA wants.’ He said it in an accusatory way, but I took it as one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever had.”
(Bill Christofferson is a former WAVE board member)
Reject Raytheon webinar How the US Military Fuels the Climate Emergency
Here is the recording of the program:
Passcode: [email protected]!c
Korea Peace Now
KOREA PEACE NOW! WOMEN MOBILIZING TO END THE WAR is a global coalition of women’s peace organizations calling on the United States, North Korea, South Korea, and China to end the Korean War, sign a peace agreement, and to include women in the peace processes.
More Than 350 US, South Korean, and International Civil Society Groups Call for Suspending US-ROK Military Exercises and Decreasing Military Tensions on the Korean Peninsula
INCLUDING PEACE ACTION WI!
Posted on April 5, 2022
We, civil society groups in the United States, South Korea, and around the world, urge the governments of the ROK (Republic of Korea, aka South Korea) and the United States to suspend the combined military exercises and to instead actively pursue a path to peace. We are deeply concerned about the recent increase in military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The ROK, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, aka North Korea) and the United States should take steps toward sincere dialogue and cooperation, not military actions.
Without a peaceful resolution to the Korean War, we have witnessed increasing militarization on the Korean Peninsula for seven decades. The US-ROK combined military exercises, which prepare for an all-out war with North Korea, have developed into large-scale exercises that mobilize considerable weapons, equipment and US troops on the Korean Peninsula. In recent years, these war drills have been based on operation plans that reportedly include preemptive strikes and “decapitation measures” against the North Korean leadership. They also have involved the use of B-2 and B-52H bombers, which are designed to drop nuclear bombs, and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines. While the United States and South Korea have called them defensive in nature, these military exercises have long been a trigger point for heightened military and political tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to their scale and provocative nature.
Efforts toward reconciliation and cooperation at the governmental and civilian levels between the two Koreas and the US and North Korea have failed to build trust due to the vicious cycle of military provocations. While the leaders agreed on the peaceful future of the Korean Peninsula at the inter-Korean summits and the first US-DPRK summit in 2018, the US and the ROK then resumed the suspended US-ROK combined military exercises after no deal was reached at the US-DPRK summit in Hanoi in early 2019, and the US imposed additional sanctions against North Korea. North Korea, condemning the US hostile policy and military threat, resumed missile tests and recently ended its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests. Without further efforts to implement the agreements between the leaders, including establishing new relations, resumed military actions could have disastrous consequences.
We want peace talks, not war drills and military confrontation. In particular, we urge the Biden administration to resolve the root cause of the conflict between the United States and North Korea — the unresolved Korean War. Continuing to rely on isolation, pressure, and threats to force North Korea’s unilateral denuclearization is a recipe for failure. Now more than ever, the US has a responsibility to pursue peace and show that responsible nations resolve differences through diplomacy, not by increasing tensions and relying on military escalation. We urge the Moon administration to uphold the commitments made in the Panmunjom Agreement, in which the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to defuse military tensions and eliminate the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula, and suspend the upcoming US-ROK joint war drills.
Suspending these costly and highly provocative military exercises will be a crucial step toward restarting genuine diplomacy with North Korea. It will allow all parties to address other intractable global issues facing our nations today, such as the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear weapons, and war. Now is the time to change direction from military confrontation and pressure toward cooperation, reconciliation, and peace.
Stop War Profiteering! Ban Members of Congress from Trading Defense Contractor Stocks Now
It’s time to stop war profiteering!
Members of Congress have at least 108 investments in 16 major defense contractors, including all of the top 10 companies by defense revenue. In fact, at least 47 members of Congress and their spouses own up to $6.7 million worth of defense contractor stocks -- stocks that see massive returns during wartime.
Take Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for example. On February 22, she bought defense and energy stocks. On February 23, she publicly complained about war profiteering. On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. There is hardly a more compelling case for the need to ban members of Congress from trading defense industry stocks.
Members of Congress know about military action before everyone else, and they can make a lot of money when they trade on that knowledge.
Lawmakers shouldn’t be allowed to exploit wars to make money in the stock market. There’s only one foolproof way to stop it: Ban members of Congress from trading defense contractor stocks now.
A Business Insider report shows the laws meant to limit this trading aren’t doing enough. One in ten members of Congress has violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act -- proving measly fines are no deterrent.
Right-wing news outlets also agree that members of Congress shouldn’t be able to make money off the wars they greenlight, and the defense contractors they fund.
The right-leaning NYPost criticized James Inhofe when he bought over $50,000 of Raytheon stock days after a Senate meeting about increasing the military budget. And even voters on the Trump fansite Patriots.win have expressed support for stopping war profiteering by Congress.
We can’t let politicians keep making money off wars they fund with our taxpayer dollars.
Sign the Petition: Demand a total and complete ban on all defense stock trading by members of Congress and stop war profiteering now!
 Lawmakers Benefit From Booming Defense Stocks Sludge, August 2021
 “Marjorie Taylor Greene Bought Defense Stock Day Before Slamming 'Profitable' War” Newsweek, March 2022
 “59 members of Congress have violated a law designed to stop insider trading and prevent conflicts-of-interest” Business Insider, March 2022
 “I’m no fan of Robert Reich but he’s right on this one” Patriots.win, March 2022
 “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams lawmakers profiting off stocks, gift rules” NYPost, December 2018
What modern drone warfare means for both civilians and soldiers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: William D. Hartung
The Biden Administration Should Stop Enabling
the Saudi War in Yemen -- Report
Actions Don't Match Rhetoric
on Changing Saudi Policy
December 2nd -- The Center for International Policy released a new report today calling on the Biden administration to end U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia as leverage to get it to end its devastating blockade in Yemen and negotiate in good faith to end the war there.
"Without U.S. arms, maintenance, and spare parts, the Saudi military would not be able prosecute its brutal war in Yemen. It's hard to overstate the degree to which the Saudi military relies on U.S. support," noted William D. Hartung, the author of the report. "It's time for the Biden administration to cut off this support as a way to change Saudi conduct and relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people caused by Saudi actions." The report comes as the Senate is poised to vote on a resolution co-sponsored by Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that would block the Biden administration's recent offer of $650 million in air-to-air missiles and related equipment to Saudi Arabia. A summary of the report is below.
During the Trump administration, the United States doubled down on its support of the regime in Saudi Arabia, regardless of how harshly the Kingdom cracked down on human rights or how much devastation it caused through its war in Yemen.
Early on, it appeared that President Biden would depart from the Trump administration’s cynical, transactional approach to U.S.-Saudi relations, but the Biden administration’s record so far has been mixed at best. The administration has halted two bomb sales to the Saudi regime, but it has offered $500 million in crucial maintenance and support for Saudi aircraft and continued the flow of U.S. arms offers already in the pipeline. The administration has also made a $650 million offer of air-to-air missiles to the Saudi Royal Air Force. Most importantly, the Biden administration has refused to use U.S. leverage – in the form of a threat to cut off crucial U.S. spare parts and sustainment for the Saudi military – to force Riyadh to end its devastating blockade on Yemen and move towards an inclusive peace agreement to end the war.
The bulk of the weapons transferred to Saudi Arabia since 2009 date back to deals made during the Obama administration. Arms sales offers to the Kingdom totaled over $118 billion during the eight years of the Obama administration, compared with $25 billion during the four years of the Trump administration and $1.1 billion so far in the first year of the Biden term.
The most damaging deals of the Trump years involved transfers of tens of thousands of precision-guided bombs that were pushed through despite opposition from a majority of the members of Congress.
Saudi Arabia has used U.S. bombs to target and kill thousands of civilians in Yemen, and to enforce its blockade there by carrying out actions like bombing the runway of Yemen’s main airport in Sana’a. Two offers of bombs made late in Trump’s term, in December 2020, were halted by the Biden administration. •
It’s hard to overstate the degree to which the Saudi military relies on U.S. weapons and related support. The bulk of the Saudi arsenal is made in the U.S., including nearly two-thirds of its combat aircraft, nearly four dozen attack helicopters, and over 2,300 heavy armored vehicles. •
Without U.S. maintenance and spare parts, the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) would be grounded in short order, as noted by Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution. Since 2018, the United States has entered into contracts worth more than $10 billion to supply spare parts, maintenance, and other support for Saudi aircraft. •
The U.S. has trained over 21,000 Saudi military personnel since 2009, including a $4 billion contract to arm and equip the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), which is responsible for internal security but has also been involved in the war in Yemen. These figures do not include training purchased by Saudi Arabia through direct commercial arrangements with U.S. companies. Such was the case with the Tier 1 group, which trained four Saudi operatives who went on to play a role in the 2018 murder of U.S.-resident Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. •
The greatest beneficiaries of U.S. arms offers to Saudi Arabia over the past decade have been major contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics. All of the largest sales since 2009, including a $29 billion deal for Boeing F-15 aircraft, a $25 billion deal for Boeing Apache helicopters, a $15 billion deal for a Lockheed Martin THAAD missile defense system, $10 billion deal for Lockheed Martin Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships, a $5.4 billion deal for Raytheon PAC-3 missile defense interceptors, and a $1.57 billion deal for Raytheon Paveway bombs involved one of the four firms mentioned above as the primary supplier.
The report can be accessed here.
William D. Hartung
Director, Arms and Security Program
Center for International Policy
2000 M Street NW, Suite 720 • Washington, DC 20036
Congresswoman Lee Introduces Resolution to Monitor and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the U.S. Military
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) today introduced a resolution aimed at monitoring and reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. military – the single largest institutional source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.
The resolution calls for the Department of Defense to set clear annual emission reduction targets in line with global goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said that climate change is “a national security issue, and we must treat it as such.” And yet, the U.S. military is estimated to emit more CO2 than over 120 separate countries, and would rank forty-seventh out of 170 if measured as a separate country. Secretary Austin has committed the Defense Department to “immediately take appropriate policy actions to prioritize climate change considerations in our activities and risk assessments, to mitigate this driver of insecurity.” Currently, the military does not publicly and regularly report its overall fuel consumption or greenhouse gas emissions – despite requirements laid out in the FY2021 NDAA. The resolution introduced today also calls for the Department of Defense to commit to strict, transparent, and independently verified reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from both domestic and overseas operations, from military contractors, and from the manufacture and transport of military equipment and weapons.
“As President Biden said this week at COP26 in Glasgow, we are at an inflection point in world history,” Congresswoman Lee said. “The U.S. must lead the effort to limit warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. We must do our part to immediately and drastically draw down the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that includes monitoring and reducing the carbon footprint of the single largest institutional source of emissions on the planet – the U.S. military. We are already seeing the horrific consequences of the climate crisis – the wildfires that ravaged my home state of California this year are just one example. The time for transformative action is now.”
“On behalf of the Veterans For Peace Climate Crisis & Militarism Project, we thank Representative Barbara Lee for her leadership in introducing this resolution calling for accountability of the world’s largest institutional source of greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. Department of Defense. This action is a continuation of her tireless efforts on behalf of veterans, peace, and mitigation of the climate crisis,” said James M. Rine of the Veterans For Peace Climate Crisis & Militarism Project.
Experts agree that global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrialized levels will cause severe harm to the climate systems that allow life to survive on this planet, with damages including but not limited to:
- Hundreds of billions of dollars in losses per year in some sectors of the U.S. economy by the end of this century;
- More than 350 million more people exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050;
- Potential damages in the range of $1 trillion to public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States;
- Crop failures and climate refugee crises around the world.
The resolution declares that is it the duty of the Department of Defense to monitor, track, and report greenhouse gas emissions from all its operations. This includes but is not limited to combat operations, deployments, drone attacks, weapons production and testing, and base construction and functions. It is also essential that the Department set clear annual greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for both domestic and foreign activities that are consistent with the 1.5 degree target specified by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Current cosponsors of the resolution include Representatives Nanette Barragan, Karen Bass, Joyce Beatty, Earl Blumenauer, Sean Casten, Emanuel Cleaver, Anna Eshoo, Adriano Espaillat, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, Jared Huffman, Henry “Hank” Johnson, Ted Lieu, James McGovern, Gwen Moore, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna, and Peter Welch.
Endorsing organizations include the Alliance for Democracy, Brave New Films, CODEPINK, Friends of the Earth US, Food & Water Watch, Grannies for Peace, Greenpeace USA, Lobby for Climate/Change the Chamber, National Lawyers Guild, Military Law Task Force, Native Americans Veterans Association, Pax Christi USA, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Progressive Democrats of America, RootsAction, Veterans For Peace, and Win Without War.
The text of the resolution can be found here.
NEW NUKES- NOT SO FAST WITH MARYLIA KEELEY FROM TRI-VALLEY COMMUNITIES AGAINST A RADIOACTIVE ENVIRONMENT AND TOM CLEMENTS OF SAVASNNAH RIVER SITE
(NUCLEAR WEAPONS PRODUCTION)
New Nukes? Not So Fast!
Action Alert Below (Please share and amplify)
Capitol Calling and Emailing Party (10/19/21)
Call House Oversight and Reform Committee
Email: Committee Staffers
My name is ___________, I live in zip code____________ and am active with CODEPINK Congress. I am reaching out to urge the House Oversight and Reform Committee to hold hearings on the dangers of nuclear rearmament, specifically the GBSD, and to recommend the elimination of our land-based nuclear missiles. I ask that the National Security Subcommittee examine the dangers inherent in ICBM's placed on high alert and in producing new warheads that will escalate the nuclear arms race. I ask that the
Environmental Subcommittee investigate the failure of the Department of Energy to conduct a programmatic environmental assessment of transportation and storage risks posed by ramped up plutonium pit production. I hope to hear back from you on a date and time for these hearings. Thank you.
(If your reps are any of the following, write to them directly: Carolyn Maloney, House Oversight Committee Chair; Ro Khanna, Oversight Environmental Subcommittee Chair; Oversight National Security Chair Stephen Lynch. If your rep is on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, also send them an email.https://oversight.house.gov/members).
Coordinator, CODEPINK Congress
‘People don’t know what’s coming:’ Community members protest F-35s
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the pilots and politicians that will be personally benefiting from the program were actually residing on the North side so they could experience the delight of 140 decibels many times per week?” said local artist and activist Steve Wolvin.”
Posted: October 17, 2021 7:48 PM
Updated: October 18, 2021 7:44 AM by Anna Hansen
MADISON, Wis. — Around 75 protesters gathered Sunday at the Capitol to show their disapproval of the Air National Guard’s choice in selecting Madison as the new home of 18 F-35 fighter jets, set to arrive at Truax Field in 2023.
The jets have been cited as a threat to homes and ears by activists on Madison’s Northeast side, and the Air National Guard’s environmental impact statement has heightened these concerns for many.
Tom Berman has lived in Madison for 37 years, running a small business out of his house for 32. Now, according to the statement, his is one of over 1,000 homes considered “uninhabitable” due to noise levels.
“My environment is to be ruined, my hearing is to be permanently damaged, and I’m to be financially ruined,” he says.
The Guard makes a clear distinction in its statement between “uninhabitable,” and “unliveable,” but for residents like Berman, the clarification isn’t comforting.
“Sounds at this horrific volume penetrate brick, they penetrate steel, they penetrate glass,” said Berman. “People don’t know what’s coming, and it’s going to be bad.”
While the guard says they’re working diligently on the logistics of the operation, residents say those in favor of the F-35s aren’t aware of the consequences they bring.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the pilots and politicians that will be personally benefiting from the program were actually residing on the North side so they could experience the delight of 140 decibels many times per week?” said local artist and activist Steve Wolvin.
Brian Benford, Madison’s 6th district alderperson has also expressed concern for his constituents.
“We need additional access to healthcare, housing, everything else these horrible weapons take away,” said Benford. “Any promise of economic gain should not come on the backs of those that are most marginalized and vulnerable in our community.”
Sanctions are a form of war. They are directed against the people from countries that will not follow the dictates of the US. The goal is to make the lives of the people in these countries intolerable so they will oppose their governments and support the US regime-change agendas in their countries. In their most severe form, as is being imposed on Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, sanctions deny these countries food, medicine, and trade and cause great suffering for the people of the sanctioned countries.
***Sanctions Report: “We don’t deserve this”: FULL REPORT.
The Peace Activist Community Reflects on the Afghanistan War
We will be remembering:
- The events on 9/11 should have been treated as a crime and not used as an excuse to make war and kill people who had nothing to do with 9/11.
- Our foreign policy is addicted to war and is driven by the corrupting influence of military contractors. Our militarism must end.
- The Afghanistan and Iraq Wars killed hundreds of thousands, including women and children, and wasted trillions of dollars. Our soldiers needlessly died.
- For 40 years, long before the current Afghanistan War began, our government has supported war, violence and corruption in Afghanistan.
- We demand an end to all aspects of the Afghanistan War, including bombing, drone strikes, mercenaries, covert CIA operations, and deadly sanctions.
- Those who leak or publish information about war crimes and war lies, such as Jullian Assange and Daniel Hale, should be honored and not prosecuted.
- We need to reduce the Pentagon budget, and support brave and moral legislators like Congresswoman Barbara Lee who was the sole vote against using 9/11 to invade Afghanistan and is now proposing a military budget that is cut $350 billion by eliminating unneeded weapons, bases, wars, waste and fraud.
- We need to fund humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, promote the rights of women by peaceful means and support war refugees.
- We need to prevent war mongers from provoking a war with China.
US OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW & FOREVER!
U.S. Government Owes Afghan Civilians for Past 20 Years of War and Brutal Impoverishment
by Kathy Kelly, published on Covert Action, August 2, 2021
In mid-July, 100 Afghan families from Bamiyan, a rural province of central Afghanistan mainly populated by the Hazara ethnic minority, fled to Kabul. They feared Taliban militants would attack them in Bamiyan.
Over the past decade, I have gotten to know a grandmother who recalls fleeing Talib fighters in the 1990s, just after learning that her husband had been killed.
Then, she was a young widow with five children, and for several agonizing months two of her sons were missing.
I can only imagine the traumatized memories that spurred her to again flee her village today. She is part of the Hazara ethnic minority and hopes to protect her grandchildren.
When it comes to inflicting miseries on innocent Afghan people, there is plenty of blame to be shared.
The Taliban have demonstrated a pattern of anticipating people who might form opposition to their eventual rule and waging “pre-emptive” attacks against journalists, human rights activists, judicial officials, advocates for women’s rights, and minority groups such as the Hazara.
In places where the Taliban have successfully taken over districts, they may be ruling over increasingly resentful populaces; people who have lost harvests, homes, and livestock are already coping with a third wave of Covid-19 and severe drought.
In many northern provinces, the re-emergence of the Taliban can be traced to the Afghan government’s incompetence, and also to criminal and abusive behaviors of the local military commanders, including land grabs, extortion, and rape.
Responding to his April 18 speech when he made this comment, a young woman whose sister, a journalist, was recently killed, tweeted about her father who had stayed in Afghanistan for 74 years, encouraged his children to stay, and now felt that his daughter might be alive had she left. The surviving daughter said the Afghan government could not protect its people, and that is why they tried to leave
President Ghani’s government has encouraged the formation of “Uprising” militias to help protect the country. Immediately, people began questioning how the Afghan government could support new militias when it already lacks ammunition and protection for thousands of Afghan National Defense Forces and local police who have fled their posts.
The main backer of the Uprising forces, it seems, is the formidable National Directorate of Security, whose main sponsor is the CIA.
Some militia groups have raised money through imposing “taxes” or outright extortion. Others turn to other countries in the region, all of which reinforces cycles of violence and despair.
The staggering loss of landmine removal experts working for the nonprofit HALO Trust should add to our sense of grief and mourning.
About 2,600 Afghans working with the demining group had helped make more than 80% of Afghanistan’s land safe from unexploded ordnance strewn over the country after 40 years of war.
Tragically, militants attacked the group, killing ten workers.
Human Rights Watch says the Afghan government has not adequately investigated the attack nor has it investigated the killings of journalists, human rights activists, clerics, and judicial workers that began escalating after the Afghan government began peace talks with the Taliban in April.
Yet, unquestionably, the warring party in Afghanistan with the most sophisticated weapons and seemingly endless access to funds has been the United States. Funds were spent not to lift Afghans to a place of security from which they might have worked to moderate Taliban rule, but to further frustrate them, beating down their hopes of future participatory governance with 20 years of war and brutal impoverishment.
The war has been a prelude to the United States’s inevitable retreat and the return of a possibly more enraged and dysfunctional Taliban to rule over a shattered population.
The troop withdrawal negotiated by President Joe Biden and U.S. military officials is not a peace agreement. Rather, it signals the end of an occupation resulting from an unlawful invasion and, while troops are leaving, the Biden administration is already laying plans for “over the horizon” drone surveillance, drone strikes, and “manned” aircraft strikes which could exacerbate and prolong the war.
U.S. citizens ought to consider not only financial recompense for destruction caused by 20 years of war but also a commitment to dismantle the warfare systems that brought such havoc, chaos, bereavement, and displacement to Afghanistan.
We should be sorry that, during 2013, when the United States spent an average of $2 million per soldier stationed in Afghanistan, the number of Afghan children suffering malnutrition rose by 50%. At that same time, the cost of adding iodized salt to an Afghan child’s diet to help reduce the risk of brain damage caused by hunger would have been 5 cents per child per year.
We should deeply regret that while the United States constructed sprawling military bases in Kabul, populations in refugee camps soared.
During harsh winter months, people desperate for warmth in a Kabul refugee camp would burn—and then have to breathe—plastic.
Trucks laden with food, fuel, water, and supplies constantly entered the U.S. military base immediately across the road from this camp.
We should acknowledge, with shame, that U.S. contractors signed deals to build hospitals and schools which were later determined to be ghost hospitals and ghost schools, places that never even existed.
On October 3, 2015, when only one hospital served vast numbers of people in the Kunduz province, the U.S. Air Force bombed the hospital at 15-minute intervals for one-and-a-half hours, killing 42 people including 13 staff, three of whom were doctors. This attack helped greenlight the war crime of bombing hospitals all around the world.
More recently, in 2019, migrant workers in Nangarhar were attacked when a drone fired missiles into their overnight camp. The owner of a pine nut forest had hired the laborers, including children, to harvest the pine nuts, and he notified officials ahead of time, hoping to avoid any confusion. While the workers were resting after an exhausting day of work, 30 were killed and another 40 were badly wounded.
U.S. repentance for a regime of attacks by weaponized drones, conducted in Afghanistan and worldwide, along with sorrow for the countless civilians killed, should lead to deep appreciation for Daniel Hale, a drone whistleblower who exposed the widespread and indiscriminate murder of civilians.
Between January 2012 and February 2013, according to an article in The Intercept, these air strikes
“killed more than 200 people. Of those, only thirty-five were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”
On July 27, Hale was sentenced to four years in prison under the archaic Espionage Act.
In a statement to the court, Hale said that he was standing before the judge on that day because he
“refused to take something that was never mine to take—precious human life. For that I was compensated and given a medal. I couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretended that things weren’t happening that were. Please your honor forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.”
We should be sorry for night raids that terrified civilians, assassinated innocent people, and were later acknowledged to have been based on faulty information.
We must reckon with how little attention our elected officials ever paid to the quadrennial “Special Inspector General on Afghan Reconstruction” reports which detailed many years’ worth of fraud, corruption, human rights violations and failure to achieve stated goals related to countering narcotics or confronting corrupt structures.
We should say we are sorry, we are so very sorry, for pretending to stay in Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons when, honestly, we understood next to nothing about humanitarian concerns of women and children in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s civilian population has repeatedly demanded peace.
When I think of the generations in Afghanistan who have suffered through war, occupation and the vagaries of warlords, including NATO troops, I wish we could hear the sorrow of the grandmother who now wonders how she might help feed, shelter and protect her family.
Her sorrow should lead to atonement on the part of countries that invaded her land. Every one of those countries could arrange visas and support for each Afghan person who now wants to flee.
A reckoning with the massive wreckage this grandmother and her loved ones face should yield equally massive readiness to abolish all wars, forever.
*Featured Image: © Ahmad Masood, Reuters
Peace Action WI Steering Committee officially endorses the Poor Peoples Campaign and Code Pink to cut military spending by $350 Billion
Congress supports moves to reduce the priority given to war in our foreign policy and our current war-based national economy by using significant cuts, up to $350,000,000,000 as detailed above, from current budget plans, while using the funds to increase our diplomatic capacity and for domestic programs that will keep our Nation and our people safer.
Barbara Lee Resolution to cut wasteful Pentagon spending and supporting cuts to the bloated defense budget.
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding wasteful Pentagon spending and supporting cuts to the bloated defense budget.
H RES. 476
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 15, 2021
Ms. Lee of California (for herself, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Huffman, Ms. Omar, and Mr. DeSaulnier) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding wasteful Pentagon spending and supporting cuts to the bloated defense budget.
Whereas Pentagon spending since 9/11 adjusted for inflation has increased by almost 50 percent;
Whereas the United States has spent and obligated an estimated $6,400,000,000,000 on military operations since September 11, 2001, and has been at war constantly since then;
Whereas the Pentagon’s budget in fiscal year 2021 totaled $740,500,000,000, including for base and Overseas Contingency Operations;
Whereas, while Pentagon spending continues to rise, spending on diplomacy has stalled or been reduced, resulting in an overreliance on military action and insufficient use of diplomatic and other nonmilitary tools;
Whereas only one-third of discretionary spending is available for important domestic priorities that help reduce poverty and inequality, including public health, education, housing, energy, diplomacy, and others;
Whereas the Pentagon failed its first ever agencywide audit in November 2018;
Whereas the Department of Defense spent nearly $1,000,000,000 in activities related to the 2018 audit, and achieving an agencywide audit could take years if it is to ever achieve one, let alone pass;
Whereas the audit revealed significant technology systems, security, and organizational deficiencies in the Department of Defense’s financial management systems;
Whereas the Pentagon’s first ever agencywide audit occurred nearly 30 years after the passage of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, which established the requirement for annual audits of financial statements for Federal agencies;
Whereas the Comptroller estimated that the Department of Defense would not be able to pass an audit until 2027;
Whereas the Department of Defense made $35,000,000,000,000 in accounting changes in a single year;
Whereas the coronavirus pandemic has made clear that Pentagon spending has not kept us safe from the major drivers of insecurity we face in the 21st century;
Whereas in fiscal year 2020, $10,500,000,000 was appropriated to the Pentagon in the CARES Act above its regular fiscal year appropriations, for a total of $756,500,000,000 in fiscal year 2020;
Whereas in 32 cases Pentagon contractors provided false information about their ownership and were accused or found guilty of price gouging, providing poor-quality goods and services, abusing programs intended for small businesses, and improperly disseminating sensitive information;
Whereas the cost of a single F–35 could have purchased over 2,800 ventilators to respond to COVID–19;
Whereas the Pentagon continues to reveal high levels of waste and fraud, including, for example—
(1) the Pentagon diverted $1,000,000,000 in funds intended for personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of COVID for defense contractors to produce jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms;
(2) the Pentagon awarded a $7,000,000 cloud-computing contract to a 1-person company;
(3) the Defense Logistics Agency lost track of $800,000,000 in construction projects;
(4) in 2019, the Pentagon spent $4,600,000 on crab and lobster in an end-of-the-year spree;
(5) the Department of Defense Inspector General found the Pentagon had to spend $300,000,000 to repair defective spare parts for the $1,400,000,000,000 F–35 Joint Strike Fighter program; and
(6) in fiscal year 2020, the Department of Defense made $5,000,000,000 in improper payments;
Whereas the military budget accounts for more than half of all discretionary spending;
Whereas, according to the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Defense has more unheeded audit recommendations than any other agency;
Whereas it remains Congress’s intent to reduce defense waste, increase transparency, and reduce or eliminate poor management practices at the Department of Defense;
Whereas Congress remains deeply concerned about the Department of Defense’s inability to achieve an unqualified audit opinion as it is the only Federal agency yet to pass one;
Whereas every hour taxpayers are paying $32,080,000 for the total cost of wars since 2001, and these endless wars have not made Americans safer or brought democracy or stability to the Middle East, indeed they have further destabilized the region and show no sign of actually ending or achieving any of the long-ago stated goals;
Whereas interviews with senior military leaders and other senior officials showed many believed the war in Afghanistan to be unwinnable and knowingly misled the public for years;
Whereas, in addition to defense base spending in fiscal year 2021, Congress provided $69,000,000,000 for defense Overseas Contingency Operations, which has enabled continuing military actions and wars in several countries, without specific congressional authorization and many almost hidden from the American people;
Whereas the continual use of Overseas Contingency Operations funds, especially for the cost of “enduring requirements” rather than unexpected emergencies is the opposite of a “contingency account” and has resulted in less oversight, less transparency, and higher levels of waste;
Whereas nearly $1,900,000,000,000 in appropriations has gone into the Overseas Contingency Operations account since 2001;
Whereas elimination of the Overseas Contingency Operations account removes a make-war-easy budget gimmick, but does not address spending that has grown significantly to fund wars and military actions overseas, which Congress has yet to authorize;
Whereas the Department of Defense abused emergency powers to transfer approximately $10,000,000,000 in Department of Defense funds to build an unnecessary and immoral wall at the southern border;
Whereas spending on sustaining and modernizing the excessively large United States nuclear arsenal is projected by the Congressional Budget Office at nearly $500,000,000,000 between fiscal years 2019 and 2028;
Whereas world military spending totaled more than $1,917,000,000,000 in 2019, with the United States accounting for 38 percent of the total;
Whereas the United States spends more on defense spending than the next seven countries in the world, including China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan, combined;
Whereas the United States could save an estimated $350,000,000,000 per year by cutting defense spending on our endless wars and by cutting unnecessary and wasteful defense spending and would still be spending more on the military than China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea combined;
Whereas, despite concerns about depriving the troops of funding, in 2019 half the military budget went directly to military manufacturing corporations whose top five CEOs in 2018 averaged $22,000,000 in salaries, while 15.3 percent of members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty and their families reported they were food insecure;
Whereas there have been significant deficiencies in the health and safety of housing for military families, including mold blooms, collapsed ceilings, exposed lead paint, and unsafe drinking water;
Whereas in recent public opinion polls, a majority of Americans indicate they do not want Pentagon funding increases and a University of Maryland poll in July 2018 found that Republicans and Democrats alike would support large-scale Federal spending cuts to defense;
Whereas the Pentagon must realign its security mission, interests, and values to ensure our Nation is spending taxpayers’ dollars wisely and that our military spending does not distort our budget by maintaining a war economy, or encourage too frequent reliance on military rather than diplomatic options;
Whereas any spending cuts to the Pentagon could be reinvested in other important domestic priorities to help reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in communities across the country; and
Whereas the Pentagon could significantly decrease its spending by—
(1) eliminating war funding absorbed into the base budget upon closure of the Overseas Contingency Operations account;
(2) closing 60 percent of foreign bases and saving $90,000,000,000;
(3) ending wars and war funding and saving $66,000,000,000;
(4) cutting unnecessary weapons that are obsolete, excessive, and dangerous and saving $57,900,000,000;
(5) cutting military overhead by 15 percent and saving $38,000,000,000;
(6) cutting private service contracting by 15 percent and saving $26,000,000,000;
(7) eliminating the redundant and wasteful Space Force and saving $15,200,000,000;
(8) ending use-it-or-lose-it contract spending and saving $18,000,000,000;
(9) freezing operations and maintenance budget levels and saving $6,000,000,000; and
(10) completing President Biden’s announced plans to withdraw all United States troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, and reducing spending accordingly: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—
(1) more money to the Pentagon does not buy us more security;
(2) Congress intends to reduce defense waste, increase transparency, and reduce or eliminate poor management practices at the Department of Defense;
(3) Congress can and should make significant cuts to the budget of the Pentagon while simultaneously improving support for the members of the Armed Forces by reducing unnecessary spending and reinvesting in our troops;
(4) Congress must exercise aggressive oversight to track and account for the money that is being spent and to ensure the Department of Defense follows through with performing annual audits, implementing recommendations, and achieving a clean audit as quickly as possible;
(5) Congress encourages the Department of Defense to complete its full audit before the end of the calendar year and report back to Congress immediately;
(6) Congress encourages the Department of State and other agencies to use combined power of diplomacy, foreign assistance, and a strong and fair economy to ensure our Nation is safe;
(7) Congress supports the elimination of the Overseas Contingency Operations account which makes waging war too easy; and
(8) Congress supports moves to reduce the priority given to war in our foreign policy and our current war-based national economy by using significant cuts, up to $350,000,000,000 as detailed above, from current budget plans, while using the funds to increase our diplomatic capacity and for domestic programs that will keep our Nation and our people safer.
The Sane Act HR. 3653
To reduce spending on nuclear weapons and related defense spending and to prohibit the procurement and deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 1, 2021
Mr. Blumenauer (for himself, Mr. Huffman, Mr. McGovern, Ms. Norton, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. Bonamici, Ms. Schakowsky, and Ms. Lee of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services
To reduce spending on nuclear weapons and related defense spending and to prohibit the procurement and deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Smarter Approaches to Nuclear Expenditures Act”.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The United States continues to maintain an excessively large and costly arsenal of nuclear delivery systems and warheads that are a holdover from the Cold War.
(2) The current nuclear arsenal of the United States includes approximately 3,800 total nuclear warheads in its military stockpile, of which approximately 1,800 are deployed with five delivery components: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, long-range strategic bomber aircraft armed with nuclear gravity bombs, long-range strategic bomber aircraft armed with nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missiles, and short-range fighter aircraft that can deliver nuclear gravity bombs. The strategic bomber fleet of the United States comprises 87 B–52 and 20 B–2 aircraft, over 60 of which contribute to the nuclear mission. The United States also maintains 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 14 Ohio-class submarines, up to 12 of which are deployed. Each of those submarines is armed with approximately 90 nuclear warheads.
(3) Between fiscal years 2019 and 2028, the United States will spend $494,000,000,000 to maintain and recapitalize its nuclear force, according to a January 2019 estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, an increase of $94,000,000,000 from the Congressional Budget Office’s 2017 estimate, with additional cost driven in part by the new nuclear weapons called for in former President Donald Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.
(4) Adjusted for inflation, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the United States will spend $1,700,000,000,000 through fiscal year 2046 on new nuclear weapons and modernization and infrastructure programs.
(5) Inaccurate budget forecasting is likely to continue to plague the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, as evidenced by the fiscal year 2021 budget request of the President for the National Nuclear Security Administration “Weapon Activities” account, which far exceeded what the National Nuclear Security Administration had projected in its fiscal year 2020 request and what it had projected in previous years.
(6) The projected growth in nuclear weapons spending is coming due as the Department of Defense is seeking to replace large portions of its conventional forces to better compete with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China and as internal and external fiscal pressures are likely to limit the growth of, and perhaps reduce, military spending. As then-Air Force Chief of Staff General Dave Goldfein said in 2020, “I think a debate is that this will be the first time that the nation has tried to simultaneously modernize the nuclear enterprise while it's trying to modernize an aging conventional enterprise. The current budget does not allow you to do both.”.
(7) In 2017, the Government Accountability Office concluded that National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget forecasts for out-year spending downplayed the fact that the agency lacked the resources to complete multiple, simultaneous billion dollar modernization projects and recommended that the National Nuclear Security Administration consider “deferring the start of or cancelling specific modernization programs”.
(8) According to the Government Accountability Office, the National Nuclear Security Administration has still not factored affordability concerns into its planning as was recommended by the Government Accountability Office in 2017, with the warning that “it is essential for NNSA to present information to Congress and other key decision maker indicating whether the agency has prioritized certain modernization programs or considered trade-offs (such as deferring or cancelling specific modernization programs)”.
(9) A December 2020 Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that the projected costs of nuclear forces over the next decade can be reduced by $12,400,000,000 to $13,600,000,000 by trimming back current plans, while still maintaining a triad of delivery systems. Even larger savings would accrue over the subsequent decade.
(10) The Department of Defense’s June 2013 nuclear policy guidance entitled “Report on Nuclear Employment Strategy of the United States” found that force levels under the April 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms between the United States and the Russian Federation (commonly known as the “New START Treaty”) “are more than adequate for what the United States needs to fulfill its national security objectives” and can be reduced by up to 1⁄3 below levels under the New START Treaty to 1,000 to 1,100 warheads.
(11) Former President Trump expanded the role of, and spending on, nuclear weapons in United States policy at the same time that he withdrew from, unsigned, or otherwise terminated a series of important arms control and nonproliferation agreements.
SEC. 3. REDUCTIONS IN NUCLEAR FORCES.
(a) Reduction Of Nuclear-Armed Submarines.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for purchasing more than eight Columbia-class submarines.
(b) Reduction Of Ground-Based Missiles.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, beginning in fiscal year 2022, the forces of the Air Force shall include not more than 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
(c) Reduction Of Deployed Strategic Warheads.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, beginning in fiscal year 2022, the forces of the United States Military shall include not more than 1,000 deployed strategic warheads, as that term is defined in the New START Treaty.
(d) Limitation On New Long-Range Penetrating Bomber Aircraft.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for any of fiscal years 2022 through 2028 for the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for purchasing more than 80 B–21 long-range penetrating bomber aircraft.
(e) Prohibition On F–35 Nuclear Mission.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be used to make the F–35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
(f) Prohibition On New Air-Launched Cruise Missile.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the research, development, test, and evaluation or procurement of the long-range stand-off weapon or any other new air-launched cruise missile or for the W80 warhead life extension program.
(g) Prohibition On New Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for the research, development, test, and evaluation or procurement of the ground-based strategic deterrent or any new intercontinental ballistic missile.
(h) Termination Of Uranium Processing Facility.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the Uranium Processing Facility located at the Y–12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
(i) Prohibition On Procurement And Deployment Of New Low-Yield Warhead.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended to deploy the W76–2 low-yield nuclear warhead or any other low-yield or nonstrategic nuclear warhead.
(j) Prohibition On New Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the research, development, test, and evaluation or procurement of a new submarine-launched cruise missile capable of carrying a low-yield or nonstrategic nuclear warhead.
(k) Limitation On Plutonium Pit Production.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for achieving production of more than 30 plutonium pits per year at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
(l) Limitation On W87–1 Warhead Procurement And Deployment.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the procurement or deployment of the W87–1 warhead for use on any missile that can feasibly employ a W87 warhead.
(m) Limitation On Sustainment Of B83–1 Bomb.—Notwithstanding other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the sustainment of the B83–1 bomb beyond the time at which confidence in the B61–12 stockpile is gained.
(n) Prohibition On Space-Based Missile Defense.—Notwithstanding other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the research, development, test, and evaluation or procurement of a space-based missile defense system.
(o) Prohibition On The W–93 Warhead.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2022 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the procurement and deployment of a W–93 warhead on a submarine launched ballistic missile.
SEC. 4. REPORTS REQUIRED.
(a) Initial Report.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy shall jointly submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report outlining the plan of each Secretary to carry out section 3.
(b) Annual Report.—Not later than March 1, 2022, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy shall jointly submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report outlining the plan of each Secretary to carry out section 3, including any updates to previously submitted reports.
(c) Annual Nuclear Weapons Accounting.—Not later than September 30, 2022, and annually thereafter, the President shall transmit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report containing a comprehensive accounting by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget of the amounts obligated and expended by the Federal Government for each nuclear weapon and related nuclear program during—
(1) the fiscal year covered by the report; and
(2) the life cycle of such weapon or program.
(d) Cost Estimate Report.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy shall jointly submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report outlining the life cycle estimated cost savings that result from carrying out section 3.
(e) Report On Funding National Defense Strategy.—Not later than 180 days after the publication of a National Defense Strategy under section 113(g) of title 10, United States Code, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report explaining how the Secretary proposes to fund the National Defense Strategy under different levels of projected defense spending, including scenarios in which—
(1) anticipated cost savings from reform do not materialize; or
(2) defense spending decreases to the levels specified by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112–25; 125 Stat. 240).
(f) Modification Of Period To Be Covered By Estimates Of Costs Relating To Nuclear Weapons.—Section 1043 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112–81; 125 Stat. 1576), as most recently amended by section 1670 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Public Law 115–232; 132 Stat. 2157), is further amended in subsections (a)(2)(F) and (b)(1)(A) by striking “10-year period” each place it appears and inserting “25-year period”.
(g) Appropriate Committees Of Congress Defined.—In this section, the term “appropriate committees of Congress” means—
(1) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate; and
(2) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives.
House committees pass $20 million per day on behalf of Israel
U.S. spending for Israel takes two forms: some of the money goes directly to Israel; some of the money goes to other items that benefit Israel. Legislation recently advanced by Congressional committees contains both types of funding. If the legislation becomes law, as is expected, a combined total of over $7 billion of Americans’ tax money will be disbursed in 2022 on behalf of Israel, one of the world’s richest and smallest countries…
By Alison Weir
Congressional committees recently passed two bills that contain provisions to disburse a total of over $7 billion on behalf of Israel in the year 2022. This works out to almost $20 million per day if the legislation passes both houses of Congress and is signed into law.
These provisions were included in the bills despite the fact that Israel just committed another onslaught against Gazan men, women, and children; despite Israel’s many actions that harm Americans; despite the fact that most Americans think the U.S. already gives Israel too much money; and despite the fact that aid to Israel is illegal under U.S. laws.
• This bill gives half a billion dollars in direct aid to Israel for high tech anti-rocket systems.
(2) The second bill, advanced by the House Appropriations Committee on July 1st is the “2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations” bill. This bill (recently given the number H. R. 4373) contains a number of funding items for Israel. Some of the funding goes directly to Israel; some of it goes to additional items because they benefit Israel.
[UPDATE: On July 28, the House of Representatives passed the bill. The next step is Senate approval.]
Below are the measures in this bill to and for Israel:
• $3.3 billion in direct military aid to Israel.
• $58 million on related programs for Israel, which AIPAC lists in a series of proud tweets.
• $1.65 billion to Jordan and $1.4 billion to Egypt tied to agreements that benefit Israel, namely that these countries desist from advocating for full Palestinian rights. As eminent economist Thomas Stauffer stated in a detailed analysis of U.S. expenditures: “Protection of Israel and subsidies to countries willing to sign peace treaties with Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan, has been the prime driver of U.S. outlays.“ Ambassador Chas Freeman concurs, stating that aid to Egypt and Jordan is supported “in large measure in terms of their contribution to the security of the Jewish state.” The money for Egypt stems from an inducement to obtain and then maintain Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel (AIPAC regularly advocates that the U.S. send aid to Egypt), and the money to Jordan is based on similar terms, the Guardian noting last year that Jordan’s willingness to work with Israel “helps to smooth the way for annual US aid payments worth more than $1.5bn each year that keep Jordan’s donor-dependent economy afloat.” The Jordanian government, despite protest from most of its population, periodically helps to enforce Israeli policies.
• $225 million allegedly for assistance to Palestinians. In reality, such funding is largely intended to benefit Israel, and is often proposed and/or receives support from Israel partisans such as Nita Lowey.
Rationales given in the bill for this funding are that it would “advance Middle East peace” (i.e. lead Palestinians to accede to Israeli demands); “improve security in the region” (be used by the Palestinian Authority to continue to round up resistance fighters – the Palestinian Authority is known as Israel’s “day-to-day partner in governing the West Bank”); and to “address urgent humanitarian needs” (but doesn’t mention that these needs are caused by Israel’s ongoing military attacks and financial policies against Palestinians).
Portions of the aid are used as a combination threat and bribe; the money will not be provided if “the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof” or if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”
Such ‘humanitarian’ funding for Palestinians is considered important for Israel, as two prominent Israel advocates explain:
“Funding for Palestinian assistance programs has always flowed with bipartisan support because it was determined to reinforce Israel’s security and provide a measure of U.S. leverage and influence.
This logic was ratified by the support of the Israeli government for these programs. Israeli authorities understood that a breakdown in security, an economic collapse or a humanitarian crisis in the West Bank would place an enormous burden on Israel.”
In total, these bills provide $3.8 billion directly to Israel in 2022 (the half billion in the defense bill and the $3.3 billion in the state/foreign relations bill), and $3.4 billion on behalf of Israel, which add up to a combined total of nearly $7.2 billion.
And that isn’t all…
There are numerous additional expenditures on behalf of Israel throughout the state appropriations bill that are not included in the above tabulation.
Among these are funding for operations to dismantle the Arab League boycott of Israel; millions of dollars provided for Jews resettling in Israel; portions of the $20 billion to “Democracy Programs” and the $4.5 billion to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that are used to oppose support for Palestinian rights as allegedly ‘antisemitism’; funding to countries such as Bahrain, UAE, Morocco, and others resulting from enticements to procure their ‘normalization‘ policies with Israel, etc.
A thorough examination of such additional programs could quite possibly add another billion dollars to be disbursed on behalf of Israel. In other words, the money to be disbursed to and on behalf of Israel in 2022 in these two bills alone could possibly exceed $8 billion ($22 million per day).
And it’s important to remember that these two committees passed this extraordinarily lavish funding for Israel even though, as mentioned above, most voters would likely oppose it – if they knew about it. However, very few Americans know about the proposed funding, since mainstream U.S. news companies almost never report on such legislation (unlike Israeli and Israel-focused U.S. media).
Activists Paint Tank Tracks to Doors of Weapons Dealers
By World BEYOND War, August 10, 2021
CANADA – Activists across Canada marked the third anniversary of the Yemen school bus massacre on Monday with protests at weapons manufacturers and government offices, calling on Canada to stop all weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi bombing of a school bus in a crowded market in northern Yemen on August 9, 2018 killed 44 children and ten adults and wounded many more.
In Nova Scotia activists protested outside Lockheed Martin’s Dartmouth facility. The bomb used in the airstrike on the Yemeni school bus was made by weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. company Lockheed Martin.
“Three years ago today an entire school bus of children was slaughtered by a 500-pound Lockheed Martin bomb. I’m here at Lockheed Martin’s facility today with my young child, the same age as many of the kids on that bus, to hold this company accountable for the death of these 44 children and ensure they are not forgotten,” said Rachel Small of World BEYOND War.
In London, Ontario activists painted red tank tracks leading up to the home of Danny Deep, President of General Dynamics Land Systems, a London-area company manufacturing light armoured vehicles (LAVs) for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tracks were also painted at the offices of local Liberal Members of Parliament Peter Fragiskatos (London North Centre) and Kate Young (London West). People for Peace London and Labour Against the Arms Trade have called for conversion of war industries like the GDLS facility in London to peaceful green production in order to maintain good jobs addressing human needs rather than promoting war.
Last week, it was revealed that the Canadian government had approved a new deal to sell $74 million worth of explosives to Saudi Arabia in 2020. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has exported over $1.2 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. In 2019, Canada exported arms valued at $2.8 billion to the Kingdom — more than 77 times the dollar value of Canadian aid to Yemen in the same year. Arms exports to Saudi Arabia now account for over 75% of Canada’s non-US military exports.
In Vancouver, members of the Yemeni community and allies rallied at Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan’s constituency office. Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO), Yemeni Community Association of Canada and Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice organized a rally calling for an end to Canada’s sales of deadly weapons to the Saudi-led coalition. People passing by took notice of red tank tracks leading from the sidewalk to the door of Defence Minister Sajjan’s office, along with banners and signs demanding an end to Canada’s support of Saudi war crimes in Yemen.
“Today we remember the over 40 children and 11 adults who were killed by a Saudi airstrike on their school bus, three years ago on August 9, 2018,” said Azza Rojbi, Tunisian activist, author and executive member of Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO). “We must not forget that the laser guided bomb which killed these children was made in the United States, and that weapons which continue to kill Yemeni people every day are sold by Canada and the U.S. to the Saudi-led coalition.”
In St. Catharines community members stuck cutouts of children on Member of Parliament Chris Bittle’s door to represent each of the children killed in the school bus bombing.
Now in its sixth year, the Saudi-led war on Yemen has killed almost a quarter of a million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It’s also led to what the UN body has called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
“A child in Yemen will die every 75 seconds this year because of the ongoing war, according to the World Food Programme. As a parent, I can’t just stand by and allow Canada to keep profiting off of this war by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia,” said Sakura Saunders, a board member of World BEYOND War. “It’s despicable that Canada continues to fuel a war that has led to the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet and heavy civilian casualties in Yemen.”
Last fall, Canada was for the first time publicly named as one of the countries helping to fuel the war in Yemen by a panel of independent experts monitoring the conflict for the UN and investigating possible war crimes by the combatants, including Saudi Arabia.
“For Trudeau to enter into this election claiming to have run a ‘feminist foreign policy’ is patently absurd given this government’s unwavering commitment to sending billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Saudia Arabia, a country infamous for its human rights record and systematic oppression of women. The Saudi arms deal is the exact opposite of a feminist approach to foreign policy,” said Joan Smith from Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace.
Over 4 million people have been displaced because of the war, and 80% of the population, including 12.2 million children, are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. This same assistance has been thwarted by the Saudi-led coalition’s land, air, and naval blockade of the country. Since 2015, this blockade has prevented food, fuel, commercial goods, and aid from entering Yemen.
World BEYOND War: Rachel Small, Canada Organizer, [email protected]
Movement Against War and Occupation: Azza Rojbi, [email protected]
Interviews available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic.
Follow twitter.com/hashtag/CanadaStopArmingSaudi for photos, videos, and updates from across the country.
Leslie Lenhardt, South Carolina Environmental Law Project, (843) 527-0078, [email protected]
Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs, in CA, (925) 255-3589, [email protected]
Tom Clements, SRS Watch, in S. Carolina, (803) 834-3084, [email protected]
Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch NM, (505) 989-7342, c. (505) 470-3154, [email protected]Federal agencies’ refusal to review cross-country expansion of plutonium pit production violates the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedures Act, groups say.AIKEN, S.C. – Today, a coalition of community and public interest groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). This legal action is prompted by the agencies’ failure to take the “hard look” required by the National Environmental Policy Act at their plans to more than triple the production of plutonium pits and split their production between the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.A plutonium pit is the heart and trigger of a nuclear bomb. Production involves the extensive processing and handling of extremely hazardous and radioactive materials. In 2018, the federal government called for producing at least 80 pits per year by 2030, including 30 or more at Los Alamos and 50 or more at the Savannah River Site. The new plutonium pits are intended for the W87-1, a controversial new warhead under development at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Its novel design will necessitate new pits and require all of the cores manufactured at both production sites through 2038 or later, according to government documents.Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch and Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment have reached out to DOE and NNSA on more than six occasions since 2019 over the legal requirement for a broad, nationwide programmatic environmental impact statement, or PEIS, for producing the plutonium pits at Los Alamos and the Savannah River Site. However, in its March 22, 2021 correspondence (download PDF) with the groups, NNSA said it has no plans to revisit its review of pit production, relying instead on a supplemental analysis of an outdated PEIS completed more than a decade ago, along with a separate standalone review done solely for the Savannah River Site.The agencies’ piecemeal, post-hoc evaluation of this programmatic shift is arbitrary and capricious and violates the Administrative Procedures Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, according to the challenge filed today in the District of South Carolina, Aiken Division by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project on behalf of the groups. PDF of the Complaint at https://bit.ly/3y93yUWThe lawsuit seeks to force the Defendants to involve the public in the review and decision-making process and to evaluate the environmental impacts of the significantly altered pit production plan, including the environmental justice implications for the many underserved communities that are located near these facilities. NNSA has conducted NEPA reviews only for specific portions of this larger connected plan of plutonium pit production and have not evaluated on a programmatic level critical issues such as the impacts on all DOE sites involved in pit production; the storage capacity for disposal of wastes generated by the pit production process and the array of new information that casts significant doubt over the feasibility of this plan.Production of pits at the Savannah River Site would require the complete overhaul of a failed project known as the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, of which over $7 billion was wasted. The February 2020 cost estimate of $4.6 billion for the Savannah River Site alone has now skyrocketed to $11.1 billion, as confirmed in the NNSA’s budget request of May 28, 2021. In recent Congressional testimony, NNSA leaders have already said that the 2030 goal for production of 50 pits per year at SRS may need to be pushed back to 2035.“Recent events demonstrate that the agencies have significantly underestimated the timeline and expense associated with this proposed action, making the timing of this lawsuit even more appropriate,” said Leslie Lenhardt, staff attorney for the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. “The evidence is overwhelming that any of the NEPA analyses that have been done are outdated and have not taken into consideration any of the significantly different circumstances that have arisen since 2008. It is imperative that NNSA correct glaring environmental-review deficiencies and conduct a thorough programmatic EIS on the impacts of pit production across the DOE complex.”Jay Coghlan, Executive Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, commented, “NNSA has tried four times to expand plutonium pit bomb core production, but failed each time due to overwhelming citizen opposition. NNSA is now cutting the public out by refusing to complete nation-wide review of expanded pit production for controversial new-design nuclear weapons. We file this lawsuit to enforce the legal right of citizens to speak out on the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars that will be squandered in the new nuclear arms race.”Tom Clements, director of SRS watch, in Columbia, S.C., said, “DOE’s rushed planning to unnecessarily expand nuclear bomb production has already resulted in a massive cost increase and significant delays in the SRS plutonium bomb plant. While more delays and cost increases appear likely, it is essential that DOE slow down and comply with requisite environmental laws before jumping into ill-conceived plans to expand plutonium pit production which would be a key part of a dangerous new nuclear arms race.”Marylia Kelley, of Tri-Valley CAREs in Livermore, Calif, charged “NNSA’s refusal to undertake a programmatic review of its pit production plan is intended to allow the agency to dodge analysis of reasonable alternatives. For example, LLNL’s W87-1 design is driving both the schedule and ‘need’ for expanded pit production. The warhead’s novel design features are elective; a refurbishment option could meet stockpile requirements without necessitating expanded pit production. NNSA is robbing the public of its right to comment on alternatives, yet those of us in frontline communities will bear the brunt of this refusal. It is workers and the public who will suffer the risks of accidents, spills, leaks, radioactive exposures, and the production and transportation of plutonium wastes.”
# # #The South Carolina Environmental Law Project uses its legal expertise to protect land, water, and communities across South Carolina. Savannah River Site Watch (https://srswatch.org/) is based in Columbia, SC and monitors DOE activities at SRS. Nuclear Watch New Mexico (https://nukewatch.org/) is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and focuses on nuclear weapons activities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Tri-Valley Communities Against a radioactive Environment (Tri-Valley CAREs, http://www.trivalleycares.org//) is located in Livermore, California and monitors the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a key nuclear-weapons-design facility.
Nuclear Watch New Mexico
, July 2, 2021
Contact: Jay Coghlan, 505.989.7342, [email protected]
New Mexico: Number One in Nuclear Weapons and Radioactive Wastes Near Last in Citizen and Child Well-Being
Santa Fe, NM – According to budget documents just released by the Department of Energy, DOE facilities in New Mexico will receive $8 billion in FY 2022, nearly double that of any other state. Seventy-five percent ($6 billion) is for core nuclear weapons research and production programs under the DOE’s semi-autonomous nuclear weapons agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration. This is 39% of the agency’s total nation-wide nuclear weapons budget of $15.5 billion, more than double the next closest state.
The goal of NNSA programs in New Mexico is to indefinitely extend the service lives of existing nuclear weapons while giving them new military capabilities. This will be followed by completely new nuclear weapons that cannot be tested given the global testing moratorium. Alternatively, it could prompt the U.S. back into nuclear weapons testing, which would have serious international proliferation implications. NNSA’s claimed rationale is “deterrence” which requires only a few hundred nuclear weapons. In reality the U.S. and Russia each have thousands of ready-to-launch weapons for nuclear war-fighting.
Climate change is clearly becoming an increasing national security threat. New Mexico is blessed with abundant solar, wind and geothermal resources, which could help meet that threat. Yet DOE funding for renewable energy research in New Mexico is only (point).4% of the State’s nuclear weapons budget.
Of the remaining $2 billion that DOE will spend in New Mexico in FY 2022, $438 million will be for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the country’s only deep underground dump for radioactive bomb-making wastes. Even though WIPP is located in southern New Mexico, DOE prioritizes the disposal of radioactive wastes from Idaho and South Carolina above the Land of Enchantment because of strict legal agreements those states forced DOE to sign. In addition, DOE is pursuing plans to dispose of an additional 34 metric tons of “excess” radioactive plutonium from across the nation at WIPP.
As it currently stands, New Mexico has only permitted WIPP through 2024, which DOE is seeking to indefinitely extend. The NNSA has declared that half of WIPP’s future capacity will be reserved for radioactive wastes from future plutonium “pit” bomb core production for new nuclear weapons at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
Separately, even though New Mexico has never had a commercial nuclear energy power plant of its own, the nuclear energy industry is seeking to dump up more than 100,000 tons of lethal high-level radioactive wastes in our state for so-called “Consolidated Interim Storage.” This is not likely to be “interim” when there hasn’t been a fix for permanent high-level waste disposal in 65 years of commercial radioactive waste generation.
The New Mexican congressional delegation has always historically served the interests of the nuclear weapons industry while promising jobs, jobs, jobs. Yet New Mexico always ranks near the bottom of all 50 states in key socioeconomic indicators. Does the nuclear weapons industry championed by our congressional representatives really benefit New Mexicans as a whole? The facts indicate no, except for the privileged nuclear weaponeers.
For example, during the 79 years that the nuclear weapons industry has been in the Land of Enchantment, Census Bureau data shows that New Mexico slipped in per capita income from 37th in 1959 to 49th in 2019. US News and World Report recently gave New Mexico an overall best-state-to-live-in ranking of 48th (and dead last in education). According to the state Human Services Department, we have the highest percentage of seniors living in poverty and the second-highest rate of overall poverty, suicide and food insecurity among children. The Land of Enchantment was recently ranked as 49th among all states in overall child well-being. Not coincidentally, New Mexico’s population is 63% People of Color who disproportionally bear the negative impacts of poverty. In contrast, the County of Los Alamos, home of the Los Alamos Lab, is 87% non-Hispanic White and is the 4th wealthiest county in the USA.
Jay Coghlan, director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, commented, “While New Mexico’s increasing role in nuclear weapons production helps to fuel a new arms race, it does little to advance the well-being of its citizens and children. We should demand more of our politicians and spiritual leaders. They should help guide the way to healthy and prosperous lives that don’t rely on the continuing refinement and production of weapons of mass destruction that threaten the entire world and rob resources from the poor and needy.”
WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) alongside her five co-leads, Representatives Hank Johnson (GA-04), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Jesus "Chuy" García (IL-04), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), and Ilhan Omar (MN-05) led a group of 21 lawmakers in introducing the House companion to Senator Merkley’s Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021. This critical legislation, which is identical to the Senate version, lays out a comprehensive framework for combating corruption, impunity, and human rights violations in Honduras. It builds on the strong foundation laid by the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act.
The introduction comes after U.S. federal prosecutors made public that they are investigating Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández for his involvement in drug trafficking throughout the U.S. It also follows the conviction and sentencing of his brother and former Honduran Congressman Tony Hernández who will serve life in prison for his leadership in the same conspiracy – an expansive, sophisticated, and violent drug ring.
In response to this rampant corruption and well documented history of human rights violations, the Honduran Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act will impose sanctions on the Honduran president for corruption and human rights abuses, and suspend U.S. security assistance and export licenses for covered defense articles and munitions items to the Honduran police and military, among other provisions.
“For years, the United States has provided millions of dollars in security assistance to Honduras, and for years we have seen the military and police murder human rights, labor, and environmental activists with impunity,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “And now we see the Honduran President implicated in a decade’s long violent drug trafficking scheme. The U.S. must stop financing the rampant corruption and violations of human rights that prevent the Honduran people from building a safe and thriving country. It is well past time for the U.S. to make clear that the Honduran government must restore the rule of law, and respect and uphold human and civil rights. Until that time, we must cease our aid, impose sanctions, and hold those in power accountable.”
“Disturbing human rights abuses and blatant corruption are being committed at the highest levels of the Honduran government—claiming lives, silencing human rights and environmental defenders, and forcing families to flee persecution and violence. We can’t stay silent in the face of this crisis,” said Senator Merkley, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and introduced the legislation in the Senate in February. “A failure to hold Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, national officials, and members of the police and military accountable will only make things worse, by fueling widespread poverty and violence and forcing more families to search for safety. We need a comprehensive plan of action, including sanctions, and halting the provision of U.S. security assistance and defense equipment to the Honduran police and military.”
“I am honored to co-lead the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act. This bill continues the call for long-sought justice for Hondurans and holds President Juan Orlando Hernandez accountable for his high-level involvement in narcotrafficking,” said Congressman Hank Johnson. “It is imperative that the Honduran military and police do not receive funding from the United States to continue terrorizing its own people. This legislation, coupled with my legislation, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, sends a clear message to the government and people of Honduras that state violence cannot continue with impunity. This year commemorates five years since the assassination of human rights and environmental activist Berta Cáceres, who was murdered for speaking out against injustice. Many more have been tortured, imprisoned, and killed by the Honduran government; we must deliver justice for them by defunding and demilitarizing Honduran security forces. Human rights in Honduras cannot wait. I thank Rep. Schakowsky and Senator Merkley for their leadership on this bill.”
“I’m proud to stand with defenders of human rights and introduce the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “It is long overdue to stop providing aid to Honduran military and security forces, and to hold President Juan Orlando Hernández accountable for corruption. Addressing the root causes of migration requires us to confront the insecurity and impunity that forces many people to flee to the United States. The Honduran people have the right to a safe and decent life in their home country and they must be protected, not victimized by their own government. I encourage all of my colleagues to support this important legislation."
“The Honduran people continue to leave their country because of violence, corruption and lack of economic opportunities. The institutions intended to protect the public are instead violating human rights and protecting criminals and drug traffickers” said Congressman García. “We must address the root causes of migration, and that includes addressing the safety of Central American people. The Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021, will impose sanctions against high level officials for corruption and human rights abuses. We must stand in solidarity with our Honduran brothers and sisters against impunity and institutional violence.”
“The United States cannot remain silent and allow the horrific treatment of the Honduran people as well as rampant fraud and corruption to go on without consequences,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “The Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act is vital, commonsense legislation that will hold Honduran leaders like Juan Orlando Hernández accountable for their actions. The U.S. cannot support regimes that flagrantly violate human rights and the rule of law.”
“Our immigration policies and foreign policy are inextricably linked. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, national officials, and members of the police and military are responsible for unspeakable crimes against humanity in Honduras—and are fueling a humanitarian crisis in the region that is leading thousands to flee their homes for safety,” said Congresswoman Omar. “We should not be providing security aid to a government that murders human rights activists with zero legal accountability. Not holding them accountable will only fuel widespread poverty and violence and force more families to flee their communities in search of safety. I am proud to join Congresswoman Schakowsky to ensure that Honduras is not rewarded for their crimes.”
Original cosponsors include: Blumenauer, Cicilline, Cohen, Danny Davis, Espaillat, Grijalva, Jayapal, Lowenthal, McGovern, Napolitano, Norton, Panetta, Pocan, Porter, Pressley, Raskin, Rush, Scanlon, Tlaib, Vargas, Welch
# # #
Perspectives from Havana: Economist Estéban Morales
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Like the rest of the world, Havana and Cuba have just completed the first full year of Covid 19. It has done so with the full force of the U.S. embargo on its neck, including additional measures enacted by the Trump administration and so far not modified or removed by the Biden administration. What has Havana been like the past year? What is it like now? What have been the major challenges and achievements?
Register to attend (only one registration is needed for the series)
Please join us to explore these and other questions with 5 leading voices from Cuba. All events start at 6 pm
April 27: From the Perspective of a Sociologist and Feminist – Marta Nuñez
May 04: From the Perspective of a Poet and Writer – Nancy Morejón
May 11: From the Perspective of the Next Generation — David Faya
Each week will start with a short presentation, followed by plenty of time for questions and dialogue. The discussion will be moderated by Cole Harrison (Massachusetts Peace Action), Sandra Levinson (Center for Cuban Studies), and Gloria Caballero (Latin American Solidarity Coalition of W. Mass)
Register to attend (only one registration is needed for the series). At the close of each session you will be given information and options for action to lift the Sanctions and end the Embargo, as well as ways in which you can get involved with the organizations sponsoring and co-sponsoring the series, or hold events and forums in your own community, institution or organization.
Introductions: Merri Ansara in Havana
Main Sponsors: Massachusetts Peace Action (www.masspeaceaction.org), Center for Cuban Studies
Two months into the Biden administration, the fate of the Iran deal remains perilously uncertain and the president has done little to reverse Trump's failed "maximum pressure" policy or ease crushing sanctions on 83 million people — in the middle of a pandemic.
If we want to see diplomacy succeed, then we need to make it clear to the new administration that the United States must save the Iran deal. That’s why, together, with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace Action, and 19 other organizations, we’re launching a #ReSealTheDeal week of action.
The Iran deal was the result of years of painstaking negotiations and is one of the strongest and most significant nuclear nonproliferation arrangements in history. With this deal, we peacefully eliminated the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and strengthened our own national security. Without it, we face the very real prospect of another disastrous conflict in the Middle East.
Since Trump left the Iran deal in 2018, the U.S. and Iran have only narrowly avoided war. And if President Biden doesn’t change course, that is the path we’re heading down.
But changing decades of foreign policy failure won’t be easy. It’s going to take ALL of us taking action to demand a future free from endless war and filled with peace and justice.
The good news is, our movement CAN urge President Biden to choose the path of diplomacy — IF we build enough momentum and pressure.
And luckily, we’re not alone. This week, over 20 pro-peace, pro-Iran-deal organizations are pushing President Biden to honor his campaign promise and return the United States to the Iran nuclear deal immediately.
Thank you for working for peace,
Stephen, Annika, Sara, and the Win Without War team
P.S. In case you missed it, NIAC is hosting an expert panel featuring Senator Chris Murphy and other key international relations and nonproliferation experts this Wednesday at 2:30 PM ET. You can RSVP here to join and find out more details for the event!
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Biden Administration Asked to Review Plutonium Pit Expansion Plans
February 11, 2021
Public interest organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requesting that it address calls for a rigorous environmental review of plans to expand production of nuclear bomb cores at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina.
The non-profit groupsNuclear Watch New Mexico, SRS Watch and Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environmenthave previously submitted a number of formal comments and information related to the environmental and public health risks associated with a significant expansion of plutonium “pit” production at the two DOE sites.
The three organizations’ documents, which include several legal filings since 2019, were consolidated and re-submitted on Wednesday so the DOE under the new Biden administration has “immediate access to these documents,” the letter states.
Download the documents
A key concern among the three public interest groups is the necessity of preparing a legally mandated Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) analyzing the potential impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at all relevant DOE sites. The groups want to ensure that the administrative record is intact and that reconsideration of the PEIS be undertaken before legal action is pursued.
“We are hopeful that a review of programs with significant environmental impacts under NEPA will return to normalcy with the new presidential administration,” said Leslie Lenhardt, staff attorney for the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, a non-profit environmental law firm representing the organizations. “DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration have a new opportunity to revisit their prior refusal to conduct a PEIS for this critical issue.”
In 2018, in an effort to expand and refurbish the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, the Trump administration proposed producing at least 80 pits a year30 at the existing Los Alamos site and 50 at the Savannah River Site.
At Los Alamos, pit production has been plagued by a long history of safety issues, yet DOE is proposing to increase production by 50 percent at that location. At the Savannah River Site, which has never produced pits, the DOE is seeking to convert the never-finished Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility into a pit factory. The failed MOX facility wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and was not designed for producing nuclear war heads.
Pit production entails processing hazardous and radioactive materials and would significantly increase the amount of nuclear and toxic wastes generated at the Savannah River Site and Los Alamos. In addition to the possibility that plutonium could be stranded at the sites, drastically increasing the nation’s plutonium pit processing capability means more waste needs to be treated, stored or disposed ofa risk for surrounding communities who may be impacted by the release of these materials.
The groups say the DOE is required to analyze the collective environmental impacts at the multiple production sites as well as impacts on the waste isolation pilot plant in New Mexico, where the agency plans to dispose of plutonium pit wastes without adequate review. The groups strongly affirm that the public has the right to participate in the PEIS decision-making process pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
“While we fully anticipate the Biden administration will affirm the need to prepare the PEIS on expansion of plutonium pit production, we remain ready to bring a lawsuit under NEPA,” said Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch.
Marylia Kelley, executive director of the Livermore-based Tri-Valley Cares noted that the “driver for expanded pit production is a novel warhead design underway at Livermore lab in California. Under NEPA, the agency must consider the DOE-complex wide impacts of this proposal in a thoroughgoing programmatic review.”
Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico added, “It’s important to note that no future pit production is to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing nuclear weapons stockpile. Instead, it is for speculative new nuclear weapons designs that can’t be tested because of the international testing moratorium, or perhaps worse yet may prompt the U.S. back into testing, after which surely other nations would follow.”
Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
A Candlelight Vigil for Peace and Global Nuclear Disarmament
Please join Peace Action of Wisconsin on Thursday, August 6th for a candlelight vigil along Lincoln Memorial Drive to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and renew our commitment to a world free from nuclear weapons.
75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
Thursday, August 6th, 8PM – 9:30PM
Along Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee
Near Bradford Beach Pedestrian Bridge
(Free Parking in the lot across from Bradford Beach and the North Point lot just south of there.
Meet in either one of the two parking lots to pick up lanterns, signs and banners.)
SAFE SOCIAL DISTANCING - 10 feet apart.
Everyone please wear masks. Special peace masks will be available for sale.
No More Nuclear Weapons! No More Hiroshimas!
For more information, contact Peace Action of Wisconsin, 414-269-9525;
website: peaceactionwi.org; facebook.com/peaeactionwi; email: [email protected]
Co-sponsored and endorsed by a number of other local peace & justice organizations.
Nurturing health and well-being
Protection from harm
Encouraging individual growth and development
Desire to be together
Generous sharing of resources
Working together for a common goal
Celebration of shared values
Sacrifice by one for the other
Creation of beauty”
“Braiding Sweetgrass” Robin Wall Kimmerer