Washington, DC – Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] have been active in challenging U.S. invasions and attacks of Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Frequently NCNR members have been arrested, and then in court speak out against such U.S. policies. On May 23, 2013, for example, members of NCNR filed a criminal complaint with the U.S. attorney’s office inAlexandria, Virginia against the CIA’s use of drone strikes to assassinate people in various countries, including Pakistan. The citizen activists never received a response.
More than thirty activists gathered at the Environmental Protection Agency on EARTH DAY in a protest organized by NCNR. The purpose of the demonstration was to urge the EPA to challenge the Pentagon for its role in contributing to climate chaos, environmental destruction and threatening all life on the planet. A letter was sent to Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, seeking a meeting with her or a representative to discuss what NCNR members perceive to be ecocide being committed by the Pentagon. Beth Adams, an activist from Western Massachusetts, expressed her grave concern for what is happening to Mother Earth. Ed Kinane, a peace activist from Syracuse, read a powerful statement by Patricia Hynes indicting the military enterprise as a global polluter. And Marsha Coleman-Adebayo’s, an EPA whistleblower, told the crowd of her travails inside the agency which she detailed in her book “No Fear: The Whistleblower’s Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA.” Eventually an EPA functionary came out to accept a copy of the letter sent to McCarthy. NCNR representatives were told a response would be forthcoming.
Later thirty people gathered in Virginia for a march to the Pentagon. Then Hendrik Voss, an organizer from SOA Watch, delineated the awful role our government has played in supporting undemocratic governments in Latin America. For example, he highlightedU.S. support for the coup government in Honduras. Then Paul Magno, a D.C. peace advocate with forty years of experience, reminisced about all of the years protesting U.S. warmongering. Finally, a Pentagon official in the office of Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, came out to accept a copy of a letter sent to his boss requesting a meeting to discuss the Pentagon’s role in climate chaos.
However, while he accepted the letter, he could only promise it would be delivered to Carter’s desk. Since there was no indication that a meeting would actually take place, eight citizen activists refused to depart. They were moved to remain, as they perceived that the Pentagon is unwilling to end its activities which threaten the planet. All eight were arrested and charged with failure to obey a lawful order.
The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels globally, has a nuclear arsenal that can destroy ALL LIFE on the planet, already used depleted uranium with lethal and drastic effects on human life and the environment in places like Iraq, and used chemical agents in Latin America in waging of the “war on drugs.” This war has destroyed livelihoods and inflicted lethal and life altering health effects on poor people in South America and brought profits to the large multinational corporations. The waging of and planning for war is destroying our planet!
The letter sent to Ashton Carter made this point: “As people of conscience, we are very concerned about the devastation that theU.S. military is causing to the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, ‘The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.’” The activists still hope for a meeting with Pentagon officials to address the climate crisis.
NCNR citizen activists believe they have the right and a Nuremberg responsibility to highlight perceived illegal government operations. The arrestees, Steve Bush, from Virginia, Felton Davis and Trudy Silver, from New York City, Joy First and Phillip Runkel, from Wisconsin, Malachy Kilbride, Maryland, Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, and Manijeh Saba, New Jersey, are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on June 4. The planet is in grave danger. Unless the citizenry take further action to stop the Pentagon’s warmongering, Mother Earth is doomed.
“The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose–especially their lives.” Eugene Victor Debs