Category Archives: North America

United States: 60+ Faith Groups Urge Congress to ‘Dramatically’ Slash Pentagon Budget


An article by Jake Johnson in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

More than 60 faith-based organizations on Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to impose major cuts on the bloated military budget as President Joe Biden pushes for a nearly $30 billion increase and Republicans demand even bigger spending hike.

“The country is sprinting towards a trillion-dollar budget for weapons and war—propping up an expensive and harmful militarized foreign policy while people struggle to meet their basic needs,” reads a new letter to members of Congress signed by U.S., international, and state and local groups including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, Hindus for Human Rights, and dozens of others.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley arrives at a news briefing at the Pentagon on May 23, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“We cannot continue down this morally bankrupt path,” the letter continues. “We urge members of Congress to dramatically cut militarized spending in the fiscal year 2024 budget—both to facilitate reinvestment in the well-being of our communities, and to curtail the harms of our militarized foreign policy.”

The groups’ principled stand against devoting further resources to the U.S. military—and specifically to the Pentagon, an agency that recently failed its fifth consecutive audit —comes days after Biden requested an $886 billion military budget for the upcoming fiscal year, with $842 billion of that total earmarked for the Department of Defense.

(Article continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

(Article continued from left column)

Tori Bateman, the policy advocacy coordinator at AFSC, said Tuesday that “we know that there is enormous waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon—and that spending exorbitant amounts of money on weapons and war takes away from the funding our communities receive for things like healthcare and housing.”

“This year, we need Congress to commit to cutting Pentagon spending, and maintaining a robust level of spending on human needs programs,” Bateman added.

But that demand is likely to be ignored in a Congress that agrees each year—on a bipartisan basis and with relatively little pushback —to increase the U.S. military budget, often by tens of billions more than the president’s original request. In 2022, just 78 members of the House voted for Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) amendment to cut the military budget by $100 billion while 350 opposed it.

In response to Biden’s budget framework, leading Republicans made clear that they would push for even more military spending, calling the president’s proposal “woefully inadequate” —even though it’s among the largest in U.S. history.

“If past experience is any guide, more than half of the new Pentagon budget will go to contractors, with the biggest share going to the top five—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman—to build everything from howitzers and tanks to intercontinental ballistic missiles,” William Hartung of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft noted last week. “Much of the funding for contractors will come from spending on buying, researching, and developing weapons, which accounts for $315 billion of the new budget request.”

Of the $1.7 trillion in discretionary spending that Biden has proposed for fiscal year 2024, just $584 billion is reserved for social programs, analyst Stephen Semler observed.

The anti-war group CodePink said in a statement Tuesday that while “President Biden’s overall 2024 budget does have some positive proposals like restoring the child tax credit, investing in clean energy projects, and cleaning up nuclear waste sites,” the “likelihood of passing the tax reform needed as well as the policies themselves seems very unlikely as congressional Democrats couldn’t even pass the Build Back Better legislation when they had more control in 2021.”

“What will pass—what always passes no matter who is in the White House and what majority fills the halls of Congress—is the defense budget,” the group added. “Any domestic policy being dangled to the public by the Democrats is meaningless while they still support the ever-growing and immoral defense budget.”

National March on Washington March 18 : Peace in Ukraine


From the website of United National Antiwar Coalition

​Coinciding with the 20th anniversary weekend of the criminal U.S.-invasion of Iraq a major set of actions including a demonstration at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Saturday March 18 demanding “Peace in Ukraine – Say NO to Endless U.S. Wars” and “Fund People’s Needs, Not the War Machine.”


Peace in Ukraine – No weapons, no money for the Ukraine War
Abolish NATO – End U.S. militarism & sanctions!
Fund people’s needs, not the war machine!
No war with China!
End U.S. aid to racist apartheid Israel!
Fight racism & bigotry at home, not other peoples!
U.S. hands off Haiti

Click here to help build this action

Click here to endorse the action

This action is being called by UNAC, the ANSWER Coalition, Code Pink, Black Alliance for peace and many others listed below. This is the first time in many years that then entire U.S, antiwar movement has been able to get together and build a national action. This is a very important step forward for our movement.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

The peace movement in the United States, What are its strengths and weaknesses?

(Continued from left column)


United National Anti-War Coalition,
ANSWER Coalition,
Black Alliance for Peace,
The People’s Forum,
World BEYOND War,
Popular Resistance,
Veterans for Peace,
International Action Center,
Party for Socialism and Liberation,
The Palestine Right to Return Coalition,
Labor Against Racism and War,
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee,
Universal African Peoples Organization,
East Bay Democratic Socialists of America,
Socialist Action,
Nevada Green Party,
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network,
Ohio Peace Council,
Green Party of Connecticut,
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee, Environmentalists Against War,
Pacific Green Party (OR),
Linn-Benton Chapter,
Lauren Faith Smith Ministry for Nonviolence,
Maine Cumberland County Greens,
Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace,
San Jose Peace and Justice Center,
Servicio Particular Alacran,
Minnesota Peace Action Coalition,
PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick,
UPWARD (Uniting Peace With Actions Respect and Dignity),
Socialist Party of America,
North Country Peace Group,
Workers World Party,
Roger Waters,
Bronx Antiwar Coalition,
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space,
Chicago Anti-War Coalition,
National Immigrant Solidarity Network,
China-US Solidarity Network,
North American Climate Conservation and Environmental group,
Stop the War Machine – New Mexico,
Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace,
Odessa Solidarity Campaign,
DC Young Communist League,
Uhuru Solidarity Movement,
North American Climate Conservation and Environmental group,
Virginia Defenders for Freedom Justice & Equality…

(Note added on March 25. An email received at CPNN from the UNAC today says “More than 2,500 people participated in the rally, march and teach-in on March 18.” This figure is confirmed in an article from the website Toward Freedom.)

Letter To President Biden: Sign The Nuclear Ban Treaty!


From the website Nuclear Ban

January 22, 2023 to: President Joe Biden, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden,

We, the undersigned, call on you to immediately sign, on behalf of the United States, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), also known as the “Nuclear Ban Treaty.”

Mr. President, January 22, 2023 marks the second anniversary of entry into force of the TPNW. Here are six compelling reasons why you should sign this treaty now:

1. It’s the right thing to do. As long as nuclear weapons exist, the risk increases with every passing day that these weapons will be used.

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the world stands closer to “doomsday” than at any point even during the darkest days of the Cold War. And the use of even one nuclear weapon would constitute a humanitarian disaster of unparalleled proportions. A full-scale nuclear war would spell the end of human civilization as we know it. There is nothing, Mr. President, that could possibly justify that level of risk.

Mr. President, the real risk we are facing is not so much that President Putin or some other leader will purposely use nuclear weapons, although that is clearly possible. The real risk with these weapons is that human error, computer malfunction, cyber attack, miscalculation, misunderstanding, miscommunication, or a simple accident could so easily lead inexorably to a nuclear conflagration without anyone ever intending it to.

The increased tension that now exists between the US and Russia makes an unintended launch of nuclear weapons so much more likely, and the risks are simply too great to be ignored or downplayed. It is imperative that you take action to reduce those risks. And the only way to reduce that risk to zero is to eliminate the weapons themselves. That is what the TPNW stands for. That is what the rest of the world demands. That is what humanity requires.

2. It will improve America’s standing in the world, and especially with our closest allies.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the US response to it may have greatly improved America’s standing, at least in Western Europe. But the imminent deployment of a new generation of US “tactical” nuclear weapons to Europe could quickly change all that. The last time such a plan was attempted, in the 1980s, it led to enormous levels of hostility toward the US and nearly toppled several NATO governments.

This treaty has enormous public support across the world and especially in Western Europe. As more and more countries sign on to it, its power and significance will only grow. And the longer the United States stands in opposition to this treaty, the worse our standing will be in the eyes of the world, including some of our closest allies. 

As of today, 68 countries have ratified this treaty, outlawing everything to do with nuclear weapons in those countries. Another 27 countries are in the process of ratifying the treaty and many more are lining up to do so.

Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium (and Australia) were among the countries who officially attended as observers at the first meeting of TPNW last year in Vienna. They, together with other close allies of the United States, including Italy, Spain, Iceland, Denmark, Japan and Canada, have voting populations who overwhelmingly support their countries signing the treaty, according to recent opinion polls. There are also hundreds of legislators in those countries who have signed the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) pledge in support of the TPNW, including the prime ministers of both Iceland and Australia.

It is not a question of “if,” but only of “when,” these and many other countries will join the TPNW and outlaw everything to do with nuclear weapons. As they do, US armed forces and the international corporations involved in the development and production of nuclear weapons will face increasing difficulties in carrying on with business as usual. It is already punishable with an unlimited fine and up to life in prison if found guilty of involvement with the development, production, maintenance, transportation or handling of (anyone’s) nuclear weapons in Ireland.

As it states very clearly in the US Law of War Manual, US military forces are bound by international treaties even when the US does not sign them, when such treaties represent “modern international public opinion” as to how military operations should be conducted. And already investors representing more than $4.6 trillion in global assets have divested from nuclear weapons companies because of the global norms that are shifting as a result of the TPNW.

3. Signing is nothing more than a statement of our intention to achieve a goal that the United States is already legally committed to achieving.

As you know very well, signing a treaty is not the same as ratifying it, and only once it is ratified do the terms of the treaty enter into force. Signing is just the first step. And signing the TPNW does not commit this country to a goal it is not publicly and legally committed to already; namely, the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The United States has been committed to the total elimination of nuclear weapons since at least 1968, when it signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and agreed to negotiate the elimination of all nuclear arsenals “in good faith” and “at an early date”. Since then, the United States has twice given an “unequivocal undertaking” to the rest of the world that it would fulfil its legal obligation to negotiate the elimination of these weapons.

President Obama famously earned a Nobel Peace Prize for committing the United States to the goal of a nuclear-free world, and you yourself have reiterated that commitment on a number of occasions, most recently on August 1, 2022, when you pledged from the White House “to continue working toward the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Mr. President, signing the TPNW would demonstrate the sincerity of your commitment to actually achieve that goal. Getting all the other nuclear-armed nations to also sign the treaty would be the next step, ultimately leading to ratification of the treaty and the elimination of all nuclear weapons from all countries. In the meantime, the United States would be no more at risk of nuclear attack or nuclear blackmail than it is at present, and until ratification, would still maintain the same arsenal of nuclear weapons as it does today.

In fact, under the terms of the treaty, the complete, verifiable and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons only takes place well after ratification of the treaty, in accordance with a legally-binding timebound plan that all parties must agree to. This would allow for staged reductions according to a mutually agreed timetable, as with other disarmament treaties.

4. The whole world is witnessing in real time the reality that nuclear weapons serve no useful military purpose.

Mr. President, the whole rationale for maintaining an arsenal of nuclear weapons is that they are so powerful as a “deterrent” they would never need to be used. And yet our possession of nuclear weapons clearly did not prevent the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Nor has Russia’s possession of nuclear weapons prevented the United States from arming and supporting Ukraine despite Russia’s threats.

Since 1945, the US has fought wars in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Libya, Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Possession of nuclear weapons did not “deter” any of those wars, nor indeed did possession of nuclear weapons ensure that the US “won” any of those wars.

The possession of nuclear weapons by the UK did not prevent Argentina from invading the Falkland Islands in 1982. The possession of nuclear weapons by France did not prevent them losing to insurgents in Algeria, Tunisia or Chad. The possession of nuclear weapons by Israel did not prevent the invasion of that country by Syria and Egypt in 1973, nor did it prevent Iraq from raining down Scud missiles on them in 1991. India’s possession of nuclear weapons did not stop countless incursions into Kashmir by Pakistan, nor has Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons stopped any of India’s military activities there.

It is no surprise that Kim Jong-un thinks nuclear weapons will deter an attack on his country by the United States, and yet you would no doubt agree that his possession of nuclear weapons makes such an attack more likely at some point in the future, not less likely.

President Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons against any country that tried to interfere with his invasion of Ukraine. That was not the first time anyone has threatened to use nuclear weapons, of course. Your predecessor in the White House threatened North Korea with nuclear annihilation in 2017. And nuclear threats have been made by previous US Presidents and the leaders of other nuclear-armed nations going all the way back to the aftermath of World War II. 
But these threats are meaningless unless they are carried out, and they are never carried out for the very simple reason that to do so would be an act of suicide and no sane political leader is likely to ever make that choice.

In your joint statement with Russia, China, France and the UK in January of last year, you clearly stated that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The G20 statement from Bali reiterated that “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”

What do such statements mean, Mr. President, if not the utter pointlessness of retaining and upgrading expensive nuclear weapons that can never be used?

5. By signing the TPNW now, you can discourage other countries from seeking to acquire nuclear weapons of their own.

Mr. President, despite the fact that nuclear weapons do not deter aggression and do not help win wars, other countries continue to want them. Kim Jong-un wants nuclear weapons to defend himself from the United States precisely because we continue to insist that these weapons somehow defend us from him. It is no surprise that Iran might feel the same way.

The longer we go on insisting that we must have nuclear weapons for our own defense, and that these are the “supreme” guarantee of our security, the more we are encouraging other countries to want the same. South Korea and Saudi Arabia are already considering acquiring their own nuclear weapons. Soon there will be others.

How can a world awash in nuclear weapons possibly be safer than a world without any nuclear weapons? Mr. President, this is the moment to seize the opportunity to eliminate these weapons once and for all, before more and more countries are engulfed in an uncontrollable arms race that can have only one possible outcome. Eliminating these weapons now is not just a moral imperative, it is a national security imperative.

Without a single nuclear weapon, the United States would still be the most powerful country in the world by a very wide margin. Together with our military allies, our military spending outpaces all our potential adversaries put together many times over, every single year. No country on earth comes close to being able to seriously threaten the United States and its allies – unless they have nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are the global equalizer. They enable a comparatively small, poor country, with its people virtually starving, to nevertheless threaten the mightiest world power in all of human history. And the only way to finally eliminate that threat is to eliminate all nuclear weapons. That, Mr. President, is a national security imperative.

6. There is one final reason for signing the TPNW now. And that is for the sake of our children and grandchildren, who are inheriting a world that is literally burning down in front of our eyes as a result of climate change. We cannot adequately address the climate crisis without also addressing the nuclear threat.

You have taken important steps to address the climate crisis, through your infrastructure bill and the inflation reduction act. You have been hampered by Supreme Court decisions and a difficult Congress from achieving more of what you know is needed to fully address this crisis. And yet, trillions of taxpayer dollars are being poured into developing the next generation of nuclear weapons, along with all the other military hardware and infrastructure you have signed off on.

Mr. President, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, please use this opportunity to switch gears and begin the transition to a sustainable world for them. You don’t need Congress or the Supreme Court to sign a treaty on behalf of the United States. That is your prerogative as President.

And by signing the TPNW, we can begin the monumental shift of resources that is needed from nuclear weapons to climate solutions. By signalling the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons, you would be enabling and encouraging the vast scientific and industrial infrastructure that supports the nuclear weapons industry to begin to make that transition, along with the billions in private finance that support that industry.

And most importantly, you would be opening up a door to improved international cooperation with Russia, China, India and the EU without which no action on climate will be sufficient to save the planet.

Mr. President, as the first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have ever used them in war, the United States bears a special moral responsibility to ensure they are never used again. As you yourself said in a speech on January 11, 2017, “If we want a world without nuclear weapons—the United States must take the initiative to lead us there.” Please, Mr. President, you can do this! Please take the first clear step to nuclear abolition and sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty.

Yours sincerely,

(Article continued in right column)

Question for this article:

The peace movement in the United States, What are its strengths and weaknesses?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

(Article continued from left column)

* Organizations in bold = official signatories, organizations not in bold are for identification purposes only

Timmon Wallis, Vicki Elson, Co-Founders, NuclearBan.US

Kevin Martin, President, Peace Action

Darien De Lu, President, US Section, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Ivana Hughes, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

David Swanson, Executive Director, World Beyond War

Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, Co-Founders, CodePink

Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

Ethan Vesely-Flad, Director of National Organizing, Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA)

Melanie Merkle Atha, Executive Director, Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Susan Schnall, President, Veterans For Peace

Hanieh Jodat, Partnerships Coordinator, RootsAction

Michael Beer, Director, Nonviolence International

Alan Owen, Founder, LABRATS (Legacy of the Atomic Bomb. Recognition for Atomic Test Survivors)

Helen Jaccard, Manager, Veterans For Peace Golden Rule Project

Kelly Lundeen and Lindsay Potter, Co-Directors, Nukewatch

Linda Gunter, Founder, Beyond Nuclear

Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa, Nuclear Resister

Nick Mottern, Co-coordinator, Ban Killer Drones

Priscilla Star, Director, Coalition Against Nukes

Cole Harrison, Executive Director, Massachusetts Peace Action

Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director, Coalition For Peace Action (CFPA)

Emily Rubino, Executive Director, Peace Action New York State

Robert Kinsey, Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Rev. Rich Peacock, Co-Chair, Peace Action of Michigan

Jean Athey, Secretary of the Board, Maryland Peace Action

Martha Speiss, John Raby, Peace Action Maine

Joe Burton, Treasurer of the Board, North Carolina Peace Action

Kim Joy Bergier, Coordinator, Michigan Stop The Nuclear Bombs Campaign

Kelly Campbell, Executive Director, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Sean Arent, Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program Manager, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Andrea Jones, Government Relations and Public Policy Director, Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc.

Lizzie Adams, Green Party of Florida

Lois Gagnon, Co-Chair, Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts

Doug Rawlings, Veterans For Peace Maine Chapter

Mario Galvan, Sacramento Area Peace Action

Gary Butterfield, President, San Diego Veterans For Peace

Michael Lindley, President, Veterans For Peace Los Angeles

Dave Logsdon, President, Twin Cities Veterans For Peace

Bill Christofferson, Veterans For Peace, Milwaukee Chapter 102

Philip Anderson, Veterans For Peace Chapter 80 Duluth Superior

John Michael O’Leary, Vice President, Veterans For Peace Chapter 104 in Evansville, Indiana

Jim Wohlgemuth, Veterans For Peace The Hector Black Chapter

Kenneth Mayers, Chapter Secretary, Veterans for Peace Santa Fe Chapter

Chelsea Faria, Demilitarize Western Mass

Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, Program Director, Center for Nonviolent Solutions, Worcester, MA

Mari Inoue, Co-Founder, Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World

The Rev. Dr. Peter Kakos, Maureen Flannery, Nuclear Free Future Coalition of Western Mass

Douglas W. Renick, Chair, Haydenville Congregational Church Peace and Justice Steering Committee

Richard Ochs, Baltimore Peace Action

Max Obuszewski, Janice Sevre-Duszynka, Baltimore Nonviolence Center

Arnold Matlin, Co-Convenor, Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace

The Rev. Julia Dorsey Loomis, Hampton Roads Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (HRCAN)

Lorie Cartwright, Trustee, New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution Inc.

Jessie Pauline Collins, Co-Chair, Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT)

Keith Gunter, Chair, Alliance To Halt Fermi-3

Hendrica Regez, Chair, Galena Green Team

Julie Levine, Co-Director, MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles

H.T Snider, Chair, One Sunny Day Initiatives

Topanga Peace Alliance

Ellen Thomas, Director, Proposition One Campaign for a Nuclear-Free Future

Lynn Sableman, Branch President, WILPF St. Louis

Mary Faulkner, President, League of Women Voters of Duluth

Sister Clare Carter, New England Peace Pagoda

Tracy Powell, No More Bombs

Ann Suellentrop, Program Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City

Robert M. Gould, MD, President, San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility

Cynthia Papermaster, Coordinator, CODEPINK San Francisco Bay Area

Patricia Hynes, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice

Christopher Allred, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center

Jane Brown, Newton Dialogues on Peace and War

Steve Baggarly, Norfolk Catholic Worker

Mary S Rider and Patrick O’Neill, Founders, Father Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker

Jill Haberman, Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi

Rev. Terrence Moran, Director, Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity/Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

Thomas Nieland, President Emeritus, UUFHCT, Alamo, TX

Henry M. Stoever, Co-Chair, PeaceWorks Kansas City

Rosalie Paul, Coordinator, PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick, Maine

New York Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (NYCAN)

Craig S. Thompson, White House Antinuclear Peace Vigil

Jim Schulman, President, A Thousand Friends of Virginia’s Future

Mary Gourdoux, Border Peace Presence

Alice Sturm Sutter, Uptown Progressive Action, New York City

Donna Gould, Rise and Resist NY

Anne Craig, Reject Raytheon Asheville

Nancy C. Tate, LEPOCO Peace Center (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern)

Marcia Halligan, Kickapoo Peace Circle

Marie Dennis, Assisi Community

Mary Shesgreen, Chair, Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice

Jean Stevens, Director, Taos Environmental Film Festival

Mari Mennel-Bell, Director, JazzSLAM

Diana Bohn, Coordinator, Nicaragua Center for Community Action

Nicholas Cantrell, President, Green Future Wealth Management

Mary Hanson, Chair, Seattle Fellowship of Reconciliation

Charles Michaels, Coordinator, Pax Christi Baltimore

Sven Lovegren, Coordinator, UUCA Peace Network

Rachel Roberts Bliss, Founder and Administrator, Western North Carolina for Peace

Jane Leatherman Van Praag, President, Wilco Justice Alliance (Williamson County, TX)

Ernes Fuller, Vice Chair, Concerned Citizens for SNEC Safety (CCSS)

The World Is My Country

Carmen Trotta, Catholic Worker

Paul Corell, Shut Down Indian Point Now!

Patricia Always, West Valley Neighborhoods Coalition

Thea Paneth, Arlington United for Justice with Peace

Carol Gilbert, OP, Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters

Susan Entin, Church of St. Augustine, St. Martin

Maureen Doyle, MA Green Rainbow Party

Lorraine Krofchok, Director, Grandmothers for Peace International

Jasmin Nario-Galace, Facilitation Committee, Pax Christi Asia-Pacific

Bill Kidd, MSP, Convenor, Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Nuclear Disarmament

Ed Lehman, President, Regina Peace Council

Dr David Hutchinson Edgar, Chairperson, Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament / An Feachtas um Dhí-Armáil Núicléach

Marian Pallister, Chair, Pax Christi Scotland

Ranjith S Jayasekera, Vice President, Sri-Lanka Doctors for Peace and Development

Juan Gomez, Chilean Coordinator, Movimiento Por Un Mundo Sin Guerras Y Sin Violencia

Darien Castro, Co-Founder, Wings for Amazon Project

Loreta Castro, Co-President, Pax Christi Philippines

Lynda Forbes, Secretary, Hunter Peace Group Newcastle, Australia

USA: Ilhan Omar Vows to Continue Speaking Out Against Israel’s Abuse of Palestinians


An article by Jake Johnson in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.)

Rep. Ilhan Omar vowed Thursday that the House GOP’s vote to remove her from the chamber’s foreign affairs panel would not stop her from criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, a pledge that came after the Israeli government carried out  its latest bombing campaign in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks to reporters on February 2, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“My critique of our foreign policy, Israel’s policy towards Palestinians, or that of any foreign nation will not change,” Omar (D-Minn.) wrote in a Twitter post   following passage of a Republican resolution forcing her off the House Foreign Affairs Committee—a seat she has used to speak out against human rights violations and demand accountability   for war crimes, including those committed by the U.S. and Israel.

“As a person who suffered the horrors of war and persecution,” Omar added, “my advocacy will always be for those that suffer because of the actions of governments.”

The House vote was held hours after Israel’s far-right government launched a series of airstrikes in the densely populated “open-air prison” of Gaza, bombings that came a week after Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians at a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. When two rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in the wake of the massacre, Israel bombarded the enclave, reportedly hitting a refugee camp at the center of the strip.
During t
he floor debate ahead of the GOP resolution’s passage, Republican lawmakers made clear that Omar’s criticisms of Israeli policy—which are frequently conflated with antisemitism  —were a driving force behind the effort to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) specifically cited Omar’s past characterization of Israel as an “apartheid” state, calling the description “appalling”—even though mainstream organizations, including Human Rights Watch   and Amnesty International, have offered the same assessment of Israel’s decades-long occupation and brutalization of Palestinians.

(continued in the right column)

Question for this article

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from the left column)

“Rep. Ilhan Omar was booted off of the House Foreign Affairs Committee today for one reason only: her firm and unequivocal opposition to Israel’s brutal apartheid rule over the Palestinian people,” wrote   Josh Ruebner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and the former policy director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

“All other pretexts,” Ruebner argued, “are just designed to obscure this fact.”

The House GOP passed its resolution kicking Omar off the powerful committee as rights groups warned that Israel is ramping up its assault on Palestinian rights and livelihoods.

“This circus is happening while the Israeli government is escalating an entirely new phase of state violence against Palestinians,” Beth Miller, political director of Jewish Voice for Peace Action, told The Intercept’s Akela Lacy, who argued   Thursday that congressional Democrats “paved the way” for the GOP’s attacks on Omar.

“If you actually look at what the Israeli government is doing right now,” Miller said, “the mask is off completely.”

Over the weekend, Israel moved to seal—and signaled plans to demolish—the West Bank homes of two Palestinians suspected of deadly attacks against Israelis. Human Rights Watch condemned   Israel’s response as an act of “collective punishment.”

“Deliberate attacks on civilians are reprehensible crimes,” Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Thursday. “But just as no grievance can justify the intentional targeting of civilians in Neve Yaakov, such attacks cannot justify Israeli authorities intentionally punishing the families of Palestinian suspects by demolishing their homes and throwing them out on the street.”

Amnesty International noted earlier   this week that Israeli forces killed 35 Palestinians in January alone. Last year was one of the deadliest in decades   for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

“The devastating events of the past week have exposed yet again the deadly cost of the system of apartheid,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary-general. “The international community’s failure to hold Israeli authorities to account for apartheid and other crimes has given them free rein to segregate, control, and oppress Palestinians on a daily basis, and helps perpetuate deadly violence.”

“Apartheid is a crime against humanity, and it is frankly chilling to see the perpetrators evade justice year after year,” Callamard added. “Israel has long attempted to silence findings of apartheid with targeted smear campaigns, and the international community allows itself to be cowed by these tactics. Until apartheid is dismantled there is no hope of protecting civilian lives, and no hope of justice for grieving families in Palestine and Israel.”

Tribunal in Washington Calls on President Biden to End Prosecution of Julian Assange and to Defend Rights of Journalists and Whistleblowers


An article by Chris Garaffa from Covert Action Magazine

Nearly 13 years after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released the video Collateral Murder exposing the brutal and intentional killing of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists, over 150 people packed the same room in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for the Belmarsh Tribunal. January 20th’s sitting was the third of the Tribunal, following events in London and New York City in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Many thousands also watched the event live online. See video of Tribunal below.

Video of Tribunal

Organized by Progressive International and co-chaired by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Croatian philosopher and author Srećko Horvat, the Belmarsh Tribunal brought together a panel of whistleblowers, activists, lawyers and more in support of Assange, WikiLeaks and journalistic freedom.

Held just two blocks from the White House, the Tribunal called on President Biden to end the prosecution of Julian Assange and to defend the rights of journalists and whistleblowers.

Belmarsh, the prison near London where Assange has been held since 2019 is a high-security facility often referred to as the “British version of Guantanamo Bay.” Beginning with the so-called “war on terrorism” in 2001, Belmarsh has been used to house suspected terrorists. Today, many of its prisoners are people who have committed brutally violent crimes like murder and rape.

States government under the Trump and Biden administrations seeks to bring him to trial in the U.S. He could face up to 175 years in prison under the Espionage Act for publishing proof of U.S. war crimes. It would be a death sentence for the 51-year-old whose physical and mental health has already deteriorated during his confinement.

Solidarity was a key theme of the event. Human rights lawyer Steven Donziger opened his remarks by saying “Half the battle is this” as he motioned around the crowded room. “It’s the solidarity,” he continued, expressing his appreciation for those who came out to defend him in his struggle. “I cannot tell you how completely uplifting that was. Part of the challenge when truthtellers speak truth to these entrenched pools of power is how to turn the attacks into opportunities.”

Donziger brought and won a lawsuit against oil company Chevron/Texaco on behalf of indigenous people in Ecuador for destruction of their lands through oil extraction in the Lago Agrio oil field. Chevron retaliated after a $9.5 billion award was levied against them, filing an outrageous RICO suit against Donziger, who was placed under house arrest for a total of 993 days (in addition to 45 days in prison) until he was finally freed in April of 2022.

Solidarity was also extended to Daniel Hale, a whistleblower who exposed the deadly U.S. targeted killing and drone program. Attorney Jesselyn Radack spoke on his case and its connection to Assange’s. Hale is being held in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, A.K.A. “Gitmo North,” where his connection to the outside world is monitored and severely limited.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Question related to this article:
Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

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)

“I have been shut out of my own clients’ unclassified hearings. The parts of the hearings that are public often include code words and substitutions that make the proceedings very difficult for the public to understand. In one case, the government attempted to prevent defense attorneys from using the word whistleblower, or the word newspaper.” Radack’s account suggests that should Assange be extradited to the United States, he will not be able to receive a fair and impartial trial.

The prosecution of Assange is an example of naked political aggression and intimidation. It’s not only aimed at Assange himself and WikiLeaks, but puts whistleblowers, journalists and activists squarely within the crosshairs.

Former UK Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “What’s Julian charged with? Telling the truth. Telling the truth all over the world about what governments do and what governments want to hide…I, as an elected politician, am very well aware that elected politicians don’t like being questioned on the decisions that they make. But it’s fundamental to a democratic society that they are constantly under surveillance and under question. [While] they are very keen on putting everybody else under surveillance, their decisions should be under surveillance at the same time.”

In addition to calling for the Biden administration to end his prosecution, Corbyn also called on journalists and media outlets to continue to stand up. In November 2022, an open letter from The New York Times, El Pais, Le Monde, The Guardian and Der Spiegel published an open letter with the same demand: “This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press. Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a democracy.”

Corbyn went further and called on journalists around the world to stand up for Assange: “I say this to journalists who may be watching this around the world: You might say ‘well ok that’s Assange, that’s different…’ sorry it’s not! It’s you as a journalist because if Julian Assange ends up in a maximum security prison in the United States for the rest of his life, every other journalist around the world will think ‘oh, should I really report this information I’ve been given? Should I really speak out about this denial of human rights, miscarriage of justice in any country around the world? Because the long arm of United States espionage might reach me and an extradition treaty might put me in that same prison.’”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, the current WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief, appeared by video at the suggestion of his lawyers, as travel to the United States could be dangerous for him.

Hrafnsson broke down the story of WikiLeaks into two chapters: “One is about the publications, the most important journalistic work of this century. The other chapter is about the reaction to this work, and it is equally revealing.”

On one side of that reaction are the attacks on WikiLeaks and journalism, as well as the weakening of basic democratic norms, principles and domestic and international processes. On another is the attention and support that WikiLeaks, Assange and whistleblowing have received. Hrafnsson discussed his recent trip around Latin America, meeting with leaders to discuss the case.

“Argentinians, as do others in the region, know fully well the capability of the CIA in planning kidnapping or killing of individuals.” he said of his meeting with Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina. Bolivian President Luis Arce “fully committed himself in support of Assange.” The newly-elected President of Brazil, Lula, said “the fight to end the injustice entailed in the Assange case would be a priority in his foreign policy.” Gusavo Petro of Colombia also provided words of support, as did Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico.

STOP U.S. Wars: MLK Week of Actions, Jan 13–22 The Next Step


An article from The United National Antiwar Coalition

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.”
  –  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 1967

As you know, after the October antiwar actions, more than 75 actions, we held a meeting to discuss next steps.  It was decided that we should have another week of actions and the week around Martin Luther King Day, Jan 14 – 22 was proposed.  So, we are moving forward organizing STOP U.S. Wars actions again during that week.  Many organizations endorsed the October week of actions and are anxious to continue.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. so correctly reminded us, the U.S. is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.  Since WWII, the US has initiated more than 60 military interventions in foreign countries.  The US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine brings the US in direct confrontation with a major nuclear power as does the U.S. provocation against China over Taiwan.

It is extremely important that we build a strong, unified antiwar movement that can break through the media propaganda and censorship and end the US military aggression around the world.

Each of our actions are based on building local connections among various solidarity organizations. A variety of actions are encouraged from demonstrations, teach-Ins, banner drops, chalk-ins to street meetings.

Actions linking ALL the continuing US wars and sanctions is a unifying focus and helps break through the propaganda that saturates each war.

(Article continued in right column)

Question for this article:

USA: Statement from Faith Organizations and Leaders  Calling for a Christmas Truce in Ukraine


A petition from Code Pink


As people of faith and conscience, believing in the sanctity of all life on this planet, we call for a Christmas Truce in Ukraine. In the spirit of the truce that occurred in 1914 during the First World War, we urge our government to take a leadership role in bringing the war in Ukraine to an end through supporting calls for a ceasefire and negotiated settlement, before the conflict results in a nuclear war that could devastate the world’s ecosystems and annihilate all of God’s creation.  

Initiated by Fellowship of Reconciliation-USA, CODEPINK, and the National Council of Elders

Background and Context:

As the war in Ukraine rages on, the toll of death and destruction continues to mount and the potential for escalation and the use of nuclear weapons grows. The direct catastrophic impact the war has already had on the people of Ukraine is still unknown but countless thousands of civilians have already died and 14 million have been displaced. The war’s impact is multiplied outside of Ukraine’s borders as rising prices for wheat, fertilizer and fuel are creating growing crises in global hunger and poverty. 

Whether it’s Christians around the world preparing for Christmas or Jews awaiting the Festival of Lights holiday of Hanukkah all of the Abrahamic faiths embrace the prophetic voice of Isaiah who exhorted us to transform swords into plowshares. In this winter holiday season of peace, we ask our government’s leaders to recall another murderous conflict between nations that took place on the European continent over a century ago. In 1914, roughly 100,000 German and British soldiers along the Western Front in World War I declared an unofficial Christmas Truce and ceased hostilities for a short period. 

It was a moment so shocking to our usual expectations that it continues to reverberate in our collective imaginations over 100 years later. Another Christmas Truce could save lives and pave the way for critical peace talks. 

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

The way out of the war in Ukraine will not be a military solution. The path toward peace in Ukraine requires powers of a different sort: negotiation and imagination.

As leaders of a diverse group of faith communities, we sign onto the petition below and pray that our leaders have the courage and conscience to use those powers instead.

Initial signers include:

Bishop William J. Barber, President Repairers of the Breach
Dr. Cornel West, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary
Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Liz Theoharis, Poor People’s Campaign co-chair
Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler, FOR-USA Advisor, Racial and economic justice advocate
Dr. Zoharah Simmons, civil rights movement veteran, National Council of Elders
Reverend Dorsey, Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, National Council of Elders
Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President, Sojourners
Rev. Janet Wolf,  National Council of Elders
Jim Wallis, Georgetown University
Bridget Moix, General Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation
Rev. William Lamar, IV, Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC
Rev. Freeman Palmer, Conference Minister, Central Atlantic Conference of the UCC
Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake, Presiding Minister, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, National Council of Elders
Imam Abu Nahidian, Manassas Mosque
Sư Cô Thích Nữ Chân Không, Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism
Thầy Thích Chân Pháp Ấn, Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism
Pastor Bob Roberts, Church in Keller, Texas
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, Executive Minister & President, United Church of Christ
Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, President, Unitarian Universalist Association
Nicholas Sooy, director of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Imam Mujahid Abdul Malik, President, Sound Vision Foundation
Rabbi Phyllis Berman, ALEPH Ordination Program’s Hashpa’ah Program
Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Executive Director, Religions for Peace USA
Ariel Gold, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation USA
Rev. Michael McBride, Pastor, The Way Christian Center; Director of Urban Strategies, Faith in Action
Dr. Daisy Khan, Executive Director & Founder, Women’s Islamic Initiative for Spirituality & Equality
Rev. Terrence Moran, Director of Peace, Justice, & Ecological Integrity Office, Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth
Dr. James Zogby, President Arab American Institute, Professor, Author
Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili, Metropolitan Bishop, Peace Cathedral

If you are not a lay or ordained faith leader, please take this to your faith community/congregation and ask them to sign on.

Say NO to U.S. wars! Actions took place in more than 70 areas across the US and Canada


An article from Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement

During the past week (as of October 23, 2022), antiwar actions were held in more than 70 areas.  The actions took place mostly in the United States in answer to a call from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), but we were joined by a coalition of antiwar groups from Canada and also by some European countries.  We did not expect such an overwhelming response from our movement, but we learned people are ready to hit the streets and build a strong unified antiwar movement.

Understanding that the 2 main parties in the US are both imperialist and pro-war, the actions were called right before the US midterm elections.  Although the US and NATO are neck deep in their war with Russia in Ukraine and we may be closer to nuclear war than at any time in the past, there was no debate about war during this election period.  This despite that fact that the sanctions on Russia along with the US destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines has led to an economic crisis in the US and especially in Europe that is causing great hardship to the working people in North America and Europe.

(Article continued in right column)

Question for this article:

The peace movement in the United States, What are its strengths and weaknesses?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Article continued from left column)

The Ukraine war is also exposing deep cracks in the US empire that will change the world.  After the humiliating defeat of the US and NATO in Afghanistan, the looming defeat of the US and NATO in Ukraine along with the economic crisis is moving countries out of the orbit of the US as power is shifting to the East.  Few countries, especially in the Global South have gone along with the US sanctions on Russia.  We have also seen cracks in NATO and the European Union as the US uses the crisis to try and move Europe away from its trade relationships with Russian and China in order to bring more profit to US corporations at the expense of Europe.

So, it is extremely important that our actions took place and it is extremely important that they continue.  In Canada, a coalition was developed to build the actions that has the potential of strengthen their movement and, in the US, we must do the same.  Although, the major news media ignored our actions, we were in the streets and visible and are stronger for it.

If your group is not a member of UNAC, it is more important than ever that it joins.  In unity, there is strength.  To have your peace or social justice group join UNAC,  please go here.

UNAC demands:
Stop Washington’s war moves toward Russia and China
Stop endless wars: Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, everywhere

Guest Opinion: Why become an International City of Peace?


An article by Frank Thacker from The Westerly Sun

In early 2018 the Westerly Area Peace and Justice Group learned about the International Cities of Peace. After some discussion we decided to submit an applicate to become an ICP.

Why? As you can surmise there were more than a few reasons, but the major motivation was rooted in the well-known slogan “Think globally, act locally.” ICP is a global association of cities acting locally, and since Westerly Area Peace and Justice is a group acting locally and thinking globally, it seemed like good fit.

(article continued in right column)

Question related to this article:
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

(article continued from left column)

Even before BEOC was formed, Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess, whose We were also very much aligned with their foundational vision of ensuring everyone’s right to safety, prosperity and quality, with their essential mission of building a scalable network of “in situ” teams committed to peace-building in cities around the world, and their essential goal of certifying and recommending thousands of self-organized municipalities as Cities of Peace in order to put in motion a tipping force for global peace.

In addition to the deep-rooted common values that motivated us to become an International City of Peace, there is an almost infinite array of resources available for members of ICP. These range from information of “how to” materials, to education including access to exhibits and teaching tools, to online learning via videos and documents. In addition, ICP provides a free website page for our community as well as a blog presence.

While the above is important and we are grateful for all the benefits of Westerly-Pawcatuck being an International City of Peace over the years, we have learned that the greatest benefit of being a member of ICP is the sense of hope and inspiration we have received as we learn about all the powerful work being done by hundreds of cities around the globe to create a culture of peace.

The writer is a resident of Westerly and a member of the Westerly Peace and Justice Group.

Fresno, California: Community commemorates Sudarshan Kapoor during 33rd annual Gandhi celebration


An article from Collegian CSU Fresno

Fresno State hosted the annual celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 153rd birthday while also honoring the work of Sudarshan Kapoor on Oct. 4 at the Fresno State Peace Garden.

The celebration, which served to spread the message of “Stop the Hate, Stop the Gun Violence, Build a Culture of Peace,” commemorated Kapoor’s efforts in spreading peace and anti-violence rhetoric. He was the founder and first director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and also served on Fresno’s Human Relations Commission for 12 years. 

To this, he said change was needed to achieve for development and added that Kapoor is currently a philosophy professor at Fresno State and founded the Peace Gardens project to fund the Peace Garden where the event was held.

The event featured speeches from guests such as Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, who emphasized the importance of building a culture and community of peace in Fresno.

“Our students and faculty come from all backgrounds and corners of the world, and it’s especially important that we promote Gandhi’s legacy of nonviolence,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “Indeed, Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of social concern and care for human dignity are more relevant today than ever.”

Kapoor is currently a philosophy professor at Fresno State and founded the Peace Gardens project to fund the Peace Garden where the event was held.

The event featured speeches from guests such as Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, who emphasized the importance of building a culture and community of peace in Fresno.

(continued in right column)

Questions for this article:

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

(continued from left column)

“Our students and faculty come from all backgrounds and corners of the world, and it’s especially important that we promote Gandhi’s legacy of nonviolence,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “Indeed, Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of social concern and care for human dignity are more relevant today than ever.”

Dyer reiterated the necessity of a united community. 

“We have a vision today of being an inclusive, prosperous, beautiful city where people take pride in their neighborhood and their community,” Dyer said. “[We need] the message of nonviolence, peace, oneness and unity.”

Dyer announced that Oct. 4 would be recognized as Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Day in Fresno, presenting Kapoor with a plaque of the city’s proclamation to recognize the professor’s service to the community.

Kapoor was also awarded the Community Service Excellence Award by the Central California Society of India (CCSI).

Deepika Shiroy, the current president of the CCSI, presented Kapoor with the award and commending his devoted work in Fresno. 

“Community work sometimes can be [a] disheartening, back-breaking affair,” Shiroy said. “Every community needs a pioneer that inspires us to continue the good work day in and day out.”

During the event, Kapoor spoke about the hardships he experienced in his life. Having moved from India across the continent and then across the world to the U.S., he came to the San Joaquin Valley in 1967. 

“[My family and I] love Fresno. We have raised our children here,” Kapoor said. “ I belong to Fresno State, and Fresno State belongs to me. That’s the kind of relationship I have with this university.”

Songs and dances were performed during the celebration, including a performance by Fresno Unified School District students of “Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram,” a prayer song popularized by Ghandi. The event also featured a performance by the Raging Grannies, an activist group composed of older women who sing songs promoting social justice and peace.The celebration was part of a larger event known as “The Highway to Healing: Understanding the Ocean of Oneness.” The two-day program featured talks about Gandhian principles and Jain/Hindu Dharma traditions, discussing how they can help people find peace during times of disorder.