Tag Archives: North America

USA: At March for Our Lives, A Call for a Nationwide Strike of Schools

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in over 450 protests across the country Saturday demanding lawmakers take action on gun control laws in the wake of recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. March for Our Lives, the youth-led organization created by students who survived the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, organized Saturday’s rallies.


An aerial view of large crowds are seen during the ‘March For Our Lives’ protest as they march on Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, United States on June 11, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun via Getty Images)

“Avoid attending school if your leaders fail to do the job and keep us safe from gun violence.”

Patricia and Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was among those killed in Parkland, addressed the Washington, DC crowd announcing a new campaign called I Will Avoid.  “Our elected officials have betrayed us and avoid the responsibility to end gun violence…Today we announce a new call to action, because I think it’s time to bring a consequence to their inaction.”

Manuel said, “If lawmakers who have the power to keep us safe from gun violence are going to avoid taking action,” then he’s calling for a nationwide strike of schools, from elementary to college.

“Avoid attending school if your leaders fail … to keep us safe,” he said. “Avoid going back to school if President Biden fails to open a White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention so that we can finally give this issue the attention that it deserves.”

He added, “If lawmakers who have the power to keep us safe from gun violence are going to avoid taking action that will save our lives, then young people across this country, everyone else who can hear my voice should also avoid. Avoid attending school if your leaders fail to do the job and keep us safe from gun violence.”

Manuel echoed a call published last month in The Atlantic magazine “Students Should Refuse to Go Back to School” as reported by Common Dreams.

“What I say here today is mostly directed at Congress…I have reached my fucking limit! – X Gonzalez”

Parkland shooting survivor and activist X Gonzalez also spoke at the Washington rally: “What I say here today is mostly directed at Congress. I’ve spent these past four years doing my best to keep my rage in check, to keep my profanity at a minimum so that everyone can understand and appreciate the arguments I’m trying to make, but I have reached my fucking limit!”

Gonzalez drew loud cheers from the crowd. “We are being murdered. Cursing will not rob us of our innocence. You say that children are the future, and you never fucking listen to what we say once we’re old enough to disagree with you, you decaying degenerates! You really want to protect children? Pass some fucking gun laws!”

In Portland, Maine, hundreds rallied in a park outside the courthouse before they marched through the Old Port and gathered outside of City Hall. As they marched, they chanted, “Hey, hey, hey, NRA, how many kids have to die today.”


Washington, D.C . – Photo from @noahmitchell0


Portland, Maine – photo from @souelette


Nashville, Tennessee – photo from @memangrum

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Question related to this article:

Do you think handguns should be banned?, Why or why not?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Wilmington, North Carolina – photo from @SharonMahony


Oakland, California – photo from @MSCuriel


Boston, Massachusetts – photo from @Rmwarren53Bob


Oxford, Michigan – photo from @jean2rector


Denver, Colorado – photo from @CraigHebrink


Minneapolis, Minnesota – photo from @olivstev

Hundreds Protest, Block Entrances to North America’s Largest Weapons Fair

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from World Beyond War

Hundreds of people have blocked access to the opening of CANSEC, North America’s largest weapons and “defense industry” convention at the EY Centre in Ottawa. 40 foot banners saying “Blood On Your Hands,” “Stop Profiting From War,” and “Arms Dealers Not Welcome” obstructed driveways and pedestrian entrances as attendees attempted to register for and enter the convention centre immediately before Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand was slated to give the opening keynote address.


“The same conflicts around the world which have brought misery to millions have brought record profits to arms manufacturers this year,” said Rachel Small, organizer with World BEYOND War. “These war profiteers have blood on their hands and we are making it impossible for anyone to attend their weapons fair without directly confronting the violence and bloodshed they are complicit in. We’re disrupting CANSEC in solidarity with the millions of people around the world who are being killed, who are suffering, who are being displaced as a result of the weapons sold and military deals made by the people and corporations inside this convention. While more than six million refugees fled Ukraine this year, while more than 400,000 civilians have been killed in seven years of war in Yemen, while at least 13 Palestinian children were killed in the West Bank since the start of 2022, the weapons companies sponsoring and exhibiting in CANSEC are raking in record billions in profits. They are the only people who win these wars.”

Lockheed Martin, one of the major sponsors of CANSEC, has seen their stocks soar nearly 25 percent since the start of the new year, while Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman each saw their stock prices rise by around 12 percent. Just prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Officer James Taiclet said on an earnings call that he predicted the conflict would lead to inflated defence budgets and additional sales for the company. Greg Hayes, CEO of Raytheon, another CANSEC sponsor, told investors earlier this year that the company expected to see “opportunities for international sales” amid the Russian threat. He added: “I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.” Hayes received an annual compensation package of $23 million in 2021, an 11% increase over the previous year.

“The weapons, vehicles and technologies promoted at this arms show have profound implications for human rights in this country and around the world,” said Brent Patterson, Director of Peace Brigades International Canada. “What is celebrated and sold here means human rights violations, surveillance and death.”

Canada has become one of the world’s top arms dealers globally, and is the second biggest weapons supplier  to the Middle East region. Most Canadian arms are exported to Saudi Arabia and other countries engaged in violent conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, even though these customers were repeatedly implicated in serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Since the beginning of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen in early 2015, Canada has exported approximately $7.8 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, primarily armored vehicles produced by CANSEC exhibitor GDLS. Now in its seventh year, the war in Yemen has killed over 400,000 people, and created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Exhaustive analysis  by Canadian civil society organizations has credibly shown these transfers constitute a breach of Canada’s obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the trade and transfer of weapons, given well-documented instances of Saudi abuses against its own citizens and the people of Yemen. International groups like the Yemen-based Mwatana for Human Rights, as well as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also documented the devastating role of bombs produced by CANSEC sponsors like Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin in air strikes on Yemen that hit, among other civilian targets, a marketplace, a wedding, and a school bus.

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Question related to this article:

How can the peace movement become stronger and more effective?

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“Outside its borders, Canadian corporations plunder the oppressed nations of the world while Canadian imperialism benefits from its role as a junior partner in U.S.-led imperialism’s vast complex of military and economic warfare,” said Aiyanas Ormond, with the International League of Peoples’ Struggle. “From its plunder of the mineral wealth of the Philippines, to its support for Israeli occupation, apartheid and war crimes in Palestine, to its criminal role in the occupation and plunder of Haiti, to its sanctions and regime change machinations against Venezuela, to arms exports to other imperialist states and client regimes, Canadian imperialism uses its military and police to attack the people, suppress their just struggles for self-determination and for national and social liberation and to maintain its regime of exploitation and plunder. Let’s join together to shut down this war machine!”

In 2021, Canada exported more than $26 million in military goods to Israel, an increase of 33% over the previous year. This included at least $6 million in explosives. Last year, Canada signed a contract to purchase drones from Israel’s largest weapons maker and CANSEC exhibitor Elbit Systems, which supplies 85% of drones used by the Israeli military to monitor and attack Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. An Elbit Systems subsidiary, IMI Systems, is the main provider of 5.56 mm bullets, the same type of bullet that was used by Israeli occupation forces to murder Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

CANSEC exhibitor the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a government agency that facilitates deals between Canadian arms exporters and foreign governments recently brokered a $234 million deal to sell 16 Bell 412 helicopters to the military of the Philippines.  Ever since his election in 2016, the regime of Philippine president  Rodrigo Duterte has been marked by a reign of terror  that has killed thousands under the guise of an anti-drug campaign, including journalists, labor leaders, and human rights activists.

12,000 attendees are expected to gather for the CANSEC arms fair this year, bringing together an estimated 306 exhibitors, including weapons manufacturers, military technology and supply companies, media outlets, and government agencies. 55 international delegations are also slated to attend. The weapons expo is organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), which represents more than 900 Canadian defense and security companies.

BACKGROUND

Hundreds of lobbyists in Ottawa represent arms dealers not only competing for military contracts, but lobbying the government to shape the policy priorities to fit the military equipment they are hawking. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, BAE, General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, Airbus, United Technologies and Raytheon all have offices in Ottawa to facilitate access to government officials, most of them within a few blocks from Parliament. CANSEC and its predecessor, ARMX, have faced staunch opposition for over three decades. In April 1989, Ottawa City Council responded to opposition to the arms fair by voting to stop the ARMX arms show taking place at Lansdowne Park and other City-owned properties. On May 22, 1989, more than 2,000 people marched from Confederation Park up Bank Street to protest the arms fair at Lansdowne Park. The following day, Tuesday May 23, the Alliance for Non-Violence Action organized a mass protest in which 160 people were arrested. ARMX did not return to Ottawa until March 1993 when it took place at the Ottawa Congress Centre under the rebranded name Peacekeeping ’93. After facing significant protest ARMX didn’t happen again until May 2009 when it appeared as the first CANSEC arms show, again held at Lansdowne Park, which had been sold from the city of Ottawa to the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton in 1999.

‘We Refuse to Go On Like This’: US Students Walk Out to Demand Gun Control

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Julia Conley from Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Students across the United States walked out of their classrooms Thursday to protest gun violence and years of inaction in Washington, D.C. they blame for allowing mass shootings to continue, like the one that killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School this week.

At 12:00 p.m. Eastern time, students and teachers at more than 80 elementary, middle, and high schools took part in the nationwide demonstration organized by Students Demand Action, a branch of Everytown for Gun Safety.

“We refuse to go on like this,” tweeted the organization.

“We plan to host a walkout in protest of gun violence in schools and inaction regarding gun laws this Thursday at 11 a.m. in accordance with the nationwide walkout,” wrote  students in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. “We believe it is very important that our community recognizes the voices of students regarding mass shootings in schools as we are the group most affected by this new reality, yet have the least say in changing the laws and statutes that impact us so much.”

Northwood High School students in Irvine, California condemned “the ‘thoughts and prayers’ of our so-called leaders” and called gun violence and mass shootings, which have taken place at 27 U.S. schools  so far this year, “a symptom of a larger disease of white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and antisemitism that often motivates deranged shooters to carry out these horrors.”

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Question related to this article:

Do you think handguns should be banned?, Why or why not?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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“We strongly believe in the right of Americans, especially students in light of recent shootings in Texas, to lead a free, prosperous, and secure life in the wealthiest nation on Earth,” they wrote. “We are walking out because we refuse to accept a country where gunfire can ring out at any moment, whether it’s while grocery shopping at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, at a party in San Bernardino, or at graduations across the country. Enough is enough. No more thoughts and prayers.”

The walkouts are being held as representatives of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and Everytown join Democratic lawmakers at a rally in Washington, D.C. to demand passage of gun control laws  such as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8), which would expand background checks for all gun purchases and transfers, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 1446), which would close a loophole that allows gun sales without a background check if three businesses days have passed.

“We ask our senators: WHO do you work for?” said  Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action. “Do you work for the 90% of Americans who support common-sense gun safety laws? Or do you work for gun manufacturers who pad their pockets and protect their power while over 110 Americans are shot and killed every day?”

Mia Tretta, a survivor of the Saugus High School shooting in Santa Clarita, California that killed two of her classmates in November 2019, organized a walkout at her school, tweeting, “I’m sorry I couldn’t do my homework, I was planning a life-saving revolution.”

David Hogg, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida in February 2018 and co-founder of March for Our Lives, called on  communities across the U.S. to hold vigils at their local elementary schools Thursday evening and suggested students hold regular walkouts until legislative action is taken.

“Legislators need to keep in mind that if we can’t vote now, they need to listen because we will be able to vote eventually,” Maddie Ahmadi, a 17-year-old advisory board member for Students Demand Action, told  Bloomberg. “And if they are not hearing us and they are not passing common sense gun legislation, we are going to vote them out of office.”

Position of World’s Governments on Ukraine Considered Insane Pacifism in U.S.

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A blog by David Swanson, World BEYOND War

The stance taken on Ukraine by many of the governments of the world is outside acceptable debate in the United States.

The Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres has proposed a ceasefire, urged a negotiated settlement, and met with the President of Russia despite opposition in the West to doing so. Pope Francis has urged a ceasefire and negotiations, declared that no war can be justified, and encouraged workers to block weapons shipments. China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun has urged nations’ governments to pursue a ceasefire and offered China’s assistance.

The President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has urged pursuit of a ceasefire and negotiated settlement. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio have even proposed a draft agreement. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged a ceasefire and peace talks. The President of France Emanuel Macron has proposed a ceasefire, negotiations, and the creation of new non-military alliances.

Brazil’s ambassador to the United Nations Ronaldo Costa Filho has urged an immediate ceasefire. The President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz have urged a ceasefire and negotiations. Chair of the African Union President of Senegal Macky Sall has called for a ceasefire. South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations Jerry Matjila and Deputy President David Mabuza have called for a ceasefire and negotiations.

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

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

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On its face, or if we were talking about any war other than Ukraine, this might all seem sensible, even inevitable. A war must eventually be ended, either through negotiation or by putting an end to us all via nuclear apocalypse. The belief by both sides that ending it later will be better is almost always catastrophically wrong. The unwillingness to end wars is driven largely by hatred, resentment, and the corrupt influences that create wars in the first place. So, a negotiated settlement must come, and the sooner the better. A ceasefire, of course, need not wait for a resolution of all issues, only for a credible commitment to negotiate by all sides.

But we are talking about Ukraine here, and U.S. media has persuaded much of the U.S. public that nothing short of the destruction or elimination of the Russian government is morally worthy of consideration, even if it risks nuclear holocaust for the planet.

This might be an occasion to consider how the United States differs from the rest of the world on other matters military. The U.S. spends vastly more money on militarism than any other government, about as much as the next 10 nations put together, 8 of those 10 being U.S. weapons customers pressured by the U.S. to spend more.

Below those top 11 military spenders, do you know how many nations it takes to add up to the same level of spending as the U.S. engages in? It’s a trick question. You can add up the spending of the next 142 countries and not come anywhere close.

U.S. weapons exports are more than those of the next five countries.
The U.S. holds well over 90% of the world’s foreign military bases, that is bases that are in someone else’s country. The U.S. is the only country with nuclear weapons in someone else’s country; it has nukes in Turkey, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany — and is now putting them in the UK.

It’s possible that, in fact, the world’s governments have been taken over by deranged Putin-loving pacifistic lunatics. But it’s a fact that U.S. culture has been saturated for decades in pro-war infotainment, and that the world’s biggest booster of militarism is the U.S. government. It’s possible that this had had some effect on the ability of the U.S. public to consider sensible alternatives to war.

‘It’s a Fight They’ll Get’: Defenders of Abortion Rights March throughout the United States

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Jon Queally from Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.)

Marches and rallies took place in cities across the United States on Saturday as defenders of reproductive rights vowed to defend the country against a looming decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that would eviscerate protections enshrined in Roe v Wade for nearly half a century.

Scene in Washington D.C.

Under the banner of “Bans Off Our Bodies,” the demonstrations took place in cities large and small but with a shared message.

“If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” said Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, one of the groups who organized the day of action along with Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, MoveOn, and others.

Carmona, who participated in the major rally that took place in Washington, D.C., said women and their allies nationwide were marching nationwide “to see an end to the attacks on our bodies,” and vowed, “You can expect for women to be completely ungovernable until this government starts to work for us.”

In Chicago, where thousands also marched, Marj Haleerin of the executive committee of the Indivisible Chicago Alliance, said, “Right now, a minority of lawmakers in Washington are taking away our voice. So we’re here, thousands strong, to use our voice and stand up for what we believe in.”

Betty Linville, a 68-year-old living in Los Angeles, attended the rally in that city and said she remembers a time before Roe. 

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Question related to this article:

Abortion: is it a human right?

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“I have memories of women and men fighting for abortion rights 50 years ago,” Linville told the Los Angeles Times. She explained to the paper her worries that the “incredible freedom” of legal abortion could soon be lost, especially for women who lack the means to travel from a state where it is banned to one where it is allowed.  “What is next?” she said. “What else is going to be taken away?”

Organizers said Saturday’s rallies should be seen as only the beginning of a “Summer of Rage” that will continue through the expected official ruling from the Court in June and into the mid-term elections.

“Today is day one of an uprising to protect abortion rights,” said one speaker at the D.C. rally. “It is day one of our feminist future. And it is day one of a ‘Summer of Rage’ where we will be ungovernable. Ungovernable!”

Check out just some of the demonstrations that took place Saturday.

Washington, D.C.:

Columbia, South Carolina:

New York City:

Chicago:

Portland, Maine:

Boston:

Cleveland:

Austin:

Los Angeles:

Back in New York City—where thousands marched across the Brooklyn Bridge shouting “Hands off our Bodies!” and “We won’t go back!”—Gilda Perkin, an 88-year-old artist who spoke to the New York Daily News said she also recognized the historic significance of the fight ahead.

“I’ve been at this a long time, there’s no going back,” Perkin said. “I’m passionate about this issue and I won’t stop. Women need to be strong and speak. We can’t expect anyone else to fight for us so we have to do it ourselves.”

Ukraine on Fire (2016 Documentary)

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A documentary film by Oliver Stone as described in transcend media service

Here is the trailer from the documentary film by Oliver Stone, Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer, about the history of Ukraine, what happened in Kiev in 2014, and the role of western media and USA in what happened on Maidan. The film was made in 2016 but only made public this year on March 5.


Frame from the video

Description from IMDB: Ukraine. Across its eastern border is Russia and to its west-Europe. For centuries, it has been at the center of a tug-of-war between powers seeking to control its rich lands and access to the Black Sea. 2014’s Maidan Massacre triggered a bloody uprising that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and painted Russia as the perpetrator by Western media. But was it? “Ukraine on Fire” by Igor Lopatonok provides a historical perspective for the deep divisions in the region which lead to the 2004 Orange Revolution, 2014 uprisings, and the violent overthrow of democratically elected Yanukovych.


Frame from the video

Covered by Western media as a people’s revolution, it was in fact a coup d’état scripted and staged by nationalist groups and the U.S. State Department. Investigative journalist Robert Parry reveals how U.S.-funded political NGOs and media companies have emerged since the 80s replacing the CIA in promoting America’s geopolitical agenda abroad.

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

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Frame from the video

The film documents a leaked discussion between Victoria Nuland, US State Dept Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine in which they discuss how to create a government friendly to the US. (The full conversation is available here on a different Youtube video.

Frame from the video

Of particular relevance to today’s war in the Ukraine is the following dialogue in the film between Oliver Stone and Vladimir Putin:

OS. NATO has now expanded into 13 more countries.

VP. Why do we react so vehemently to NATO’s expansion? When a country becomes a member of NATO, it can’t resist pressure from the U.S.A. Soon, anything can appear in the country, missile defense systems, new bases, new missile strike systems. What should we do?

Global Progressive Leaders Urge Biden to Drop US Charges Against Assange

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

A coalition of progressive leaders from across the globe demanded Monday (April 11) that the Biden administration immediately drop all charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently jailed in a high-security London prison as he fights U.S. extradition attempts.


Demonstrators rally in support of freeing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside of the Royal Courts of Justice in London on January 24, 2022. (Photo: Thomas Krych/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press constitute an instrument that can controvert the interests of any government.”

In a letter to Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), more than 30 progressive advocates, intellectuals, and former heads of state argued that dropping the Espionage Act charges against Assange would “send a strong message to the world: that freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press constitute an instrument that can controvert the interests of any government, including that of the United States of America.”

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Click here for the Spanish original of this article.

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?

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“The cases where there are reports of serious violations of freedom of expression would also be impacted by the dropping of the 18 charges against Assange,” the letter reads. “It would affirm the defense of this fundamental human right and would undoubtedly represent a clear and robust sign that everyone can express their opinion without fear of retaliation; that all the press outlets can give news to all the citizens of the world, with the certainty that the pluralism of thought is guaranteed.”

Signed by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chilean intellectual Carlos Ominami, and 30 others, the letter was sent on the third anniversary of Assange’s forced removal from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019.

Assange has since been languishing in Belmarsh prison under conditions that human rights experts have characterized as “torture.” Last month, the U.K. Supreme Court denied Assange’s request to appeal an earlier decision allowing him to be extradited to the U.S., where he could face up to 175 years in prison.

The charges against Assange stem from his publication of classified material that exposed U.S. war crimes, including video footage of American forces gunning down civilians in Iraq.

Given that journalists frequently report on and publish classified documents, U.S. efforts to prosecute Assange have been denounced as a grave threat to press freedoms.

But despite pressure from rights groups, the Biden Justice Department has continued to pursue charges against Assange that were originally brought by the Trump administration, which reportedly considered kidnapping or assassinating the WikiLeaks founder.

In their letter on Monday, the progressive leaders wrote that the U.S. “has a long tradition of defending freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press.”

“It is precisely in the name of this tradition,” they wrote, “that we, progressive leaders of the world, address you to ask that, within the scope of its constitutional and legal competence, in respect of due process of law and the democratic rule of law, that your presidency exercise its prerogative of dropping all 18 charges leveled against journalist Julian Paul Assange.”

USA: A Labor Statement on the Crisis in Ukraine

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A petition available at Action Network

A LABOR STATEMENT ON THE CRISIS IN UKRAINE

by Founders, Leaders and Supporters of
U.S. Labor Against the War*

To: President Joseph Biden

From: [Your Name]

We oppose the bellicose behavior of the U.S. government regarding the crisis in Ukraine. We condemn U.S. provocative rhetoric and preparations for yet another war. We condemn the destabilizing policies the U.S. has pursued that have contributed to the crisis, in this case especially the steady expansion of NATO eastward toward Russia.

We oppose the bellicose behavior of the U.S. government regarding the crisis in Ukraine. We condemn U.S. provocative rhetoric and preparations for yet another war. We condemn the destabilizing policies the U.S. has pursued that have contributed to the crisis, in this case especially the steady expansion of NATO eastward toward Russia.

To defuse the crisis and lay a foundation for its diplomatic resolution, the U.S. should immediately declare its policy and commitment that NATO will not advance any further toward the Russian border. Ukraine’s entry into NATO requires the unanimous agreement of all existing NATO members. Ukraine has no automatic right to join NATO. The US has no obligation to hold open the possibility of that opportunity. Rather than deploying thousands of US troops and billions of dollars in military hardware to the region, which only serves to inflame the situation, the US should make clear its commitment that NATO will not expand any further toward Russia, and that NATO and the US will deploy no missiles or other aggressive weapons or forces in any state on Russia’s borders, recognizing that NATO currently already includes states that border Russia: Norway, Estonia, and Latvia.

We call upon the US, other NATO countries, Ukraine and Russia to de-escalate their confrontation, pull all military forces back from their borders, and engage in good faith negotiations to resolve their differences based on the concept of “common security” in which the strategic interests of all parties are addressed.

The US military-industrial complex has an insatiable appetite for war and the threat and preparation for war. Despite having just ended its “forever war” in Afghanistan, the US is increasing its military budget for the coming year to an astounding $768 billion. We must not allow Congress to once again squander hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending, money that is urgently needed for the full Build Back Better agenda to meet the needs of the American People. We must contract, rather than continue to expand US military operations around the world, operations that are already the world’s leading contributor to carbon emissions and global warming.

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

How can the peace movement become stronger and more effective?

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We invite and encourage other leaders, organizers, and activists in the US labor movement to sign on to this statement, pass resolutions along these lines in their unions, and press all members of Congress and President Biden to reverse course and declare that the US will not support continued NATO expansion to Russia’s borders. Twenty years of the so-called “Global War on Terror” should have taught us that complex international disputes cannot be resolved by military might. Patient, persistent multilateral diplomacy that addresses the security interests of all parties is what is now required.

The resources now plowed into war and preparation for war should be devoted to meeting the urgent needs of working class people and addressing the global challenge of climate change. We and the world cannot afford another senseless, wasteful, and destructive military conflict.

Signatories (Organizations listed for ID only)

David Bacon, Independent Photojournalist, Pacific Media Workers Guild/CWA

Kathy Black, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); AFSCME DC 47 (retired)

John Braxton, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); Co-President Emeritus, AFT Local 2026

Gene Bruskin, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired)

Elise Bryant, President, CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women); Exec Board Member, CWA/TNG Local 32035

Thomas Paine Cronin, President Emeritus, AFSCME DC47, Philadelphia

Jeff Crosby, former President, North Shore Labor Council

Ajamu Dillahunt, APWU Local President (retired); Black Workers for Justice(BWFJ); Southern Workers Assembly (SWA)

Michael Eisenscher, USLAW National Coordinator (retired); American Federation of Teachers AFT Local 1603; Publishers, SolidarityINFOSerivce

Frank Emspak, Producer, Exec. Producer, Madison Labor Radio

Bill Fletcher, Jr., former president of TransAfrica Forum; lifelong trade unionist

Tom Gogan, USLAW National Organizer (retired); National Writers Union

John Matthews, Executive Director (retired), Madison Teachers, Inc.

Bob Muehlenkamp, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); Organizing Director (retired), International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Saladin Muhammad, member Black Workers for Justice; Southern Workers Assembly; International Rep of UE (retired)

David Newby, President Emeritus, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO

Marcia Newfield, Professional Staff Congress- CUNY, AFT 2334 (retired)

Peter Olney, Director of Organizing ILWU (retired)

Carl Rosen, President, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America

Edward Sadlowski, Former Exec. Dir. of Madison Teachers, Inc.

Anthony Sessa, General Chair, BMWED Teamsters; General Chair, Passenger Rail Federation

Barbara Smith, AFT Local 4848

Brooks Sunkett, USLAW National Co-convenor (retired); Vice President, Communications Workers of America (retired)

Rand Wilson, Former Organizer, Labor for Bernie

Nancy Wohlforth, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); National Secretary-Treasurer, Office & Professional Workers International Union (retired)

Michael Zweig, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); United University Professions – AFT 2190

*U.S. Labor Against the War ended in 2020.

The Expert Dialogue on NATO-Russia Risk Reduction: Seven recommendations

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A publication by the European Leadership Network

In December 2020, the ELN published a set of recommendations that came out of a series of senior expert discussions led by ELN members Sergey Rogov and Alexey Gromyko on Russia-NATO risk reduction. The recommendations addressed most of the areas of common ground so far sketched in Russian, US and NATO exchanges during the present crisis. Had those recommendations been acted upon, we might now be on a better path away from crisis.

In this new statement, signed by 75 members of the expert group including retired diplomats and military officers from the United States, Russia and Europe, we renew to all sides seven of our recommendations, updated to meet the present situation. Taken together these measures would materially contribute not just to a reduction of Russia-NATO tension but a reduction of Russia-NATO risk.

The recommendations are:

1. Regular meetings should be held between the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, reinforced by military experts, to address issues of current concern.

2. In addition, NATO member states and Russia should resume contacts at the level of military representatives in the NATO Military Committee and restore the Russian military liaison mission at SACEUR Headquarters.

3. Russia and NATO member states could agree that both sides will conduct large-scale military exercises, as a rule, at a militarily meaningful distance from their borders, but where geography prevents this then additional measures of notification, transparency and predictability must be taken. They should consider reducing the scale and frequency of military activities with respect to numbers and geography, in particular exercises near borders. Generally, military exercises should be executed responsibly, not provocatively.

4. Both sides could take initial steps in the form of parallel unilateral measures that do not necessarily require conclusion of a formal agreement between NATO, or NATO member states, and Russia, which could prove politically difficult to achieve in the present environment.

5. Russia and the United States could confirm that, irrespective of the course of the present crisis, they will systematically develop their dialogue on the future of strategic stability and cyber security as agreed at their Geneva summit in June 2021.

6. Russia and NATO could immediately agree to launch negotiations on a new zero option for the deployment in Europe of US and Russian intermediate-range land-based missiles and their launchers.

7. Russia and NATO member states could immediately agree to launch negotiations on a package of measures on the basis of the existing bilateral and multilateral agreements on prevention of incidents at sea and above the sea, and on prevention of dangerous military activities.

Read the full statement in English and Russian here.

The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security policy challenges of our time.

Russian signatories
Name Position
1. Dmitry Danilov Head, Department of European security, Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)
2. Victor Esin Colonel General (ret.), Former Head of the Main Staff of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, Research Professor, Centre for Advanced Studies of Russian National Security, HSE University
3. Alexandra Filippenko Senior Research Fellow, Department for Military-Political Research, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)
4. Valery Garbuzov Director, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)
5. Alexey Gromyko Director, Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS), Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
6. Evgenia Issraelian Leading Research Fellow, Department of Canadian Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)
7. Igor Ivanov Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2004), former Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation (2004-2007), President of Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC)
8. Andrey Kortunov Director General, Russian International Affairs Council
9. Oleg Krivolapov Senior Research Fellow, Department for Military-Political Research, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)
10. Valentin Kuznetsov Vice Admiral (ret.), former Chief Military Representative of the RF at NATO, Senior Research Fellow, Department for Military-Political Research, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN);
11. Vladimir Lukin Russian Ambassador to the United States (1992-1994), director on the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the RF
12. Alexander Nikitin Director, Center for Euro-Atlantic Security, Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO), Honorary President of the Russian Association of Political Science
13. Mikhail Nosov Member of Directorate, Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)
14. Sergey Oznobishev Head, Department of Military and Political Analysis and Research Projects, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO)
15. Pavel Palazhchenko Head of Press Office, Gorbachev Foundation
16. Alexander Panov Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Honored Member of the Russian Diplomatic Service, Head, Department of Diplomacy MGIMO University
17. Sergey Rogov Academic Director, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN), Chairman 4 of the International Security Advisory Board of the Scientific Council at the Security Council of the Russian Federation; Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
18. Pavel Sharikov Leading Research Fellow, Department of the European Integration, Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)
19. Igor Sherbak Former First Deputy of the Permanent Representative of the RF at the United Nations, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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20. Alexey Stepanov Research Fellow, Department for Military-Political Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)
21. Nataliya Stepanova Research Fellow, Department for Military-Political Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)
22. Alexander Usoltsev Head, International Relations Department, Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR)
23. Fedor Voytolovsky Director, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
24. Igor Yurgens President of the All-Russian Insurance Association, Member of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs
25. Andrey Zagorskiy Head, Department for Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Studies, Primakov National Research Institute for World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)
26. Pavel Zolotarev Major General (ret.), Leading Research Fellow, Department of Military-Political Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)

European and American signatories
Name Position
27. James Acton Co-director, Nuclear Policy Program Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
28. Roy Allison Professor of Russian and Eurasian International Relations, Director, Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford
29. James Bindenagel Ambassador (ret.), Henry Kissinger Professor, Center for Advanced Security, Strategy and Integration Studies Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
30. Sharan Burrow General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
31. Richard Burt Chairman of Global Zero US, US Chief Negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the former Soviet Union, former US Ambassador to Germany
32. Pierce Corden Former division chief, United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and research fellow at the Center for Science,Technology and Security Policy, Amer. Assoc. for the Advancement of Science 5
33. Christopher Davis Professorial Research Fellow, University of Oxford
34. Marc Finaud Head of Arms Proliferation and Diplomatic Tradecraft, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
35. Nancy Gallagher Director, Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
36. Helmut W. Ganser Brigadier General (ret.), Defence Advisor to the German NATO Delegation 2004-2008, Brussels
37. Joseph Gerson President, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament & Common Security
38. Alexander Graef Research Fellow, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH)
39. Thomas Graham Managing director, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
40. Thomas Greminger Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), former Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
41. Sven Hirdman Ambassador to Russia 1994-2004, State Secretary Ministry of Defence of Sweden (1979-1982);
42. Jon Huntsman Former Ambassador to Russia, former Governor of Utah
43. Daryl Kimball Executive Director, Arms Control Association
44. Lawrence Korb US Navy Captain (ret.), former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reagan Administration, Senior Research Fellow, Center for American Progress, and Senior Advisor, Defense Information Center;
45. Reinhard Krumm Director, FES Office for Peace and Security, Friedrich-EbertStiftung
46. Ruediger Luedeking Ambassador (ret), former Deputy Commissioner of the German Federal Government for Disarmament and Arms Control
47. Douglas Lute Lieutenant General (rt.), US Ambassador to NATO, 2013- 2017, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard University
48. Jack Matlock US Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987-1991)
49. Hanna Notte Senior Research Associate, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP)
50. Olga Oliker PhD, Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
51. Janusz Onyszkiewicz Former Minister of National Defense of Poland
52. Zachary Paikin Researcher, EU Foreign Policy at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
53. William Perry former US Secretary of Defense, Director of the Preventive Defense Project at CISAC, FSI Senior Fellow
54. Andreas Persbo Research Director, ELN
55. Nicolai Petro Professor of Political Science, University of Rhode Island
56. Thomas Pickering Former US Under Secretary of State, former Ambassador to Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, the United Nations, India and Russia
57. Steven Pifer Former US Ambassador to Ukraine, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and research fellow at 6 Stanford University;
58. William Potter Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
59. Wolfgang Richter Colonel (ret.), Senior Military Advisor of the Permanent Representation of Germany to the OSCE, Vienna (2005– 2009); Senior Associate, International Security Division, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin (SWP)
60. Cynthia Roberts, Professor of Political Science, Hunter College, City University of New York, Senior Research Scholar, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies Columbia University
61. José M Treviño Ruiz Admiral SP Navy (retired)
62. Lynn Rusten Vice President for Global Nuclear Policy, Nuclear Threat Initiative
63. Kevin Ryan Brigadier-General (ret), Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center
64. Vladimir Senko Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
65. Reiner Schwalb Brigadier-General (ret), National German Representative at NATO Allied Command Transformation, Norfolk/VA, 2007- 2010; German Senior Defense Official and Attache to the Russian Federation, Moscow, 2011–2018
66. Stefano Silvestri Senior Scientifi c Advisor at Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), former Under Secretary of State for Defence, former President of IAI (2001-2013);
67. Graham Stacey Senior Consulting Fellow, ELN, former Chief of Staff of NATO Transformation
68. Strobe Talbott Distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, Deputy Secretary of State (1994-2001), President of the Brookings Institution (2002-2017)
69. Bruno Tertrais Deputy Director, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique (Foundation for Strategic Research, FRS)
70. Greg Thielmann Board member of the Arms Control Association, Commissioner of the U.S.-Russian-German “Deep Cuts” Project;
71. Adam Thomson Director of the European leadership network, Permanent UK representative to NATO (2014-2016)
72. Owen Tudor Deputy General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
73. Harlan Ullman Senior Advisor, Atlantic Council
74. Alexander Vershbow Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, former NATO Deputy Secretary General; former US Ambassador to South Korea, NATO, Russia; Distinguished Visiting Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House; Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
75. Dov Zakheim Vice Chair, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Former Under Secretary of Defense 7

USA: United National AntiWar Coalition : US and NATO aggression towards Russia – danger at the Ukrainian Border

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A statement from the United National AntiWar Coalition

The US government and its corporate media have been trying to build a case that Russia is getting ready to invade Ukraine.  Their main argument is that they have observed around 90,000 Russian troops near the border with Ukraine.  Near the border means that they are on Russian territory, this is what the US calls aggression.  Although US and NATO forces have surrounded Russia and have conducted military maneuvers right at the Russian border, that is deemed to be not provocative, but Russia massing troops in its own territory is.  What is never said in any of these reports is that there are 125,000 Ukrainian troops in the Donbass region right near the Russian border.  These troops have been freshly equipped by the US with advanced weaponry and US military “advisors” have been aiding them in their aggressive military posture.  The massing of Russian troops near its border is a defensive move on their part to counter the threat of the US and NATO and their ally Ukraine that wants NATO membership.

In 1990, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, James Baker the US secretary of state told the Soviet leaders that NATO would not expand east of Germany.  Since then, it has expanded into 14 countries in violation of that agreement, right up to the Russian border.  History has since shown the world that it is the US and its NATO allies that are the aggressors everywhere in the world.  It is the US with its military in more than 170 countries, with 20 times the number of foreign bases as all other countries in the world combined that has invaded and occupied one country after the next.  It is the US that spends almost as much on the military as all other countries combined. This is what the Russians fear and with good reason.
 
The Russians have only to look at the coup that the US orchestrated in Ukraine in 2014.  They can recall Senator John McCain speaking to the protesters in Maidan Square, Kiev, urging them forward to topple their government, and US diplomat Victoria Nuland as she brought treats for the Maidan protesters and was recorded on the phone saying “fuck the EU” because they wanted to replace the Ukrainian president with someone other than the US hand-picked person.  The US pick, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, of course, was installed as the new prime minister after the coup, and ever since the US has had important influence in Ukraine.  The new finance minister in the coup government was Natalie Jeresko, from the US and Joe Biden’s son took a role on the board of the largest Natural gas company in the country.   The new government contained far right and Nazi parties such as the Svoboda Party and others associated with a coalition of right-wing groups called the Right Sector.  In Ukraine today there are openly fascist militias, swastikas chalked on walls or displayed on jackets and torchlight marches through the streets with people chanting anti-Semitic and anti-Russian slogans.   This is what the US put in place and what Russia – who lost 20 million people to the Nazi terror in World War II – fears. 

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

How can the peace movement become stronger and more effective?

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The key demand of Russia is that Ukraine, which has the largest border with Russia of any European country, not become a NATO member.  They also demand that the U.S. and NATO back off on their approach to the Russian border and stop placing armed nuclear installations on their border.   The US/NATO/Ukraine aggression is happening at a time when the Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelenskiy has been making promises to “win back” Crimea and has started an offensive against the Eastern break-away regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.  All three areas are Russian speaking regions that rejected the 2014 coup as far-right and Nazi forces took hold of the government.  The people of Crimea voted by over 90% to break from Ukraine and re-integrate into Russia since they had been part of Russia untill 1956 anyway.  In the Donbass, which is the area of Luhansk and Donetsk, the people organized into the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, created their own flags and built people’s militias to defend their territory against the right-wing and anti-Russian government of Kiev.  Although a cease fire agreement was reached, it has been consistently violated by Kiev and recently the Zelenskiy government has stepped-up attacks in the regions.  More than 14,000 people have been killed in this war in the Eastern Ukraine.
 
Another reason for the recent US/Ukraine aggression may be because just recently, Russia completed its Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and is ready to turn it on.  This can provide gas to Germany and Europe at a much better price than the US can offer with its fracked gas.  This will also replace the Russian gas pipeline that runs through Ukraine.  Natural gas was a key factor in the 2014 Ukrainian coup.  Like many of the other recent US initiated wars, energy may be a big issue in this situation too.
 
We demand:

– No US weapons or military advisors for the Ukrainian military
– Stop the US saber rattling, No war with Russia
– Keep Ukraine out of NATO

(Editor’s note: UNAC brings together most of the leading antiwar organizations of the United States. A recent video conference of UNAC against war in the Ukraine included representatives of the ANSWER coalition, Black Alliance for Peace, CodePink, International Action Center, Popular Resistance, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, US Peace Council, Black Agenda Report, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Veterans for Peace and World Beyond War.)