Direct Action Against Arms Fairs In New Zealand And South Korea

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By Staff of War Resisters’ International – In New Zealand, Peace Action Wellington organised groups from across New Zealand to resist the annual New Zealand Defence Industry Association’s (NZDIA) “weapons expo”. From 7am on 10th October, around 200 people were onsite to protest the event, with the entrances to the Westpac Stadium blocked by protesters sat in the roads and hanging from banners. Jessie Dennis, a spokesperson for Peace Action Wellington said: “We’re here to stay. We think it’s totally unethical that New Zealand plays host to a Weapons Expo, and we’re not leaving until the weapons dealers do. The Weapons Expo is a trade fair for some of the biggest arms companies in the world. The delegates attending would have us believe that the products on sale and the deals being done at the Expo are somehow benign. But make no mistake, these are weapons and military hardware that play their part in the global war machine.” The protest was heavily policed, with a number of arrests and protesters accusing the police of violence. The coalition taking action included Auckland Peace Action, Peace Action Hamilton, People Against Prisons Aotearoa, Palestine Solidarity Network, Whanganui Positive Activists, It’s Our Future Manawatu, Oil Free Wellington, Unions Wellington, Pacific Panthers, Quakers, Catholic Workers and many other individual activists.

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.

Urge Senators: End Sanctions, Negotiate Peace With North Korea

JARED FELDSCHREIBER. Protesters unite in opposition to U.S. presence in Korean Peninsula. The rally on June 30 at Lafayette Park coincided with the South Korean President’s Washington visit.

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. On July 12, 2017, Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced legislation, called the BRINK Act, to increase sanctions against North Korea (DPRK). This time they are targeting banks and companies that do business with North Korea, including businesses in China. The sanctions are in response to unproven allegations that North Korea has the capability of reaching the United States with a missile. In fact, Russia sent information to the United Nations after North Korea tested a missile on July 4, 2017, showing that it was a mid-range, and not an inter-continental, missile. Sanctions will escalate tension with North Korea, as well as China and China’s close ally, Russia. Rather than punishment and threats, which have created insecurity that has predictably led to North Korea building weapons to protect itself, US policy should be seeking de-escalation, reduction of tensions and stability in the region.

South Korea’s Anti-THAAD Fight Continues

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By Zoom in Korea. South Korea – July 12 marked one year since the beginning of the Seongju residents’ struggle to stop the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. So far, the AN/TPY-2 radar — the main component of the THAAD battery that will allow the U.S. to track missile activity in North Korea and China — and two of the six interceptor launchers have made their way into the deployment site. The residents of Seongju and South Korean peace activists are still protesting daily, at times putting their bodies on the line, to block the remaining parts of the THAAD battery from entering the deployment site and call for a reversal of the deployment. Despite the election of a new liberal administration in May, the South Korean government’s response to the protests of Seongju residents has largely remained unchanged.

What Will It Take To Ban The Bomb?

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By Frida Berrigan for Waging Nonviolence – TRANSCEND Media Service – 30 May 2017 – When I was a young teenager, I would venture down to the basement where my father had his desk. He’d be plugging away at letter writing, or working on a talk or article. I’d wait quietly by his side for a few minutes before interrupting him to say goodbye, on my way to the movies or to meet up with friends. He’d look at me with bright blue eyes and say something to the effect of: “You know what time it is, Freeds?” I’d nod. I knew where this was going. “It’s three minutes to nuclear midnight, and you are going out with your friends?” he would tell me. I could feel his disappointment at my waste of time and money, his incredulity at my hard heartedness or thick headedness. His comment was a reference to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, which — aside from symbolizing the threat of global annihilation — cast a long shadow over my social life as a young person. Over time, however, as the clock began to tick backward, my dad and I had fewer of these awkward geo-political disagreements over the ways in which I spent my “free” time. When I was 14, in 1988, the clock had moved back to six minutes to nuclear midnight — the result of the United States and Soviet Union signing a treaty banning intermediate range nuclear missiles.

Why Were the Saudi Streets So Quiet?

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By Medea Benjamin. With the world’s media focused on President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, it’s curious that the streets of Riyadh were so empty. Unlike most of Trump’s public appearances, there was not a protester in sight. While Mexicans pour out on the streets to protest Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, bashing Trump piñatas and burning U.S. flags, there was nary a Saudi protester chanting “Trump: Go home.” In this very religious country, no one seemed interested in demonstrating opposition to Trump’s derogatory comments about Islam nor his attempts to impose a Muslim ban back home. Saudi women could have used the occasion to push for their rights. They could have put out a national call saying that as soon as Trump began to speak, women should walk out of their homes with their heads uncovered and dressed as they pleased, just like Melania and Ivanka Trump.

There’s Less Than Meets The Eye In Trump’s Saudi Arms Deal

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By William D. Hartung for Defense One – Donald J. Trump may be unpredictable, but there is one common theme that runs throughout his presidency: a penchant for exaggerating his achievements. From his insistence that the crowd at his inauguration numbered over one million people to his claim to have rebuilt the military before his first budget was even announced, the president is perfectly comfortable claiming credit for things that have not, in fact, occurred. So it may be with the new arms deal with Saudi Arabia, pegged by the Trump administration as worth up to $110 billion. Many of the items mentioned as part of the package had already been offered to Riyadh during the Obama administration, including a Patriot missile defense system, Multi-mission Surface Combatants, attack and transport helicopters, and artillery systems. The value of these offers runs into the tens of billions of dollars. One item in the Trump package that is clearly new is the offer of a Lockheed Martin Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, a deal that could run into the billions depending on how many missiles are included and what kind of support systems are involved. But that leaves the administration a far distance from its $110 billion in claimed sales.

Trump And Cabinet Members 'Bust A Move' In Saudi Arabia

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By Press TV. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – US President Donald Trump joins a sword dance held in his honor in Saudi Arabia after signing Washington’s largest-ever single arms deal with Riyadh. He was accompanied at the Saturday jubilation by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Trump arrived in the Saudi capital earlier in the day on the first leg of a nine-day overseas tour. Upon arrival and official reception, he proceeded to sign the $110-billion deal and other agreements amounting to $250 billion before joining the party. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir put the volume of the collective bilateral deals higher, saying they were worth more than $380 billion. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Twitter that the “defense agreement” was the “largest single arms deal in US history.”

Trump On His Way To Becoming Largest Weapons Dealer In World History

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By Jason Ditz for Anti-War – The Pentagon has issued a statement today confirming that the US State Department has signed off on a $2 billion sale of US-made Patriot missiles to the United Arab Emirates, adding to the tiny Gulf nation’s ever growing military arsenal. The sale includes 65 PAC-3 interceptors and 100 GEM-T missiles. It is unclear when the UAE intends to do with all these missiles, though the State Department was willing to sign off on it being in the “national security” interest of the US to make the sales. That process virtually goes without saying at this point, as for years the US has been signing off on growing sales of arms across the Middle East, and anything but an immediate approval is extremely rare, and usually extremely temporary. The UAE has shown interest in increased military operations abroad in recent years, both regionally and into Africa. It’s unclear what, if any, military value such massively expensive missiles would have in such operations, however.

Protests, Hunger Strike Against U.S. THAAD In South Korea

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By Yamei of Xinhuanet. On Wednesday, about 20 U.S. trucks and trailers carried part of THAAD elements, including radar, to a golf course at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province. The golf course was designated as the THAAD site. The installed THAAD elements include two mobile launchers, an AN/TPY-2 radar and other equipments. A THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, the radar and the fire and control unit. The deployment of THAAD in South Korea has been strongly opposed by regional countries, including China and Russia, as it breaks strategic balance in the region. Following the unexpected deployment, protests have been staged by the general public, residents and peace activists. Residents and peace activists, who had been on the guard right beside the entrance road, tussled with thousands of South Korean policemen on Sunday to block two U.S. oil tankers attempting to enter the golf course.

Trump 'Backs Himself Into A Corner' Over North Korea

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By Lizzie Dearden for The Independent. Donald Trump may have “backed himself into a corner” by threatening North Korea with military action over its weapons tests, experts have warned. Kim Jong-un watched what appeared to be new inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) roll through Pyongyang as part of a huge show of force on Saturday, just two days after the US President vowed to “properly deal” with his government. There was no sign of a sixth nuclear test on the symbolic Day of the Sun, which marks his grandfather’s birthday, but analysts believe a major new launch could be imminent. China is among the countries urging both North Korea and the US to de-escalate the situation as an American strike group headed by a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier heads towards the region.

The ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ Won’t Lead To Peace

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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.

Erik Prince, Blackwater Ready To Be Trump’s Private Oil Army

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By Anuradha Mittal for the Oakland Institute. Oakland, CA—The Return of Erik Prince: Trump’s Knight in America’s New Crusade? a new brief from the Oakland Institute, exposes the comeback of the founder of Blackwater, the notorious private security company. An ardent detractor of Obama/Clinton foreign policy during the presidential campaign, Prince is now set with access to unique assets, to be a key player in Trump’s foreign policy. Using information not seen before, the brief describes Prince’s post Blackwater maneuvers – acquiring logistics capacity in Africa, the Mediterranean Region, and Asia, and networking with high-level individuals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch a private equity fund, Frontier Resource Group (FRG).

Report Back From Nordic Peace Tour

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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.”

Obama Leaves Office With Record Of War & Expanding Militarism

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By Micah Zenko for Reader Supported News. As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing U.S. ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power. Whether this strategy “works”—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested. Yet, for better or worse, these are the central tenants of the Obama doctrine. In President Obama’s last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries.