By Kathy Kelly for The Progressive. Three former United Nations officials with many decades of experience as diplomats recently wrote a blunt appraisal of the U.S. role in undermining peace efforts and promoting wars. The authors call out President Donald Trump for “embracing a toxic form of messianic nationalism,” with exclusionary policies “illustrative of a regressive and Islamophobic outlook.” The massive bomb Trump dropped on Afghanistan in April was more bad news. Yet in Kabul, the work of peace continues. Afghan Peace Volunteers have been welcoming delegates from my group, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, from the United States and England, one or two at a time, over the past several months. On a visit last month, I was able to travel by bus to a small village where relatives were celebrating the marriage of Abid and Zahro.
By Ray McGovern. Syracuse: On Good Friday, April 14, 2017, nine nonviolent civil resisters of Upstate Drone Action were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base witnessing against extrajudicial drone killings perpetrated from the base. Three people hung on large drone crosses representing victims of US drone strikes in seven majority Muslim countries. Eleven others held smaller drone crosses headed by the phrase, DRONES CRUCIFY, each followed by one of these: Children, Families, Love, Peace, Community, the US Constitution, UN Charter, Rule of Law, US Treaties, Due Process, or Diplomacy.
By Medea Benjamin. “I’m really very good at war. I love war, in a certain way,” bragged candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa. This is the same Donald Trump who avoided the Vietnam draft by claiming a bone spur in his foot, a medical problem that never kept him off the tennis courts or golf courses, and miraculously healed on its own. But with the escalation of US military involvement in Syria, the record number of drone attacks in Yemen, more US troops being sent to the Middle East and, now, the dropping of a massive bomb in Afghanistan, it looks like Trump may indeed love war. Or at least, love “playing” war. In Syria, Trump went for 59 Tomahawk missiles. Now, in Afghanistan, he has opted for a “super weapon”, the second largest of the US military’s non-nuclear bombs. This 21,600-pound explosive, never before used in combat, was used to blast a bunch of tunnels and caves in an Afghan province near the border of Pakistan.
By Fightback News. Jacksonville, FL – The Jacksonville community quickly rallied to the defense of their beloved community leaders and activists. On April 8, over 200 people, including leaders in the labor movement, Black community, and progressive groups assembled to demand that all the charges against the Jacksonville 5 be dropped. Supporters chanted “Drop the charges” and the mother of Connell Crooms gave a tearful testament to Connell’s character. Community leaders called for a full independent investigation into the police misconduct on April 7, and an investigation into the police spying program on progressive activists in Jacksonville. Just weeks earlier, Jacksonville’s Florida Times Union reported that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) had been spying on protesters, amongst them, Dave Schneider, Connell Crooms and Christina Kittle.
By Ajamu Baraka for AjamuBaraka.com. In his speech at Riverside Church, King not only criticized U.S. actions in Vietnam but identified the cultural pathologies at the center of U.S. society. “I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,” he said. “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” 50 years later, what rational person can honestly argue against the position that the U.S. is still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet?
By Staff for UNAC. A National Conference: “Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad: Building a Movement Against War, Injustice & Repression!” – Hosted by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC – unacpeace.org). Join activists from the many domestic and international struggles as we build unity against the Trump Regime and the underlying system responsible for imperialist wars, poverty, racism, sexism, the oppression of LGBTQ people, attacks on Muslims and undocumented immigrants, environmental destruction and all forms of injustice. A conference website will be up and running soon. Meanwhile, hold the dates and plan to join us June 16-18 in Richmond, Virginia!
By Dr. Hakim for the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Dr. Hakim runs the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Here is the most recent message that they sent about the important work they are doing to survive, heal and build community: I’m so often caught up in the daily concerns of work and the wars raging across Afghanistan and many parts of the world that I forget how remarkable it is that at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Kabul, 19 small teams with more than 70 active Afghan Peace Volunteers are putting nonviolence into microscopic but concrete practice. There’s also the pulsating energy from 100 eager street kids ready to change themselves. All these ‘small people’ with ‘big souls’ touch me. They move my days and nights.
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Clearing the FOG. Today on Clearing the FOG (Forces of Greed) Radio, we spoke with Tim Shorrock, a journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea and who’s been writing about US military and economic ties to Japan and Korea for over 30 years, and Hyun Lee, a New York City-based writer and activist who is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea. Mainstream media in the US are complicit in drumming up support for US aggression against North Korea. They fail to place North Korea’s actions in the context of the long history of US hostility and interference in North and South Korea. As both the US and North Korea prepare for war, and a successful sociopolitical movement in South Korea has ousted President Park Geun-hye, there is a critical need for clarity about North and South Korea
By Ann Wright for NK News – Why are discussions for a peace treaty with North Korea not an option to resolve the extraordinarily dangerous tensions on the Korean peninsula? At long last, experts with long experience negotiations with the North Koreans are publicly calling for negotiations. Many in the Washington beltway think-tanks have finally acknowledged that the Obama policy of “strategic patience” did not result in a slowdown in the North Korean nuclear weapon and missile programs, but in fact provided room for the North Koreans to expand their research and testing of both nuclear weapon and missile technology. They acknowledge that the U.S. government must deal with the reality that sanctions
By Black Agenda Report. The Democrats seem to have an objective interest in having us focus on Donald Trump, the person, as opposed to this system, itself,” said Ajamu Baraka, the former Green Party vice presidential candidate, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. In this environment, anti-war views are regarded as suspect. “I’m involved in building a Black Alliance for Peace, to try to revive the Black anti-war movement — the Black anti-war consciousness,” he said. “We think we have a perfect opportunity, now that people are waking up out of this eight-year stupor, to bring the Black community back to where we used to be, as the most consistent anti-war population in this country. But, it’s difficult to do this when our people are getting caught up in this anti-Russian hysteria, too,” said Baraka.
By Kathy Kelly for Counterpunch. Before making their home in Damascus, Gabe Huck and Theresa Kubasak had regularly visited Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, where they developed lasting friendships and deepened cultural awareness. Iraq was steadily deteriorating under thirteen years of U.S./UN imposed economic sanctions. Despite iron clad determination by U.S. policy makers to isolate Iraq, Gabe and Theresa repeatedly challenged the economic sanctions by carrying medicines and medical relief supplies to Iraqi children, families and hospitals. They also helped organize opportunities for scores of other U.S. and U.K. people to visit Iraq as part of Voices in the Wilderness (VitW). Voices delegations politely but firmly notified U.S. authorities that they would break the economic sanctions by personally carrying duffel bags filled with children’s vitamins, antibiotics, medical textbooks, surgical kits, first aid material and medical relief supplies, all of which the economic sanctions prohibited.
By Dud Hendrick for Popular Resistance. Bath, Maine – Guilty, guilty, guilty, 10 times said. We ten among our so-called Zumwalt 12, on trial for an act of civil resistance, silently faced our twelve peers and assessors in Bath, Maine’s District Court on Friday, February 3. After two and a half days of testimony, the verdict came back in twenty minutes. In striving to remove the veils that obscure the costs of American militarism, we had served up a virtual seminar, but had not gotten to even one of them: we had broken a law, enough said! It was this simple alacrity, not the verdict, which amazed us. Still, as a bystander overheard two jurors remark after the proceedings, “I was moved by summa that stuff!” and also, “I’m puttin’ protest on my bucket list.”
By Four Arrows for Truthout – Oppressive legislation is aimed at ending grassroots resistance, the bedrock requirement for sustaining democracy. In an op-ed in the Guardian, Douglas Williams writes that it is not just the media, judiciary or electoral systems that are being undermined: “What is ignored is the effect that the Trump administration will have on the social movements, which serve as pillars of the resistance. If these fall, our democracy will be irreparably harmed.” In response to the “water is life” spiritual movement in Standing Rock, lawmakers in 10 states have proposed oppressive legislation. In North Dakota, a bill was proposed to let someone get away with running over a protester, after a cop on a snowmobile ran over a Water Protector. Earlier this month, the North Dakota State Senate passed a bill 33-12, making it illegal for a protester to wear a mask, whether to protect the face from cold or pepper spray.
By Bruce Gagnon of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. One of the big issues facing Denmark is the US pushing them to purchase the F-35 fighter plane that is getting lots of bad reviews for being a complicated and temperamental war plane. Peace activists there are organizing a campaign to block their government from buying the planes – the US is even demanding they purchase spare parts up front which is not a real confidence builder in the quality of the plane. Just like in all the other meetings Dave and I participated in during this trip, the demonization of Russia by NATO was at the forefront in our discussions. One Danish woman in the meeting said, “We’ve got to work together globally and do it around NATO which is at the center of what is creating tensions.”