Category Archives: FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Culture of Peace and the Luanda Biennale

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from UNESCO (translation by CPNN)

Brief history

Inspired by the Constitution of UNESCO, the definition of the concept of a culture of peace is the culmination of a long process of maturation initiated by the Yamoussoukro Declaration on peace in the minds of men developed at the Congress International on Peace in the Minds of Men, organized jointly in Yamoussoukro (Côte d’Ivoire), from June 26 to July 1, 1989, by the Ivorian Government and UNESCO.


© UNESCO

The reflection on the concept of a culture of peace was further developed at the first International Forum on a Culture of Peace, organized from February 16 to 18, 1994, in San Salvador (El Salvador). The San Salvador Forum defied the basic principles for the development and implementation of national programs for the culture of peace. Between 1993 and 1996, apart from the National Program for a Culture of Peace in El Salvador, national programs were in fact envisaged by the Organization in several countries: Mozambique, Burundi, Kenya, South Africa, Congo, Sudan , Somalia, Philippines, Bosnia, Haiti.

During this period, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted, at its 28th session, the promotion of a culture of peace as an essential guiding objective of the Organization’s Medium-Term Strategy for 1996- 2001. This decision of the General Conference resulted in the implementation of a transdisciplinary project “Towards a culture of peace.” It inspired the objective of the “United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education”, described in the General Assembly resolution 50/173 , in 1996. By this resolution , the concept of a culture of peace was put for the first time on the United Nations agenda.

According to the resolution 52/13 of January 15, 1998 of the UN General Assembly , the culture of peace consists “of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society,”

The United Nations General Assembly then proceeded, the same year, to the proclamation of the “International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Non-violence and of Peace for the Benefit of the Children of the World” (2001-2010) , the adoption in 1999 of the “Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace” and the celebration of the year 2000, the International Year for the Culture of Peace, under the direction of UNESCO.

Among the many activities marking the celebration of the international year for the culture of peace was the publication of the Manifesto 2000 It was the basis for a world campaign in favor of the culture of peace. According to this Manifesto, the culture of peace is a personal commitment to:

(i) “respect the life and dignity of every human being without discrimination or prejudice”;

(ii) “practise active non-violence, rejecting violence in all its forms: physical, sexual, psychological, economic and social, in particular towards the most deprived and vulnerable such as children and adolescents”;

(iii) “share my time and material resources in a spirit of generosity to put an end to exclusion, injustice and political and economic oppression”;

(iv) “defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity, giving preference always to listening and dialogue without engaging in fanaticism, defamation and the rejection of others”;

(v) “promote consumer bhaviour that is responsible and development practices that respect all forms of life and preserve the balance of nature on the planet”;

(vi) “contribute to the development of my community with the full participation of women and respect for democratic principles in order to create together new forms of solidarity. ”

(Continued in right column)

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

Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

(Continued from left column)

Signed by nearly 76 million people worldwide, the Manifesto 2000 contributed to the creation of a “World Movement for a Culture of Peace” which had been called for in the “Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace.”

Thirteen years later, for the Africa region, the call for the creation of a “continental and sustainable movement for peace” was included in the “Action plan for a culture of peace in Africa / Agissons for peace “. This plan was adopted at the end of the Pan-African Forum “Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace” , organized jointly with the Angolan Government and the African Union, in Luanda, from March 26 to 28, 2013.

The objective of the forum in 2013 was “to rely on the sources of inspiration and on the potential of the continent’s cultural, natural and human resources to identify avenues and concrete actions to build a lasting peace as the cornerstone of endogenous development and pan-Africanism.” In this context, the decision was taken to create a Biennial of the culture of peace.

As a follow-up to the call for the creation of a “continental and sustainable movement for peace”, several networks of African and Diaspora civil society organizations were created under the aegis of UNESCO and the AU, with the support of a certain number of Member States,:

1. In September 2013: the “Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa.” ​​It now includes more than 50 organizations, including UNESCO Chairs. The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research is in charge of the permanent secretariat of the network and its head office is therefore based in Côte d’Ivoire, more precisely in Yamoussoukro.

2. In December 2014: the “Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace.” It includes around 60 organizations, including National Youth Councils. The permanent secretariat of this network of young people is hosted by Gabon.

3. In June 2018 the idea of ​​creating a network of research organizations on women and the culture of peace in Africa and in the Diasporas was launched through the creation in Gabon of a national organization aptly named “Pan-African Women’s Network for the Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development.” This was extended in September 2019 through the holding of a women’s forum at the first edition of the Luanda Biennale,.

The Luanda Biennale

Launched in 2019, the Biennale de Luanda – “Pan-African Forum for a Culture of Peace” , aims to strengthen the Pan-African Movement for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence, by setting up:

1. A global platform for cooperation for the development of violence and conflict prevention strategies and the dissemination of initiatives and good practices, with a view to building sustainable peace and development in Africa (Thematic Forums);

2. A space for exchange between the cultural identities of Africa and its Diasporas, a privileged meeting place for the arts, cultures and heritage as instruments of dialogue, mutual understanding and tolerance (Festival of cultures);

3. A multi-actor partnership between governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community, the private sector and international organizations. A major opportunity to support emblematic programs for Africa by developing on a larger scale projects and initiatives that have proven to be successful at the local, national or sub-regional level (Alliance of partners for the culture of peace in Africa).

The second edition of the Luanda Biennale will take place between October 4 and 8, 2021

Bibliography:

Adams (David), Early history of the culture of peace

Prera-Flores (Anaisabel) and Vermeren (Patrice), Philosophy of culture of culture, Paris, Editions L’Harmattan, 2001

Tindy-Poaty (Juste Joris), The culture of peace: an African inspiration, Paris, Editions L’Harmattan, 2020

Upcoming Virtual Events

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

At CPNN, we are beginning to receive notices of free virtual events concerning the culture of peace. In order to inform our readership of these events, we will try an experiment: a “rolling article” about these events. We will try to update the listing every day or two, removing the events that are past (listed here) and adding new events as they are received at our contact email address. To be included here, an event must be free and must provide a registration link. Unless otherwise indicated the events are in English.

We will also include here the application deadlines for initiatives promoting the culture of peace.


Zoom is one of many new technologies available for virtual conferences.

SÁBAD0 10 de JULIO, 8:00 am a 11:00 am – Hora Colombia – México
Seminario ” Introducción a las Comunicaciones en proyectos en Derechos Humanos y Culturas de Paz.
– Comunicación Radial. Producción de contenidos radiales. Lenguaje y libreto para distintas piezas radiofónicas. Planificación de Programas radiales.
SABADO 17 de JULIO, 8:00 am a 11:00 am – Hora Colombia – México
– Teoría de las Comunicaciones. Comunicación No Violenta. Elementos Básicos que lo caracterizan. El lenguaje joven en la estructura comunicacional actual.
SABADO 24 de JULIO, 8:00 am a 11:00 am – Hora Colombia – México
– Principios fundamentales para la comprensión de los Derechos Humanos como sistema de garantías y defensa en la sociedad actual. Su aplicación y desarrollo en el mundo juvenil.

Se espera convocar a jóvenes de la región a profundizar conocimientos y prácticas sobre el análisis de las comunicaciones vinculadas a estos temas – particularmente la comunicación radial – , fortalecer los grupos de trabajo existentes y crear nuevos en el ámbito universitario, comunitario, organismos gubernamentales e instancias públicas y privadas. . . . Es nuestro deseo que este Seminario promueva en la región latinoamericana participación juvenil e interés en las acciones y proyectos solidarios mediante prácticas concretas de Voluntariado, creando redes de colaboración y trabajo conjunto entre las Juventudes participantes
Link de Inscripción al seminario

Wednesday, July 21 • 4:00pm Eastern Standard Time (USA)
Civil Resistance Against Climate Change: What’s Happening and What Works?

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) is pleased to host Robyn Gulliver and Winnifred Louis as they discuss their forthcoming monograph, co-written with Kelly Fielding, Civil Resistance Against Climate Change: Strategies, Tactics and Outcomes of a National Climate Change Movement in Australia. Beginning with an overview of the groups which engage in climate change civil resistance and the tactics they use, the presenters will then discuss the extent to which this activity is succeeding in achieving its goals. The webinar will also include a discussion of the dynamics and outcomes of two case study campaigns (the Stop Adani anti-coal mine campaign and the Divestment campaign), before concluding with consideration of how different levels of the Australian government is responding to climate change related civil resistance.
Click here to register

Jul 23, 2021 03:00 PM (Central European Time)
Launch of Nuclear Games

As athletes gather in Japan for the start of the Olympic Games, much attention is being given to the value of the Games for sports, protection at the Games from the COVID virus, and the Olympic Ideal for Peace and Humanity. But there are other, threatening and deadly Games involving Japan – and the entire world – that will continue during the Olympics and after. These Games involve the deadly nuclear arms race and the misguided pursuit of nuclear energy. Nuclear Games, which will be launched on July 23, tells five nuclear age stories – in new, animated web documentary and ‘manga’ formats – designed to educate and engage.
zoom registration

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 • 12:00-1:30 PM • Eastern Daylight Time (US)
Walking a Path to a World Beyond War – The Abraham Path Initiative

How can walking lay a path for a world beyond war? The Abraham Path Initiative (API) has been developing walking trails in Southwest Asia (aka “the Middle East”) since 2007. This U.S.-based NGO promotes walking as a tool for economic development, intercultural experiences, and fostering friendships across the challenging divides of our times. When basic needs are met and people are seen in the fullness of their humanity, a foundation for fruitful engagement becomes possible. When people walk together toward a shared destination, their visions for what may be possible also align.
— In this webinar, we explore the work, successes, and challenges of creating walking trails in a region known for conflict. We meet API’s executive director and it’s consultants in Palestine and Iraq. The conversation will be moderated by Salma Yusuf, Advisory Board Member of World BEYOND War, and Q&A facilitated by David Swanson, Executive Director of World BEYOND War.
— click the “Register” button to sign up and receive the Zoom info for the event

US: Why Daniel Hale Deserves Gratitude, Not Prison

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Kathy Kelly in Transcend Media Service

“Pardon Daniel Hale.” These words hung in the air on a recent Saturday evening, projected onto several Washington, D.C. buildings, above the face of a courageous whistleblower facing ten years in prison.

The artists aimed to inform the U.S. public about Daniel E. Hale, a former Air Force analyst who blew the whistle on the consequences of drone warfare. Hale will appear for sentencing before Judge Liam O’Grady on July 27th.


Image of Daniel Hale projected on a building in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 2021. Photo credit:  Nick Mottern

The U.S. Air Force had assigned Hale to work for the National Security Agency. At one point, he also served in Afghanistan, at the Bagram Air Force Base.

“In this role as a signals analyst, Hale was involved in the identifying of targets  for the US drone program,” notes Chip Gibbons, policy director for Defending Rights and Dissent, in a lengthy article about Hale’s case. “Hale would tell the filmmakers of the 2016 documentary National Bird  that he was disturbed by ‘the uncertainty if anyone I was involved in kill[ing] or captur[ing] was a civilian or not. There’s no way of knowing.’”

Hale, thirty-three, believed the public wasn’t getting crucial information about the nature and extent of U.S. drone assassinations of civilians. Lacking that evidence, U.S. people couldn’t make informed decisions. Moved by his conscience, he opted to become a truth-teller.

The U.S. government is treating him as a threat, a thief who stole documents, and an enemy. If ordinary people knew more about him, they might regard him as a hero.

(Article continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Drones (unmanned bombers), Should they be outlawed?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

The courage of Mordecai Vanunu and other whistle-blowers, How can we emulate it in our lives?

(Article continued from left column)

Hale was charged  under the Espionage Act for allegedly providing classified information to a reporter. The Espionage Act is  an antiquated World War I era law, passed in 1917, designed for use against enemies of the U.S. accused of spying. The U.S. government has dusted it off, more recently, for use against whistle blowers.

Individuals charged under this law are not allowed  to raise any issues regarding motivation or intent. They literally are not allowed to explain the basis for their actions.

One observer of whistleblowers’ struggles with the courts was himself a whistleblower. Tried and convicted under the Espionage Act, John Kiriakou spent  two and a half years in prison for exposing government wrongdoing. He says  the U.S. government in these cases engages in “charge stacking” to ensure a lengthy prison term as well as “venue-shopping” to try such cases in the nation’s most conservative districts.

Daniel Hale was facing trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, home to the Pentagon as well as many CIA and other federal government agents. He was   up to 50 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.

On March 31, Hale pled guilty  on one count of retention and transmission of national defense information. He now faces a maximum of ten years in prison.

At no point has he been able to raise before a judge his alarm about the Pentagon’s false claims that targeted drone assassination is precise and civilian deaths are minimal.

Hale was familiar with details of a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker. He saw evidence that between January 2012 and February 2013, “U.S. special operations airstrikes killed  more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

Had he gone to trial, a jury of his peers might have learned more details about consequences of drone attacks. Weaponized drones are typically outfitted with Hellfire missiles, designed for use against vehicles and buildings.

Living Under Drones, the most complete documentation  of the human impact of U.S. drone attacks yet produced, reports:

“The most immediate consequence of drone strikes is, of course, death and injury to those targeted or near a strike.  The missiles fired from drones kill or injure in several ways, including through incineration, shrapnel, and the release of powerful blast waves capable of crushing internal organs.  Those who do survive drone strikes often suffer disfiguring burns and shrapnel wounds, limb amputations, as well as vision and hearing loss.”

A new variation of this missile can hurl about 100 pounds of metal through the top of a vehicle or building; the missiles also deploy, just before impact, six long, whirring  blades intended to slice up any person or object in the missile’s path.

Any drone operator or analyst should be aghast, as Daniel Hale was, at the possibility of killing and maiming civilians through such grotesque means. But Daniel Hale’s ordeal may be intended to send a chilling message to other U.S. government and military analysts: keep quiet.

Nick Mottern, of the Ban Killer Drones  campaign, accompanied artists projecting Hale’s image on various walls in D.C. He engaged people who were passing by, asking if they knew of Daniel Hale’s case. Not a single person he spoke with had. Nor did anyone know anything about drone warfare.

Now imprisoned at the Alexandria (VA) Adult Detention Center, Hale  awaits sentencing.

Supporters urge people to “stand with Daniel Hale.” One solidarity action involves writing Judge O’Grady to express gratitude that Hale told the truth about the U.S. use of drones to kill innocent people.

At a time when drone sales and usage are proliferating worldwide and causing increasingly gruesome damage, President Joe Biden continues to launch  killer drone attacks around the world, albeit with some new restrictions.

Hale’s honesty, courage, and exemplary readiness to act in accord with his conscience are critically needed. Instead, the U.S. government has done its best to silence him.

Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from Stundin (Iceland)

A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history with sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.


MYND: SAMSETT / STUNDIN

The man in question, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his. In fact he had volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization. Julian Assange was visiting Thordarson’s home country of Iceland around this time due to his work with Icelandic media and members of parliament in preparing the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a press freedom project that produced a parliamentary resolution supporting whistleblowers and investigative journalism.

The United States is currently seeking Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom in order to try him for espionage relating to the release of leaked classified documents. If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison. The indictment has sparked fears for press freedoms in the United States and beyond and prompted strong statements in support of Assange from Amnesty International, Reporters without borders, the editorial staff of the Washington Post and many others.

US officials presented an updated version of an indictment against him to a Magistrate court in London last summer. The veracity of the information contained therein is now directly contradicted by the main witness, whose testimony it is based on.

No instruction from Assange

The court documents refer to Mr Thordarson simply as “Teenager” (a reference to his youthful appearance rather than true age, he is 28 years old) and Iceland as “NATO Country 1” but make no real effort to hide the identity of either. They purport to show that Assange instructed Thordarson to commit computer intrusions or hacking in Iceland.

The aim of this addition to the indictment was apparently to shore up and support the conspiracy charge against Assange in relation to his interactions with Chelsea Manning. Those occurred around the same time he resided in Iceland and the authors of the indictment felt they could strengthen their case by alleging he was involved in illegal activity there as well. This activity was said to include attempts to hack into the computers of members of parliament and record their conversations.

In fact, Thordarson now admits to Stundin that Assange never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs. His new claim is that he had in fact received some files from a third party who claimed to have recorded MPs and had offered to share them with Assange without having any idea what they actually contained. He claims he never checked the contents of the files or even if they contained audio recordings as his third party source suggested. He further admits the claim, that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers in order to find any such recordings, is false.

Nonetheless, the tactics employed by US officials appear to have been successful as can be gleaned from the ruling of Magistrate Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser on January 4th of this year. Although she ruled against extradition, she did so purely on humanitarian grounds relating to Assange’s health concerns, suicide risk and the conditions he would face in confinement in US prisons. With regards to the actual accusations made in the indictment Baraitser sided with the arguments of the American legal team, including citing the specific samples from Iceland which are now seriously called into question.

Other misleading elements can be found in the indictment, and later reflected in the Magistrate’s judgement, based on Thordarson’s now admitted lies. One is a reference to Icelandic bank documents. The Magistrate court judgement reads: “It is alleged that Mr. Assange and Teenager failed a joint attempt to decrypt a file stolen from a “NATO country 1” bank”.

Thordarson admits to Stundin that this actually refers to a well publicised event in which an encrypted file was leaked from an Icelandic bank and assumed to contain information about defaulted loans provided by the Icelandic Landsbanki. The bank went under in the fall of 2008, along with almost all other financial institutions in Iceland, and plunged the country into a severe economic crisis. The file was at this time, in summer of 2010, shared by many online who attempted to decrypt it for the public interest purpose of revealing what precipitated the financial crisis. Nothing supports the claim that this file was even “stolen” per se, as it was assumed to have been distributed by whistleblowers from inside the failed bank.

More deceptive language emerges in the aforementioned judgment where it states: “…he [Assange] used the unauthorized access given to him by a source, to access a government website of NATO country-1 used to track police vehicles.”

This depiction leaves out an important element, one that Thordarson clarifies in his interview with Stundin. The login information was in fact his own and not obtained through any nefarious means. In fact, he now admits he had been given this access as a matter of routine due to his work as a first responder while volunteering for a search and rescue team. He also says Assange never asked for any such access.

Revealing chat logs

Thordarson spoke with a journalist from Stundin for several hours as he prepared a thorough investigative report into his activities that include never before published chat logs and new documents.

The chat logs were gathered by Thordarson himself and give a comprehensive picture of his communications whilst he was volunteering for Wikileaks in 2010 and 11. It entails his talks with WikiLeaks staff as well as unauthorized communications with members of international hacking groups that he got into contact with via his role as a moderator on an open IRC WikiLeaks forum, which is a form of live online chat. There is no indication WikiLeaks staff had any knowledge of Thordarson’s contacts with aforementioned hacking groups, indeed the logs show his clear deception.

The communications there show a pattern where Thordarson is constantly inflating his position within WikiLeaks, describing himself as chief of staff, head of communications, No 2 in the organization or responsible for recruits. In these communications Thordarson frequently asks the hackers to either access material from Icelandic entities or attack Icelandic websites with so-called DDoS attacks. These are designed to disable sites and make them inaccessible but not cause permanent damage to content.

Stundin cannot find any evidence that Thordarson was ever instructed to make those requests by anyone inside WikiLeaks. Thordarson himself is not even claiming that, although he explains this as something Assange was aware of or that he had interpreted it so that this was expected of him. How this supposed non-verbal communication took place he cannot explain.

Furthermore, he never explained why WikiLeaks would be interested in attacking any interests in Iceland, especially at such a sensitive time while they were in the midst of publishing a huge trove of US diplomatic cables as part of an international media partnership. Assange is not known to have had any grievances with Icelandic authorities and was in fact working with members of parliament in updating Iceland’s freedom of press laws for the 21st century.

On the FBI radar

Thordarson’s rogue acts were not limited to communications of that nature as he also admits to Stundin that he set up avenues of communication with journalists and had media pay for lavish trips abroad where he mispresented himself as an official representative of WikiLeaks.

He also admits that he stole documents from WikiLeaks staff by copying their hard drives. Among those were documents from Renata Avila, a lawyer who worked for the organization and Mr. Assange.

Thordarson continued to step up his illicit activities in the summer of 2011 when he established communication with “Sabu”, the online moniker of Hector Xavier Monsegur, a hacker and a member of the rather infamous LulzSec hacker group. In that effort all indications are that Thordarson was acting alone without any authorization, let alone urging, from anyone inside WikiLeaks.

What Thordarson did not know at the time was that the FBI had arrested Sabu in the beginning of June 2011 and threatened him into becoming an informant and a collaborator for the FBI. Thus, when Thordarson continued his previous pattern of requesting attacks on Icelandic interests, the FBI knew and saw an opportunity to implicate Julian Assange.

Later that month a DDoS attack was performed against the websites of several government institutions.

That deed was done under the watchful eyes of the FBI who must have authorized the attack or even initiated it, as Sabu was at that point their man. What followed was an episode where it seems obvious that Icelandic authorities were fooled into cooperation under false pretenses.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Question related to this article:
 
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Ögmundur Jónasson was minister of interior at time and as such the political head of police and prosecution and says of the US activities: “They were trying to use things here [in Iceland] and use people in our country to spin a web, a cobweb that would catch Julian Assange”.

“They were trying to use things here [in Iceland] and use people in our country to spin a web, a cobweb that would catch Julian Assange”

Jónasson recalls that when the FBI first contacted Icelandic authorities on June 20th 2011 it was to warn Iceland of an imminent and grave threat of intrusion against government computers. A few days later FBI agents flew to Iceland and offered formally to assist in thwarting this grave danger. The offer was accepted and on July 4th a formal rogatory letter was sent to Iceland to seal the mutual assistance.. Jónasson speculates that already then the US was laying the groundwork for its ultimate purpose, not to assist Iceland but entrap Julian Assange:

“What I have been pondering ever since is if the spinning of the web had already started then with the acceptance of the letter rogatory establishing cooperation that they could use as a pretext for later visits,” says Jónasson.

Icelandic policemen were sent to the US to gather further evidence of this so-called imminent danger and Jónasson says he does not recall anything of substance coming out of that visit and no further attacks were made against Icelandic interests.

But the FBI would return.

Icelandic officials deceived by the US

Towards the end of August, Thordarson was being pursued by WikiLeaks staff who wished to locate the proceeds of online sales of WikiLeaks merchandise. It emerged Thordarson had instructed the funds be sent to his private bank account by forging an email in the name of Julian Assange.

Thordarson saw a way out and on August 23d he sent an email to the US Embassy in Iceland offering information in relation to a criminal investigation. He was replied to with a call and confirmed that he was offering to be an informant in the case against Julian Assange.

The prosecutors and FBI were quick in responding and within 48 hrs a private jet landed in Reykjavik with around eight agents who quickly set up meetings with Thordarson and with people from the Icelandic State Prosecutors office and the State Police Commissioner.

Mid day, Mr. Jónasson, then Minister of Interior got wind of this new visit and requested confirmation that this related to the same case as earlier in the summer. “I asked on what rogatory letter this visit was based and if this was exactly the same case”, Jónasson says in an interview with Stundin. “I then found out that this was of a totally different nature than previously discussed”. He says he put two and two together and said it was obvious that the intention was to lay a trap in Iceland for Assange and other staff members of WikiLeaks.

Such actions were according to Jónasson way outside the scope of the agreement and thus he ordered that all cooperation with the agents be stopped and that they would be informed they were acting in Iceland without any authority. Only days later he learned that the agents and prosecutors had not yet left the country so the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the US embassy with the demand they halt police work in Iceland and leave the country.

They did, but left with the new informant and “star witness”, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson who flew with them to Denmark.

Not a hacker but a sociopath

Thordarson has been nicknamed Siggi the hacker in Iceland. That is actually an antonym as several sources Stundin has talked to claim that Thordarson’s computer ability is menial. This is supported by several chat logs and documents where he is requesting assistance from others doing rather uncomplicated computer jobs. Once he even sought FBI expert help in uploading a video from his own phone.

The meeting in Denmark was the first of a few where the FBI enthusiastically embraced the idea of co-operation with Thordarson. He says they wanted to know everything about WikiLeaks, including physical security of staff. They took material he had gathered, including data he had stolen from WikiLeaks employees and even planned to send him to England with a wire. Thordarson claimed in interviews he had refused that particular request. It was probably because he was not welcomed anymore as he knew WikiLeaks people had found out, or were about to firmly establish, that he had embezzled funds from the organization.

After months of collaboration the FBI seem to have lost interest. At about the same time charges were piling up against Thordarson with the Icelandic authorities for massive fraud, forgeries and theft on the one hand and for sexual violations against underage boys he had tricked or forced into sexual acts on the other.

After long investigations Thordarson was sentenced in 2013 and 2014 and received relatively lenient sentences as the judge took into account that he changed his plea at court and pleaded guilty to all counts.

According to a psychiatric assessment presented to the court Thordarson was diagnosed as a sociopath, incapable of remorse but still criminally culpable for his actions. He was assessed to be able to understand the basic difference between right and wrong, He just did not seem to care.

Incarceration did not seem to have an intended effect of stopping Thordarson from continuing his life of crime. It actually took off and expanded in extent and scope in 2019 when the Trump-era DoJ decided to revisit him, giving him a formal status as witness in the prosecution against Julian Assange and granting him immunity in return from any prosecution.

The New York Times Problem

In the month following Assange’s arrest in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11th 2019 a new rogatory letter arrived in the Ministry of Justice in Iceland. This time the request was to take a formal statement from Thordarson in Iceland in the presence of his lawyer. The Ministry had a new political head at the time, who had limited knowledge of the prior history of the case.

Although the Department of Justice had spent extreme resources attempting to build a case against Julian Assange during the Obama presidency, they had decided against indicting Assange. The main concern was what was called “The New York Times Problem”, namely that there was such a difficulty in distinguishing between WikiLeaks publications and NYT publications of the same material that going after one party would pose grave First Amendment concerns.

Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson and Julian Assange

President Donald Trump’s appointed Attorney general William Barr did not share these concerns, and neither did his Trump-appointed deputy Kellen S. Dwyer. Barr, who faced severe criticism for politicizing the DoJ on behalf of the president, got the ball rolling on the Assange case once again. Their argument was that if they could prove he was a criminal rather than a journalist the charges would stick, and that was where Thordarson’s testimony would be key.

In May 2019 Thordarson was offered an immunity deal, signed by Dwyer, that granted him immunity from prosecution based on any information on wrong doing they had on him. The deal, seen in writing by Stundin, also guarantees that the DoJ would not share any such information to other prosecutorial or law enforcement agencies. That would include Icelandic ones, meaning that the Americans will not share information on crimes he might have committed threatening Icelandic security interests – and the Americans apparently had plenty of those but had over the years failed to share them with their Icelandic counterparts.

In any event, Assange has never been suspected of any wrongdoing in Iceland. Stundin has seen confirmation of this from the District Prosecutor in Iceland, the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police. Assange has no entry in the LÖKE database of any police activity linked to an individual collected by the Icelandic State Police Commissioner from 2009-2021.

Assange’s lawyer also inquired in the Icelandic Foreign Ministry if the points in his updated indictment where Iceland is referred to as NATO country 1 meant that his case had any relevance to Icelandic membership to NATO, the bilateral defense agreement between USA and Iceland or any national security interests. All such connections were dismissed in a reply from the defense attache at the Ministry.

Immunity and a new crimespree

According to information obtained by Stundin the immunity deal between DoJ and Thordarson was presented at the Headquarters of the Reykjavik police where the only role of the Icelandic policeman was to confirm the identity of Thordarson before leaving him alone with his lawyer in the back room where he met the US delegation.

It is as if the offer of immunity, later secured and sealed in a meeting in DC, had encouraged Thordarson to take bolder steps in crime. He started to fleece individuals and companies on a grander scale than ever; usually by either acquiring or forming legal entities he then used to borrow merchandise, rent luxury cars, even order large quantities of goods from wholesalers without any intention to pay for these goods and services.

Thordarson also forged the name of his own lawyer on notices to the Company House registry, falsely claiming to have raised the equity of two companies to over 800 thousand US dollars. The aim was to use these entities with solid financial positions on paper in a real estate venture.

The lawyer has reported the forgery to the police where other similar cases, along with multiple other reports of theft and trickery, are now piling up.

When confronted with evidence of all these crimes by a Stundin journalist he simply admitted to everything and explained it away as normal business practice. He has not yet been charged and is still practicing this “business”. Local newspaper DV reported last week that Thordarson had attempted to order merchandise on credit using a new company name, Icelandic Vermin Control. Despite using a fake name and a COVID face mask he was identified and the transaction was stopped. He was last seen speeding away in a white Tesla, according to DV.

Past virtual events in June

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Here are events and application deadlines in June that were previously listed on the CPNN page for upcoming virtual events. Where possible links are provided to recordings of the events. Unless otherwise noted the events are in English.

1 junio, 10:35 AM – 12:05 PM Argentina, 15:35 España
Justicia Económica, Desarrollo Local, Convivencia y Paz (Sesión 5 – Plenaria)

El objetivo de esta sesión es abordar la importancia que tienen las ciudades y territorios y las políticas públicas impulsadas desde sus instituciones para paliar las desigualdades económicas y, de esta manera, colaborar a fortalecer el clima de convivencia y paz.
IDIOMAS ING ESP FR
— PONENTES :
Ana Barrero Tiscar
Daniel Alejandro Passerini
Franco Ianeselli
Jhon Alexander Rojas Cabrera
María Carolina Duran Peña
Peter Knip
Samuel Rizk
— ORGANIZADORES:
PNUD
YouTube recording

Wed, June 2, 2021 – noon Eastern Standard Time (USA)
Do Nonviolent Movements Aid the Peaceful Resolution of Civil War? Findings from a Global Analysis

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) is pleased to host Luke Abbs as he discusses his forthcoming monograph, “The Impact of Nonviolent Resistance on the Peaceful Transformation of Civil War.” Events in the last ten years has shown the extraordinary impact that nonviolent resistance can have on political change. Echoing this sentiment, research shows that nonviolent campaigns against the government have a strategic advantage over armed rebellions and are more successful in achieving regime change and democratization.
YouTube recording

Jun 3, 2021 – 05:00 PM España
La construcción de la paz desde la cooperación transfronteriza

En este cuarto diálogo se trata de generar conversación en torno a cómo la cooperación transfronteriza puede proporcionar herramientas concretas, no sólo en término de seguridad, de políticas estatales, sino también de los gobiernos regionales y locales y de los actores locales de las comunidades. Las zonas fronterizas pueden ser lugares de oportunidades para el desarrollo y la construcción de paz.
— Presentan
AEXCID – Ángel Calle Suárez
PNUD – Johannes Krassnitzer
YouTube recording

Jun 3, 2021 – 08:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Eyewitness Syria: Resisting US Imperialism

On May 26, 2021 14 million Syrians voted in Presidential elections, overwhelmingly reelecting President Bashar al-Assad. An independent, international delegation of observers called the election “the legitimate, democratic expression of the Syrian people” and noted that “for many Syrians, the election represents the imminent ending of the war, the defeat of foreign plots, and hope for the future.”
— Join International Action Center organizer Ted Kelly, along with others who participated in the delegation, for an eyewitness account of the situation in Syria as the country continues to push back U.S. intervention, reasserts its sovereignty and rebuilds after years of imperialist war.
YouTube recording

Friday 4 June, 4:00 – 5:30pm PM Jerusalem-Palestine Time
Planning for sustainability in the Urban Context

Palestine Action for the Planet invites you to join us for weekly conversations towards a better future for humans and nature. For this week, we are honored to have Hiba Burqan lead the discussion on “Planning for sustainability in the Urban Context: Towards a new strategic planning model. Heba Burqan is a strategic planning master’s student, working towards investigating tools and methods in urban sustainability and development. As an architect with work experience in architectural firms, Heba investigated the last 5 years in developing exhibits and exhibitions at A.M. Qattan Foundation, and today she aspires to take this experience and utilize it in the field of community design towards sustainable urban development. We also talk about our responsibility to safeguards our environment in honor of world environment day
Register here

Jun 9, 2021 02:00 PM in Johannesburg
Ending Gender Discrimination: Equitable access to land and ownership for young women in Africa – Towards Gender Equality

Ending Gender Discrimination is demand 2 of the Africa Young Women Beijing+25 Manifesto, but also a widespread demand across the African continent, as it remains a prevalent reality. . . The webinar, co-hosted with SAYoF, will focus more particularly on a sub-demand that has emerged during consultations with young African women on the thematic of ending gender discrimination: The need to for equitable access to land ownership ensuring economic independence and personal empowerment. Young women make a stand against gender-discriminatory laws, customs and practices regulating inheritance and those which impede young women’s fair access to ownership of land and natural resources.
— The format of the webinar will be a hybrid between moderation and open discussion (Q&A).
zoom registration

June 9, 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (USA)
Asia-Pacific Elites: Money & Trade, and Foreign and Military Policies

State foreign and military policies don’t necessary represent the interests of a nation’s people. In the push-pull between ties with China and the United States, the foreign and military policy policies of South Korea., India and Taiwan, are powerfully influenced by the financial and trade ambitions of their elites. elites have shaped those policies..
— Speakers
— Youkyoung Ko is a consultant for Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom(WILPF) and women-led Korea Peace Now! Campaign, and a standing executive committee member of the Korea Peace Appeal Campaign. She is an expert on impacts of the US-ROK alliance and US military presence in South Korea.
— Andrew Lichterman is a policy analyst and lawyer with the Oakland,
California based Western States Legal Foundation and a member of the
Coordinating Committee of United for Peace and Justice.
— Brian Hioe is a founding editor of New Bloom and former Democracy and Human Rights Service Fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
— Organized by the Asia Pacific Working Group – https://www.cpdcs.org/
Recording of the event

June 12, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Voices of the International Peace Movement

From nuclear weapons abolitionists in Japan to Belgians working to reduce military spending to meet urgent human needs and stanch climate change, Iranian Americans working to build a just society and prevent conflict between the U.S. and Iran., and Spaniards building an integrated justice and peace movement, we have allies and partners around the world. They and thousands of others will be gathering in Barcelona and online this October. In preparation for this World Conference, join us in conversation on June 12 where you can meet, learn from, and build partnerships with them in our Voices of the International Peace Movement.
Speakers:
Reiner Braun – Executive Director, International Peace Bureau, Berlin
Chloe Meulwaeter – Centre Delas, Barcelona
Assal Rad – Senior Research Fellow, National Iranian American Council
Quique Sanchez – International Peace Bureau, Barcelona
Alicia Sanders-Zakere – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Geneva
Yayoi Tsuchida – Japan Council against A- & H- Bombs, Tokyo
Tom Unterrainer – Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation London
Recording of the event

Sunday, June 13, 2pm-4pm Eastern Standard Time USA
Remembering Ramsey Clark, hosted by the International Action Center

Ramsey Clark founded the International Action Center in 1992 as a structure to oppose U.S. wars of aggression and occupation, defend liberation struggles, defend political prisoners. IAC militants joined Ramsey Clark’s international delegations that defied the blockade of Cuba, the war and sanctions on Iraq, the U.S.-NATO war on Yugoslavia, the kidnapping of then President Aristide in Haiti or joined the wave of resistance then sweeping Latin America.
— Ramsey Clark guided the production of hundreds of books, videos, mass meetings, internet campaigns and demonstrations that the IAC organized with him. We are determined to continue this vital work and to make available many of his books to a wider audience.
YouTube recording

Sunday June 13:3pm-6:30pm Central European Time
Global NATO: a Threat to Peace – Online protest action

Since the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, NATO has developed into a global alliance through expansion into Central and Eastern Europe, conducting destabilizing military interventions in the ‘war against terror’ and forging bilateral and multilateral alliances worldwide. At the NATO summit, the report “NATO 2030: United for a new Era” will be discussed. In this webinar we’ll analyse NATO as a global militarist actor.
— Interpretation: English, French and Spanish
facebook recording

Monday, June 14, 2021 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (USA)
Finding Common Ground Turning Racism & Extremism Into Hope & Healing

Join Common Ground Committee and sponsoring partner Bridge Alliance for a special virtual event to kick off the National Week of Conversation 2021. Our guest Daryl Davis, an award-winning Black musician, race reconciliator and renowned lecturer, has used the power of human connection to convince hundreds of people to leave white supremacist groups. Fellow guest Ryan Lo’Ree, a former white supremacist and extremist, is an interventionist working to deradicalize people who have been lured into extremism and white supremacy. Register now to join them for a Zoom conversation moderated by New York Times columnist David Brooks on strategies that work to combat hate, and how we can all play a part.
YouTube recording

Monday, June 14 – 7pm to 8 pm EST
Wednesday, June 16 – 7pm to 8pm EST
Thursday, June 17 – 12pm to 1 pm EST
Discussion groups for United States: Root Causes: How Did We Get Here?

The growing divisions and distrust in our nation has led us to a dangerous point for our democracy. To put our country on a better course necessitates understanding how we got here in the first place. FixUS is hosting several small discussion groups throughout the National Week of Conversation on June 14, 16, and 17th where participants will engage with one another on what they view as the top underlying political, cultural, economic, and technological reasons for our current environment. Groups will have varying backgrounds and perspectives, and you can indicate which sessions you may be interested and able to join (via Zoom) below.
— If you’d like to see more about our work, please visit our website. If you have questions, please email fixus@fixusnow.org. Thank you!
Please fill out the form here to participate in a discussion group.

Wednesday, June 16 • noon-1:30pm Eastern Standard Time (USA)
How Civil Resistance Movements Acquire Material and Other Resources They Need: Case Studies from Northwest Mexico and Palestine Area C

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) is pleased to host the authors of two forthcoming case studies on materials resources: Chris Allan and Scott DuPree, the authors of Social Movements and Material Resources in Northwest Mexico, and Mahmoud Soliman, the author of The Mobilization of Material Resources and Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance in the Occupied Territory of Area C.
YouTube recording

Thursday June 17 at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (USA)
Voices Against Empire: A Discussion on Black Radical Media

Join the Black Alliance for Peace at for this discussion. We will explore the radical traditions in Black emancipatory journalism and learn about how revolutionary struggle can be supported with media that share a vision for liberation.
YouTube recording

Thursday, 17 June at 9:00am Costa Rica time
Integral design and regenerative projects through the lens of the Earth Charter

This webinar will offer unique perspectives on regeneration through Integral Design and the Earth Charter in Action. Our guest speakers will share examples of how regenerative climate parks and education programmes based on the Earth Charter are addressing environmental and social challenges in South Africa and Lesotho.
— Speakers: Bjorn Heyerdahl and Janika Heyerdahl
— Bjorn will share lessons in leadership on global citizenship from his recently published book The Midgard Viking Expedition – the Search for Intelligent Life on Earth.
— Janika will share her experience in connecting education, food security, regeneration with the Earth Charter Ethics.
YouTube recording

Jun 18, 2021 04:00 PM Central European Time
Intergenerational Dialogue Pre-GEF Paris Forum – Young Women Demands at GEF – Ticking a box or Taken Seriously?

Fostering intergenerational co-leadership and dialogues is a pillar as part of Nala’s FEM objectives, as guided by the 10th Demand of the Africa Young Women Beijing+25 Manifesto calling for intergenerational co-leadership. This includes fostering African Young Women participation in intergovernmental spaces and inclusion towards the Decade of Action.
— The intergenerational dialogue at the dawn of the Generation Equality Forum will serve as a platform to converse with youth on specific thematics which touch their livelihoods on the one hand and with African elders who have committed their work to solving the existing gender equality gaps.
— The aim of the webinar is to provide an intergenerational platform as we head towards the Generation Equality Forum, and put an emphasis on the urgency for the institutionalization of co-leadership for young women’s full and effective political participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all decision making levels in the political, social, cultural, economic and public dimensions of life, while strengthening young women’s voices and creating spaces and resources for their agendas.
Facebook recording

Jun 18, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)
From Dialogue to Systemic Change

Dialogue can bridge divides and decrease polarization—but can it lead to systemic change? Search for Common Ground has a 40-year track record of working on the world’s most challenging conflicts and translating dialogue into collective action and enduring change. Join us on June 18th, 12pm ET to hear personal insights about how to start with bridge-building and end with a transformed society.
Our speakers:
Shamil Idriss, CEO, Search for Common Ground
Nawaz Mohammed, Country Director, Search for Common Ground – Sri Lanka
Claudia Maffettone, Track II Mediation Program Manager, Search for Common Ground
Register here

Jun 23, 07:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (US and Canada)
Preparations for Nuclear War with China over Taiwan – Then and Now

Daniel Ellsberg has done it again! 50 years after his courageous whistleblowing release of the Pentagon’s secret Vietnam War history, The Pentagon Papers, he has again shaken the nation and the world with a new revelation. It has critically important implications for the new Cold War confrontation with China and the debate over the possibility over Congress or the the Biden Administration adopting a No First Use nuclear policy.
— For more than 60 years the government has kept secret its 1958 willingness to completely sacrifice Taiwan in order to save it. During that Taiwan crisis, the Eisenhower administration prepared and threatened to attack China with nuclear weapons. Ellsberg’s revelation demonstrates that Eisenhower and Dulles were willing to accept a retaliatory Soviet nuclear attack on Taiwan following U.S. nuclear bombing of China.
— As the U.S. and China ratchet up tensions over Taiwan, Ellsberg asserts that the Pentagon must again be debating the possibility of sacrificing Taiwan and its people to save them.
— Sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action, the Campaign for Peace Disarmament and Common Security, and the Committee for a Sane US-China Policy
Youtube recording

Thursday, June 24, 2021 8:00pm Eastern Daylight Time (USA)
Ending America’s Forever War in Korea

On the 71st anniversary of what is officially recognized as the start of the Korean War, World BEYOND War will present a panel discussion with preeminent Korea historian Bruce Cumings, Korean-American peace activist Christine Ahn, and Youngjae KIM, a peace activist based in Seongju, South Korea. They will reflect upon the neglected history and human costs of the unresolved war and discuss what is needed to finally bring closure to America’s oldest, endless war.
— This event will include simultaneous translation in Korean.
YouTube recording

Saturday, 26th June, AGM 1:00 – 16:30, Conference 17:00 – 20:00 CEST
Peace-Building in a post-COVID-19 World

Uniting for Peace is pleased to invite you to the AGM and Spring Conference 2021 on “Peace-Building in a post-COVID-19 World”
Speakers
Chair – Rita Payne, President Emeritus, Commonwealth Journalists Association
Molly Scott-Cato, Former Member of the European Parliament
Vijay Mehta, Author and Chair, Uniting for Peace
Keith Best, Former Member of UK Parliament
Brian Cooper, Vice President, Uniting for Peace
Ahmad Shahidov, Chairman, Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy & Human Rights
Frank Jackson, Vice President, Uniting for Peace
— Meeting Details: The meeting will allow 100 partricipants on first come first serve basis.
YouTube recording

June 28 and 30
THE IMPORTANCE OF CLIMATE LITIGATION. INTRODUCTION TO THE ICJ INITIATIVE. LESSONS FROM THE ICJ ADVISORY OPINION ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Session A: Americas/Europe/Africa/Middle East, Monday 28 June 2021, 3pm Central Europe
Session B: Asia/Pacific, Wednesday June 30, 9am Central Europe Time

— The Normandy Chair for Peace on Law and Future Generations is cooperating with World’s Youth for Climate Justice (WYCJ) on an initiative of WYCJ to achieve an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the issue of climate protection/stabilisation and the rights of future generations.
— This webinar (the first of four global webinars over the next five months) will cover the role of climate litigation, introduce the campaign for an ICJ case on the climate, and explore lessons learned from the historic ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons.
Click here to register for Session A
Click here to register for Session B

Wednesday, June 30 • noon-1:00pm Eastern Standard Time (USA)
Webinar: How Does Trust Shape Civil Resistance? Initial Evidence from Africa

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)is pleased to host Dr. Jacob S. Lewis, the author of the forthcoming monograph Trust and Mobilization in Africa’s Third Wave of Protest. Democratic backsliding around the world has highlighted the importance of nonviolent civil resistance as a method of protecting and seeking democracy. One core component in both collective action and democracy is social trust, yet there has been comparatively little research on the role that social trust plays in shaping the onset and maintenance of civil resistance. Drawing evidence from Africa, this study examines two questions. First, do higher levels of social trust correlate with higher willingness to participate in nonviolent protests? Second, does trust correspond with increased preferences for nonviolent action? The study then verifies these individual-level findings by examining real-world data on proportional levels of violent and nonviolent conflict.
YouTube recording

Movement Letter to Facebook

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

A petition from Facebook We Need to Talk


dear sheryl sandberg,

We write as civil society organizations in the United States, Palestine, and beyond, angered and disturbed by the recent censorship of Palestinian users and their supporters on your platforms. We are equally horrified by the high levels of inciting content directed towards Palestinians on Facebook’s platforms. At this moment, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are often Palestinian protestors’ and residents’ only tools to share information to keep each other safe in the face of repression by the Israeli government and police, and during attacks on civilians. These platforms also play a key role in Palestinian users and their allies in documenting Israeli government human rights violations, and sharing the images, videos, and accounts of the murder and violent dispossession of Palestinians being perpetrated by the Israeli government and Zionist Israeli settlers. This blatant censorship of Palestinian political content is putting these activists further at risk. 

As Palestinian residents defend their homes in Jerusalem from forced dispossession by the Israeli government and state-sanctioned Zionist settler groups, their calls for support have received widespread international attention—inspiring social media campaigns and mass protests around the world. This international outcry only grew after the Israeli military attacked Ramadan worshippers at al-Aqsa mosque and started brutally bombing Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip —an ongoing onslaught that killed over 200 people, including at least 60 children. And the the international community continued to mobilize as, immediately in the wake of a ceasefire, Israeli police fired stun grenades on Palestinian worshippers at the al-Aqsa complex and embarked on a mass-arrest campaign of Palestinian citizens of Israel that has resulted in over 1,500 arrests targeting protestors.

Facebook executives’ decision at this moment to directly collaborate with Israeli Defense and Justice Minister Gantz on content moderation, without appropriate parity of government engagement until prompted by civil society, is beyond outrageous. Facebook may need to consult governments on various content and policy issues in its work; however, to coordinate with the Israeli government — which the United Nations and multiple human rights organizations have called an apartheid state — publicly in the middle of a military assault on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, attacks on Palestinian citizens in Israel, and forcible displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem is dangerous overreach at best. 

In addition, the numerous reports of removal or chilling of political speech that several of our organizations have received over the past two weeks, combined with the report released by 7amleh last week that includes 429 reported incidents from Instagram and Facebook, raise concerns about Facebook’s relationship with the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s extra-legal Cyber Unit. The fact that since May 6 there has been widespread removal of Palestinians’ content or supportive content (including removal of content and deactivation of accounts or pages based on Community Standards violations, as well as the mass removal of Instagram stories) that after review have been restored for lack of any violation, indicates that Facebook is perhaps voluntarily agreeing to takedowns recommended by the Israeli Cyber Unit. This unclear relationship between Facebook and the Israeli Cyber Unit is concerning, as it is not subject to any formal governmental or legal process. 

Such indications of Facebook’s privileged relationship with the Israeli government contradict the assurances that Facebook community engagement and content policy representatives have repeatedly made to those of us that have engaged in good faith as stakeholders in Facebook’s content policy process, specifically over the past six months around Facebook’s possible reinterpretation of “Zionist.” When expressing concern that current or future policies (such as those stifling criticism of “Zionists” or “Zionist” institutions) would silence Palestinians and those of us organizing to hold the Israeli government accountable, we have often been assured that Facebook does not have a privileged relationship with the Israeli government —that our concerns are unfounded. Given Facebook’s decision to collaborate with the Israeli Ministry of Defense and Justice, the possible relationship between Facebook and the Israeli Cyber Unit, and The Intercept’s recent investigation regarding Facebook’s content moderation rules silencing criticism of Israel, our communities’ mistrust of the company is increasing.

Facebook must take the following urgent and crucial steps to repair this mistrust with our communities and ensure that we can count on Facebook and Instagram as free civic spaces and tools for holding governments accountable:

  1. Uphold your own commitment to respect human rights and “to be a place for equality, safety, dignity and free speech” as set in your corporate human rights policy, engage with human rights organizations and civil society groups to immediately address the concerns we have raised, and stop censoring Palestinians on your platforms.

  2. Provide transparency on how Facebook is applying content policies, such as those around hate speech and incitement of violence, as it relates to the following ethnic and religious identities and political ideologies: Palestinians, Jews, Israelis, and Zionists. 

  3. Evaluate Facebook’s relationship with the Israeli government across ministries and sever ties with Israel’s Cyber Unit, which may be directing the takedown of content that does not violate any community standards and, therefore, may be leading to the censorship or chilling of political speech. 

  4. Preserve and share all data on content removals. This includes, but is not limited to, information about which takedowns did not receive human review, whether users tried to appeal the takedown, and reported incidents from Facebook and Instagram users that were not acted upon.

  5. Allow independent researchers and stakeholders to review blocked or removed content and all data related to such content removals, subject to data protection and privacy requirements. This good-faith gesture will allow external oversight of moderation mechanisms to vetted researchers and independent stakeholders with relevant expertise to provide additional oversight of redress mechanisms and the fairness and effectiveness of appeal mechanisms, particularly for historically marginalized groups, and work to rebuild trust with those groups.

 Urgent action is required from Facebook to examine its complicity with the Israeli government’s apartheid and ethnic cleansing policies. We urge you to reply to this letter publicly and engage with us immediately. 

(Continued in the column on the right.)

Questions related to this article:

Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

(Continued from the column on the left.)

Sincerely,

(list as of May 27)

7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media

Access Now

Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)

Adalah Justice Project

American Friends Service Committee

American Muslims for Palestine

BDS Berlin

BDS France

Center for Constitutional Rights

CODEPINK

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

docP – BDS Netherlands

Een Andere Joodse Stem, Another Jewish Voice, Belgium

Fight for the Future

For Us Not Amazon

Free Speech on Israel (UK)

Friends of Sabeel North America

ICNA Council for Social Justice

IfNotNow

Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Jetpac Resource Center

Jewish Voice for Just Peace (Ireland)

Jewish Voice for Labour

Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Network for Palestine

Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA)

Kairos

La ColectiVA

Masaar – Technology and Law Community

MediaJustice

MENA Rights Group

Mnemonic

MPower Change

National Lawyers Guild

National Students for Justice in Palestine

Palestine Legal

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

Ranking Digital Rights

R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

SMEX

Taraaz

The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy

United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR)

Uplift – A People Powered Community (Ireland)

We Are Not Numbers

International Day of Living Together in Peace – Joint Declaration by Mouvement de la Paix and MRAP

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A declaration of Friendship between peoples

May 16 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Day of Living Together in Peace in order to “regularly mobilize the efforts of the international community in favor of peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity, and the opportunity for all to express the deep desire to live and act together, united in difference and in diversity, with a view to building a viable world based on peace, solidarity and harmony “.

National situations are marked by acts of racism, intolerance, the development of violent and fascistic extremisms including terrorist acts, while the international situation sees the persistence of conflicts, the worrying rise of fascistic far-right movements, the growth world military spending which reached the amount never reached in the history of humanity of 2 trillion dollars in 2020. We are encouraged to give a more important place to this international day which is based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and the United Nations resolution on the Culture of Peace [see below], and more simply on the promotion of friendship between peoples.

Living together in peace means individually accepting differences, listening, showing esteem, respect and recognition towards others. However, these individual or collective attitudes and behaviors can only be fully effective if, at national and international level, economic, social, cultural and humanitarian policies are implemented to fully realize human rights (economic, social, cultural, etc.). environmental) for all without distinction of origin, sex, language or religion. At the same time, these policies must tackle all forms of discrimination affecting individuals or groups, development inequalities that exist within societies or between societies; and substitute for security based on power (in particular military) a collective security based on the realization of human rights.

It is on these foundations that the MRAP and the Peace Movement intend to strengthen their cooperation to participate in the construction of human security in its physical, economic, social, health and environmental dimensions which will promote living together in peace in allowing unification in action around humanist objectives while removing the specter of ideologies of hatred which feed on inequalities, discrimination and the absence or non-realization of human rights.

In Paris, Sunday May 16, 2021

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

Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

Article 3 of resolution 53/243 of the UN General Assembly on the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace states that “The fuller development of a culture of peace is integrally linked to:

Promoting peaceful settlement of conflicts, mutual respect and understanding and international cooperation;

Complying with international obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law;

Promoting democracy, development and universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Enabling people at all levels to develop skills of dialogue, negotiation, consensus-building and peaceful resolution of differences;

Strengthening democratic institutions and ensuring full participation in the development process;

Eradicating poverty and illiteracy and reducing inequalities within and among nations;

Promoting sustainable economic and social development;

Eliminating all forms of discrimination against women through their empowerment and equal representation at all levels of decision-making;

Ensuring respect for and promotion and protection of the rights of children;

Ensuring free flow of information at all levels and enhancing access thereto;

Increasing transparency and accountability in governance;

Eliminating all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all civilizations, peoples and cultures, including towards ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities;

Realizing fully the right of all peoples, including those living under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, to self-determination enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and embodied in the International Covenants on Human Rights,2 as well as in the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960.

Past virtual events in May

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Here are events and application deadlines in May that were previously listed on the CPNN page for upcoming virtual events. Where possible links are provided to recordings of the events. Unless otherwise noted the events are in English.

Sunday, May 02, 2021 • 10:00-11:30 AM • Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00-5:30 PM)
Webinar: Campaign to Ban Killer Drones Is Launched as Biden Appears Ready to Expand Drone War

This webinar will announce the launch of BanKillerDrones, a new campaign for an international treaty to ban weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance. This comes at the moment when the Biden Administration is reportedly looking to increase U.S. drone killing and drone surveillance as key to retaining some level of colonial control in Afghanistan, under the guise of countering Al Qaeda, as U.S. troops are removed. The reality appears to be that U.S. drones, and other U.S. military aircraft, will continue to support U.S. special forces operating in Afghanistan. A New York Times article on April 15 indicates that drone killing will be even more at the center of global U.S. military policy, quoting U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “‘There’s probably not a space on the globe that the United States and its allies can’t reach,’ Mr. Austin told reporters.” Civilians continue to be the primary casualties of drone war.
— With Brian Terrell, Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, Leah Bolger.
Click here for youtube recording.

Thursday, May 06, 2021, 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
An Online Conversation on Peace, Russia, and the United States with Vladimir Kozin and Ray McGovern

Two serious experts, Ray McGovern, former CIA briefer on USSR/Russia to several U.S.Presidents, and Vladimir Kozin, Russian expert on Defense, missiles and nuclear war, will discuss their concerns for where the United States and Russia are today regarding the potential for World War III.
— David Swanson, author, activist, journalist and Director of World BEYOND War, will host this ZOOM event.
YouTube Recording

May 6, 9 AM to 3:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Global Online Summit on ‘Repair, Reconstruction and Restoration’

You are invited to join Facing History and Ourselves for our global summit on repair, reconstruction and restoration. With scholars, educators, educational and civil society leaders we will reflect on how we develop equitable, just societies, redress historical violence and its legacies, restore trust, and build durable, multiracial and multicultural democracies.
Register here

May 13, 2021 04:00 PM Central European Time
How militarism fuels climate change

Second course of the series with Jan Oberg sponsored by the DNS International Teacher Training College
— The “democratic” governments we have today were made for the world more than 100 hundred years ago. While the world has become more globalized and interconnected, the governing institutions have remained the same. Western governments are still looking at their own bellybuttons, and the issues of militarism and Global warming are an example of that.
YouTube recording

Sat May 15 @ 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time – USA)
Prohibiting First-Use of Nuclear Weapons

A conference organised by Peace Action Massachusetts to promote the adoption by the USA of a no-first-use policy. The conference will include break-out sessions to enable in-depth discusison with participants on key aspects to advance no-first-use including congressional strategy, supporting the ICBM Bill, reducing nuclear weapons budgets, social media and outreach/movement building.
Click here to register.

18 Mayo 2021, Martes | 16.00 (Central European Time)
Webinar : La protesta social en Colombia: más allá de la violencia

Al igual que ha ocurrido en muchos otros países, la pandemia del Covid-19 ha contribuido a exacerbar dinámicas de exclusión y polarización económica y social que han acabado incendiando los ánimos y dando lugar a explosiones descontroladas de violencia. El presente webinar pretende analizar las causas profundas de dicho desencanto social, y vislumbrar posibles soluciones que ayuden a desactivar las razones de la frustración política y social.
— Con Liliana Zambrano, Politóloga colombiana y Pedro Valenzuela, Politólogo de la Universidad Internacional de la Florida y de la Universidad de Pittsburgh.
YouTube recording

19 May 2021 at 9am Eastern Standard Time
Equipping IRCs to Advance the Six Strategic Goals

Based upon the feedback and recommendations received from the first Global Webinar Series, Religions for Peace, in coordination with Regional Offices, will convene the second series of global capacity development webinars in 2021, with a view to continuing to facilitate the process of strategic Learning Exchange among IRCs across the movement. These webinars will focus on our Six Strategic Goals:
Promote Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies
Advance Gender Equality
Nurture A Sustainable Environment
Champion the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion
Strengthen Interreligious Education
Foster Multi-religious Collaboration and Global Partnerships
— Simultaneous translations for Arabic, French, and Spanish will be provided
— This event is by invitation only. Inquiries can be sent to pbartoli@rfp.org.

May 20, 12-1 pm Pacific Standard Time (California)
Nonviolence Skills Practice Hour- May Session

The Metta Center for Nonviolence is teaming up with Meta Peace Team for a monthly one-hour nonviolence skills practice sessions in 2021 with skills ranging across the spectrum of nonviolent intervention and personal nonviolent development.
— Meta Peace Team has trained and placed violence de-escalation peace teams locally, nationally, and internationally for over 25 years, and teaches these skills to anyone interested: They’re just as important in our own day-to-day lives! Their mission is to build a just and sustainable world through active nonviolence.
— The session will begin with a short inspirational reading, a skill review, and then participants will have a chance to practice together.
— You must register ahead of time and be available with video on Zoom for the sessions. (See below)
— This project is part of the Third Harmony Project and the Meta Peace Team “hub” project.
Register here

Saturday May 22 @ 3pm-5pm (New Zealand Time)
No First Use Of Nuclear Weapons: Asia-Pacific Perspectives

The New Zealand Centre for Global Studies is organising this webinar in order to examine what role NFU policies can play to reduce nuclear dangers and advance nuclear disarmament in the Asia-Pacific region. The region includes five nuclear armed countries (China, India, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia) and three additional countries under extended nuclear deterrence relationships which provide possibility of first-use of nuclear weapons (Australia, Japan and South Korea).
— Speakers include Professor Nobumasa Akiyama (Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo), Dr. Marianne Hanson (University of Queensland, Brisbane); Dr. Manpreet Sethi (Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi), and Dr. Tong Zhao (Senior fellow, Carnegie-Tsinghua, Beijing). Click here to register.
Click here to register.

Wed/Thurs May 26/27: Three sessions
Session 1 is timed for the Americas and Europe, Session 2 is timed for Asia/Pacific, and Session 3 is a joint session.
Global No First Use campaign meeting

This global event will bring together campaigners, policy makers, academics and others to discuss strategies, share initiatives and build cooperation for a GlobalNo-First-Use (NFU) campaign with the objectives to:
a) advocate for the adoption and implementation of NFU policies by nuclear-armed States;
b) assist the USA no-first-use campaign by building necessary support from US allies in Asia/Pacific and NATO/Europe;
c) advance NFU as part of the broader objectives of nuclear risk-reduction, non-proliferation and disarmament, and as complementary to other related measures and initiatives.
— This participatory event is organised by the Abolition 2000 working group on nuclear risk reduction (global), Basel Peace Office (Switzerland), Beyond the Bomb (USA), Peace Depot (Japan), People for Nuclear Disarmament (Australia), PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security (Czech Republic), World Future Council (Germany/International) and Zona Libre (Mexico).
— Registration is restricted to those supportive of NFU and interested in advancing the global campaign.
Click here to apply for registration.

May 28, 9:30 AM Central European Time
Webinar: 9th Luxembourg Peace Prize Ceremony

This webinar by the Schengen Peace Foundation features five Luxembourg Peace Prize laureates past and future, including Dr Scilla Elworthy, Dr William Vendley, Transatlantic Dialogue, and outstanding peace organization, technology, journalism, art and environmental.
YouTube recording

Nobel Prize Laureates and Other Experts Issue Urgent Call for Action After ‘Our Planet, Our Future’ Summit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A press release from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine

This statement was inspired by the discussions at the 2021 Nobel Prize Summit, issued by the Steering Committee on April 29 and co-signed by Nobel Laureates and experts.

Preamble

The Nobel Prizes were created to honor advances of “the greatest benefit to humankind.” They celebrate successes that have helped build a safe, prosperous, and peaceful world, the foundation of which is scientific reason.

“Science is at the base of all the progress that lightens the burden of life and lessens its suffering.” Marie Curie (Nobel Laureate 1903 and 1911)

Science is a global common good on a quest for truth, knowledge, and innovation toward a better life. Now, humankind faces new challenges at unprecedented scale. The first Nobel Prize Summit comes amid a global pandemic, amid a crisis of inequality, amid an ecological crisis, amid a climate crisis, and amid an information crisis. These supranational crises are interlinked and threaten the enormous gains we have made in human progress. It is particularly concerning that the parts of the world projected to experience many of the compounding negative effects from global changes are also home to many of the world’s poorest communities, and to indigenous peoples. The summit also comes amid unprecedented urbanization rates and on the cusp of technological disruption from digitalization, artificial intelligence, ubiquitous sensing and biotechnology and nanotechnology that may transform all aspects of our lives in coming decades.

“We have never had to deal with problems of the scale facing today’s globally interconnected society. No one knows for sure what will work, so it is important to build a system that can evolve and adapt rapidly.” Elinor Ostrom (Nobel Laureate 2009)

The summit has been convened to promote a transformation to global sustainability for human prosperity and equity. Time is the natural resource in shortest supply. The next decade is crucial: Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by half and destruction of nature halted and reversed. An essential foundation for this transformation is to address destabilizing inequalities in the world. Without transformational action this decade, humanity is taking colossal risks with our common future. Societies risk large-scale, irreversible changes to Earth’s biosphere and our lives as part of it.

“A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.” Albert Einstein (Nobel Laureate 1921)

We need to reinvent our relationship with planet Earth. The future of all life on this planet, humans and our societies included, requires us to become effective stewards of the global commons — the climate, ice, land, ocean, freshwater, forests, soils, and rich diversity of life that regulate the state of the planet, and combine to create a unique and harmonious life-support system. There is now an existential need to build economies and societies that support Earth system harmony rather than disrupt it.

OUR PLANET

“It seems appropriate to assign the term ‘Anthropocene’ to the present.” Paul Crutzen (Nobel Laureate 1995)

Geologists call the last 12,000 years the Holocene epoch. A remarkable feature of this period has been relative Earth-system stability. But the stability of the Holocene is behind us now. Human societies are now the prime driver of change in Earth’s living sphere — the biosphere. The fate of the biosphere and human societies embedded within it is now deeply intertwined and evolving together. Earth has entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Evidence points to the 1950s as the onset of the Anthropocene — a single human lifetime ago. The Anthropocene epoch is more likely to be characterized by speed, scale, and shock at global levels.

Planetary health

The health of nature, our planet, and people is tightly connected. Pandemic risk is one of many global health risks in the Anthropocene. The risks of pandemics are now greater due to destruction of natural habitats, highly networked societies, and misinformation.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest global shock since the Second World War. It has caused immense suffering and hardship. The scientific response in the face of catastrophe, from detection to vaccine development, has been robust and effective. There is much to applaud. However, there have been clear failings. The poorest and most marginalized in societies remain the most vulnerable. The scale of this catastrophe could have been greatly reduced through preventive measures, greater openness, early detection systems, and faster emergency responses.

Reducing risk of zoonotic disease like COVID-19 requires a multi-pronged approach recognizing “one health” — the intimate connections between human health and the health of other animals and the environment. Rapid urbanization, agricultural intensification, overexploitation, and habitat loss of large wildlife all promote the abundance of small mammals, such as rodents. Additionally, these land-use changes lead animals to shift their activities from natural ecosystems to farmlands, urban parks, and other human-dominated areas, greatly increasing contact with people and the risk of disease transmission.

The global commons

Global heating and habitat loss amount to nothing less than a vast and uncontrolled experiment on Earth’s life-support system. Multiple lines of evidence now show that, for the first time in our existence, our actions are destabilizing critical parts of the Earth system that determine the state of the planet.

For 3 million years, global mean temperature increases have not exceeded 2°C of global warming, yet that is what is in prospect within this century. We are on a path that has taken us to 1.2°C warming so far — the warmest temperature on Earth since we left the last ice age some 20,000 years ago, and which will take us to >3°C warming in 80 years.

At the same time, we are losing Earth resilience, having transformed half of Earth’s land outside of the ice sheets, largely through farming expansion. Of an estimated 8 million species on Earth, about 1 million are under threat. Since the 1970s, there has been an estimated 68% decline in the populations of vertebrate species.

Inequality

“The only sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity.” Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate 2001)

While all in societies contribute to economic growth, the wealthy in most societies disproportionately take the largest share of this growing wealth. This trend has become more pronounced in recent decades. In highly unequal societies, with wide disparities in areas such as health care and education, the poorest are more likely to remain trapped in poverty across several generations.

More equal societies tend to score highly on metrics of well-being and happiness. Reducing inequality raises social capital. There is a greater sense of community and more trust in government. These factors make it easier to make collective, long-term decisions. Humanity’s future depends on the ability to make long-term, collective decisions to navigate the Anthropocene.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the largest economic calamity since the Great Depression, is expected to worsen inequality at a moment when inequality is having a clear destabilizing political impact in many countries. Climate change is expected to further exacerbate inequality. Already, the poorest, often living in vulnerable communities, are hit hardest by the impacts of climate, and live with the damaging health impacts of energy systems, for example air pollution. Furthermore, although urbanization has brought many societal benefits, it is also exacerbating existing, and creating new, inequities.

It is an inescapable conclusion that inequality and global sustainability challenges are deeply linked. Reducing inequality will positively impact collective decision-making.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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Technology

The accelerating technological revolution — including information technology, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology — will impact inequality, jobs, and entire economies, with disruptive consequences. On aggregate, technological advancements so far have accelerated us down the path toward destabilizing the planet. Without guidance, technological evolution is unlikely to lead to transformations toward sustainability. It will be critical to guide the technological revolution deliberately and strategically in the coming decades to support societal goals.

Acknowledging urgency and embracing complexity

The future habitability of Earth for human societies depends on the collective actions humanity takes now. There is rising evidence that this is a decisive decade (2020-2030). Loss of nature must be stopped and deep inequality counteracted. Global emissions of greenhouse gases need to be cut by half in the decade of 2021-2030. This alone requires collective governance of the global commons — all the living and non-living systems on Earth that societies use but that also regulate the state of the planet — for the sake of all people in the future.

On top of the urgency, we must embrace complexity. Humanity faces rising network risks and cascading risks as human and technological networks grow. The 2020/2021 pandemic was a health shock that quickly cascaded into economic shocks. We must recognize that surprise is the new normal and manage for complexity and emergent behavior.

OUR FUTURE

A decade of action

Time is running out to prevent irreversible changes. Ice sheets are approaching tipping points — parts of the Antarctic ice sheet may have already crossed irreversible tipping points. The circulation of heat in the North Atlantic is unequivocally slowing down due to accelerated ice melt. This may further affect monsoons and the stability of major parts of Antarctica. Rainforests, permafrost, and coral reefs are also approaching tipping points. The remaining carbon budget for a 67% probability of not exceeding 1.5°C global warming will be exhausted before 2030. At the same time, every week until 2050, the urban population will increase by about 1.3 million, requiring new buildings and roads, water and sanitation facilities, and energy and transport systems. The construction and operation of these infrastructure projects will be energy and emissions intensive unless major changes are made in how they are designed and implemented.

In 2021, major summits will generate political and societal momentum for action on climate, biodiversity, food systems, desertification, and the ocean. In 2022, the Stockholm+50 event marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Summit. This is an important opportunity to reflect on progress to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), due to be completed by 2030. Yet a disconnect exists between the urgency indicated by the empirical evidence and the response from electoral politics: The world is turning too slowly.

Planetary stewardship

“We must break down the walls that have previously kept science and the public apart and that have encouraged distrust and ignorance to spread unchecked. If anything prevents human beings from rising to the current challenge, it will be these barriers.” Jennifer Doudna (Nobel Laureate 2020)

Effective planetary stewardship requires updating our Holocene mindset. We must act on the urgency, the scale, and the interconnectivity between us and our home, planet Earth. More than anything, planetary stewardship will be facilitated by enhancing social capital — building trust within societies and between societies.

Is a new worldview possible? 193 nations have adopted the SDGs. The global pandemic has contributed to a broader recognition of global interconnectivity, fragility, and risk. Where they possess the economic power to do so, more people are increasingly making more sustainable choices regarding transportation, consumption, and energy. They are often ahead of their governments. And increasingly, the sustainable options, for example solar and wind power, are similar in price to fossil fuel alternatives or cheaper — and getting cheaper.

The question at a global systems level today is not whether humanity will transition away from fossil fuels. The question is: Will we do it fast enough? Solutions, from electric mobility to zero-carbon energy carriers and sustainable food systems, are today often following exponential curves of advancement and adoption. How do we lock this in? The following seven proposals provide a foundation for effective planetary stewardship.

* POLICY: Complement GDP as a metric of economic success with measures of true well-being of people and nature. Recognize that increasing disparities between rich and poor feed resentment and distrust, undermining the social contract necessary for difficult, long-term collective decision-making. Recognize that the deteriorating resilience of ecosystems undermines the future of humanity on Earth.

* MISSION-DRIVEN INNOVATION: Economic dynamism is needed for rapid transformation. Governments have been at the forefront of funding transformational innovation in the last 100 years. The scale of today’s challenges will require large-scale collaboration between researchers, government, and business — with a focus on global sustainability.

* EDUCATION: Education at all ages should include a strong emphasis on the nature of evidence, the scientific method, and scientific consensus to ensure future populations have the grounding necessary to drive political and economic change. Universities should embed concepts of planetary stewardship in all curricula as a matter of urgency. In a transformative, turbulent century, we should invest in life-long learning, and fact-based worldviews.

* INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Special interest groups and highly partisan media can amplify misinformation and accelerate its spread through social media and other digital means of communication. In this way, these technologies can be deployed to frustrate a common purpose and erode public trust. Societies must urgently act to counter the industrialization of misinformation and find ways to enhance global communication systems in the service of sustainable futures

* FINANCE AND BUSINESS: Investors and companies must adopt principles of recirculation and regeneration of materials and apply science-based targets for all global commons and essential ecosystem services. Economic, environmental, and social externalities should be fairly priced

* SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION: Greater investment is needed in international networks of scientific institutions to allow sustained collaboration on interdisciplinary science for global sustainability as well as transdisciplinary science that integrates diverse knowledge systems, including local, indigenous, and traditional knowledge

* KNOWLEDGE: The pandemic has demonstrated the value of basic research to policymakers and the public. Commitment to sustained investment in basic research is essential. In addition, we must develop new business models for the free sharing of all scientific knowledge.

CONCLUSION

Global sustainability offers the only viable path to human safety, equity, health, and progress. Humanity is waking up late to the challenges and opportunities of active planetary stewardship. But we are waking up. Long-term, scientifically based decision-making is always at a disadvantage in the contest with the needs of the present. Politicians and scientists must work together to bridge the divide between expert evidence, short-term politics, and the survival of all life on this planet in the Anthropocene epoch. The long-term potential of humanity depends upon our ability today to value our common future. Ultimately, this means valuing the resilience of societies and the resilience of Earth’s biosphere.

SIGNATURES

Signatures are listed at the end of the press release.