Tag Archives: North America

“Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come”

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

“Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.” – Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes, 1936.

A press survey by CPNN

In recent weeks the press in the United States is filled with news about the difficulty to recruit into the military.

Bloomberg; “Military Recruitment Woes Endanger National Security.”

Fox News: “Lawmakers sound alarm over US military recruitment crisis”.

New York Times: “With Few Able and Fewer Willing, U.S. Military Can’t Find Recruits.”

Washington Post: “the Defense Department faces dramatic shortfalls bringing in new troops.”

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Question related to this article:
 
Can we see an increase in anti-war consciousness?

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At the same time there are also press reports about a problem of military recruitment in Russia

New York Times: “Russian forces desperately need new soldiers. Already, the government is using what some analysts call a “stealth mobilization” to bring in new recruits without resorting to a politically risky national draft. “Russia has a problem with recruitment and mobilization,” said Kamil Galeev, an analyst specializing in Russia. “It is basically desperate to get more men using any means possible.””

Newsweek: “The Center for Countering Disinformation suggested that these thousands of vacancies indicate the losses of the Russian army, and “the general problem with the recruitment of military personnel.”

Radio Free Europe: (for the war in the Ukraine) “Russia is facing a systemic manpower issue, and they are using multiple ad-hoc methods to fill in the gaps with volunteers, mercenaries, prison battalions, and personnel from other parts of the government like the national guard.”

Deutsche Welle: “Personnel shortages may be forcing Russia to turn to “non-traditional recruitment,” according to the UK intelligence update. “This includes recruiting personnel from Russian prisons for the Wagner Private Military Company. If true, this move likely indicates difficulties in replacing the significant numbers of Russian casualties.”

The problem of military recruitment in Russia is compounded by attacks on recruitment stations. According to the Moscw Times in May there had already been eight such attacks by means of Molotov cocktails.

United States: Statement by the National Council Of Elders

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from The Progressive Magazine

We are veterans of a long struggle for social justice in our nation and peace in the world. We are the National Council of Elders (NCOE) and stand alongside legions of elders who work to resist oppression and build dreams of new worlds. Our commitment is to accompany younger twenty-first-century leaders in their effort to bring a greater measure of justice, equality, and peace to our country and world. Individual members of the NCOE who are signing this statement are listed at its end. For more information about the NCOE, see www.nationalcouncilofelders.org.


February One is the name of the 2002 monument dedicated to Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond who were collectively known as the Greensboro Four. On February 1, 1960 they staged a sit-in at the Woolworth Department store in Greensboro, NC. All were students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in their freshman year. Shortly afterwards sit-ins began across the South. James Barnhill, sculptor

We are offering this out of our deep concern for the future. We are appalled at the brutality of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the killing and uprooting of thousands, and the destruction of their homeland.

Yet we have questions about our own country’s role in the lead-up to the war and the decision to supply Ukraine with weapons and intelligence information while failing to work for de-escalation of the conflict and for peace between Russia and Ukraine. Though Ukrainians are valiant, we must support them by insisting that there be negotiations toward peace before their country is utterly destroyed. We recognize the longing for peace within Russia, as many Russians risk their lives to denounce the invasion of Ukraine.

Our government has proven to be able to turn global crises into opportunities to extend its domination of other people and to gain control of resources. It must be stopped from waging a proxy war against Russia to maintain world domination, initiating the Cold War all over again. In committing billions of dollars to Ukraine for weaponry, our Congress seems oblivious to the danger that escalation might lead to nuclear war, putting all life at risk. It has refused to provide the same pressures toward a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the conflict.

The U.S. capitalist system rests upon a power that is secured by violence and the threat of violence. Hence violence pervades all aspects of our lives here in the United States, corroding our most essential connections to each other. Our government is ready to spend trillions on war, but will not legislate to provide money to feed the hungry, house the homeless, or provide a good education for our children or health care for all.

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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

A deepening sense of grief has settled over many as we witness the outrage of war in Ukraine and the egregious gun violence here at home, in the neighborhoods of Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, and elsewhere. Any violent death by noose, knee, gun, drone, missile, howitzer, or bomb is a dramatic symptom, not the disease.

The mounting bloodshed at home and abroad engulfs us all. Domestic gun violence has broken our hearts and greatly wounded our lives. It has destabilized our society by inducing wide-scale fear, distrust, and loss of faith in the laws of civility.

Most egregiously, gun violence has killed or injured more than 34,500 children, 6,500 of whom are under the age of 12. Guns are the number one cause of death for teenagers, some of whom have been targeted by a “toy” industry that inures them to violence and the preciousness of life.

The profits from the arms industry, from handguns to missiles, are skyrocketing. Many members of Congress and gun manufacturers are so heavily invested in the sale of guns, and the culture of violence and war that they try to deflect attention from the horrors we are witnessing—and which we are responsible to stop—by insisting that mental health problems and the failure of school safety measures are to blame for the loss of so many innocent lives.

We know the profound hypocrisy of their message. We must not allow legislators whose objective is U.S. global dominance and who have been corrupted by bribes from the gun lobbyists to sacrifice the lives of our children and the people’s peace to their own arrogance, greed, and inhumanity.

At the international level, we call for:
● Intensification of demands for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
● A pledge that the United States will never again use nuclear weapons. 
● Re-engagement in nuclear arms reduction by all nations.

At home, we call for:
● A ban on the sale of weapons of war.
● Demilitarization of local police forces and an end to racist police violence,
● Increased funding of programs that ensure essential social and economic resources to communities, and cultivate the critical and creative capacities of our children.

Our society is drowning in more than 400 million guns. By all means at our disposal, and with all measures that will restore our spirituality and our respect for our neighbors, we will work toward a culture of peace. We call on everyone to become actively involved in the local and national efforts that are focused on keeping our communities free of weapons of war. Foremost, we must commit ourselves to protecting the children and helping them see the possibilities of a world where life is valued, protected, and cherished.

Signers:
Rachele Agoyo ~ Dorothy Aldridge ~ Judy Baca ~ Dorsey Blake ~ Lewis Brandon III ~ Candi Carawan ~ Mandy Carter ~ Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz ~ Marian Wright Edelman ~ John Fife  ~ Aljosie Aldrich Harding  ~ David Hartsough ~ Gloria Aneb House ~ Shea Howell ~ Dolores Huerta ~ Phil Hutchins ~ Joyce Hobson Johnson ~ Nelson Johnson ~ Frank Joyce ~ James Lawson Jr. ~ Philip Lawson ~ Sherri Maurin ~ Catherine Meeks Eugene ~ Ed Nakawatase ~ Eugene “Gus” Newport ~ Myrna Pagán ~ Suzanne Pharr ~ Lyn Pyle ~ Bernice Johson Reagon ~ Frances Reid ~ Loretta Ross ~ Kathy “Wan Povi” Sanchez ~ Charles Sherrod ~ Shirley Sherrod ~ G. Zoharah Simmons ~ Louie Vitale ~ Hollis Watkins ~ Arthur Waskow ~ Junius Williams ~ Bob Wing ~ Janet Wolf.

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

U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Sweeping Resolution: “Forging a Path to Peace and Common Security”

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Peace Action

At the close of its 90th Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada, on June 6, 2022, the final business plenary of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously adopted a sweeping new resolution, titled “Forging a Path to Peace and Common Security.”  This is the seventeenth consecutive year that the USCM has adopted resolutions submitted by U.S. members of Mayors for Peace.


Image from the report,  Common Security 2022; For Our Shared Future

Warning that, “Russia’s unprovoked illegal war on Ukraine, which could eventually draw the militaries of the United States, its NATO allies and Russia into direct conflict, and Russia’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons, have raised the specter of nuclear war to the highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis,” the USCM “calls on the President and Congress to exercise restraint in U.S. military engagement in Ukraine while maximizing diplomatic efforts to end the war as soon as possible by working with Ukraine and Russia to reach an immediate ceasefire and negotiate with mutual concessions in conformity with the United Nations Charter, knowing that the risks of wider war grow the longer the war continues.”

Observing that “the immense nuclear arsenal of the United States, even when combined with the nuclear forces of its European allies France and the United Kingdom, failed to deter Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” and that “since the pandemic began, the U.S. has spent 7.5 times more money on nuclear weapons than on global vaccine donations,” the USCM resolution opens with a stark quote from a recent report:

WHEREAS, a new report, Common Security 2022; For Our Shared Future, sponsored by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund, finds that: “In 2022, humanity faces the existential threats of nuclear war, climate change and pandemics. This is compounded by a toxic mix of inequality, extremism, nationalism, gender violence, and shrinking democratic space. How humanity responds to these threats will decide our very survival.”

Noting that “over the next 30 years, the U.S. plans to spend some $1.7 trillion to replace its entire nuclear weapons infrastructure and upgrade or replace its nuclear bombs and warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines that deliver them,” and that “the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970, requires the U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China to negotiate ‘in good faith’ the end of the nuclear arms race ‘at an early date’ and the elimination of their nuclear arsenals,” in the new resolution, the USCM

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Question related to this article:
 
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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“calls on the U.S. and the other nuclear-armed states parties to the NPT, at the August 2022 10th Review Conference of the Treaty, to implement their disarmament obligations by committing to a process leading to the adoption no later than 2030 of a timebound plan for the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, the 100th anniversary of their first use, and the 100th anniversary of the United Nations;” and

“calls on the Administration and Congress to rein in annual budgeted military and nuclear weapons spending, and to redirect funds to support safe and resilient cities and meet human needs, including by providing accessible and affordable health care for all, housing and food security, measures to assure reliable funding for municipalities and states throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and future disasters for which they are the first line of defense, green sustainable energy, and environmental protection and mitigation; and to increase investment in international diplomacy, humanitarian assistance and development, and international cooperation to address the climate crisis.”

As recognized in the resolution, “Mayors for Peace, founded in 1982 by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with 8,174 members in 166 countries and regions, including 220 U.S. members, is working for a world without nuclear weapons, safe and resilient cities, and a culture of peace, as essential measures for the realization of lasting world peace.

Noting that, “The United States Conference of Mayors has unanimously adopted Mayors for Peace resolutions for sixteen consecutive years,” the USCM “urges all of its members to join Mayors for Peace to help reach the goal of 10,000 member cities.”

The 2021 USCM resolution was sponsored by Mayors for Peace U.S. Vice-President Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa, and co-sponsored by Mayor Tishaura O. Jones of St. Louis, Missouri; Mayor Patrick L. Wojahn of College Park, Maryland; Mayor Jesse Arreguin of Berkeley, California; Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California; Mayor Joy Cooper of Hallandale Beach, Florida; Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wisconsin; Mayor J. Christian Bollwage of Elizabeth, New Jersey; Mayor Quentin Hart of Waterloo, Iowa; Mayor

Greg Fisher of Louisville, Kentucky; Mayor Frank C. Ortis of Pembroke Pines, Florida; Mayor Jorge O. Elorza of Providence, Rhode Island; Mayor Farrah Khan of Irvine, California; Mayor Tom Butt of Richmond, California; Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter of San Leandro, California; and Mayor Kenneth Miyagishima of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan association of more than 1,400 American cities with populations over 30,000. Resolutions adopted at its annual meetings become USCM official policy that will guide the organization’s advocacy efforts for the coming year.

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.

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

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.”