Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Waging Peace in the Trump Era: What are some of the Spirit-led and most effective ways to respond to Trump's militarism and jingoism?

Waging Peace in the Trump Era: What are some of the Spirit-led and most effective ways to respond to Trump's militarism and jingoism?

Workshop with David Hartsough and Anthony Manousos

3:15-4:45 pm: Monday, July 24, at the Plenary Tent of Pacifc Yearly Meeting, Walker Creek Ranch


·         Worship (5 mins)
·         Intro (10 mins)
·         David (15 mins)
·         Anthony (15 mins)
·         Brainstorming in small groups (15)
·         What are we called to do? (20 mins)
·         How can our peace and justice work be more effective? (10 minutes)

ü Responding to the Nuclear Threat and Ongoing Wars

Washington – January 24, 2017.  Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced H.R. 669 and S. 200, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. This legislation would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. The crucial issue of nuclear “first use” is more urgent than ever now that President Donald Trump has the power to launch a nuclear war at a moment’s notice.

Upon introduction of this legislation, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:
“It is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as President-elect was making sweeping statements about U.S. nuclear policy over Twitter. Congress must act to preserve global stability by restricting the circumstances under which the U.S. would be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon. Our Founders created a system of checks and balances, and it is essential for that standard to be applied to the potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear war. I am proud to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 with Sen. Markey to realign our nation’s nuclear weapons launch policy with the Constitution and work towards a safer world.”
Upon introduction of this legislation, Senator Markey issued the following statement:
“Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Yet, President Trump has suggested that he would consider launching nuclear attacks against terrorists. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy provides him with that power. In a crisis with another nuclear-armed country, this policy drastically increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation. Neither President Trump, nor any other president, should be allowed to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack. By restricting the first use of nuclear weapons, this legislation enshrines that simple principle into law. I thank Rep. Lieu for his partnership on this common-sense bill during this critical time in our nation’s history.”
ü Support UN Treaty Calling for Nuclear Disarmament
A Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty – Rx for Survival
by Robert F. Dodge, M.D.

Nuclear weapons have threatened humanity for 72 years, ultimately becoming the greatest eminent threat to our survival. This past Friday, July 7, nuclear weapons at long last joined the ranks of other weapons of mass destruction including biologic and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions in being banned and declared illegal under international treaty law.
The U.N. adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Under Article 6 of the Treaty, states are prohibited from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, deploying, stationing, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, under any circumstances. It also makes it illegal to assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a state party under this treaty, extending the prohibitions to non-state actors as well.  
While nuclear weapons still exist, any nation that violates the above conditions will now be in breach of international and humanitarian law and should be considered a pariah state and ultimately on the wrong side of history.  As with other weapons of mass destruction, the weapons are usually banned and then subsequently eliminated.
This historic effort establishes a new norm and when in force will be the law of all lands. This Treaty has been years in the making and comes from the convergence of the failure of the nuclear weapons states to meet their legally binding obligation for 47 years, under article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to work in good faith to eliminate nuclear weapons and recent scientific evidence demonstrating humanitarian consequences far worse than previously imagined of even a small limited regional nuclear war. Such a scenario would put much of humanity at risk from the associated climate change and nuclear famine that would follow, lasting decades into the future. 
The humanitarian case has taken this treaty process forward from meetings in Oslo, Mexico, Vienna and to the United Nations, whose member nation-states gave majority approval last December for the treaty to be negotiated this year. The process has been driven forward by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) working with civil society.  Representatives of 129 non-nuclear nations including the International Red Cross and the Holy See have worked together and made clear through this treaty that they will no longer be held hostage or bullied by the nuclear nations.
While there is not one fewer nuclear weapon on the planet, this treaty focuses the world’s attention on the nuclear powers and the international institutions that make the existence of these weapons possible. It highlights the humanitarian costs to victims, particularly indigenous peoples, women and girls, the hibakusha as well as the catastrophic effects on the environment that have long been the silent victims of the testing, development and use of these weapons.
The treaty adopted by an overwhelming majority of 122 in favor and 1 against, the Netherlands, and 1 abstention Singapore, establishes a new international norm and does not specifically establish enforcement mechanisms, which are otherwise left to the court of public opinion and adherence to international norms.  This does not differ from other international treaties banning weapons of mass destruction such as chemical weapons, biological weapons, and land mines.
This treaty process has been boycotted by the nuclear weapons states. In particular, protestations of the United States and Russia--who together possess approximately 93 percent of the 15,000 weapons in today’s global arsenals and who have effectively bullied the other nuclear nations with their rhetorical double speak.  Voicing their support for a world without nuclear weapons, they professed the need to be ‘realistic’ due to the dangers of these weapons and the need for a strong deterrence, thus precluding their ability to participate in this treaty process.
They have remained oblivious and hostage themselves to this mythological deterrence argument that has been the principal driver of the arms race since its inception, including the current new arms race initiated by the United States with a proposal to spend $1 trillion in the next three decades to rebuild and expand our nuclear arsenals. Under these deterrence theories, each nation must maintain a superiority or generational advantage over its adversaries, thus fueling the ever accelerating and growing arms race to oblivion.
The adopted Treaty bans nuclear weapons and establishes a framework to mount an effective legal, political, economic, and social challenge to the concept, policies, and practices of nuclear “deterrence” and to the existence of nuclear weapons themselves in order to eliminate them and all related programs. The Treaty will be open for signature to all States of the United Nations on September 19 at the U.N. The Treaty shall enter into force 90 days after the 50th State has ratified, signed or accepted it.
This Treaty represents the resolve of the negotiating states and civil society and puts us on a path to a nuclear weapon-free world. In the future when the United States and other nuclear states are asked, what did we do when our planet was threatened, what will be our response?  What will we say when it is recognized that we were on the wrong side of history and our very survival was threatened?

Robert F. Dodge, M.D., is a practicing family physician, writes for PeaceVoice, and serves on the boards of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Beyond War,Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions
ü Speak out and take action against the escalation of wars in the Middle East and elsewhere
The U.S. State of War - July 2017
by Nicolas J S Davies

The US bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria is now the heaviest since the bombing of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the 1960s-70s, with 84,000 bombs and missiles dropped between 2014 and the end of May 2017  That is nearly triple the 29,200 bombs and missiles dropped on Iraq in the “Shock and Awe” campaign of 2003. 
The Obama administration escalated the bombing campaign last October, as the U.S.-Iraqi assault on Mosul began, dropping 12,290 bombs and missiles between October and the end of January when President Obama left office.  The Trump administration has further escalated the campaign, dropping another 14,965 bombs and missiles since February 1st.  May saw the heaviest bombing yet, with 4,374 bombs and missiles dropped. 
The U.K.-based Airwars.org monitoring group has compiled reports of between 12,000 and 18,000 civilians killed by nearly three years of U.S.-led bombing in Iraq and Syria.  These reports can only be the tip of the iceberg, and the true number of civilians killed could well be more than 100,000, based on typical ratios between reported deaths and actual deaths in previous war-zones. 
As the U.S. and its allies closed in on Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, and as U.S. forces now occupy eight military bases in Syria, Islamic State and its allies have struck back in Manchester and London; occupied Marawi, a city of 200,000 in the Philippines; and exploded a huge truck bomb inside the fortifications of the “Green Zone” in Kabul, Afghanistan.  
What began in 2001 as a misdirected use of military force to punish a group of formerly U.S.-backed jihadis in Afghanistan for the crimes of September 11th has escalated into a global asymmetric war.  Every country destroyed or destabilized by U.S. military action is now a breeding ground for terrorism.  It would be foolish to believe that this cannot get much, much worse, as long as both sides continue to justify their own escalations of violence as responses to the violence of their enemies, instead of trying to deescalate the now global violence and chaos. 
There are once again 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan, up from 8,500 in April, with reports that four thousand more may be deployed soon.  Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been killed in 15 years of war, but the Taliban now control more of the country than at any time since the U.S. invasion in 2001.  
The US is giving vital support to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, supporting a blockade of Yemeni ports and providing intelligence and in-air refueling to the Saudi and allied warplanes that have been bombing Yemen since 2015.  UN reports of 10,000 civilians killed are surely only a fraction of the true numbers killed, and thousands more have died from disease and hunger.  
Now Yemen is facing a humanitarian crisis and a raging cholera epidemic due to lack of clean water or medicine caused by the bombing and the blockade. The UN is warning that millions of Yemenis could die of famine and disease.  A Senate bill to restrict some U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia was defeated by 53 votes (48 Republicans and 5 Democrats) to 47 in June.
Closer to home, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) recently hosted a conference with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in Miami.  This signaled a further militarization of the U.S. war on drugs in Central America and efforts to limit immigration from those countries, even as a report by State and Justice Department inspector generals held State Department and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents responsible for the killing of four innocent civilians (one man, two women and a 14-year-old boy) by machine-gun fire from a State Department helicopter near Ahuas in Honduras in 2012.  
The inspector generals’ report found that DEA officials repeatedly lied to Congress about this incident, pretending the Hondurans were killed in a shoot-out with drug traffickers, raising serious doubts about accountability for escalating U.S. paramilitary operations in Central America.
Right wing opposition protests in Venezuela have turned more violent, with 99 people killed since April, as the protests have failed to mobilize enough popular support to topple the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro.  The U.S. supports the opposition and has led diplomatic efforts to force the government to resign, so there is a danger that this could escalate into a US-backed civil war.  
Meanwhile in Colombia, right wing death squads are once again operating in areas where the FARC has disarmed, killing and threatening people to drive them off land coveted by wealthy landowners. 
Looming over our increasingly war-torn world are renewed U.S. threats of military action against North Korea and Iran, both of which have more robust defenses than any that U.S. forces have encountered since the American War in Vietnam.  Rising tensions with Russia and China risk even greater, even existential dangers, as symbolized by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Doomsday Clock, whose hands now stand at 2-1/2 minutes to midnight.   
Although our post-9/11 wars have probably killed at least 2 million people in the countries we have attacked, occupied or destabilized, U.S. forces have suffered historically low numbers of casualties in these operations.  There is a real danger that this has given U.S. political and military leaders, and to some extent the American public, a false sense of the scale of U.S. casualties and other serious consequences we should look forward to as our leaders escalate our current wars, issue new threats against Iran and North Korea, and stoke rising tensions with Russia and China. 
This is the state of war in the United States in July 2017.

Nicolas J S Davies, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of IraqThis article is adapted from remarks delivered at a “Close Guantanamo” march from the Trump National Doral Miami resort to U.S. Southern Command Headquarters on June 25th 2017 to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.


Northern California

March for Nuclear Abolition & Global Survival
No Nukes! No Walls! No Wars! No Warming!
Wed., August 9, 2017 at 8am Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, Corner of Vasco & Patterson Pass Rds.

Daniel Ellsberg (pictured) renowned whistleblower, former Pentagon war planner, disarmament advocate;
Emma’s Revolution acclaimed singer-songwriting duo of Pat Humphries and Sandy O;
Christine Hong, North Korea expert, UC Santa Cruz;
Marylia Kelley, nuclear weapons watchdog, Executive Director at Tri-Valley CAREs;
Barbara Rose Johnson, advisor to the Marshall Islands radiation claims tribunal, senior research fellow, Santa Cruz;
Jan Kirsch, M.D., M.P.H., medical oncologist, global warming specialist at SF Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility; Hibakusha speaker invited.
9:15 AM - March begins. Bring enlarged photos of people, animals or nature for which you care deeply; drummers, singers, guitarists, traditional Japanese bon dance & symbolic die-in at the Lab’s West Gate; followed by an opportunity to peaceably risk arrest in the gates

Southern California

Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace and Physicians for Social Responsibility are planning events in August around the issue of nuclear disarmament. For more details, contact Anthony Manousos at interfaithquaker@aol.com

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