You Can’t Have A Progressive Movement Without Peace

A peace mural is painted near the road leading to Planadas, Colombia, where a peasant uprising in 1964 led to the birth of the FARC. | Photo: AFP

By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy – Here’s my five-minute case for why you can’t have an effective progressive movement in the United States that doesn’t include working for peace. War and militarism and bases and ships and missiles and sanctions and nuclear threats and hostility make up the filter through which much of the other 96% of humanity experiences this 4%. The U.S. Congress chooses how to spend a great deal of money each year, and chooses to put 54% of it into war and preparations for war. The wars demonstrably increase rather than reduce or eliminate anti-U.S. sentiment and violence. They endanger us rather than protect us. The wars are a top cause of death and injury in the world, and a top cause of famines and disease epidemics and refugee crises that cause massive additional suffering. But war kills most by diverting resources. Small fractions of U.S. military spending could end starvation, provide clean water, end diseases, even end the use of fossil fuels worldwide. Military spending also reduces jobs in comparison to other spending or not taxing working people in the first place. The U.S. military consumes more petroleum than most entire countries and has a bigger budget than most governments and about the size of all other militaries combined.

Activists Blockade Nuclear Base, Plead To De-escalate Crisis With North Korea

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By Leonard Eiger for Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action. Washington State – Activists blockaded the West Coast nuclear submarine base that would likely carry out a nuclear strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) should President Donald Trump give the order. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US. More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on the eight ballistic missile submarines based at Bangor or stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) at the Bangor base. Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action held a vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor base on August 14…

South Korea’s Peace Movement Refuses To Give Up

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By Jon Letman for TruthOut. In August, 1945, as Japan smoldered in the ruins of war, the question of what would become of the Korean peninsula after 35 years of Japanese occupation and a Soviet army advancing southward spurred the hasty selection of an artificial division along the 38th parallel drawn by two American officials as a border between US and Soviet “zones of occupation.” That line, never intended to be permanent, hardened like stubborn mud before the newly liberated Korea ever had the chance to form an independent, unified and democratic nation. Today 38°N still marks a potentially catastrophic flashpoint between North and South Korea. Candle light protests have been held outside the Seongju County office nightly since the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system was announce in July 2016. (Photo: Jon Letman) Candle light protests have been held outside the Seongju County office nightly since the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system was announce in July 2016. (Photo: Jon Letman) The DMZ — demilitarized zone — despite its name, is one of the most militarized places on the planet. This hyper-militarization, in fact, extends south across the peninsula and today, 64 years after an armistice halted (but never formally ended) the Korean war, South Korea remains peppered with scores of US military installations — at least 80 by the Pentagon’s own count.

Activists Challenge US Nukes In Germany

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By John LaForge for CounterPunch. Buchel, Germany – The fairy tale that nuclear weapons provide state security is a fiction believed by millions. On July 17, five of us proved that state guarantees of “highly secure” nuclear weapon facilities are just as fictitious. After nightfall, an international group of five peace activists, me included, got deep inside the Büchel Air Base here, and for the first time in a 21-year long series of protests against its deployment of US nuclear bombs, we occupied the top of one of the large bunkers potentially used for storing nuclear weapons. The US still deploys up to 20 B61 gravity bombs at the air base and German pilots train to use them in war from their Tornado jet fighter bombers.

North And South Korea Want A Peace Treaty: The US Must Join Them

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By Christine Ahn for Truthout – Two years ago, I crossed the world’s most fortified border from North to South Korea with 30 women peacemakers from 15 countries, calling for a peace treaty to end the six-decade Korean War. On July 13, I was denied entry into South Korea from the United States as retribution for my peace activism, including the 2015 women’s peace march. As I checked in for my Asiana Airlines flight to Shanghai at San Francisco International Airport, the ticket agent at the counter informed me that I would not be boarding the plane headed first to Seoul Incheon International. The supervisor handed me back my passport and informed me that she had just gotten off the phone with a South Korean government official who had told her I was “denied entry” into the country. “This must be a mistake,” I said. “Is South Korea really going to ban me because I organized a women’s peace walk across the demilitarized zone?” I asked, appealing to her conscience. If there was indeed a travel ban, I thought, it must have been put in place by the disgraced President Park. But she wouldn’t make eye contact with me. She walked away and said there was nothing to be done. I would need to apply for a visa and book a new flight to Shanghai.

North Korea Does Not Threaten World Peace, The US Does

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By William Boardman for Reader Supported News. President Donald Trump is 71 and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is 27, but if they ever met, would there be a grown-up in the room? One of them knows full well that North Korea is not a threat to world peace and is not even a serious threat to South Korea. The one who knows that is not Donald Trump. Or if he does know it, he’s choosing to inflate the North Korean “threat” even more than some of his predecessors. But wait, didn’t North Korea just fire a missile in the general direction of the United States? Yes indeed, and like every other North Korean missile (except the ones that blew up on launch), it hit smack dab in the Sea of Japan, unpleasantly for aquatic life but a danger to no one else. This is, after all, exactly what the US does periodically to the Pacific Ocean from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, generally causing yawns around the world.

Will There Finally Be Peace With Justice In Colombia?

Colombians hold up flags supporting the peace process. | Photo: AFP

By Staff of Colombia Support Network – We have now reached the final days for the disarming of the FARC guerrillas, as established by the Peace Accord provisions agreed upon by the Santos Administration and the FARC leadership. What, we may reasonably ask, are the prospects for achieving a lasting peace? There are a number of considerations to take into account in assessing whether the FARC’s demobilization will bring peace with justice. First, there is a serious question whether the Colombian government will be able (and willing!) to dismantle paramilitary forces which are active in many parts of the country. In some areas, such as in the municipality of Apartado in northern Antioquia, the presence of paramilitary forces has been a constant dating back to the time when General Rito Alejo del Rio told a Colombia Support Network (CSN) delegation to Apartado that he as commander of the Seventeenth Brigade of the Colombia Army could vouch for the safety for investors in the region based upon what we later learned was active collaboration of the Brigade with paramilitary forces. I met a few days ago with representatives of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado, and they informed me that the paramilitary presence and threats to the Community continue and that Seventeenth Brigade troops on occasion accompany paramilitaries and convey threats to the community…

Courage For Peace, Not For War, In Afghanistan

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By Kathy Kelly for World Beyond War – When activists like me return from visiting the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, Afghanistan, young seamstresses there often entrust each of us with about fifty sky-blue scarves. The word “Borderfree” is carefully embroidered, in English, on one end of each scarf; on the opposite side, they’ve stitched the translation in Dari, the language they speak. The scarves express their yearning to end four decades of war in Afghanistan, a land dominated by ruthless warlords. “We are the generation who must try to put an end to all war and violence,” wrote Nematullah, an Afghan Peace Volunteers member who teaches children from internally displaced families. His students, most of them displaced by war, live in a wretched refugee camp. Nematullah wrote in response to my anxious inquiry following a truck bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 31, which killed more than 150 people. Pictures from Kabul’s “Emergency Surgical Center for Victims of War” showed his staff ministering to hundreds of survivors, people who suffered burns, lacerations, wounds, and amputations. Happily, the letter brought good news. “We’re all safe,” wrote Hakim, who mentors the Afghan Peace Volunteers.

Mobilizing For A Culture Of Nonviolence This Fall

When Peace Is A Commodity: Trump In The Middle East

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By Robert Fisk for Counter Punch – In Riyadh, Trump couldn’t mention where most of the the 9/11 hijackers came from or whose Sunni cult-faith was the inspiration for Isis – nor which country chopped off heads with Isis-like relish. (Answer: Saudi Arabia). And when he arrived in Israel on Monday, Trump was faced with a new censorship protocol: don’t mention who was occupying whose property in the West Bank or which country was outrageously and continuously stealing land – legally owned by Arabs – for Jews and Jews only. (Answer: Israel). So bingo, in the biggest Middle East alliance ever created in history, the Saudis and the other Sunni Arab dictators and America’s crackpot President and Israel’s cynical Prime Minister have all agreed on the identity of the devil country they can all curse with one voice, inspirer of “world terror”, instigator of Middle East instability, the greatest threat to world peace: Shia Iran. So within a few minutes of landing at Tel Aviv airport – part of whose runways actually lies on land legally owned by Palestinian Arabs 60 years ago – the Trump speechwriters (for Trump surely cannot write this stuff) were churning out once more their hatred of Iran, of Iran’s “terror”, of Iran’s plots, of Iran’s continuing desire to make a nuclear bomb.

The Basques In Spain: Positive Peace?

A peace mural is painted near the road leading to Planadas, Colombia, where a peasant uprising in 1964 led to the birth of the FARC. | Photo: AFP

By Johan Galtung for TRANSCEND Media Service – Spain is in a process that will take some time, from “España: Una, Grande, Libre” to “España: Una Comunidad de naciones“—“Spain: One, Great, Free” to “Spain: A community of nations.” Could also be great and free, but not One; not Castillan, but also Catalan, Basque, Gallego, Andalucian, and the islands, Baleares, Canarias. ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna)–world famous for killing the successor to Franco, Carrero Blanco, in 1971 possibly shortening the dictatorship by a generation–disarmed, handing over its means of violence, on 8 Apr 2017. ETA is dissolved. Negative peace, by eliminating one violent party. There was much violence, doing bad things to each other. No more. Then what? Maybe doing good things to each other? Positive peace is about that. Military power eliminated, we are left with economic, political and cultural power. Positive peace means equity: economic, political and cultural cooperation for mutual and equal benefit. Economically, concretely that means more enterprises, companies, businesses with Basques cooperating with Castillans, and others.

Military Veterans March on D.C. May 30, Memorial Day

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By Nick Motten for Veterans for Peace. WASHINGTON D.C. – In response to President Trump’s “outrageous” $54 billion defense-spending increase, military veterans are being called to the nation’s capital May 30/Memorial Day to demand “Peace at Home and Peace Abroad.” And they’re using television commercials in D.C. to spread the call for peace. “Wherever you are, your presence is respectfully and urgently requested in Washington, DC, on May 30 at the Lincoln Memorial. At this historic site—95 years after its inauguration on May 30, 1922—at 11 a.m., nationally and internationally known speakers and musicians will convey our adamant determination to achieve Peace at Home and Peace Abroad,” is the message of Veterans for Peace and other vet groups.

Media For Justice And Peace

A new report indicates the passage of the USA Freedom Act did not prevent the U.S. National Security Agency from collecting 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls in 2016.

By Sue Ann Martinson for Rise Up Times – Lately the term the “elite” is being used by many media commentators and in numerous articles that appear online and in print. Who are the “elite”? What are their roles in American culture and government? And why should we care? Perhaps the term should be ruling elite, that is, the current ruling elite. Amy Goodman got it right when she subtitled Democracy Now! The Exception to the Rulers. A ruling elite is a direct contradiction to democracy and could be any group that is in a ruling position who feel superior to the hoi polloi they think are not capable of ruling themselves and who use the position of power for their own gain. Today references to the “elite” generally target a specific group, the financial elite. This group crosses traditional party lines, with Democrats and Republicans equally implicated, and includes a large majority of members of Congress in both dominant political parties. As Henry Giroux observed before the 2016 presidential election, “One consequence [of the election] will be that millions one way or another will once again bear the burden of a society that hates democracy and punishes all but the financial elite.”

A Public Plan For Peace

A peace mural is painted near the road leading to Planadas, Colombia, where a peasant uprising in 1964 led to the birth of the FARC. | Photo: AFP

By Robert C. Koehler for Common Wonders – The American will to wage war — endless war, pointless war, total war — is, I fear, impervious to public opinion and even political action. It remains alive deep in the underground bunker of American militarism, protected from sanity. This goes beyond the staying power of our loser generals, who have ever freer rein in the Trump administration to expand the war games of the 21st century. There is a quiet determination among those who serve the god of war — or so it seems — to engage in, and presumably win, a nuclear war. This, at any rate, is the conclusion one could draw from an essay that ran last month in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, by Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie and Theodore A. Postol, who point out how the U.S. military has circumvented the global nuclear disarmament movement by increasing the accuracy — and thus the “kill power” — of the missiles it still holds onto, in the process intensifying the threat the United States poses to Russia (as the beloved Cold War returns) and minimizing the security of, oh Lord, mutually assured destruction. “Under the veil of an otherwise-legitimate warhead life-extension program,” they write, “the U.S. military has quietly engaged in a vast expansion of the killing power of the most numerous warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal

What I Said At The Peace Hub Of The Climate March

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By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy – Most countries on earth have the U.S. military in them. Most countries on earth burn less fossil fuel than does the U.S. military. And that’s without even calculating how much worse for the climate jet fuel is than other fossil fuels. And it’s without even considering the fossil fuel consumption of the world’s leading weapons makers, or the pollution caused by the use of those weapons all over the world. The U.S. is the top weapons dealer to the world, and has weapons on multiple sides of most wars. The U.S. military created 69% of super fund environmental disaster sites and is the third leading polluter of U.S. waterways. When the British first developed an obsession with the Middle East, passed along to the United States, the desire was to fuel the British Navy. What came first? The wars or the oil? It was the wars. Wars and the preparations for more wars consume a huge amount of oil.