A Webinar on Washington’s Use of Weaponized Sanctions

September 6th, 2021 - by North American Solidarity Activists Speak Out & CODEPINK

Report on US Using Sanctions to Wage War
Webinar: Sunday, September 12: 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET

North American Solidarity Activists Speak Out

 (September 1, 2021) — Sanctions are a form of war. They are directed against the people from countries that will not follow the dictates of the US. 

The goal is to make the lives of the people in these countries intolerable so they will oppose their governments and support the US regime-change agendas in their countries. 

In their most severe form, as is being imposed on Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, sanctions deny these countries food, medicine, and trade and cause great suffering for the people of the sanctioned countries.

Instead of reversing Trump’s unilateral coercive measures, Biden has extended the sanctions, which are illegal under international law.

Coming on Sept 13: How US Sanctions Are Killing Civilians,
Hindering the Fight Against Covid, and Hurting the US Econom

ACTION: Register for Online Webinar Here

For 29 Years, UN General Assembly Has Called for End to Cuba Embargo.
184 Nations Called on US to End Sanctions. The US and Israel Stood Alone.

60+ Years of US Sanctions

North American Solidarity

The US policy of economically undermining independent countries has persisted for 60+ years.

In 1960, a State Department memorandum declared: “Every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba…. denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

In 1970, when Dr Salvador Allende was elected in Chile and before he was even inaugurated, President Richard Nixon instructed the Central Intelligence Agency to “Make the [Chilean] economy scream”.

In 2018, US Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, said “the best solution would be to accelerate the collapse, even if it produces suffering

for months or years.”

Today, 39 nations or territories are under direct or indirect US sanctions. As indicated in the quotes above, this is economic warfare for political ends.

Will Biden Change Sanctions Policy?

On January 21, the Biden administration mandated a review of US sanctions “to evaluate whether they are unduly hindering responses to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Biden administration leaders expressed a second concern: “The goal of sanctions should not be to punish ordinary citizens for the actions of their leaders.”

Finally, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed concern that sanctions are undermining “the US’s leadership role in the global financial system.”

For the past several months, Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo has been leading a review of US sanctions.

Currently it seems they are NOT changing policy. In the past three months, MORE sanctions have been imposed on Nicaragua, Syria, Cuba and Iran.

An Independent Review

A coalition of social justice and human rights organizations called “Sanctions Kill” has conducted an independent review of the impact and consequences of US sanctions.

The report is based on a poll of people from Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Zimbabwe plus fact finding on the ground in Syria and official reports and independent research.

Key Questions

The report raises important questions:
* Why don’t more Americans know about the impact of US sanctions?

* Could US officials face criminal & civil liability?

* Are US Unilateral Sanctions in fact illegal and in violation of the United Nations Charter?

* Why is this policy continuing? What should be done?

Key Findings

* 71% of world nations believe that US sanctions violate international law and the UN Charter.

* Sanctions harm US farmers and companies who seek mutually beneficial trade with target countries.

* There has been a virtual media blackout of the impact of sanctions and world-wide criticism.

* Many thousands of civilians have died as a direct or indirect consequence of US sanctions.

* Humanitarian exemptions, intended to allow food and medicines, have not worked.

* Sanctions are spurring countries to sell US securities and seek alternatives to the US dominated financial system.

The report will be released on Sept 13, 2021. To receive a free pdf of the report, email info@SanctionsKill.org

Sanctions Would Endanger Afghanistan’s Citizens
Stop Blocking US COVID Aid to Afghanistan!

One of the seven children killed by a US drone strike in Kabul.


 (August 31, 2021) — It took only an instant for ten lives, at least seven of whom were children, to be snatched away in a US drone strike in Kabul.  Among those killed over the weekend were 40-year-old Zemari Ahmadi, who worked for Southern California-based charity Nutrition and Education International; 30-year-old Ahmad Naser, a former army officer and contractor who was about to be married; and five children under the age of six.

Like you, we have spent the last few weeks shocked by videos of Afghans risking their lives trying to flee the Taliban’s return to power. Then came a suicide bombing by the group ISIS-K and ensuing massacre by US forces that together killed at least 170 people, including 13 US troops. Now, US drone strikes. The utter futility and horrors of war are on full display. 

There’s more: in the midst of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with over three million Afghan internal refugees in dire need of food, shelter, clean water, and medical care, and the Afghan people coping with a third wave of COVID-19, the Biden administration has pressured the International Monetary Fund not to release $450 million in funds that were supposed to arrive in Afghanistan to help the country deal with the coronavirus pandemic. 

ACTION: Sign our petition to Biden telling him to stop tormenting the Afghan people by holding up COVID-19 aid to the country. You can also call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 and leave a message. 

Morners at site of US drone massacre in Kabul.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke after the last US military personnel left Afghanistan. He recognized the terrible toll the conflict has had on the Afghan people, with millions internally displaced and facing starvation, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit Afghanistan especially hard.

“The United States will continue to support humanitarian aid to the Afghan people,” he said. “Consistent with our sanctions on the Taliban, the aid will not flow through the government, but rather through independent organizations, such as UN agencies and NGOs.  And we expect that those efforts will not be impeded by the Taliban or anyone else.”

So why then, is the US having the IMF hold up $450 million in COVID-19 aid? 

Secretary Blinken spoke yesterday about the necessity of the Taliban living up to basic human rights commitments like freedom of the press, travel, and women’s rights. He said the Taliban’s ability to do this would affect how the US relates to Afghanistan going forward.

But the US not only works with, but arms, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where journalists are tortured and women’s rights defenders imprisoned. Regardless of Taliban abuses, which may unfortunately prove to be grave, we must not make the suffering of the Afghan people worse by blocking aid and imposing sanctions. 

The United States spent $2.26 trillion on its war in Afghanistan. This should have lifted Afghan people out of poverty, but instead the bulk of the funds, about $1.5 trillion, was used to maintain the US military occupation, drop over 80,000 bombs and missiles on Afghans, pay private contractors, and transport troops, weapons, and military equipment back and forth around the world for 20 years. The US has wrought incredible destruction upon the Afghan people.

Now, while a humanitarian crisis is underfoot, the US is not only blocking COVID-19 aid but the US Treasury has frozen nearly all of the Afghan Central Bank’s $9.4 billion in foreign currency reserves, depriving the new government of funds that it will desperately need in the coming months to feed its people and provide basic services. 

Sign the petition and call the White House
to demand that the US stop blocking aid!


Dear President Biden,

We thank you for ending the US’s longest war. The 20-year-long war in Afghanistan cost the American people $2.26 trillion and has accomplished nothing but death and destruction. According to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, there are over three million Afghan internal refugees in dire need of food, shelter, clean water, and medical care. 

Rather than the US funding the UNHCR’s urgent appeal for $350 million, which the US should do, you have pressured the International Monetary Fund to withhold $450 million in funds designated to help Afghanistan deal with the coronavirus pandemic which is raging in the country. You have also frozen nearly all of the Afghan Central Bank’s $9.4 billion in foreign currency reserves, depriving the new government of funds that it will desperately need in the coming months to feed its people and provide basic services. 

As people concerned with the health and well-being of the Afghan people, and as people calling for US accountability for the terrible wounds and trauma the US inflicted on the Afghan people over the past 20 years, we call on you to immediately stop pressuring the IMF not to release COVID-19 aid to Afghanistan.

You should also unfreeze the $9.4 billion, fully fund the UN’s 2021 appeal for emergency aid, which as of late August was less than 40% funded, and shift the $6 billion allocated for the now-defunct Afghan armed forces to humanitarian aid, instead of diverting it to other forms of wasteful military spending.


The US has finally ended its longest war. Now we must stop exacerbating the suffering of the Afghan people and begin reparations. 

In solidarity with the Afghan people, 
Medea, Ann, Alida, Ariel, Carley, Ally, Danaka, Emily, Farida, Jodie, Justina, Kelly, Leila, Leonardo, Madison, Mary, Marcy, Michelle, Moses, Nancy, Paki, RJ, Shea, and Teri