All posts by CPNN Coordinator

About CPNN Coordinator

Dr David Adams is the coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, proclaimed for the Year 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly.

A Brutal Violation of Press Freedom’: Glenn Greenwald Targeted With Investigation by Brazilian Government After Reporting on Corruption


An article from Common Dreams (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)

The Brazilian government is targeting one of its biggest critics, journalist Glenn Greenwald, in a move that has been decried by observers as an intimidation tactic designed to stifle opposition to right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. 

Glenn Greenwald, founder and editor of The Intercept, gestures during a hearing at the Lower House’s Human Rights Commission in Brasilia, Brazil, on June 25, 2019. (Photo: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images)

The government’s finance ministry’s money laundering unit was asked by federal police to investigate Greenwald’s finances, O Antagonista  reported  Tuesday. The right-wing Brazilian news site said that the investigation would focus on whether Greenwald paid for access to leaked records he used in reporting on the Bolsonaro government’s “Operation Car Wash” sting. 

“If there is an investigation for doing journalism it is illegal and it is an attempt at intimidation,” University of Sao Paulo law professor Pierpaolo Bottini told  The Guardian.

Attacks on Greenwald and his family, including husband David Miranda, a member of Brazil’s Congress, were criticized by U.N. and Organization of American States (OAS) Edison Lanza and David Kaye. In a joint press release, Lanza and Kaye called on  Brazil “to conduct an exhaustive, effective, and impartial investigation on the threats against the journalist and his family.”

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Question related to this article:
Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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“The Special Rapporteurs remind the Brazilian State that it has an obligation to prevent, protect, investigate, and punish violence against journalists, particularly those who have been subjected to harassment and threats or other acts of violence,” the rapporteurs’ statement said.

Greenwald, co-founder of independent news organization The Intercept, published in the online magazine’s Brazilian edition a number of investigations that use leaked documents to prove that the prosecution of former President Lula da Silva for corruption was steered by now Justice Minister Sergio Moro. The reporting has impacted Brazil’s politics and thrown the Bolsonaro presidency into crisis. 

Given the impact of the reporting, said José Guimarães, a congressman who is a member of da Silva’s Workers’ Party, the investigation appears to be “a brutal violation of press freedom.”

That point was echoed by Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. In a statement, Timm said  that an investigation into Greenwald would be “not only an outrageous attack on press freedom, but a gross abuse of power.”

“Criminally investigating journalist Glenn Greenwald for reporting on corruption within the Bolsonaro government is a shocking violation of his rights as a reporter,” Timm said. “Worse, the same person who is the primary subject of The Intercept’s reporting—Minister of Justice Sergio Moro—would also have ultimate authority over any Federal Police investigation.”

The fallout from Greenwald’s reporting is having a major affect on Brazilian politics. On Tuesday, Moro appeared in front of the Brazilian Congress to answer questions on “Operation Car Wash” in a hearing that devolved at one point into near-violence. 

Greenwald, who spoke to the lower house of Brazil’s Congress about his reporting in June, was invited this week to testify  in front of the Brazilian Senate. A date for that testimony has yet to be set.

Greta Thunberg Addresses Global Elite at Davos: Our House Is Still on Fire


An article from Democracy Now (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License)

The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech Tuesday to the world leaders and global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, one year after she first condemned the forum for its inaction on climate change. “We don’t need a ‘low-carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions.’ Our emissions have to stop,” Thunberg said. “And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”

Video of Thunberg speech

AMY GOODMAN: We end today’s show with the words of a 17-year-old: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. She just turned 17 in the last weeks. She addressed world leaders today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

GRETA THUNBERG: One year ago, I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me. I’ve done this before. And I can assure you: It doesn’t lead to anything.

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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And for the record, when we children tell you to panic, we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will. We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net zero emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa, while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate. Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed, and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.

And let’s be clear: We don’t need a low-carbon economy. We don’t need to lower emissions. Our emissions have to stop, if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero, because distant net-zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.

The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seemed to outrage and worry everyone. And it should. But the fact that we are all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least. Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source starting today is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5- or well below 2-degree commitments of the Paris Agreement.

And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left, as well as the center, have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world, because that world, in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire.

AMY GOODMAN: Seventeen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressing world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She spoke just after President Trump spoke at the gathering, touting the economy but not talking about the climate crisis, which is the focus of the World Economic Forum, the World Economic Forum in Davos. That does it for our show. We’ll post her whole speech online.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

UNWomen: In lead up to Generation Equality Forum, Action Coalition themes announced


An article from UN Women

Today, UN Women, together with feminists across the world, and the Governments of Mexico and France, announced the  Action Coalition  themes for the Generation Equality Forum  to be held in Mexico City and Paris this year.

UN Women staff during Generation Equality Private Sector discussions in Kenya. Photo: UN Women/Kennedy Okoth

The Action Coalitions are global, innovative partnerships with governments, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector, to catalyze collective action, drive increased public and private investment, and deliver game-changing results for women and girls everywhere.

The Generation Equality Forum, a civil society-led global gathering convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the Governments of Mexico and France, taking place in Mexico City from 7 to 8 May, and in Paris from 7 to 10 July 2020, will launch the following six catalytic Action Coalitions:

1. Gender-Based Violence
2. Economic justice and rights
3. Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
4. Feminist action for climate justice
5. Technology and innovation for gender equality
6. Feminist movements and leadership

The six themes were based on data-driven analysis and selected in consultation with international feminist groups, grassroots activist organizations, governments and other partners.

The Generation Equality Forum is taking place in the context of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most comprehensive blueprint for achieving gender equality and women’s rights, adopted by 189 countries in 1995.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Despite some progress, real change has been slow, and no country has achieved gender equality.As the world faces unprecedented challenges, including climate crisis, rising inequality and threat to multilateralism, progress on girls’ and women’s rights is at risk.

The Action Coalitions, backed with financing and impactful partnerships, aim to make accelerated and irreversible progress to advance gender equality.
Each Action Coalition will be led by a group of partners, including: Member States, women’s movements and civil society organizations and the private sector, as well as UN agencies, other international organizations and youth leaders. 
Adolescent girls and young women are at the heart of Generation Equality, lifting up those who have been silenced, stigmatized and shamed far too long, and ensuring that no one is left behind. One of the concrete actions in each Action Coalition theme will specifically target the unique needs of adolescent girls and young women. 

Each Coalition will develop and implement targeted solutions that advance the rights of adolescent girls and young women during the UN Decade of Action  (2020 – 2030) to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the coming months, the formation of Action Coalition leadership and membership will be advanced, as well as the development of “Blueprints” accompanying each Action Coalition, which will detail the expected goals, results, budget, a catalogue of commitments and the accountability framework.The upcoming UN Commission on the Status of Women  (9 – 20 March) and the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico (7-8 May) will provide opportunities for partners to come together and further elaborate upon the Action Coalition Blueprints.

The Action Coalitions will be officially launched during the Generation Equality Forum from 7 to10 July in Paris, and further amplified at the UN General Assembly in September 2020. 

For more information on Generation Equality Forum and the Action Coalitions, click here. Get involved and join the global campaign, #GenerationEquality  to make gender equality a reality within our lifetimes.

UNESCO supports young people for reflections on emerging forms of expression in order to consolidate peace, democracy and development in Africa


An article from UNESCO

On Thursday, December 26, 2019 in Dakar, the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa-Sahel, through the Human and Social Sciences sector (SHS), organized a workshop to present the study “Young people and areas of freedom in Africa: Emerging expressions of young people to consolidate peace, democratization and achieve the SDGs”.

The main objective was to define and inform public policies for young people in order to make them more relevant, inclusive and equitable. Under the chairmanship of Ms. Néné Fatoumata Sall, Minister of Youth, the workshop brought together more than forty participants, including members of the study’s scientific council, representatives of COMNat Senegal in charge of logistics coordination of the study, representatives of youth organizations, representatives of civil society, researchers and academics from The Gambia and Senegal, key partners of the Banjul Forum, members of the Multidisciplinary Research Team and the UNESCO Office staff in Dakar.

“This study constitutes a platform for exchange, consolidation & appropriation, the aim of which is to mobilize the knowledge of young people to inform public policies and accelerate social transformations in Africa,” said Ms. Néné Fatoumata Tall, Minister of Youth, employment and citizen building in Senegal.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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During his introductory remarks, Dr Maréma Touré Thiam, Head of the Human and Social Sciences section of the UNESCO Office in Dakar, recalled that “for UNESCO, young people are essential actors in finding solutions to challenges, they are the solution to Africa’s development. They have always played a major role in the democratization and pacification of societies ”. Thus, this study, carried out by a team of 9 researchers (with 7 different profiles and coming from 5 countries covered by the Office), in collaboration with the Bamako Office and the Culture program of BReDa, made it possible to analyze the trends in several African countries (particularly West Africa) regarding the “emerging” expressions, creativity and capacity for innovation of African youth in terms of civic and civic engagement. The workshop was an opportunity to discuss the efforts necessary to support young people and help them work together to encourage innovation and social change, the development of their societies, fight against poverty and inequality, and foster a culture of peace.

The discussions and exchanges during the workshop made it possible to validate the results with all the participants and stakeholders, but also to underline the importance for UNESCO of supporting young people and researchers for reflections on the innovative forms of expression for young people, in order to consolidate peace, democracy and development in Africa.

“Young people have a preponderant role to play in the progress of societies because they represent the lever by which the Nations will have to rely to aspire to development” Mrs., Néné Fatoumata Tall, Minister of Youth, Employment and citizen building of Senegal

It was recommended to continue and develop scientific research on young people and to deepen it in order to make available to the authorities and stakeholders a “consolidated document” to inform youth policies. The workshop ended with the reading of the declaration of the African Regional Youth Forum, held in Banjul in October 2019.

Burkina Faso: Struggle against radicalization: Imams and preachers strengthen their knowledge


An article from Le Faso

The Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Social Cohesion, Simeon Sawadogo, presided, on January 10, 2020, the ceremony for the end of training of imams, preachers and Koranic masters on human rights, the culture of peace, health and the environment. The trainees undertook to propagate the lessons received for a Burkina Faso of peace.

We must cultivate peace

During their internship, the imams, preachers and Koranic masters learned the need to cultivate peace and this goes through the behavior and the teachings which are given in Koranic schools and mosques. The lesson seems well understood by the trainees. The first module focused on education for a culture of peace. We have learned that you have to be tolerant, just, fair and cultivate inner peace in order to share it with family, neighborhood and city members, said Harouna Tao, Imam-preacher of Titao. In this regard, he has promised to teach and work now to promote peace around him and urged his fellow believers to do the same.

The second module focused on human rights and legal remedies. The trainers taught the learners the basics of human rights and the need to respect them for better living together. We now know the rights of the individual, of people. We have also learned, when your rights are violated, how to go to court to seek redress. We will encourage these attitudes in our mosques, our preachings in order to promote a good coexistence between Muslims and other religious communities added Imam Harouna Tao.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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The last module, health and the environment in relation to sustainable development, was a framework for learners to understand the need to preserve nature for future generations. A teaching that has been well received by religious leaders and who promise to apply it. A healthy and supportive environment contributes to the health of the entire population, which prepares the future for future generations. Development in the new vision must take into account the future of the planet, of future generations. If we ask ourselves which child we leave on this earth and which earth we leave to our offspring, it is important that we work to preserve the environment, added Imam Tao.

Training was necessary

The 20 days of training were initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and carried out in partnership with the Burkinabè government and the Circle of Islamic Studies, Research and Training (CERFI). For Siméon Sawadogo, training was very necessary in view of the national context. He urged trainees to train imams, preachers and Quranic teachers who did not participate in the training.

The government has realized that we must work to combat violent extremism and radicalization. These are facts that we have seen in our society and that the government is working to eradicate. ECOWAS has been good enough to support the Burkinabè government and the sub-region in this struggle by training the first officials who are responsible for teaching others about religious precepts.

So these are imams, preachers who have been trained here at CERFI thanks to the support of ECOWAS and in their turn, they will go to train people in the medersas so that in their preaching in mosques and religious places, they can banish hate speech and they can work so that people learn how to live together and know the true precepts of religion ;, said Simeon Sawadogo.

The interns are now envoys of the Burkinabè government to their co-religionists in order to block the road to the violent extremism and radicalization that fuel terrorism in countries of the sub-region including Burkina.

BlackRock goes green? Investment giant joins Climate Action 100+ amid controversy


An article by Toby Hill from Green Biz

BlackRock became the latest signatory to Climate Action 100+, adding the substantial weight of its $6.8 trillion in assets under management to the investor engagement initiative that works to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take action on climate change.

BlackRock joins 370 global investors already signed up to the scheme, bringing total assets under management by those participating to over $41 billion.

As signatories, investors commit to engaging with companies on a range of climate-related fronts. The group typically has called on firms to take bolder steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, implement a strong governance framework for managing climate-related risks and opportunities, and provide enhanced corporate disclosure in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

“BlackRock is one of the largest and most influential asset managers in the world and will bring even more heft to investor engagement through Climate Action 100+,” said Emily Chew, steering committee chair at Climate Action 100+. “We look forward to working with BlackRock to build on the initiative’s success and work to ensure companies take the urgent and necessary action needed in response to the climate crisis.”

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Question for this article:

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

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BlackRock’s decision to join the group builds on a series of recent statements on the importance of climate action from the influential investment giant.

CEO Larry Fink has highlighted “climate change” and “environmental risks and opportunities” as key engagement priorities in both his 2018  and 2019 letters to CEOs. The firm also  strengthened its proxy voting guidelines (PDF)  regarding climate change in January 2019.

Joining Climate Action 100+ “is a natural progression of the work our investment stewardship team has done,” BlackRock told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. “We believe evidence of the impact of climate risk on investment portfolios is building rapidly and we are accelerating our engagement with companies on this critical issue,” the firm added.

However, the U.S. investment giant also has faced criticism for sometimes failing to take concrete action on climate change when opportunities have presented themselves. Sustainability non-profit Ceres last year ranked BlackRock 43 among 48 asset managers in a green investment league table, finding it had backed just one in 10 climate-related proposals from shareholders. Indeed, in the past the firm has voted against shareholder proposals brought about by ClimateAction 100+ itself. Such inaction led former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to recently accuse the firm of being “full of greenwash.”

Climate finance experts welcomed BlackRock’s decision to join the group while emphasizing that the company had to work effectively with Climate Action 100+ to encourage more companies to develop ambitious climate strategies.

“Given the immediate need for companies, particularly in the fossil fuel heavy energy sector, to produce Paris-consistent transition plans, Blackrock’s support has just come at the right time,” said Carbon Tracker chairman Mark Campanale. “The challenge now is to see a ‘high bar’ on climate disclosure followed, as well as business alignment by fossil fuel companies such as Exxon, on the goals of the Paris agreement. Blackrock needs to lend its voice to the many involved in CA100+ calling for no new investment in expanding fossil fuel production.”

PAYNCoP Gabon advocates for the participation and support of youth initiatives at the United Nations



The National Coordination of the Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP Gabon) took part, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, in the working session of the Under-Secretary of the United Nations, in charge of peace and security issues, Ms. Bintou Keita, with Gabonese Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The meeting, which took place on the margins of the 7th Peace Forum, organized in Libreville, enabled Ms. Bintou to exchange views with Gabonese CSOs on issues of development, peace and security at the national level.

Speaking on the contribution of young people to development and peacebuilding, the National Coordinator of PAYNCoP Gabon advocated for the contribution of young people on two levels: participation and action. Young people are a force for proposal and action.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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Unfortunately, despite the normative framework favorable to their participation, in particular resolution 2250 (young people, peace and security) of the UN Security Council, the African Youth Charter and the National Youth Policy, their participation remains a real challenge at a national level. They are marginalized and their needs and aspirations and their opinions are not taken into account. The worrying unemployment rate, the alarming situation of the education system as well as that of the National Youth Council are examples of this situation. How can young people contribute to the development of the country when if are not associated in decision-making?

In addition, alongside participation at the decision-making level, young people are in action. They take initiatives, carry out multiple and varied activities in different fields.

Unfortunately, these activities are limited due to insufficient resources. So we need support, funding to be more effective. In the associative framework, the Gabonese are excluded from certain financings because of the statute of our country (Country with Intermediate Income) whereas that remains a theoretical reality for the majority of Gabonese. In fact, decent accommodation, good training, food, treatment and decent work remains a privilege in Gabon as well as in Burundi or Sudan, classified among the poorest countries in the world.

In response to these remarks, the Under-Secretary of the United Nations promised to relay these observations to whom it should concern. She encouraged the young people not to give up because the youth is the present and the future of Gabon and Africa.

Lebanon: Interview with Ogarit Younan (prize for conflict prevention and peace)


An article from Agenda Culturel

The CHAML association has been awarded the “Prize for Conflict Prevention and Peace in Lebanon 2019” from the Ghazal Foundation, which annually awards an NGO. This award adds to the long career of its founders, Ogarit Younan and Walid Slaiby. Pioneers of non-violence in Lebanon and in the region. Initiators of interactive training in Lebanon, they have been recognized as figures of civil society for over 30 years. They have to their credit the creation of several associations and especially the foundation of the University Academy for Nonviolence and Human Rights – AUNOHR.

On the occasion of the award ceremony, Ogarit Younan answers questions from the Cultural Agenda.

How long has the Chaml association existed and what are its goals?

First of all, I would like to salute the GHAZAL Foundation and its founding president Michel Ghazal, for this link, active rather than passive, that he ties with his country, by supporting concrete actions of peace and citizenship each year.

CHAML (“شمل” ، “شباب مواطنون لاعنفيون لاطائفيون”), was created in the heart of the upheavals of 2005 which deeply divided the country. It brought together 260 young people, through activities in all the mohafazats of the country. The members of the founding group come from different backgrounds but without being “denominational” because this is absolutely not the philosophy of CHAML.

In 2008, CHAML obtained the official status of a civil association in accordance with Lebanese law (Opinion No 1040 / Date September 10, 2008).

The CHAML coordination and administration committee is made up of professionals in civil action, trainers who are among the most senior trainers in Lebanon. They have a special qualification and are the first in Lebanon to hold a Masters in Human Rights and Non-violence.

Through its objectives, CHAML works mainly to contribute in the following areas:

* Raise awareness among young students, especially adolescents in secondary classes through an annual program in public and private schools in all regions of the country.

* Undertake peace and citizenship initiatives aimed at resolving conflicts and deep “wounds” in Lebanese society.

* Fight for change in the denominational system and unjust laws.

* Support, through its expertise, other civil organizations, at national and regional level, in projects for young people, women, education and refugees.

Read here for examples of CHAML activities.

The revolution that began October 17 last year aimed be a peaceful uprising. Did you expect such a rising of a population that some previously believed was “in a coma”?

Obviously, we expected something that said “enough is enough”, but it was beyond measure with this massive NO. Moreover, this uprising is the result of an accumulation of small gradual ‘no’ s. Rather than a ‘coma’, I prefer to say longtemps a long silent latent anger, repeatedly expressed through actions, sometimes successful and mostly unsuccessful. The most important thing now is that “the spirit of the revolution” builds a professional and well-organized strategy that is still lacking but developing.

(Click here for the original article in French.)

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Question for this article:

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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During this uprising and in your opinion, what effects have the trainings you have given in recent years had?

We have seen everywhere and in all regions the people we have trained over the past 30 years. They participated in the organization of groups, training in non-violent means of action, the animation of tents in public places, the development of alternatives, coordination between groups, courageous demonstrations in the face of the recall to the civil war and the “denominational style of the militias” and there I could in particular quote the demonstration of the “nonviolent mothers” in Chiyah-Ayn Remmaneh organized by activists of CHAML and students of AUNOHR.

Can nonviolence have the last word?

Non-violence is the only way. Through my meetings and discussions in public places in Beirut and Tripoli, even the people claiming that there is a revolution “only by blood” changed their minds, when they discovered that non-violence is courage, strength and effective solutions, contrary to what they have learned. This leads us to end the glorification of violence, to cultivate the spirit of non-violence and to spread its concrete examples.

Regarding your university, to whom are the doors of AUNOHR open?

The University Academy for Nonviolence and Human Rights – AUNOHR, the only one of its kind in Lebanon and a pioneer worldwide, was officially founded in 2014 and the courses started in 2015-2016.

AUNOHR was conceived according to a philosophy which deals with education rather than teaching, where training within the university is a life in itself, and in the words of Comenius “professional Humanist workshops”.

We offer 9 areas of specialization at the Master and University Diploma (DU) level, drawing on all academic and professional fields, and creating new job opportunities that are internationally qualified as “the jobs of this present in transition and of the future”.

Students come from Lebanon and all Arab countries; the first three promotions are from six countries: Syria, Palestine, Iraq including Kurdistan, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

The participants are from 21 to 67 years old, women and men.

As these are new specializations in higher education, students are from various academic and professional backgrounds: teachers, school directors, journalists, lawyers, university teachers, activists, founders of associations, doctors , elected officials, executives in the public sector, bank employees, religious, coordinators of civil campaigns and political actors, artists, etc.

At the same time, dozens of participants have joined ‘individual’ courses with flexible hours, and received official certificates (each course: 3 credits).

How can everyone participate in spreading messages of non-violence around them?

The best message could only be that of the people trained with us, and I invite you to listen to the testimonies of the students who expressed themselves unanimously that it was a “turning point” in their personal and professional life.

See “AUNOHR in the eyes of its students”, a video with short testimonial videos by the students of the University of Non-violence and Human Rights.

Thanks to Phyllis Kotite, the reporter for this article.

USA: Why Is Trump the Only Candidate With a Budget Proposal?


An article by David Swanson

An important job of any U.S. president is to propose an annual budget to Congress. Shouldn’t it be a basic job of every presidential candidate to propose one to the public? Isn’t a budget a critical moral and political document outlining what chunk of our public treasury should go to education or environmental protection or war?

The basic outline of such a budget could consist of a list or a pie chart communicating — in dollar amounts and/or percentages — how much government spending ought to go where. It’s shocking to me that presidential candidates do not produce these.

As far as I have been able to determine, though it’s so absurd as to seem improbable, no non-incumbent candidate for U.S. president has ever produced even the roughest outline of a proposed budget, and no debate moderator or major media outlet has ever publicly asked for one.

There are candidates right now who propose major changes to education, healthcare, environmental, and military spending. The numbers, however, remain vague and disconnected. How much, or what percentage, do they want to spend where?

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Question for this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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Some candidates might like to produce a revenue / taxation plan as well. “Where will you raise money?” is as important a question as “Where will you spend money?” But “Where will you spend money?” seems like a basic question that any candidate should be asked.

The U.S. Treasury distinguishes three types of U.S. government spending. The largest is mandatory spending. This is made up largely of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but also Veterans’ care and other items. The smallest of the three types is interest on debt. In between is the category called discretionary spending. This is the spending that the Congress decides how to spend each year.

What every presidential candidate ought to produce, at a minimum, is a basic outline of a federal discretionary budget. This would serve as a preview of what each candidate would ask the Congress for as president. If candidates feel they need to produce larger budgets outlining changes to mandatory spending as well, so much the better.

President Trump is the one candidate for president in 2020 who has produced a budget proposal (one for each year he’s been in office). As analyzed by the National Priorities Project, Trump’s latest budget proposal devoted 57% of discretionary spending to militarism (wars and war preparations). This is despite the fact that this analysis treated Homeland Security, Energy (the Energy Department is largely nuclear weapons), and Veterans Affairs each as separate categories not included under the category of militarism.

The U.S. public, in polling over the years, has tended to have no idea what the budget looks like, and — once informed — to favor a very different budget from the actual one at the time. I’m curious what each person campaigning for the presidency wants the federal budget to look like. Will they put their money (well, our money) where their mouths are? They say they care about many good things, but will they show us how much they care about each of them?

I strongly suspect that most people would recognize the significant differences, and have strong opinions about them, if we were shown a basic pie-chart of spending priorities from each candidate.

USA: Following Iran Strike, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Score Huge Defense Contracts


An article by Peter Castagno in Citizen Truth (All Citizen Truth original articles licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. )

Defense companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon scored huge Pentagon contracts in anticipation of military conflict with Iran following the Trump administration’s assassination of Iran’s most powerful general late Thursday. Lockheed won a $1.93 billion contract to expand production of the controversial F-35 fighter jet program and Raytheon gained a $758 million deal to manufacture advanced medium-range air to air missiles (AMRAAM).

Defense stocks have soared in recent days as investors have expressed excitement at the prospect of greater violence in the Middle East:

“Big-name defense stocks are rising, with Northrop Grumman leading the rally last Friday. Northrop has risen 8% in the last five days, while Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have jumped around 4% and 2%, respectively,” reported Forbes Monday.

“The S&P 500 Aerospace & Defense (Industry) Index rose 3.7%, while the Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index went up 3.6% in the past five trading sessions,” as per Nasdaq on Tuesday.

General Dynamics also scored a $98 million contract to work on docking phased maintenance with the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Project of the Institute for Policy Studies, notes that because top defense executives receive stock-based pay, they are already reaping a windfall from Trump’s military strike.
‘The Game Has Changed’

Amid escalating tensions with Iran, the US is deploying roughly 4,500 soldiers, as well as a wide array of ships, planes and other weapons to the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who was Raytheon’s top lobbyist for seven years, said that “the game has changed” shortly before President Trump’s assassination of a top Iranian general on Thursday, which marked the first time the U.S. killed a top foreign military leader since World War II. Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi said that Soleimani was in Iraq by his invitation in an effort to deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.

The Iraqi parliament has since voted to expel U.S. forces from the country, which Trump responded to with threats of “very big” sanctions “like they’ve never seen before, ever.” Trump also threatened Iran with retaliation “perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” including destruction of cultural sites if the country takes military action, a threat the Pentagon has contradicted. The president has previously spoken of his support for torture and “taking out” the families of terrorists, all while civilian deaths abroad have sharply increased during his presidency.

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Question for this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the assassination was to prevent an imminent attack on U.S. forces planned by the general, but provided no evidence for his claim, and other officials have offered divergent accounts. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Pompeo had been pushing the move for months.
Economist Dean Baker noted that some defense stocks suspiciously surged before the attack:

Revolving Door

As Citizen Truth wrote earlier this week, critics argue that the revolving door between private defense contractors and the Pentagon improperly influences public policy to benefit private weapons manufacturers:

“In November 2018, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released an analysis of the Trump administration’s defense sector, finding 645 instances of federal employees working for the top 20 Pentagon contractors in fiscal year 2016. Most of them worked as lobbyists, where they used public funds allocated to them through Pentagon contracts to vouch for policies that would help their private employers profit.”

U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper spent seven years as the top lobbyist at Raytheon, refused to recuse himself from decisions involving his former employer, and has refused to wait before returning to Raytheon after his public service. U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy is a former Lockheed Martin executive.

Former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who resigned in 2019, was ranked by the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of the “most corrupt members of Congress” for her work with Lockheed Martin. In 2015, Lockheed Martin paid a $4.7 million settlement to the Department of Justice after the revelation it had used taxpayer funds to hire lobbyists, including Wilson, for a $2.4 billion contract.

Critics argue that proponents of military action should disclose their ties to the arms industry. Beyond the numerous Pentagon officials connected to weapons manufacturers, many congressmembers are supported by companies like Lockheed Martin and hold stock in the defense industry. As Lee Fang reported Monday night, multiple pundits who have praised the recent assassination neglected to reveal their financial interests in the arms corporations preparing for war.

Defense Spending

The Intercept’s Lee Fang reported last year that Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson said that “bipartisan support for defense spending,” favored her company, in addition to geopolitical tensions with countries like Iran.

House Democrats approved a $738 billion military package last month, even as it was stripped of amendments that would have forbidden the president from starting wars without congressional approval. Congress approved the colossal spending package a week after the Afghanistan papers were published, revealing how the U.S. government systematically deceived the public about the war in Afghanistan for 18 years.

In October, an Ex-Pentagon official said he was fired for speaking out about defense companies ripping off taxpayers. A 2016 Politico profile described the official, Shay Assad, as “the most hated man in the Pentagon.”

“Traditionally, defense stocks tend to outperform the market during periods of budget growth,” reported CCN. A CNBC analysis found that “shares of defense companies outperform the broader market in the six months after a crisis event in the Middle East.”