ACTION ALERT: Congress Should
Publicly Condemn Trump’s Anti-immigrant Attacks When it comes to Trump’s hate,
whose side is Congress on?
The petition to Congress reads:
“Stand with immigrants. Publicly condemn Trump’s racist scapegoating and xenophobic attacks.”
We Cannot Let Donald Trump’s Racism Destroy the Country
(October 31, 2018) — Trump’s brand of hate has given a political home to violent white supremacists. People have died at the hands of these extremists and instead of stopping this crisis, Trump is making it worse. He just launched another series of anti-immigrant attacks, including one that would amend the Constitution to prevent future generations of USâ€“born children of immigrants from becoming citizens. 
To save our country, democracy and communities, every person who believes that Americans should be able to live with dignity in communities where they are safe and healthy should immediately denounce Trump’s xenophobic attacks. We know that CREDO members like you believe in this future and are fighting to make it a reality. Now it’s time for every member of Congress to follow our lead.
News just broke that Trump is planning to deploy nearly 15,000 active duty troops to the border to terrorize a caravan of migrant families, end birthright citizenship and impose another racist ban on refugees at the border. [2, 3, 4]
He is clearly trying to manufacture another xenophobic crisis and gin up supporters ahead of the midterms. But that isn’t his only goal. Trump also wants to create a political environment in which extreme racist policies, hate and violence are normalized and sanctioned by the public.
Not too long ago, sending thousands of active duty military troops to respond to a manufactured crisis within US territory would have set off red alerts. Elected officials of both parties would have condemned his plan to end birthright citizenship as not only unconstitutional but against our core values as a country.
Under Trump’s authoritarian regime, these military actions and unconstitutional policies aren’t receiving the massive push back they deserve, and that’s exactly what we need to fight against. 
Trump will stop at nothing to divide communities and replace our democracy with a fascist state. We need to be vigilant in rejecting his hate and showing the world that the American people will not be divided and will stand with immigrants and every community Trump threantens.
Progressive champions Reps. Jayapal, Lieu and Chu have publicly condemned Trump’s latest hateful attacks.  But that is not enough. We elected every member of Congress to represent the voice of the people.
Speak out now to make our demands crystal clear: Publicly denounce Trump’s attacks on immigrants and do everything you can to block them. Any member who refuses to speak out is aligning themselves with Trump’s vicious hate and the violence it incites.
Members of Congress: Whose side are you on? Publicly condemn Trump’s racist attacks on immigrants and do everything you can to stop them.
BERKELEY, Calif. (October 31, 2018) — Demagogues rarely commit violence directly. Instead, they use blame, ridicule, fear and hate — and then leave the violence to others. That way, they can always claim: “It wasn’t me. I don’t have blood on my hands.”
Of the tens of millions of Americans that the Trump-Fox News regime has made fearful, only a small percentage — say, a hundred thousand — have been moved to hate the objects of that fear.
And of those hundred thousand, only a relative handful — say, a few thousand — have been motivated to act on that hate, posting loathsome messages online, sending death threats, spray-painting swastikas.
And of that few thousand, a tiny subset, perhaps no more than a hundred or so, have been moved to violence.
But make no mistake: This lineage of cause and effect begins with Trump and his Fox News propaganda machine.
Politicians and media moguls have long understood that fear and hate sell better than hope and compassion, no matter how much we might wish it otherwise. But before Trump, no president had based his office on it. And before Fox News, no major media outlet had based its ratings on it.
Ronald Reagan stoked racism by bashing “welfare queens” and George W. Bush by airing campaign ads featuring “Willie Horton,” but fear and hate weren’t the centerpieces of either presidency.
The two political operatives behind these campaigns bear mention, though: Lee Atwater, who had also been chairman of the Republican National Committee and a senior partner at the political consulting firm of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (yes, that Manafort and that Stone); and Roger Ailes, who went on to create and run Fox News.
Atwater and Ailes premised their careers on fear and hate. Ailes’s Fox News monetized fear and hate through phantom menaces like a “terror mosque” near Ground Zero, Barack Obama’s alleged connections to black nationalists and Muslims, and Sarah Palin’s fictitious “death panels.”
Trump took Atwater and Ailes to their logical extremes — building a political base by suggesting Obama wasn’t born in America; launching his presidential campaign by warning of “criminals” and “rapists” streaming across the Mexican border; and ending his campaign with an ad suggesting that prominent Jews — billionaire philanthropist George Soros, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen — were in league with Hillary Clinton to control the world.
Since taking office, Trump has ramped up fear and hatred — towards immigrants, journalists, black athletes who won’t stand for the anthem, major media, and prominent Democrats.
In recent weeks he suggested that criminals and terrorists from the Middle East had joined a caravan of immigrants heading toward the border, and even floated a conspiracy theory that Soros helped fund the caravan.
Fox News has magnified the fear and hate exactly as its founder would have wanted. A guest on Lou Dobbs’ show claimed the caravan was being funded by the “Soros-occupied State Department.”
That same week, Soros was among the targets of pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and members of the media. A Florida man who identifies himself as a Trump supporter was arrested in connection with the attempted bombings.
Hours before a gunman entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed eleven worshipers, he reportedly wrote that a Jewish organization for refugees “likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Bombs mailed to political leaders. Threats against the media. A shooting in a place of worship. None were directly ordered by Trump or his propaganda affiliate. They didn’t have to be.
Trump’s demagoguery inspired it. Fox News magnified it.
The hatefulness is unconstrained. Having fired the few “adults” in his Cabinet, Trump is now loose in the White House, except for a few advisors who reportedly are trying to protect the nation from him.
House and Senate Republicans are not holding him back. To the contrary, they have morphed into his sycophants. An increasing number are sounding just like him.
Atwater and Ailes are gone from this world, but their descendants — Fox News‘s Sean Hannity and Bill Shine, formerly Roger Ailes’s deputy — have direct pipelines to Trump (Shine is now formally installed in the West Wing).
The upcoming election is not really a choice between Republicans and Democrats. Those traditional labels have lost most of their meaning, if not much of their value.
It is really a choice about the moral compass of America.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Why the World is Unraveling What Happens When People Find Out Capitalism Was a Lie? Umair Haque / Eduaimonia
(October 4, 2018) — It’s hardly just America. In Canada, two provinces have fallen to extremism. In Britain, there is the spectacular folly of Brexit. In Germany, neo-Nazis are on the rise. Poland, Hungary, Italy, Turkey — the list is endless. The world is destabilizing, fracturing, unravelling, coming undone. Why? And what does the future hold?
The truth, my friends, may be grimmer — and yet a little more hopeful, in a strange and funny way — than you might think. Let me start at the beginning.
For the last few decades, the world has been held together with a lie. The lie that held the world together was capitalism. Like all lies, it was a tenuous thing, made of duct tape and string, dreams and prayers.
The lie, which emerged after the great war, allowed liberals and conservatives to reach an uneasy peace — a temporary truce in the battles that they have been fighting for centuries, now, and imagine that it would it last forever.
Liberals pretended to believe that capitalism would make everyone better off — everyone, everywhere, always, period. They still do — even while life expectancy falls in the two most capitalist countries of all, the US and UK — capitalism is a theology now, an an article of faith, not a principle subject to reason. So for liberals, capitalism came to replace all aspects, more or less, of previous thought — thinking about progress.
What was the answer to the great question of freedom? Capitalism. What about the one of justice? Capitalism! And what about equality? Why, capitalism.
It was a lobotomy, of a kind — but it was also the alpha and omega, the totem and the shrine. All this came to be called neoliberalism, of course, which in a way hides the point: capitalism as the answer to every single concern of human existence, from moral to political to social to of course economic, was how liberals of an age reconciled with conservatives.
Conservatives, on the other hand, pretended to believe that capitalism would create something like a hierarchy of virtue. They have always been primarily interested in power and control, superiority and inferiority, in some people being masters, and others being slaves — and so their end of the compromise was imagining that capitalism would allow hierarchy to operate.
Only this hierarchy would be one of the truly virtuous — the most resolute, the most honest, the most courageous, the wisest: all these would be the winners of capitalism.
Of course, such people were what were once called “noble”, too — and so conservatism’s compromise was that capitalism would preserve yesterday’s tribal hierarchies — men over women, white over black, strong over weak, moneyed over poor — only by another name. We’d call them corporations or hedge funds or law firms — but their function and purpose would be just the same as it ever was.
Now, this strange, weird compromise — how could it ever really come to be true? How could people have better lives — but still be bound by the same old stifling hierarchies, which exploited and abused them? How could life improve for all — but only the virtuous and noble win?
Why would capitalism bother to enrich anyone but capitalists, let alone give people a sense of meaning, purpose, belonging, and truth — when none of those things matter to it whatsoever? You have to go through severe contortions of thought — which would later be called American economics — to pretend all of that can be true. Touch it, and it falls apart.
This calculated, self-interested bargain between liberals and conservatives, which came to be called capitalism, could never realize itself as true. It was always a lie — and perhaps for that reason, it seems, no one thought very hard about the truth of it much at all.
Don’t believe me? OK. Fast forward a few decades. Did capitalism make good on this bargain — of improving everyone’s life, while creating a hierarchy of the just and noble? LOL — of course not. It has done precisely the opposite.
Let us take America as the canonical example. The average American lives paycheck to paycheck, unable to muster $1000 for an emergency, perched right at the edge of perpetual ruin. One lost job, one unpaid bill, one step away from disaster — falling into homelessness, impoverishment, and disgrace, which can easily last a lifetime.
And he lives that way until his dying day — because he will never retire.Is that because he is not virtuous and noble? Because he is sinful and lazy, indolent and slothful? Of course not. He works longer and harder hours than his parents and grandparents — and yet in real terms, he earns less, saves less, and is more indebted.
But to whom is he indebted? To the virtuous and noble, who are the winners of capitalism? Of course not. He is indebted to the winners of capitalism, that much is true — but they are vicious predators. They are the ones who raise the prices of life-savings drugs by thousands to profiteer upon his grief, who make him crowd fund insulin, who sell his kids bulletproof backpacks, who deny him the basics of a decent life, whether retirement, a pension, healthcare, or dignity.
Capitalism exploits and uses him like he is an animal — he is not a human thing to it at all. It is no great surprise, then, that he has given up on capitalism — but what is he turning to instead? Fascism, authoritarianism, and extremism.
The lie that was capitalism, in truth, produced just the opposite of what it promised people. The prole never became a capitalist. The capitalist never became a civilized and democratic person. Everyone did not have a better life. Worst of all, the winners were not the noble and just. They were, and are, the indecent and obscene, the disgraceful and the predatory — the Trumps of the world.
Hence, quite naturally, there are fewer and fewer people who believe in the foolish and childish lie of capitalism anymore. Now, once upon a time, before the great war, that would have been cause for rejoicing. “The glorious socialist revolution is here, now that capitalism is falling!!” cried the Marxist-Leninists. But they were wrong.
The last time capitalism fell, it produced fascism, genocide, ruin, and world war, before it produced social democracy. And that is what is happening all over again, now too. Those who are falling, but expected to rise, are taking what they were told was rightfully theirs by force, because they cannot have it through consent.
Hence, as capitalism is revealed to be a lie, the temporary truce between liberals and conservatives is shattering with implosive force — and the same old war between them is breaking out.
Because capitalism was the lie which was the common ground between them — liberals imagining a meritocratic utopia, conservatives imagining an aristocracy of the wise and true, both sides lost in their delusions — and now the lie has been revealed to be just that, how are these two sides to compromise now? The ground between them has fallen into the sea, and there they stand, on opposite continents, raising their fists at one another, in just the same old ways that they ever have.
So now that capitalism is dying — and it is a good thing it is dying — the problem is that the world is breaking down with it. Liberals and conservatives cannot agree anymore on the basic definitions of the fundamental things of society and political economy — without the now obviously false principles of capitalism (exploitation is wonderful, the rich are kind and wise, everyone must only ever rely on themselves, and so on) to give them a false common ground.
What is freedom to a conservative? It is the right to dominate others, to stand above them, to abuse them, to punish them. What is freedom to people who reject such extremism? It is something more like the chance to realize one’s self. What is fairness to a conservative? It is being entitled to the superiority that comes with belonging to the dominant tribe. What is fairness to a person who rejects such tribalism? It is a society in which tribalism is not dominant.
Do you see how the basic definitions of the fundamental elements of political economy are now irreconcilable between conservatives and liberals? How one complete excludes and negates the other? But therefore, compromise between liberals and conservatives isn’t possible either — but that is exactly why both sides have been at war for centuries, because that is what has historically been the case — only recently did they agree on the truce of capitalism. And yet in a world where capitalism has been found out to be a lie — but the lie what just barely held the world together — the problem is then the world must come undone, too.
We are in a time when the following things are true. When the definition of freedom to a conservative is the privilege to abuse and prey on the less powerful with impunity, but the definition of freedom to a liberal is the end of just such privileges and such impunities.
When the definition of fairness to a conservative is the right to deny others personhood, but the definition of fairness to a liberal is to expand it. When the meaning of equality to a conservative is my inherent superiority over you, but the meaning of equality to a liberal is inherent worth in all. When the idea of justice to a conservative is the rule of the strong over the weak, but the idea of justice to a liberal is shielding the vulnerable from just such a rule.
But these things have always been true — it was only the lie of capitalism which let us pretend there was a compromise, a reconciliation between them. Without the lie of capitalism to reconcile us together with happy illusions, we are reverting to a time when the fundamental, basic, naked, stark — and age-old — divisions between left and right are re-emerging and resurfacing. But now they are irreconcilable, too — because there is no lie left to pretend they can be glued together.
And so we are entering an age of disintegration. Because there is nothing gluing them together anymore, no lie left to pretend left and right can happily, peacefully live together, we are probably going into a time when societies simply break apart and shatter.
If liberals (and I don’t mean neoliberal, I mean anyone from the center to the left) and conservatives can’t compromise anymore — if the fundamental, basic, elemental differences between them are irreconcilable all over again, as they always were — then they can’t live together, either. We already see the glimmerings of such a thing in many, many places.
The EU threatened on all sides, which began with Brexit, which, ironically, will break up the UK. America exists at this point as a nation held together by the illusion of democracy. Quebec’s new nationalists — not democrats, like the old ones, but something more like tribalists. Fracture is rising, my friends.
So by age of disintegration, I mean a time of separationism, secessionism, breakup, fracture. Such an era will bring with it all kinds of upheaval, of course. Everything from peaceful departure to violent civil war. You can judge for yourself which one is likely in your society. I want to make the general point a little clearer.
We cannot seem to live together anymore now — the two sorts of people we are. Those who wish to be truly free, equal, and civilized — and those wish to be compete and strive in hierarchies of abuse and predation for status, power, and control. And the plain truth is this. We never could at all. Capitalism was an uncomfortable and clumsy lie — one that, in the end, brought us no closer together than we ever were.
Some of us remain tribalists, fascists, authoritarians — bigots, flunkies, bullies, abusers, climbing ladders of predation. Some of us wish to be free of just such people — to have nothing whatsoever to do with them, because they are beneath contempt.
But the problem we have found out today is that no matter how those of who wish to be free of such people have tried to teach them any better, they have not grown or matured one inch. They are just the same as they always were.
Democracies, in other words, have failed to civilize the predatory among them — no matter how hard they have tried. The ratio of these two sorts of people has not wavered one iota, it appears. What possibility then, is there, for coexistence between them?
Democracy, after all, is premised on a kind of myth: that we can educate everyone into being a democrat, into desiring equality over superiority, into cherishing liberation over predation, into prizing the public good over self interest. But can we? We have failed at just that. The lie of capitalism hid all this from us, for a few decades. But here we are — back at history’s ugliest truth.
What this age has really taught us then, is this: the two kinds of people we are cannot live together. Democracy is a failed experiment — because there are those of us who will reject it and refuse it, no matter how much or hard or by what means they are taught, educated, instructed, trained, nurtured to want, cherish, prize, and desire it. Therefore, democracy can only be preserved by rejecting and refusing such people. But that means societies as we know them are also coming to a swift and sudden end.
This war, between those who wish to live in tribes of predators, and those who wish to be truly free, equal, and sovereign, has always been fought — it is the oldest one of all. Perhaps though, in coming decades, we will see it finally resolved. Why should people with such different attitudes want to live together at all — if this age has finally revealed the futility of such an idea? Humanity is learning, perhaps, to let this foolish idea go.
Capitalism is the lie that broke the world. And yet the promise of this age, then, if you ask me, is a better kind of freedom. It is wiser for societies to break up, and jettison, at last the strange illusion, conjured by capitalism, that civilized people can coexist with people who do not want to coexist at all.
Democracy can only be preserved among the democratic. And therefore by them, too. So let the abusers and tribalists and predators have their tribes — and let those of who wish to genuinely free, equal, and true have our democracies. History has already taught us which side will triumph, hasn’t it?
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Shut Down Creech! Fourth Annual Demonstration Against US Killer Drones
“STOP the Murder, STOP the War Crimes” Toby Blome / CODEPINK
LAS VEGAS (September 30 – October 6, 2018) — Seven protesters were arrested while blockading the Pentagon’s Creech Assassin Drone Base. Just a week later, over 75 Somali militants were killed in a single US drone attack!
On Thursday, October 4, 2018, as part of this fall’s CODEPINK weeklong anti-drone protest at Creech Assassin Drone Base, 7 protesters and a couple of supporters bravely stepped across the base entrance road to temporarily “halt” the cruel and illegal US Air Force’s “remote killing machine” located in the beautiful Nevada desert. While holding large banners across the roadway, our voices repeatedly called out as loudly as we could muster: “STOP the murder, STOP the War Crimes,” “The People Demand Peace!”
On October 12, just one week later, a US drone strike murdered “about 60” Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia; The New York Times reported 4 DAYS AFTER the attack. The Times used the kinder word, “killed.” Later, Somali officials said over 75 over 75 extremists, mostly new recruits, were “killed” by two US drones. But, hey, who’s counting?
What’s another 15 young black dead men? Whose young brothers, sons, grandsons or nephews were sacrificed? Who grieves? Whose tears and wails will we never see or hear? What young brothers, sons and cousins of the new dead will soon become the next Somalia militants fighting against US Imperialism? In November 2017, over 100 Al- Shabaab militants were murdered in a single US Air Strike in Somalia. In March 2016, over 150 Al Shabaab fighters were murdered in a single US Air Strike, in Somalia.
Do we see a pattern here? Mass-murder that is becoming normalized in the Western world? As one of our banners reads: “Mass Shooter and Drone Pilot: Both Hunting People?”
At Creech AFB, there is a military sign that says “Creech AFB: Home of the Hunters.” Should the US military take pride in hunting people? The US Drone Killing Machine is a very covert and secret apparatus. We, who pay attention, only know a “tip of the iceberg” of the murders and injuries from US drone strikes and other air strikes that occur globally, and endlessly.
Where else in the world is drone killing occurring? Hundreds of air strikes every day; It’s so easy. But where, what and who? And why? We will continue to converge at Creech Air Force Base until the US stops these insane, cruel and inhumane policies, and recognizes and respects all humans’ right for life and judicial process. Some Al-Shabaab militants have committed their own cruel and violent acts. These violent acts we don’t condone. But violence begets violence and for every new “recruit” the US brutally murders in Somalia, Libya or elsewhere, even more will rise up from the burned ash.
OUR WEEK OF PROTEST AT CREECH: A CHANGE
During our blockade on Thursday, after the Las Vegas police promptly read the “riot act” thru a bullhorn, ordering protesters to disperse immediately or face the potential risks, such as ” arrest” or “physical pain and injury,” the police did something quite different. In almost all past drone protests at Creech since 2009, protesters have been given a 5 minute warning to disperse AFTER the “riot act” is read.
This gives activists a choice to hold the blockade longer, or to not risk arrest. In last April’s action that warning was drastically reduced to 2 minutes. This time we were all taken by complete surprise. Absolutely no warning period was given to us at all. LV police rushed toward us, arresting people as fast as possible.
A “blockade supporter,” Chris Knudson, a white male, who stood in the roadway with us during the entire initial blockade, luckily managed to get off the roadway just in time, although an officer was trailing him closely. He was NOT intending to risk arrest. However, Ruben Beltran, who was on the shoulder of the road during most of the blockade, holding his sign “Would You Drone Your Child?”, was approached by a police officer where he had already been standing in the shoulder for some time. He was handcuffed and taken with the 6 of us who were intending to risk arrest.
Why was Ruben arrested and not Chris? Ruben is a Mexican immigrant turned US citizen x 16 years now. Ruben is also the only local resident in the town of Indian Springs, located directly across from Creech Air Force Base, who joins us. He has been regularly and courageously participating in our protests at Creech for years now, for which we are grateful.
In that small pro-military town, many residents are actually employed on the base. It brings jobs to a small “village” with even less employment opportunities since Creech AFB expanded 3 years ago and bought and shut down all of the commercial side of town, closing a restaurant, hotel, small market and trading post. Ruben has not only lost friends in town because of his willingness to stand with us against US military crimes and cruelty, but he faces regular intimidation from the local counter-protesters who live in his town.
Why was Ruben (on the far right side) arrested and not Chris? Was it racism or his punishment for being the only local resident courageous enough to stand up for justice? Or both? Ruben was holding his own sign that morning: “Would You Drone Your Child?” Arrestees included: Ruben Beltran, Fred Bialy, Toby Blome, Don Cunning, Michael Kerr, Eleanor Levine, and Joseba Zulaika.
Activists were arrested at about 8:00 am in the morning. Most of the arrestees were held for exceptionally longer periods of time in the Las Vegas jail, compared to prior arrests at Creech. While Eleanor and Toby were released at about 8:30 pm the same day (a normal average), all of the men were held for extended periods. Mike and Don were released at 1:30 am, Ruben at 4:30 am, and Joseba and Fred were not released until 4:00 pm later that afternoon, after 30 hours in jail!
There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to their procedures, except to possibly make it harder or us to provide the best jail support from outside. Las Vegas is an hour away from our “base camp,” The Goddess Temple. The Las Vegas jail experience is one of the worst in the country. A very abusive and racist bureaucracy with regular episodes of cruel and inhumane punishment taking place daily.
To speak up against any injustices witnessed while being detained there puts anyone at risk for threats of a longer stay of detention. Read Frank Pauc’s story of his Arrest and Jail Experience at last year’s SHUT DOWN CREECH.
Many thanks to the two-dozen activists who came from New Jersey, Hawaii, Utah, Indiana, California, Arizona and elsewhere to converge in the Nevada desert for a shared purpose: to participate in a week-long stance against the illegal and brutal remote-controlled murder that takes place 24/7 at Creech Air Force Base.
Read Cecile Pineda’s moving story of our week-long effort to ground the drones. We had successful twice-daily, two-hour-long, powerful vigils to speak out against the US War Machine and it’s illegal drone assassination program. Very large banners and signs lined the highway every morning and afternoon as thousands of military and civilian employees flooded into and out of the base each day.
On Tuesday we wore black clothing and white masks for a funeral procession, with coffins to memorialize and honor the drone victims. We ultimately processed into the entrance road to temporarily halt the killing machine, without risking arrest, in a “soft blockade,” leaving the roadway before a one-minute warning was given.
That night at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, we had a film showing of “National Bird,” followed by a superb presentation by Ray McGovern: “Ethical and Legal Challenges Facing Drone Warriors.” As a former CIA analyst under several presidential administrations, Ray had firsthand experiences and insights to add a fresh perspective to the US drone program. www.RayMcGovern.com.
Later in the week, one vigil theme was: “WAR IS A LIE,” and identified the misinformation apartatus that keeps Americans in the dark:
“The President Lies,” “Congress Lies,” “Generals Lie,” “Media Lies,” “The CIA lies.”
Another morning’s vigil theme focused on the environmental threats of global militarism: “The US Military = #1 Polluter,” “War is Toxic to Our Mother,” “War is Toxic: Depleted Uranium, Cancer, Nukes, Fossil Fuel, Napalm . . . ” etc.”
In the afternoon, we modeled to the troops in a joyful way, how to care for “Our Mother” by tossing a giant Earth Ball up high into the air with a large, colorful parachute, as they were exiting the base. By the end of the week we had made a huge impact at Creech assassin drone base. How many important conversations were had that week because of our presence? We also had successful and broad national media coverage through a very short AP story that was picked up in nearly 20 states.
Norie Clarke volunteered to compose a letter to the Commander of Creech Air Force Base, with assistance from others. Her letter is here: This letter was signed by all of us, and was to be handed over to the police during our arrest. The police refused to accept our letter or deliver it to the Creech Commander. We will find another way to deliver it.
We also wanted to draw attention to the 17th anniversary of the US Invasion and continued Occupation of Afghanistan (October 7), an endless war that has left hundreds of thousands of Afghans dead, and tens of thousands with amputations and other injuries. Afghanistan is the most droned place on earth.
During our protest that day we wore sky blue scarves, symbolic of the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ global campaign to Abolition War. Just prior to our blockade on Thursday, Col. Ann Wright gave a very eloquent rallying speech, with an amplified system, about the violations against the people of Afghanistan, from the 17 year US bombing campaign there. Brian Terrell also spoke poignantly into the speaker system in hearing range of nearby police and military.
For more on the Afghan Peace Volunteers: www.OurJourneyToSmile.com.Why must the richest country on earth continue to wage war on Afghanistan, one of the very poorest countries on earth? The Taliban are as vulnerable to drone strikes as Al-Shabaab Somali militants are. Neither have an air force or any other air defense system, and thus they have no way to defend themselves against the unannounced Hellfire missiles that can rain down on them at any moment. They are literally “sitting ducks” on the ground.
It’s quite amazing that the Taliban and Al-Shabaab forces continue to fight back against the US, with even more determination, in spite of the great technological disadvantage that they have. Drones are the tools of an oppressive empire, used to control the most vulnerable populations of the earth, and to dominate the global political arena.
We celebrate the courage of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, who risked her own well-being and suffered terribly under the iron heal of the punitive military injustice system, because she dared speak out against the “assymetry of warfare,” which she voiced was a major motivator for her decision to leak the truth to the public.
We will continue to return to Creech Air Force Base twice annually, Spring and Fall, to make a strong stance against the injustice and inhumanity of it all. Please join us when you can. We hope you will be inspired to keep working for peace and justice by remembering this quote by James Baldwin, Black American writer: “As long as white Americans take refuge in their whiteness, they will allow millions of other people to be slaughtered . . . “. (From Baldwin’s Letter to Angela Davis, while she was serving jail time.)
Let us work together to stop the slaughter!
Toby, Eleanor and Maggie Bay Area and Flagstaff CODEPINK!
Democracy Itself Is on the Ballot Michael Waldman / Opinion: San Francisco Chronicle
(October 28, 2018) — The midterm elections have been marred by controversy over alleged voter suppression in Georgia, North Dakota and elsewhere. Once again, partisans want to make it harder for fellow citizens to cast their ballots. It’s ugly.
But amid the dispiriting bid to curb voting, something else is happening: For the first time in years, citizens have responded with a robust push to expand democratic rights. Breakthrough ballot measures across the country would expand voting rights and improve representation. If enacted, they could add up to a democracy wave, regardless of which party prevails.
Start with Florida, where the presidential recount in 2000 launched the recent voting wars. The state has an extraordinarily harsh felony disenfranchisement law, one that dates to the Jim Crow era and bars citizens with any kind of felony conviction from voting for a lifetime. A drug-possession conviction at 18 means a 60-year-old can’t cast a ballot. Today, 1.6 million otherwise eligible Floridians are disenfranchised, including 1 in 5 black people of voting age.
A measure on the ballot in November would restore rights for most people with criminal convictions. The proposal must win 60 percent of the vote to pass, but recent polling shows nearly three-fourths of voters support it.
Notably, the measure has united religious communities and skirted ideological splits. (The Koch-backed organization Freedom Partners gave a ringing endorsement.) Formerly incarcerated people have led the drive, going door to door to drum up support.
Then there’s partisan gerrymandering. Politicians have manipulated district lines since the country’s founding, but computers have transformed gerrymandering into a precision mechanism to blunt the voice of voters.
This year, the Supreme Court declined to make a major constitutional ruling to restrict extreme partisan gerrymandering. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh replacing Anthony Kennedy, hopes have dimmed for a legal breakthrough at the court.
Here, too, while courts dither, citizens have acted. The best reform would have district lines drawn by a nonpartisan, independent commission, as in Arizona and California. In Michigan, despite a rebuff at first from party leaders and labor unions, activists are on track to garner 400,000 signatures for a ballot measure to create a nonpartisan panel to draw future districts.
Similar reforms are on the ballot in Utah and Colorado. Missouri voters will decide on a different but strong approach. Earlier this year, Ohio voters backed a measure to block the legislature from redistricting on a partisan basis.
This is all quite extraordinary. Gerrymandering was an arcane topic beloved only by political science professors and tobacco-stained party bosses. Last decade, similar reform efforts failed in states including Ohio and California. It speaks volumes about our electoral breakdown that ordinary citizens now seem to understand how badly the system is tilted.
Voters are also tackling one of the biggest barriers to effective elections: our ramshackle voter registration system. Today voters can fall off the rolls when they move or if there’s a typo in their state’s records. Some people never manage to sign up to vote in the first place. We are alone among major democracies in running our system this way.
At least 13 states, though, have approved a version of automatic voter registration that uses data supplied at their departments of motor vehicles or other agencies to securely and accurately update registration information. This paradigm shift would add tens of millions of people to the rolls, reduce costs and bolster election security. Next month, Nevada and Michigan voters will decide whether to adopt strong versions of the plan.
Will elected officials heed this shout from the electorate? Some signs are positive. House Democrats announced they will make democracy reform the basis of their first piece of legislation — the auspiciously named HR1 — should they win.
It would include national rules on automatic voter registration, redistricting reform and small-donor public financing of campaigns to curb the role of big money. Dozens of new members may form a reform caucus akin to the class of “Watergate babies” who won in 1974 and transformed Congress.
But don’t trust incumbents to act, regardless of what they say. In the weeks after the midterms, we need to press lawmakers to put their votes where their tweets are. We also need to keep an eye out for legal challenges against these measures from forces that stand to lose from a fairer system.
Conservative activists could try to convince the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority that ballot measures instituting electoral reform are unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court tries to choke off the voice of the voters, it would demolish public confidence and provoke a constitutional crisis.
For now, all eyes are on election night. This is not just an important midterm cycle politically speaking; it’s also a chance for democracy itself to prevail at the ballot box.
Michael Waldman, author of The Fight to Vote, is president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. The Brennan Center helped write ballot measures in Florida, Michigan and Utah. Copyright 2018 Special to the Washington Post.
(October 26, 2018) — Donald Trump says the midterm elections are a “referendum about me.” Of course they are. Everything is about him.
Anyone who still believes the political divide runs between Republicans and Democrats hasn’t been paying attention. There’s no longer a Republican Party. The GOP is now just pro-Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump is doing all he can to make the Democratic Party the Anti-Trump Party. “Democrats,” he declares, are “too dangerous to govern.” They’re “an angry left-wing mob,” leading an “assault on our country.”
Never before has a president of the United States been so determined not to be president of all Americans. He’s president of his supporters.
Tyrants create cults of personality. Trump is beyond that. He equates America with himself and disloyalty to him with insufficient patriotism. In his mind, a giant “Trump” sign hangs over the nation. “We” are his supporters, acolytes and toadies. “They” are the rest of us.
When everything and everyone is either pro- or anti-Trump, there’s no room for neutral expertise, professional norms, good public policy or the rule of law.
Trump is reportedly on the brink of firing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whom Trump suspects is “sort of a Democrat.” Mattis’ real sin has been to believe the military should be neutral and professional. To Trump, that smacks of disloyalty.
Trump calls military generals “my” generals. He expects the FBI director, the attorney general and the Justice Department to be “his.” He proudly points to “his” judges and justices.
Republican members of Congress are part of “his” government — unless, like Jeff Flake and the late John McCain, they’re not.
He believes the nation’s news media are either for him or against him. Fox News is indubitably for him — now a virtual propaganda arm of the White House. The rest are against him even when they merely report the news.
We’re all being taken in by this Trumpian dichotomy — even those of us in the anti-Trump camp.
When Trump is the defining issue in America, he gets to set the national agenda. All major debate in this country revolves around him, his goals and the objects of his vilification.
The Trumpification of America hardly ends if Democrats take over the House or possibly the Senate. Trump will blame them for everything that goes wrong. He’ll make up problems they’re supposedly responsible for. He’ll ridicule them and call them traitors.
He’ll do the same to anyone who shows serious interest in running for president against him in 2020.
Naturally, Democrats will want to defend themselves. Naturally, they’ll also want to attack Trump.
If they flip the House, they’ll use their subpoena power to dredge up whatever dirt on him they can find — summoning his tax records, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Mueller’s investigative findings — and perhaps even beginning impeachment proceedings.
Trump and his Republican enablers will fight back, condemning Democrats for weakening America, engaging in fishing expeditions and witch hunts. Trump and his lawyers will tie up the subpoenas in court, claiming executive privilege.
Aspiring Democratic candidates for president will join in the brawl.
Opinion writers, editorial boards and pundits will argue over the best ways for Democrats to proceed against Trump — going low or going high. Pollsters will tell us which Democratic candidate is seen as being most effective against him.
But all of this is a giant trap. It accepts and enforces Trump’s worldview that nothing is more important than Donald Trump, that he embodies all that’s good or bad about America, and that our most significant choice is to be for him or against him.
It allows Trump to continue to dominate the news and occupy the center of the nation’s attention.
We’d talk about nothing else for two years. We won’t be discussing how to restore wage growth, get health insurance to all Americans, reverse climate change or get big money out of politics.
We won’t be envisioning how a new America can widen opportunity, expand voting rights, end racism, reduce poverty and work constructively with the rest of the world.
We won’t be aspiring to be more than we were before Trump. We’ll debate and dissect the damage done since Trump.
Of course Democrats have to fight him. But they also have to lift America beyond him.
The central question shouldn’t be whether we’re pro- or anti-Trump, or whether we go low or high in fighting him.
The question is where America should go — and what we, together, can become.
Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, is the author of “The Common Good,” and the documentary “Saving Capitalism.” Copyright 2018 Robert Reich.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
ACTION ALERT: International Conference Against
US/NATO Military Bases November 16-18, 2018, Dublin, Ireland World BEYOND War
ACTION ALERT: Join World BEYOND War at the
First International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases World BEYOND War
The increasingly aggressive and expansionist actions of US/NATO forces, in violation of international law and the sovereign rights of all nations, has created crises that, unless checked by popular opposition, can lead to unimaginable catastrophe and war.
Base Nation: How US Military Bases
Abroad Harm America and the World David Vine / Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt
From Italy to the Indian Ocean, from Japan to Honduras, the far-reaching story of the perils of US military bases overseas — and what these bases say about America today . . . .
American military bases encircle the globe. More than two decades after the end of the Cold War and nearly three-quarters of a century after the last battles of World War II, the United States still stations troops at some eight hundred locations in foreign lands.
As David Vine demonstrates, the overseas bases raise geopolitical tensions and provoke widespread antipathy toward the United States. They undermine American democratic ideals, pushing the United States into partnerships with dictators and perpetuating a system of second-class citizenship in territories such as Guam.
The far-flung bases strain the lives of military families, breed sexual violence, displace indigenous peoples, and destroy the environment. Their financial cost is staggering: though the Pentagon tries to underplay the numbers, Vineâ€™s accounting proves that the true bill approaches $100 billion or more per year. And by making it easier to wage interventionist wars far from home, overseas bases have paved the way for disastrous conflicts that have cost countless lives.
For decades, the need for overseas bases has been a quasi-religious dictum of US foreign policy. Recently, however, a bipartisan coalition has finally started questioning this conventional wisdom.
With US forces still in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and beyond, Vine shows why we must reexamine the tenets of our military strategy, the way we engage with the world, and the base nation that America has become.
The author will donate all proceeds from Base Nation’s royalties and honorariums from talks to nonprofit organizations serving military veterans, their families, and other victims of war and violence. Order now.
Donations have gone to organizations including Doctors without Borders, Wounded Warriors Family Support, Service Women’s Action Network, Partners in Health, Emergency, Iraq Veterans against the War, Amnesty International, We Are Guahan, Chagos Refugees Group, and Honduras Solidarity Network.
*Full videos here. * Watch these videos from World Beyond Warâ€™s No War 2017: * Watch these videos from World Beyond Warâ€™s No War 2016: * Get involved in working on a campaign to close them by contacting us.
Militarism has made us less safe, and continues to do so. It is not a useful tool for protection. Other tools are.
Studies over the past century have found that nonviolent tools are more effective in resisting tyranny and oppression and resolving conflicts and achieving security than violence is.
Wealthy militarist nations like the United States think of their militaries as global police, protecting the world. The world disagrees. By a large margin people all over the world consider the United States the greatest threat to peace.
The United States could easily make itself the most beloved nation on Earth with much less expense and effort, by ceasing its â€œmilitary aidâ€ and providing a bit of non-military aid instead.
The momentum of the military-industrial complex works through the hammer-nail effect (if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail). Whatâ€™s needed is a combination of disarmament and investment in alternatives (diplomacy, arbitration, international law enforcement, cultural exchange, cooperation with other countries and people).
The most heavily armed nations can help disarmament in three ways. First, disarm — partially or fully. Second, stop selling weapons to so many other countries that donâ€™t manufacture them themselves.
During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, at least 50 corporations supplied weapons, at least 20 of them to both sides. Third, negotiate disarmament agreements with other countries and arrange for inspections that will verify disarmament by all parties.
The first step in handling crises is to stop creating them in the first place. Threats and sanctions and false accusations over a period of years can build momentum for war that is triggered by a relatively small act, even an accident. By taking steps to avoid provoking crises, much effort can be saved.
When conflicts inevitably do arise, they can be better addressed if investments have been made in diplomacy and arbitration.
A fair and democratic international system of law is needed. The United Nations needs to be reformed or replaced with an international body that forbids war and allows equal representation to every nation.
The same goes for the International Criminal Court. The idea behind it is exactly right. But if it only prosecutes tactics, not the launching, of wars, and if it only prosecutes Africans, and only Africans not cooperating with the United States, then it weakens the rule of law rather than expanding it. Reform or replacement, not abandonment, is needed.
Time to End the War in Afghanistan,
‘Betrayal’ of American Soldiers and Marines The Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy & Breitbart News
(October 27, 2018) — The following post is sponsored by the Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy (CRFP).
Scott Horton, author of a new book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, argued that the ongoing war in Afghanistan is a “betrayal of American soldiers and Marines” at an event Tuesday in Washington, DC.
“The hawks always hide behind the enlisted men with all of their arguments for any intervention and [say] the only way to support the troops is to support their policy,” he said. “That’s frankly just wrong, especially in the United States of America where it’s supposed to be a limited constitutional republic.”
Horton spoke at an event hosted by the Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy, a non-partisan organization that advocates for a restrained foreign policy.
He said when Americans join the military, they trust their leaders will only send them on missions that endanger their lives when it is absolutely necessary and to fight for the country’s freedom.
“That’s what they are told they’re volunteering for — not to implement the grand strategy of some egghead at a think-tank who’s never been in a fight in his life, and who has a great plan for offensive war against people who’ve never attacked us,” he said.
“And so, it’s just wrong that we’re not supposed to discuss this,” he said. “The foreign policy is a betrayal of American soldiers and Marines.”
Horton said the “hard truth” was that America started the Global War on Terrorism when it supported the Afghan mujahideen during the ’70s and ’80s against the Russians. “America picked this fight,” he said, “to give the Soviets their own Vietnam.”
He then walked through the history of US intervention in the First Gulf War, Afghanistan, and the Second Gulf War, which he said fueled terrorists like Osama bin Laden who wanted to make the United States a target.
“Al Qaeda’s strategy was to provoke an overreaction,” Horton said.
Now, he said, years later and over $20 trillion in debt, the executive branch has turned into a “totalitarian bureaucracy.”
“In comparison to the other branches of government, the executive branch, presidency, and the departments are virtually lawless,” he said.
He also said they were in “open revolt” against the presidency for “good or ill,” citing President Trump’s desire to get out of Afghanistan and Syria, but being told by his advisers that he had to stay.
He faulted former President Barack Obama for enabling the Saudi government in the war in Yemen. He said Obama supported Saudi Arabia in the war to assure them that, after the nuclear deal with their rival Iran, they would still be a close US partner.
“Americans have been helping pick targets, refueling, helping with intelligence, [the] US Navy helps enforce the blockade attempting to starve the people in Yemen,” he said. “That’s the war we’re waging for the most spurious of reasons.”
Horton is also managing director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, and host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, and podcasts the Scott Horton Show.
The Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy is a 501(c)(4) organization with the mission of pursuing a more restrained foreign policy that adheres to the Constitution. The organization aims to increase awareness of Congress’ Article I responsibility to oversee war. For more information on CRFP, please visit http://responsibleforeignpolicy.org.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Regulating Apocalypse David Swanson / World BEYOND War
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”
“Don’t be such a purist!”
“Do what’s possible!”
“You can’t deny reality / human nature / religious text.”
The phrases used to oppose proposals for major change haven’t changed much for centuries, in both meanings of that phrase. No doubt these sayings sound better in certain circumstances than others, depending on the details. But in general, I find that they sound worse since the status quo locked in the climate collapse, and since the risk of nuclear catastrophe reached it’s current record high and rapidly climbing position.
I’ve just read a new book called War, Law, and Humanity by James Crossland that looks at efforts to regulate or end war from the 1850s up through the beginning of the 1900s. One strain of thought was that war needed to be eliminated and replaced with nonviolent arbitration.
Another was that war needed to be regulated, doctors and nurses admitted onto battlefields, standards upheld for the treatment of prisoners, particular weapons banned, etc. The peace advocates were mocked as dreamers. The humanizers were the “realists.”
One must now write history from a nonexistent future. History cannot actually judge anything or anyone because it will not exist any longer in the brains of any living homo sapiens. But we can, pre-extinction, imagine our way forward and look back.
If we end in nuclear holocaust, will those who tried to end war still have been silly dreamers? Or will world government or mandatory arbitration or disarmament sound slightly less goofy if the alternative that peace advocates identified for many decades as apocalypse turns out to be apocalypse?
Crossland does a good job of telling the story of the transition from wars in which the wounded were left to moan in agony on the battlefield for days before dying to wars in which great steps were taken to save the wounded and if possible get them ready to head out for more killing and possibly dying.
The Crimean War brought with it war journalism, which brought with it public concern for the discarding of wounded soldiers as so much rubbish. Very quickly so-called unnecessary suffering was distinguished from supposedly necessary suffering. Much of the suffering was from diseases like cholera that still kill the primary victims of war — now civilians, but back then soldiers.
The Northern side of the US Civil War borrowed many ideas from the humanizers of the Crimean War, because the US public cared about soldiers, and because the military came to see healthy soldiers as more useful than sick or dead ones.
The US in turn inspired Europeans to push the regulation of proper mass-murder extravaganzas further, resulting in the first Geneva Convention and the Red Cross. This inspiration was in the area of health and medicine, but also in the area of law.
Francis Lieber’s Lieber Code laid out the limitations on proper civilized warfare and stipulated that any and all limitations could be waived in the name of “military necessity” or — in other words — whatever horror General Sherman felt like committing. Thus, both humanitarians and eager mass-killers were equally pleased.
During the US Civil War, Britain helped the Confederacy build ships. The US after the war wanted reparations. The two countries went to arbitration in 1871 with representatives of Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil. Peace was made, and a model was made available for any countries that were willing, in certain cases, to settle for peace rather than their own desired wars.
In Europe, the peacemakers tried to win over humanizer conferences, while the humanizers sabotaged efforts directed at peace. Perhaps if both groups had fully united for one cause or the other, that cause would have had a better chance.
When the Czar of Russia backed efforts for peace, one leading peace advocate wrote to another that now, finally, “the world will not shriek Utopia!” I don’t know about the world, but the governments of the war-making nations certainly shrieked it, including at the Hague conference of 1899.
Many learned to shriek utopia a lot less after the Great War, which ended one century ago this November 11th. And then all but about 8 people and a couple of dogs learned to shriek it at top volume in chorus following the sequel and the war on Korea and the establishment of permawar.
Millions of people are now such well-trained utopia shriekers that all one need do is mention war abolition or fossil fuel abolition or an end to meat industries or to incarceration or the banning of guns.
In fact, all one need do in the United States is propose levels of destruction or standards of socialism at a European level to produce ear piercing shrieks of utopia from people who don’t for a minute imagine Europe to be utopian.
In acceptable, respectable non-utopia, climate collapse creates war. It does so all by itself. No humans are involved. Why should they be? Humans exerting their will to change things is utopian. In real, serious, shriek-free progress-land, one cannot stop driving off a cliff, but one can devote tremendous energies to replacing the windshield wipers.
If that’s the best that can be done, then it ought to be where all our energy goes. But nobody has ever identified any actual evidence that it’s the best that can be done, or any reason we should have any respect for ourselves if we don’t try to do better.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director ofWorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Swanson was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
I Traced Missile Casings in Syria
Back to Their Original Sellers,
So iI’s Time for the West to Reveal Who They Sell Arms To Robert Fisk / The Independent
I don’t think either NATO or the EU has the slightest
interest in chasing the provenance of weapons
in the hands of Islamist fighters in Syria
or anywhere else in the Middle East
— Robert Fisk
(July 23, 2018) — Readers, a small detective story. Note down this number: MFG BGM-71E-1B. And this number: STOCK NO 1410-01-300-0254. And this code: DAA A01 C-0292. I found all these numerals printed on the side of a spent missile casing lying in the basement of a bombed-out Islamist base in eastern Aleppo last year.
At the top were the words “Hughes Aircraft Co”, founded in California back in the 1930s by the infamous Howard Hughes and sold in 1997 to Raytheon, the massive US defence contractor whose profits last year came to $23.35 billion (Â£18 billion). Shareholders include the Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. Raytheon’s Middle East offices can be found in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Kuwait.
There were dozens of other used-up identical missile casings in the same underground room in the ruins of eastern Aleppo, with sequential codings; in other words, these anti-armour missiles — known in the trade as Tows, “Tube-launched, optically tracked and wire-guided missiles” — were not individual items smuggled into Syria through the old and much reported CIA smugglers’ trail from Libya. These were shipments, whole batches of weapons that left their point of origin on military aircraft pallets.
Some time ago, in the United States, I met an old Hughes Aircraft executive who laughed when I told him my story of finding his missiles in eastern Aleppo. When the company was sold, Hughes had been split up into eight components, he said. But assuredly, this batch of rockets had left from a US government base. Amateur sleuths may have already tracked down the first set of numbers above.
The “01” in the stock number is a NATO coding for the US, and the BGM-71E is a Raytheon Systems Company product. There are videos of Islamist fighters using the BGM-71E-1B variety in Idlib province two years before I found the casings of other anti-tank missiles in neighbouring Aleppo. As for the code: DAA A01 C-0292, I am still trying to trace this number.
Even if I can find it, however, I can promise readers one certain conclusion. This missile will have been manufactured and sold by Hughes/Raytheon absolutely legally to a NATO, pro-NATO or “friendly” (i.e. pro-American) power (government, defence ministry, you name it), and there will exist for it an End User Certificate (EUC), a document of impeccable provenance which will be signed by the buyers — in this case by the chaps who purchased the Tow missiles in very large numbers — stating that they are the final recipients of the weapons.
There is no guarantee this promise will be kept, but — as the arms manufacturers I’ve been talking to in the Balkans over the past weeks yet again confirm — there is neither an obligation nor an investigative mechanism on the part of the arms manufacturers to ensure that their infinitely expensive products are not handed over by “the buyers” to Isis, al-Nusra/al-Qaeda — which was clearly the case in Aleppo — or some other anti-Assad Islamist group in Syria branded by the US State Department itself as a “terrorist organisation”.
Of course, the weapons might have been sent (illegally under the terms of the unenforceable EUC) to a nice, cuddly, “moderate” militia like the now largely non-existent “Free Syrian Army”, many of whose weapons — generously donated by the west — have fallen into the hands of the “Bad Guys”; i.e. the folk who want to overthrow the Syrian regime (which would please the west) but who would like to set up an Islamist cult-dictatorship in its place (which would not please the west).
Thus al-Nusra can be the recipients of missiles from our “friends” in the region — here, please forget the EUCs — or from those mythical “moderates” who in turn hand them over to Isis/al-Nusra, etc, for cash, favours, fear or fratricidal war and surrender.
It is a fact, I’m sorry to recall, that of all the weapons I saw used in the 15-year Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), not one was in the hands of those to whom those same weapons were originally sold. Russian and Bulgarian Kalashnikovs sold to Syria were used by Palestinian guerrillas, old American tanks employed by the Lebanese Christian Phalange/Lebanese forces were gifts from the Israelis who received them from the US.
These outrageous weapons shipments were constantly recorded at the time — but in such a way that you might imagine that the transfers were enshrined in law (“American-made, Israeli-supplied” used to be the mantra).
The Phalange, in fact, also collected bunches of British, Soviet, French and Yugoslav armour — the Zastava arms factory in the Serbian city of Kragujevac, which I have just visited, featured among the latter — for their battles.
In eastern Aleppo, who knows what “gifts” to the city’s surviving citizens in the last months of the war acquired a new purpose? Smashed Mitsubishi pick-up trucks, some in camouflage paint, others in neutral colours, were lying in the streets I walked through.
Were they stolen by al-Nusra? Or simply used by NGOs? Did they arrive, innocently enough, in the lot whose documents, also found in Aleppo, registered “Five Mitsubishi L200 Pick Up” sent by “Shipper: Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department (Chase), Whitehall SW1A SEG London”?
Of course they did — alongside the Glasgow ambulance I found next to a gas canister bomb dump on the Aleppo front line at Beni Zeid in 2016, whose computer codings I reported in The Independent at great length — five codings in all — and to which the Scottish Ambulance Authority responded by saying they could not trace the ambulance because they needed more details.
But back to guns and artillery. Why don’t NATO track all these weapons as they leave Europe and America? Why don’t they expose the real end-users of these deadly shipments? The arms manufacturers I spoke to in the Balkans attested that NATO and the US are fully aware of the buyers of all their machine guns and mortars.
Why can’t the details of those glorious end user certificates be made public — as open and free for us to view as are the frightful weapons which the manufacturers are happy to boast in their catalogues.
It was instructive that when The Independent asked the Saudis last week to respond to Bosnian weapons shipment documents I found in eastern Aleppo last year (for 120mm mortars) — which the factory’s own weapons controller recalled were sent from Novi Travnik to Saudi Arabia — they replied that they (the Saudis) did not provide support of any kind “to any terrorist organisation”, that al-Nusra and Isis were designated “terrorist organisations” by Saudi Royal Decree and that the “allegations” (sic) were “vague and unfounded”.
But what did this mean? Government statements in response to detailed reports of arms shipments should not be the last word — and there is an important question that remained unanswered in the Saudi statement. The Saudis themselves had asked for copies of the shipment documents — yet they did not specifically say whether they did or did not receive this shipment of mortars, nor comment upon the actual papers, which The Independent sent them.
These papers were not “vague” — nor was the memory of the Bosnian arms controller who said they went with the mortars to Saudi Arabia and whose shipment papers I found in Syria. Indeed, Ifet Krnjic, the man whose signature I found in eastern Aleppo, has as much right to have his word respected as that of the Saudi authorities.
So what did Saudi Arabia’s military personnel — who were surely shown the documents — make of them? What does “unfounded” mean? Were the Saudis claiming by the use of this word that the documents were forgeries?
These are questions, of course, which should be taken up by the international authorities in the Balkans. NATO’s and the EU’s writ still runs in the wreckage of Bosnia and both have copies of the documents I found in Aleppo.
Are they making enquiries about this shipment, which Krnjic said went to Saudi Arabia, and the shipping documents which clearly ended up in the hands of al-Nusra — papers of which NATO and the EU had knowledge when the transfer was originally made?
I bet they’re not. For I don’t think either NATO or the EU has the slightest interest in chasing the provenance of weapons in the hands of Islamist fighters in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East — certainly not in the case of Damascus, where the west has just given up its attempt to unseat Assad.
Indeed, in a political landscape where “regime change” has become a moral, ethical objective, there can be no moral, ethical investigation of just how the merchants of death (the makers) manage to supply the purveyors of death (the killers) with their guns and mortars and artillery.
And if any end user says that “allegations” of third parties are “vague and unfounded” — always supposing that the persons saying this are themselves “end users” — this, I promise you, must be accepted as true and unanswerable and as solid as the steel of which mortars are made.
(July 18, 2018) — The government should tighten restrictions on the sale of UK arms to countries accused of human rights abuses, an influential committee of MPs has said.
The Committee on Arms Export Controls (Caec) said ministers’ default position should be to block the sale of weapons to countries that have not signed an international arms trade treaty and those on a Foreign Office human rights blacklist.
It also called on the government to start monitoring where UK arms are being deployed, in order to ensure British weapons are not being used in attacks on civilians or other human rights abuses.
Critics say the failure to monitor the end destination of British-made weapons allows manufacturers to deny culpability for how their products are used.
The committee also warned that ministers have not clarified how Brexit will affect the regulation of arms sales.
Caec brings together the House of Commons defence, foreign affairs, international development and international trade committees to assess how the government regulates the export of arms and other military hardware.
In its latest report, the committee called on ministers to consider introducing a “presumption of denial” when considering applications for the sale of arms to countries that have not signed the international Arms Trade Treaty or are on a Foreign Office list of nations with worrying human rights records.
That would restrict sales to many of the top destinations for UK arms exports, including Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Oman and China, none of which have signed the Arms Trade Treaty. It could also limit arms deals with the US, which has signed but not ratified the treaty.
China and Saudi Arabia are also on the Foreign Office’s list of “human rights priority countries”.
UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia dwarf those to other countries.
In their report, the MPs said: “We have heard a proposal for a ‘presumption of denial’ in respect of open licences for exports to countries that have not signed the Arms Trade Treaty, and a similar proposal in respect of countries that are on the Foreign Office’s list of “Human Rights Priority Countries”, as set out in its Annual Human Rights Report.
“We can see that there are arguments for and against both proposals. The government should review these proposals and report back, either in response to this report or in correspondence, with its findings.
“In any case, we believe there must always be a more stringent process in place for any arms exports to such countries, so the government will be able to show, if such arms exports are approved, that they would not be in breach of the criteria [for approving sales].”
They also called on ministers to introduce “end-use monitoring” to determine whether British weapons are being used to commit human rights abuses.
This has been a key demand of anti-arms trade campaigners, who say failure to monitor the final destination of UK weapons allows manufacturers to say they have no proof their products are being used to commit war crimes or other abuses.
The MPs said: “We believe that some end-use monitoring is advisable, and that it would assist the government in making better, more informed, export licensing decisions, as well as in addressing questions around compliance and enforcement.”
The committee also said the government should clarify how it plans to coordinate arms regulations with the EU after Brexit, expressing “concern” that this had not already happened.
The committee chair, Graham Jones, said: “Although the UK has one of the toughest arms-control systems anywhere in the world, this in-depth analysis has highlighted some of the gaps in those controls.
“I am delighted that there was a consensual view across the committees on what is a very thorough report. There are, however, outstanding questions and the committees intend to look into these further in the future.”
It comes as new figures revealed the UK nearly doubled the value of arms sales to countries on the government’s list of human rights abusers in the past year.
Licences for arms deals worth some Â£1.5bn were approved in Whitehall in 2017, up from Â£820 million a year earlier, according to figures compiled by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) pressure group.
Sales were granted to 18 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Israel, Egypt and Pakistan, compared to 20 different states in 2016.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
America Doesn’t Need a ‘Fort Trump’ in Poland Warsaw’s offer is a bad idea — for Washington and Europe Doug Bandow / The National Interest
(October 27, 2018) — Poland spends about two percent of gross domestic product on the military. That puts it near the top of European members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But it isn’t a serious commitment for a nation which claims to fear invasion and conquest by its neighbor.
In fact, the Poles want America to defend them. Warsaw put a couple of billion dollars on the table toward a permanent US base. Said Polish President Andrzej Duda: “I invite you to post more American military troops in Poland.”
Lest the present occupant of the Oval Office miss the message, Duda even offered to name the new facility Fort Trump.
President Trump responded: “The president offered us much more than $2 billion to do this, and so we’re looking at it. We’re looking at it from the standpoint of number one, military protection of both countries, and also cost, a term you don’t hear too often, and you haven’t heard too often over the last twenty-five years.”
Indeed, he appeared to be impressed by the offer. “When a country is very wealthy and when the United States has been protecting them for many years at tremendous cost, it’s time that they helped with burden-sharing.”
Moreover, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg lauded last year’s continent-wide 5.2 percent hike in defense spending. It was the largest real increase in a quarter century, but outlays have fallen dramatically over that same period, resulting in a very low base. Washington should insist on burden-shedding, not burden-sharing.
Stationing troops overseas isn’t cheap. The Pentagon operates multiple bases in different lands, cultures, and economies. It established commissaries, base exchanges, movie theaters, gyms, infirmaries, and schools. It transports and stores military equipment. I’m a military brat. The Air Force sent my family back and forth, along with our housing goods. We enjoyed gasoline at American, not local, prices. Foreign contributions — the so-called host nation support — typically lessens these costs, but Poland’s annual contribution is unlikely to match those of wealthier US allies.
Overseas commitments and facilities made some sense during the Cold War. However, today’s Fort Trump would serve no useful military purpose. Poland does not defend America. Even Europe does not protect the United States. Instead, NATO is defense welfare for Europe.
Washington already rotates forces through Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Some thirty-five thousand US personnel remain stationed in Germany. Nor does anyone expect a Russian invasion of Poland. The latter’s long, tragic history makes clear that it would fight.
A victory would leave a ravaged conquest and yield few benefits. Almost certainly the other members of NATO would fulfill, however reluctantly, their alliance obligations and defend Poland, ensuring Russia’s defeat. Vladimir Putin is an authoritarian leader, but that does not make him stupid.
Granting Poland’s request would be expensive. First, the most significant cost is not unit deployment but creation. That is, defense commitments require force structure. Europe is well able to defend itself. It possesses a comparable economy to America’s and even a larger population. European members of NATO also have far greater resources than Russia, the only plausible military threat. Therefore, the United States should not be expected to put and maintain more men and women into uniform.
Although Congress continues to hike military outlays, such increases are not sustainable. Washington is essentially bankrupt. The 2018 deficit was almost $1 trillion. Next year’s red ink tsunami will breach that barrier.
America’s financial future will grow ever grimmer as the Baby Boom generation retires and collects Social Security and Medicare benefits. Forced to balance payments to America’s politically-active elderly and subsidies for Europe’s generous welfare states, US politicians are likely to favor the former.
Increasing America’s commitment also undermines efforts to get Europe to do more. NATO’s European members are skillfully playing the president, praising him for forcing them to hike expenditures. But outlays were already edging up, and the increases are modest. No one believes that countries like Germany will double their outlays, as promised.
But this should surprise no one: Germany knows it doesn’t need to increase spending. Despite the president’s uncivil behavior at the last NATO summit, his administration went ahead with plans to spend more money and deploy more troops to the continent’s defense. If European governments look past the president’s unsettling rhetoric, they will realize that it is politics as usual and Americans will continue to pay for Europe’s security.
Finally, creating Fort Trump would heighten the confrontation with Russia. Of course, Vladimir Putin is a tough customer and Russia is an unpleasant player. But that doesn’t mean Moscow doesn’t have cause for viewing the West through hostile eyes. Russia’s grievances include the expansion of NATO up to its borders, violation of allied promises not to so advance, dismemberment of Russia’s old ally Serbia, support for the overthrow of friendly neighboring governments, and military aid for Moscow’s antagonists.
One can defend all these policies, of course, but if Russia had engaged in similar behavior in Canada or Mexico, Washington would have reacted with both hostility and vigor.
Placing a US military facility on Russia’s border would go a step further and be viewed, correctly, as ostentatiously threatening. Doing so almost certainly would end any illusion that Moscow will cooperate with Washington on much of anything: negotiated settlement to the Ukrainian imbroglio, a political resolution for Syria, support for American objectives in Afghanistan, or enhanced pressure on North Korea.
Putin is doing badly at home. But a clear, unprovoked, aggressive US military advance would help stoke nationalism to his benefit. It would reinforce his argument that Moscow needs strong leadership.
A Polish-American base would push his government ever closer to China, even though the two nations have little in common other than antagonism toward America’s dominant global role. Indeed, Washington’s unintended reversal of Richard Nixon’s successful effort to widen the split between Russia and China may be the greatest failure of US foreign policy in recent years.
Today Russophobia consumes Washington. Neoconservatives and reflexive hawks continue to dominate Republican foreign policy, despite successive disastrous interventions in the Middle East. Democrats who once preached moderation toward the Soviet Union see anti-Russian sentiments as a political tool against Donald Trump. The combined result is to push Washington toward a new cold war.
Yet the demonization of Moscow is both unprincipled and dangerous. Washington has valid complaints but should drop the sanctimony. The Saudi murder of exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi dramatically illustrates how many American allies violate human rights with great enthusiasm, equal to that of Moscow.
As for interfering with the US election, Washington did the same in more than eighty post-World War II votes, including Russia’s 1996 contest. The administration should demand that Moscow stay out of American politics while promising to do the same for Russia.
On the military side, Moscow retains an equivalent nuclear arsenal, which requires that America take it into account. There is no conventional parity, however. Russia desires respect and secure borders and has few global plans and no ideological pretensions. There is no conflict between America and Russia over vital interests, and Moscow could do little to threaten those interests if serious conflicts existed. Russia is no substitute for the Soviet Union.
Instead of stoking bilateral conflict, Washington should seek peaceful compromise with Moscow. The starting point for any such modus vivendi should be to cease making gratuitous military threats, such as putting US troops permanently on Russia’s border. Turning down the proposal for Fort Trump would be a first step toward finally establishing the president’s “America First” foreign policy.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.
Report Calls for More Ships for Already Massive US Navy Study claims US, with 355 armed vessels,
is ‘woefully short of ships’ Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(October 28, 2018) â€“ The US Navy has long been derided for have a mindset around its requirements that is a century out of date, but it is still the largest navy on the planet by a massive amount. That’s unsurprising, as the US military is the largest everything on the planet at any given time.
This would mean a 12% increase to the Navy’s shipbuilding budget, and a goal of 400 ships. This involves another aircraft carrier, but the real focus is on logistics ships. Those ships are necessary, the study argues, to support all of those small littoral combat ships the Navy built in recent years in an attempt to get larger numbers of ships by just building small riverine boats and putting them in the ocean.
Spending more money is right down the Pentagon’s alley, and they’ll likely be only too happy to embrace the idea of huge naval wars against Russia, and China, or both, with substantial naval operations being done beside that.
(April 11, 2017) — Interviewed Monday by Kennedy at Fox Business, Ron Paul challenged the contention that the United States government was acting in accord with good intentions in attacking Syria last week. Instead, Paul suggests a big motivation was generating profit for the military-industrial complex.
Discussing the reason for the attack, the Ron Paul Institute Chairman and former presidential candidate concludes, “I think the only interest that has been involved here is to prop up the province of the military-industrial complex.”
Paul elaborates that the reason for the attack has “nothing to do” with concern about the Syria government’s purported use of chemical weapons to kill innocent people, given that the US has long been, and continues to be, in the practice of killing innocent people.
Paul also suggests in the interview that neoconservatives influence US actions in regard to Syria. Many people had hoped that President Donald Trump’s “America First” emphasis would cause a move away from military intervention against governments overseas. However, it appears that the influence of people supporting such intervention, including neoconservatives, continues strong in the Trump administration.
While Paul says that “the neoconservatives politically are winning,” he proceeds to note that, at the same time, he believes that “the American people are still with us who believe that this war is absolutely unnecessary.”
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Nuclear Weapons and Divestment Opportunities for Peace Move the Nuclear Money Campaign
(October 20, 2018) — The global Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign has some practical suggestions for reinvesting the money spent on WGMDs — weapons of global mass destruction.
One trillion dollars is being spent to modernize the nuclear arsenals of nine countries over the next 10 years. This money could instead be used to help end poverty, protect the climate, build global peace and achieve the sustainable development goals.
Help us move the nuclear weapons money to better purposes!
Here’s just one example:
(July 31, 2018) — Move the Nuclear Weapons Money has called for re-allocation of a portion of nuclear weapons budgets to assist the UN cash crisis.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week warned member states and UN staff that the United Nations is $140 million short of its budget and could run out of cash, due to late and non-payment of UN dues by member states.
In a letter sent to UN members, Guterres said that the UN had “never faced such a difficult cash flow situation this early in the calendar year. An organization such as ours should not have to suffer repeated brushes with bankruptcy. But surely, the greater pain is felt by those we serve when we cannot, for want of modest funds, answer their call for help.”
The 2018 UN budget of $5.4 billion is already $285 million less than the UN’s 2017 budget, and in comparison is less than the annual budget of the New York police force ($5.58 billion).
‘This is an absurdly low budget for an organisation with global prograMs. and responsibilities for peace, security, health, sustainable development, disaster prevention and relief, human rights, law and the environment,’ says Thies Katow, policy research officer for the World Future Council, a co-sponsor of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign. ‘Meanwhile, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are spending nearly 20 times this amount on nuclear weapons alone.’
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the cost to extend the lifetime of each US Trident nuclear missile is $140 million, the same amount as the UN shortfall.
‘If the US retires just one Trident nuclear missile from their arsenal, the money saved could be used to wipe out the current UN deficit,’ says Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and Co-founder of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money.
‘Better yet, if all the nuclear armed States abandoned their plans to upgrade current nuclear weapons and build new weapons and delivery systems, nearly $100 billion could be saved. This could then re-directed into the economy for job creation, climate protection, education, health, peace, diplomacy and sustainable security.’
PNND Co-President Senator Ed Markey has introduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act into the US Senate to cut redundant and destabilizing nuclear programs and curtail nuclear modernization.
‘It is time we inserted some desperately-needed sanity into America’s budget priorities,’ says Senator Markey. ‘As President Trump proposes devastating cuts to Medicare, food assistance, and Head Start, it makes no sense to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new nuclear weapons that undermine deterrence and make Americans less safe. We should fund education, not annihilation.’
‘Unfortunately, Senator Markey is unable to move a majority of the US Senate to support his act due to the lobbying power of the companies which are manufacturing the nuclear weapons systems,’ says Mr. Ware. ‘We can reduce this pro-nuclear lobbying power, and encourage the companies to get out of the nuclear weapons business, by nuclear weapons divestment.’
The Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign shows how anyone can be involved. The can move their government to divest from nuclear weapons companies if they live in a non-nuclear-weapon country. Or they can move their university, religious institution, bank, pension fund or city to divest from nuclear weapons companies regardless of where they live. Already four governments and a number of cities, religious institutions, banks and pension funds have done so.
‘Next week parliamentarians, faith communities and peace organisations around the world will commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,’ says Vanda Proskova, PNND Research Officer. ‘Amongst the many actions around the world will be calls for further divestment from nuclear weapons corporations.’
In order to highlight the issue, the World Future Council along with PNND and other partners, will hold Count the Nuclear Weapons Money, an action during UN Disarmament Week (October 24-30) to ‘count out’ the $1 trillion budgeted for nuclear weapons for the next ten years, and reallocate this money to better areas.
One million mock notes, each of $1million value, will be counted by people of all ages, nations, backgrounds; celebrities, activists, politicians, UN officials, diplomats, artists, religious leaders, sportspeople, refugees and others. The counting will take place in front of the United Nations and at other relevant locations in New York.
‘Counting the money note-by-note, non-stop over seven days and nights, will demonstrate what an exorbitant amount of money is being wasted on nuclear weapons — money which is sorely needed to end poverty, protect the climate, provide adequate health care and basic education, fund the United Nations and achieve the sustainable development goals,’ says Holger GÃ¼ssefeld, Creative Director of Count the Nuclear Weapons Money. ‘The event will reach millions of people, encouraging them to take action to end investments in nuclear weapons, and reinvest in peace and the planet.’
UN Disarmament Resolutions from October 2018 The Basel Peace Office
UNITED NATIONS, New York (October 20, 2018) — Last week, a number of draft disarmament resolutions were submitted to the United Nations General Assembly. These included resolutions on:
The Relationship between Disarmament and Development This resolution highlights Article 26 of the UN Charter, which establishes the obligation to advance international peace and security with the least diversion of human and economic resources for armaments;
Follow-up to the 2013 High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament This resolution promotes the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, calls on nuclear-armed and non-nuclear States to negotiate a global treaty on the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons and affirms the UN decision to hold a High-Level Conference (Summit) on Nuclear Disarmament to review progress on this objective;
Establishment of a Nuclear-weapon-free
Zone in the Region of the Middle East This resolution calls on all parties concerned to take steps toward the establishment of a Middle East NWFZ, including interim measures such as placing all nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.
Over the next two weeks, these and other disarmament resolutions will be discussed, debated and then voted upon by UN member States.
Civil Society Presentations —
Creating Peace and Security
Ms. Cabasso critiqued the approach to nuclear disarmament advance by the United States and other nuclear-reliant States, which is that nuclear disarmament must wait until after the achievement of a range of peace and security conditions. Ms. Cabasso turned this argument/excuse on its head, noting that nuclear disarmament is a necessary step towards establishing global peace and security.
Creating the Conditions for
International Peace and Human Security Jacqueline Cabasso / Western States Legal Foundation
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (October 17, 2018) — I speak on behalf of Western States Legal Foundation and Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, members of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear arms and the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.
We agree with the United States representative in her remarks last week that we are facing an “unfortunate deterioration” in the international security environment. Many delegations have pointed to modernization of nuclear weapons and massive nuclear weapons spending as areas of concern. But a more urgent reality is the increased scale and tempo of war games by nuclear-armed states and their allies, including nuclear drills.
Ongoing missile tests, and frequent close encounters between military forces of nuclear-armed states including the US and Russia and the US and China, exacerbate nuclear dangers. In the last month, both Russia and NATO have conducted some of the largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War: in Russia’s case, with the participation of Chinese troops; in NATO’s case, with the participation of Sweden and Finland — two non-NATO members. 
The United States has introduced a proposal called “Creating the Conditions for Nuclear Disarmament” (“the CCND approach”), arguing that unspecified conditions must be met in order for the international security environment to improve before disarmament can take place. But the US has it backwards. We advocate an approach we’re calling “Creating the Conditions for International Peace and Human Security”  (the CCIPHS approach), which envisions real progress on nuclear disarmament as contributing to international peace and human security.
Implementing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’s (NPT’s) nearly 50-year old disarmament obligations would be an excellent way to start rebuilding mutual trust and confidence in the global order. These include not only the obligation to negotiate “effective measures” in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons, but to seek as well the “cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date.”
These obligations, enshrined in Article VI, have been reiterated and reinforced by agreements made in connection with the 1995 Extension Decision, the 2000 and the 2010 Review Conferences, and the International Court of Justice’s 1996 Advisory Opinion.
After an all-too brief post-Cold War lull, with its opportunities for more meaningful and irreversible disarmament progress missed, arms racing has resumed among the nuclear-armed states, this and risky close encounters between Russian and US/NATO forces have increased dramatically in the Baltic region and Syria.
Late last month, amidst rising tensions, the US flew two B-52 nuclear-capable bombers over disputed islands claimed by China. The bombers, escorted by Japanese fighter jets, flew near the Sankaku Islands, which are controlled by Japan, but claimed by China. 
Just a week later, a US Navy destroyer narrowly avoided a collision with a Chinese warship in international waters in the Spratly Islands.  The dangers of wars among nuclear-armed states are real and growing . . . .
As a step towards reducing tensions and demonstrating good faith, the accelerating cycle of replacing aging nuclear weapons systems with new ones — in some cases, with enhanced military capabilities — should cease. Instead, the cycle of retiring and dismantling nuclear warheads should accelerate.
It is concrete actions like this that build confidence and reduce tensions, and that help to create the conditions for negotiations on reduction and elimination of nuclear arsenals.
To be successful, these conditions likely must also include cessation of the growing arms race in strategically significant non-nuclear weapons systems. This competition makes confrontations among nuclear-armed states more dangerous, and its uneven development leads in some instances to more, rather than less, reliance on nuclear weapons. 
A viable international order requires the good-faith execution of agreements whether considered political or legal. It is therefore deeply disturbing that a member of the Permanent Five, the United States, has chosen to renounce its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to disregard a closely integrated Security Council resolution.
Indeed, based on International Court of Justice precedent,  Resolution 2231’s “call” for implementation of the JCPOA is legally binding. We urge the General Assembly to exercise its responsibility to uphold international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to do so and to demand compliance with the JCPOA and Resolution 2231.
On the Korean peninsula, due in large part to the determination of the people and government of the ROK, the potential exists for a solution linking peace, development, and disarmament. All efforts must be made to achieve that outcome.
An essential element is the elimination of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and associated capabilities. But that must come in the context of ending reliance on nuclear weapons by all concerned parties in the region.
One constructive step would be ratification of the CTBT by the US, China, and DPRK. Again, concrete steps towards halting and reversing the arms race now resuming among the original nuclear-armed states are essential to creating the conditions globally for peace and security. This is particularly the case where nuclear-armed states claim to act in the cause of non-proliferation.
We stand at a nuclear crossroads, in a starkly divided world. The nuclear-armed states and their allies and the non-nuclear states must find a way to start talking with each other — rather than past each other.
One approach would be for the nuclear-dependent states to recognize the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as strengthening the NPT and the nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime more broadly. The TPNW compellingly articulates principles and aspirations for a nuclear-weapons free world — a world which nuclear-dependent states claim to seek.
To achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons and a global society that is more fair, peaceful and ecologically sustainable, we will need to move from the irrational fear-based ideology of deterrence to the rational fear of an eventual nuclear weapon use, whether by accident, miscalculation or design.
We will also need to stimulate a rational hope that security can be redefined in humanitarian and ecologically sustainable terms that will lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons and dramatic demilitarization, freeing up tremendous resources desperately needed to address universal human needs and protect the environment.
Nuclear disarmament should serve as the leading edge of a global trend toward demilitarization and redirection of resources to mitigate climate change and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
1 “NATO, Russia Prep Biggest War Games Since Cold War,” by Paul Mcleary, Breaking Defense, September 4, 2018.
2 “US B-52s fly near contested islands amid China tensions” by Ryan Browne, CNN, September 27, 2018.
3 “A look at the US military’s close calls with China, Russia in the air and at sea”, by Luis Martinez, ABC News, October 2, 2018
4 In this context, “International Peace” refers to relations among states. “Human Security” refers to the universal, indivisible security of all people everywhere.
5 “A circle that can’t be squared: Broad-spectrum arms racing and nuclear disarmament” by Jacqueline Cabasso and Andrew Lichterman, Western States Legal Foundation, in Rethinking General and Complete Disarmament in the Twenty-First Century, UNODA Occasional Papers No. 28, October 2016, pps. 64-74
6 “Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970),” Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1971, p. 16, at pp. 53-54.
Yours in peace.
The Basel Peace Office — a proud member of Abolition 2000, the global network to eliminate nuclear weapons.