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ACTION ALERT: A Call for the Baltic Sea to Become a "Sea of Peace"


February 9, 2018
Women for Peace, Sweden & Physicians for Social Responsibility, Finland, et al

We, the organizations and movements that have signed this letter are extremely concerned about the deepening crisis between the United States, EU and Russia and about the rapidly advancing militarization of the Baltic Sea. The hope that awoke with the end of the 'old' Cold War is increasingly waning, and worryingly the lessons of the Cold War that brought mankind and the planet to the brink of nuclear destruction have been all but forgotten.

http://www.naisetrauhanpuolesta.org/



ACTION ALERT: A CALL FOR THE BALTIC SEA -- A SEA OF PEACE
NaiseTrauhanPuolesta.org

Dear peace friends all around the Baltic Sea!

We, the organizations and movements that have signed this letter are extremely concerned about the deepening crisis between the United States, EU and Russia and about the rapidly advancing militarization of the Baltic Sea. The hope that awoke with the end of the 'old' Cold War is increasingly waning, and worryingly the lessons of the Cold War that brought mankind and the planet to the brink of nuclear destruction have been all but forgotten.

NATO is now bordering Russia in a very provocative manner. Extensive military exercises are causing dangerous tensions and are used to shape the minds of people. Harsh accusations, upgrading of weapons and creating strong enemy images amongst the population are taking us back to the cold war era.

What is the legacy going to be with politicians and the mainstream media generating an environment of absolute fear among the public based on the propaganda of war and the politics of expediency?

A firm public stance against the dangerous and incessant saber-rattling needs to be taken now before it is too late! This affects everyone and regardless of whether we get directly involved or not. In these current times there is no room for taking a neutral stance, simply too much is at stake for this generation and generations to come.

For the sake of the planet and common sense we call upon your organization/movement to join us in a Call for making the Baltic Sea a sea of peace -- peace amongst people and protection for the environment.

A working paper in English, Swedish and Finnish on the militarization in the Baltic Sea, Europe and the world -- The Militarization of the Baltic Sea -- A Threat to World Peace -- free for use, can be found on the home page of Women for Peace -- Finland.

We hope for many, many signatures by MARCH 28th 2018. After that the Call will be sent to all governments around the Baltic Sea. The Call also aims at connecting organizations, movements and people and will serve as a tool for calling together a conference aimed at building strong networks for further cooperation in order to stop this new Cold War Era before it turns into a Hot War Era.
We encourage all organizations/movements/groups to spread this Call further in the Baltic Sea area.

We sincerely hope you will join us in this extremely urgent matter.
Please send your reply, indicating your organization/movement, e-mail address and name of contact person to Ulla Klotzer ( ullaklotzer@yahoo.com ) by March 28th, 2018, or to any of the persons that have signed this letter, so that we can add your signature to the Call.

Signed:
Susanne Gerstenberg, Women for Peace, Sweden
Kati Juva, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Finland
Ulla Klotzer, Women Against Nuclear Power, Finland,
Kirsti Kolthoff, Women´s International League for Peace and Freedom, Uppsala Branch, SwedenEwa Larsson, Green Women, Sweden,
Lea Launokari, Women for Peace -- Finland
Micke Seid, Peace Culture Network, Sweden
Jan Stromdahl, The Peoples' Movement Against Nuclear Power And Weapons -- Sweden
Riitta Wahlstrom, Technology for Life, Finland
Gertrud Astrom, Women's Baltic Peacebuilding Initiative, Sweden.





CALL FOR THE BALTIC SEA -- A SEA OF PEACE
Peace amongst people and protection for with the environment!


The Baltic Sea, our vulnerable inland sea, is one of the most trafficked, fragile and polluted seas in the world. On top of numerous environmental problems, rapidly increasing military threats are present in the Baltic Sea.

In addition to the increasing number of permanent troops in the Baltic Sea Region, the number of war exercises has increased. The number of participants and participating countries has also increased. The nature of the exercises has also changed. Before, mainly crisis management was exercised.

Nowadays also heavily armed and well-equipped troop clashes are simulated, as well as nuclear warfare. Furthermore, the number of airspace violations and dangerous close by flights escalated in the summer of 2017.

Military exercises that include thousands and even tens of thousands of participants, and that are arranged several times a year by both western countries and Russia, dramatically add to the tensions between the western countries and Russia and contribute to the environmental pollution in the area.

The exercises are a threat to world peace and a waste of valuable resources, which should be used to tackle existing and future environmental challenges.

Extensive exercises like the ones that took place in 2017; Arctic Challenge, Northern Coast, Aurora and Zapad, may also lead to situations where mistakes happen. Such mistakes can have disastrous consequences.

An additional threat is the modernization of nuclear weapons that according to many war analysts and peace researchers lowers the threshold for their use. On top of the nuclear warheads of Great Britain and France, the US has nuclear warheads positioned in Europe. Russia has nuclear warheads on the Russian mainland and most likely nuclear capable missiles in Kaliningrad.

It must also be taken into consideration that at the coasts of the Baltic Sea there are several nuclear power plants and other nuclear industry complexes posing huge danger in situations of great military stress like big war exercises or situations of conflict or war.

Finally the Baltic Sea is also threatened by heritage from previous wars, amongst others thousands of tons of explosives and chemical weapons that were dumped during World War I, as well as bombs, mines and other war material, estimated to several hundred thousand tons that were dumped after World War II.

We -- who have signed this call:
* Call upon all governments in every country around the Baltic Sea to use their financial means to save the Baltic Sea instead of financing armament and other environmentally polluting activities!
* Intend to create debate about the military threats in the Baltic Sea area. We want to engage politicians, peace institutes, peace researchers, artists, well known personalities, non-governmental organizations and socially engaged citizens in the whole Baltic Sea area to take part in our project to make the Baltic Sea a SEA OF PEACE -- peace amongst people and protection for the environment!


Reiner Braun, Co-President International Peace Bureau (IPB)
Susanne Gerstenberg, Women for Peace, Sweden,
Kati Juva, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Finland
Ulla Klotzer, Women Against Nuclear Power, Finland
Kirsti Kolthoff, Women´s International League for Peace and Freedom, Uppsala Branch, Sweden
Elisabeth und Peter Kranz, Das Okumenische Zentrum für Umwelt-, Friedens- und Eine-Welt-Arbeit, Germany
Jordis Land, Friedenskreis Castrop-Rauxel, Germany
Ewa Larsson, Green Women, Sweden
Lea Launokari, Women for Peace, Finland
Andrey Shchukin, coordinator of the project "right to alternative" of the Perm regional branch of the international society "Memorial", Russia,
Micke Seid, Peace Culture Network, Sweden
Jan Stromdahl, The Peoples' Movement Against Nuclear Power And Weapons, Sweden
Riitta Wahlstrom, Technology for Life, Finland
Gertrud Astrom, Women's Baltic Peacebuilding Initiative, Sweden,


THE MILITARIZATION OF THE BALTIC SEA
A THREAT TO WORLD PEACE

Ulla Klotzer and Lea Launokari (November 2017)

THE RETURN OF THE COLD WAR TO EUROPE
WORLD MILITARY EXPENDITURE ROSE
IN 2016 FOR THE SECOND TIME IN A ROW


* The total expenditure was 1 686 billion dollars, around 1 554 billion euro.

* Military expenditure in North-America rose for the first time since 2010 and the expenditure in Western Europe rose for the second year in a row.

* The state budget of Finland was 5.5 billion euro in 2017. With the total world military expenditure the Finnish state could be run for a period of 28 years.

* The US military budget is by far the biggest in the world. In 2016 it amounted to 611 billion dollars.

* The military budget of Russia was the third biggest in 2016 and amounted to a little more than 69 billion dollars (cp. USA).

THE DANGERS OF FALSE AND DISTORTED THREAT AND ENEMY IMAGES
Creating different kinds of threat and enemy images only serves the military industry and big corporations striving to get hold of declining natural resources, as well as politicians aiming at an undemocratic, power concentrating world order. It does not in any way improve or uphold vital environmental conditions, or secure basic human needs -- not to seek of life quality and security.

* The enemy picture created in the US and Western Europe has during the last years strongly been built around Russia -- even though the military budget of Russia amounts to only 69.2 billion dollar whereas the figure of the US is around 611 billion dollar. In order for the US figures to be comparable with Russian expenditure, the military budgets of NATO and NATO partner countries also have to be taken into account.

ARMAMENT AND MILITARY ACTIVITIES OF THE WESTERN COUNTRIES AIM AT THE ENCIRCLEMENT OF RUSSIA
In 2000 a vision about US full spectrum dominance was presented at the homepage of the US Department of Defence (Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance) and it was emphasized that the Department of Defence shall act according to this plan in the future. The promise as well as the goal are about to be reached.

In recent years an even tighter and more efficient cooperation has been built up in the western countries aiming at the encirclement of Russia.
* The pictures below show how the encirclement rapidly is proceeding in the Baltic Sea area, around the Black Sea and in the oceans.

* Tensions in the Arctic ocean/Arctic region are growing.

Before the year 2020 the Bering Strait will be ice-free for around 160 days a year. Before the year 2025 the now hypothetic Transpolar Sea Route through the central parts of the Arctic Ocean is going to be open for transports 45 days a year.

It is estimated that there are oil and gas resources in the region, which are valued at around 1 trillion US dollar; 13 % of the untapped oil resources and 30 % of the untapped gas resources in the world. There are also considerable mineral resources in the region.

* Rear Admiral Jonathan White, the US Navy's top oceanographer and navigator, and director of the Navy's climate change task force, said in a statement to Reuters in February 2014: "The Arctic is all about operating forward and being ready. We don't think we're going to have to do war-fighting up there, but we have to be ready."

* * *
THE MILITARIZATION OF THE BALTIC SEA –
HAZARDOUS GAME BY THE WESTERN COUNTRIES

The head quarters of the Swedish fleet are situated in Karlskrona in the southern parts of the Baltic Sea. Finland's marine military bases are situated in Turku, Kirkkonummi, Raasepori and Helsinki.

* In May 2015 it was announced that, considering the need to safeguard the marine areas of Finland and Sweden, the cooperation will be deepened by the development of a bilateral standing Naval Task Group, The Swedish-Finnish Naval Task Group (SFNTG). The countries' performance capacities are combined to compatible units. The naval task group shall have full operational capability by 2023.

* In March 2016 the defence ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden announced their intention to deepen the defence cooperation due to the increased military activity of Russia in the Baltic Sea region, which was worrying the ministers.

The Nordic cooperation will be deepened by different means, amongst others tighter cooperation in regard to airspace surveillance, common safe communication between the Nordic countries and common exercises in the region. The defence ministers agreed to complete a Danish proposal to open up their territories for military forces to have access to each other's airspace and sea and land territories in peace time.

* Warships of the Baltic NATO member countries Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland are also operating in the Baltic Sea, as well as warships from NATO countries located outside the Baltic Sea area (see military exercises below).

* NATO Review Magazine, 2016 under the headline "Securing the Nordic-Baltic region":
"NATO has a strong role in coordinating closer security ties between the region's states. Finland and Sweden are not members of the Alliance and are therefore not covered by NATO's collective defence clause.

However, the Allies are working closely with both countries -- two of NATO's most active partners -- to assess security in the Baltic Sea region, to expand exchanges of information, including on hybrid warfare, coordinating training and exercises, and to develop better joint situational awareness.

The prospects are positive for improved NATO-Nordic-Baltic defence cooperation, yet a number of important challenges need to be overcome. The region will test NATO's flexibility in strengthening defence ties among its members and crucial partner states . . .

The number of major exercises conducted by NATO fully encompassing the land, sea and air power of its Allies in the Baltic Sea region should be increased...

As Finland and Sweden are key provider states within these developing Nordic-Baltic infrastructural networks, NATO should ensure that both these partner countries are given the option to be integrated strongly within the relevant contingency planning structures . . ."


* Germany plays an active role in the Baltic Sea -- In the MarineForum-magazin (5- 2017 and 6-2017, Randmeerkriegsfuhrung. Wiederaufbau einer Fahigkeit) Peter Korte, the head of a department in the German Navy Command, published an article in which he states that it is "conceivable" that "the eastern region of the Baltic Sea could become a venue for conflicts of interests and provocations".

He emphasizes that a credible deterrence necessitates preparations for "the regular and permanent presence of operational forces" and a resolute military buildup. Berlin's decision to procure five new corvettes (K130) for the Baltic Sea is explicitly done in order to raise the presence in home (German) waters. The accuracy of the corvettes is significant both at sea and on land.

Peter Korte also emphasizes the importance of both national and multinational military exercises and suggests a great number of rearmament measures, amongst others development and use of unmanned systems both beneath and on the water and creating capacity to find and fight against military targets under water and further development of the capacity.


RUSSIA'S SITUATION IN THE BALTIC SEA
Russia has expanded its attack capacity in the St. Petersburg region and at the borders of the Baltic Sea countries.

Concerning Russia and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad, which belongs to Russia, is the most militarized region. The head quarters of the Russian Baltic Sea fleet are situated there and in case of war Russia counts on being able to prevent NATO from bringing more forces to the Baltic. From Kaliningrad, Russia could severely harm Finnish maintenance connections in a crisis situation.

* Russia's main military regions are situated in Murmansk and the northern Arctic Ocean. Murmansk is the head quarters of the northern fleet and home to amongst others 30 submarines (out of which 10 are strategic missile submarines), Russia's aircraft carrier and many other military vessels. The strategic missile submarines carry intercontinental nuclear warheads, and the submarines also carry cruise missiles.

* Sosnovy Bor is an area at the Southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, about 80 km from St. Petersburg and only 90 km across the bay from the Finnish coastal town Kotka. The area is classified as a military area where nuclear power plants and different kinds of nuclear facilities are situated.

* In recent years Russia has expanded its troops in the Baltic Sea region and improved its equipment. Russia -- just as the western countries -- has from time to time used dangerous provocation methods, and sometimes the word exchange has been rather heated.

* When the Berlin wall fell Russia lost the main part of its Baltic Sea coast. All countries along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, except the small Kaliningrad oblast that belongs to Russia, are now members of NATO.

Russia's access to the Baltic Sea is now secured only by Kaliningrad and the region around St. Petersburg. The Danish Strait is important for both Russia's military fleet and its merchant fleet. At the strait, NATO controls the traffic to and from the Baltic Sea and the alliance can close the passage for Russia if it so wishes.

* In October 2016 Moscow announced that missiles that can be supplied with nuclear weapons shall be stationed in Kaliningrad.

* On the 21st of June 2017, during a flight control, a NATO fighter jet flew close to a Russian airplane carrying the Russian defence minister Sergei Šoigu to Kaliningrad.

* According to CNN Russian and US military aircraft and ships have had more than 30 interactions in the Baltic Sea region in June 2017.

* In June 2017 NATO's four multinational battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland became fully operational.

* Russia for its part announced that still in 2017 new troops are being deployed in the Western military district. According to the TV channel of the Russian army, 40 military bases will be built for the new troops.

* Concerning the militarization of the Baltic Sea, Russia's envoy to NATO, ambassador Alexander Grushko said in the German newspaper die Welt (7.6.17): "NATO is building a new military security situation that we cannot ignore, that we should address using our own military instruments."


Table of Contents
THE RETURN OF THE COLD WAR TO EUROPE


SIPRI -- world military expenditures rose last year (2016) the second time in a row
The dangers of false, distorted threat and enemy pictures
Armament and military activities of the Western countries aim at the encirclement of Russia
NATO becomes a neighbour of Russia

THE SNEAKING MILITARIZATION OF SOCIETY
EU is rapidly developing towards a security and defence union

THE MILITARIZATION OF THE BALTIC SEA –
HAZARDOUS GAME BY THE WESTERN COUNTRIES

The western countries in the Baltic Sea region
Russia's situation in the Baltic Sea

MULTINATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EXERCISES
* Plan for international training and exercises in which Finland is taking part
* Some of the most significant multinational military exercises in the Baltic Sea region 2014 -- 2017 involving NATO, US Army Europe and their partners
* Military exercises of the western countries and Russia overlap
* Significant exercises in northern Europe
* Significant military exercises in Central Europe and neighboring regions 2014 -2017 involving NATO, US Army Europe and their partners
* Russia's most significant military exercises in the Baltic Sea region and Russia's western regions between the Arctic Ocean and the Black Sea

THE THREAT OF MAKING USE OF
NUCLEAR WEAPONS HAS BECOME GREATER

The UN historical vote in July 2017 ON banning nuclear weapons

INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES -- CYBER WAR
* Satellites, cables, hybrid centres
* Comprehensive intelligence and surveillance activities require constitutional changes
* Cyber war means "warfare" in cyber space

WAR MACHINERY AND THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY ARE BIG POLLUTERS
* Some examples of environmental problems caused by military activities
* Nuclear power plants and other nuclear complexes situated in Europe -- no war in Europe can remain nuclear free
* Nuclear power plants cause different kinds of emissions harmful to human beings and the environment during "normal operation"

THE BALTIC SEA -- A POLLUTED SEA
The Baltic Sea, our vulnerable inland sea -- one of the most trafficked and polluted seas

HOW TO TURN THE BALTIC SEA INTO A SEA OF PEACE?
* The capacity to maintain peaceful coexistence with Russia and show mutual respect -- a big challenge for Finland, the Nordic countries and the whole Baltic Sea area
* A nuclear-weapon-free zone; Finland and Sweden
* Nongovernmental organizations must strengthen and enlarge cooperation in the Baltic Sea area and the whole world
* The Baltic Sea -- a Sea of Peace -- Peace between human beings and protection for the environment

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