Maine WTR Happenings

IMPORTANT MAINE WTR NEWS

2018 Common Ground Fair Penny Poll Results

 

Category                                               Percent

Agriculture                                               8.8

Science                                                   6.4

Transportation                                         6.0

Energy/Environment                              13.7

International Affairs                                 2.5

Veterans Benefits                                    4.9

Medicare & Health                                14.4

Housing                                                   6.5

Social Sec & Unemployment                  6.8

Govt                                                        0.8

Arts                                                         8.5

Military                                                    2.1

Education                                             18.6

Maine WTR Resource Center at the Hallowell Parade

Photos by Roger Leisner The Maine Paparazzi

Maine WTR Holds 20 2018 War Tax Season Actions


This year seemed like more of a struggle than last year in terms of organizing events. Perhaps, since the focus has been on connecting with college populations, getting permission is more time consuming. In any event, we have realized it is important for everyone to step up and decide when and where they will do outreach during WTR season no later than March 1st because that is when deadlines for newsletters and media work starts to happen. So, please start thinking now about what you would like to do next year!
This year we had a calendar listing in the M, the Portland Press Herald’s entertainment insert. WBFY of Belfast interviewed Alan Clemence (see link below). Channels 8 and 13 expressed interest and then did not appear. We had great coverage by Channel 5 in Portland (see link below). Morgana Warner-Evans entered all of our events on various media calendars throughout the state. The hope this year is to call some of the major outlets and ask them what we have to do to get a feature.


These are the reports from around the state:
1. Bangor – Earth Day
Alan Clemence requested to have a booth at Earth Day. We were turned down due to our issue being too political.


2. Bar Harbor – College of the Atlantic (COA)
An activist from Ellsworth tabled in the cafeteria. He had conversations with four interested students, and one other student took a pamphlet. Also, the baked stuffed haddock was delicious.


3. Biddeford – University of New England
The university waived their $150 fee to table at their March career expo. However, they would not allow a WTR in a polar bear suit at the event. We connected and had conversations with over 50 students. We also connected with the dean, who was very supportive until we asked to table a second time at the cafeteria. We have also connected with the person who handles internships at the school. She has said we can table at her fair in the fall.


4. Belfast Coop
Margaret de Rivera, Cathy Minks representing Waldo County Peace and Justice, and Alan Clemence tabled from 10am-3pm on 4/7/18 at the coop. They started out in the snow but luckily the weather improved from there. They had 8-12 substantive conversation and 8 people signed up for more information. WBFY interviewed Alan:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbfy/shows/Forum/Alan+Clemence.mp3


5. Brunswick – Bowdoin College
Four of us worked hard from different angles to get permission to table on Bowdoin’s campus. We hear that the CIA does heavy recruiting there. Finally, The Bowdoin Climate Change group responded to the Maine WTR Resource Center and agreed to sponsor us on campus. After agreeing, they withdrew their sponsorship and told us to contact the Democratic Party on campus instead. We explained that we have a fiscal agent that is a 501c3 and that we are a nonpartisan organization. We did not hear from them
again. We do not know why they did not sponsor us. If anyone has any good connections at Bowdoin, please let us know.


6. Brunswick Post Office
PeaceWorks distributed 100 handouts showing the 2017 Obama discretionary budget (54% for military) and the proposed 2019 budget on the other side (61% for military). They had wonderful conversations with more than half of those people, and felt it was a fine bit of public education.


7. Damariscotta Post Office
Suzanne Hedrick spent two days leafletting and talking with numerous people in her community. She is a well-known figure there, so conversations were many. She asked a military couple if they would rather have healthcare or warfare and they said both. She also spoke with a young man intent on joining the Marines and tried to talk him out of it.


8. Farmington – University of Maine
Arthur Harvey reports that the tabling went well. He handed out about 250 flyers. Two young men stayed and questioned him for several minutes. One was a local fellow from Bethel with some farm experience, and he was intrigued by the possibility of raking blueberries this summer.


9. Lewiston – University of Southern Maine
Professor Chris Holden had 8 substantive conversations with students--some undergraduates, including one intending to be a teacher, preferably in Native American schools, some in the Master's program in occupational therapy.


10. Lewiston – Bates College
We worked really hard to get permission to table at Bates. Jason Rawn arrived at the appointed hour and the school would not allow him to set up until the student sponsor appeared. Unfortunately, she was waiting for Jason a different location. We will try again next year.


11. Machias – University of Maine
Lynn Bradbury tabled on two days for nearly three hours each. The reception was good, as she admonished the quickly hurrying by students to “think very critically about any mainstream media info you are receiving about Syria,” many nodded in seeming knowing assent. Many passed by without making eye contact including history professors.


She was able to hand out materials to about 80 students, even many who at first said they had no time. She gave them pre-folded packets with WTR information (mostly the pie chart showing where tax dollars go) wrapped around a 911 truth quiz, an article by Paul Craig Roberts on Why Propaganda Trumps Truth, and copies of MLK's Beyond Vietnam speech given April 4, 1967, a year to the day before his assassination. Many students came back to talk, especially foreign students, older ones, and Native Americans. She had 10-12 substantive conversations.


She explained that we are being bamboozled into another CIA war for regime change and resource extraction, as occurred due to September 11, 2001. She believes it is as important to demonstrate to
people the modus operandi for the endless despicable wars as it is to talk about tax resistance. While it is admittedly a moral issue, she thinks that reaching minds, especially those of students who have not yet thought much about paying taxes and who probably don't readily understand the rationale behind limiting one’s income in order to lower the taxes assessed as they face paying off humongous educational loans, it is aided by an appeal to the events of any given day (i.e., permanent war propaganda and lies about (bogus) chemical attacks). She also referred to how Russia bashing is instrumental to the frenzy for another cold war is also useful (to the government and the military-industrial complex).


12. Orono – University of Maine
Larry Dansinger reported that “we had a total of 714 pennies (about 72 people give or take) at UMaine Memorial Union, Orono, 4/17/2018.” The penny poll results were as follows:


Environment                           120 Pennies                  17%
Interest on Debt                       26                                  4%
Food/Agriculture                      74                                10%
Defense                                    31                                 4%
Vets Benefits                            65                                 9%
General Govt.                           20                                 3%
Transportation                          48                                 7%
Health                                     141                               20%
Housing                                    37                                 5%
Education                               152                                21%


Total                                        714                             100%


13. Portland – University of Southern Maine
The table at University of Southern Maine was more successful than we anticipated. The school did not allow us to table at the cafeteria, which is a much better location. We now know for next year that we need to request a specific spot. In any event, the foot traffic was fairly constant until 1pm. We spoke with at least 32 students and provided them with packets on peace jobs, war tax resistance and truth in military recruiting. Four signed up for more information on the Youth & Militarism Project. We connected with at least two activist students who will be on campus next year.


14. Portland – Lobsterman Park across from Senator Susan Collins’ Office
We held likely the first outdoor lunchtime concert in Portland this season. Professor Gray Cox volunteered to bring his Downeast music group, Fire in the Commons, to Portland to play original songs that take inspiration from Pete Seeger, Violeta Parra, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Emma’s Revolution, Will I Am and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Their lyrics cover topics such as climate change, war, peace, diversity, immigration, consumerism, hope, community building and ecological stewardship. Channel 5, which has a service area of 70,000 people in the Greater Portland region, recorded the event. Here is the link: http://ctn5.org/content/maine-war-tax-resisters


A WTR in a polar bear outfit joined us (see video) to draw the connection between the military and its huge carbon footprint on the planet. We made a connection with the Maine People’s Alliance, which
also sponsors a tax day event. In past years, according to a volunteer, WTR day events were co-hosted with them. We will try that next year. This year the co-host was Veterans for Peace (VFP). Speakers included representatives from the Southern Maine Workers’ Center, VFP, PeaceAction and the Maine WTR Resource Center. Representatives from Black Lives Matter, the immigrant community and 350.org sent their regrets. We had conversations with at least 30 people. Five signed the clipboard for more information. Hundreds received leaflets. The location was much better for pedestrian traffic than our locations at Congress Square and Monument Square Parks over the last couple of years.


15. Rome – Youth Activism Gathering
Morgana Warner-Evans led a discussion at the Youth Activism Gathering on Sunday, April 15. The discussion focused on the local impacts of US militarism. She showed a video clip of a student talking about military recruiting in her high school and clips from a documentary about police militarization Do Not Resist. 10 Participants were asked what they thought of when they heard the word militarism and what their experiences with militarism had been. They talked about how the high cost of healthcare and education in the United States pressure young people to join the military, and the pressure they and their friends experienced from military recruiters in high school. One participant who was Turkish pointed out that the view of the US military as exceptional and beneficial is not shared in other countries. She had a literature table with WTR information and Youth & Militarism (YMP) packets. One student took a packet.


16. South Portland – Southern Maine Community College (SMCC)
Morgana Warner-Evans tabled at SMCC in the student center from 3-4 pm on Monday, April 2, with WTR and YMP Information. The campus Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sponsored the table and will sponsor future ones. A representative of the SPLC worked at the table with her. They spoke with 6 students about what militarism is, how it impacts our lives, and the work that the YMP is doing. Two students added their names on the YMP mailing list.


17. Unity – Unity College
This was the first year a Unity College and the reception was positive. Bill Whitman, John McIntire and Lew McGregor reached out. They handed out small cards and said “Happy Tax Day” to people, which caught their attention. The spoke with the college president, and Iraq war veteran, janitors, students and teachers. They were located near the college café and bathrooms, which turned out to be a prime spot. People were very engaged and they had 10-12 substantive conversations

New 18-month calendar available

with WTR history and peace job opportunities for youth.  A great gift for teens and a wonderful teaching tool for the high school classroom.  To receive a copy, please make a $15 donation to Maine Veterans for Peace.  Contact Doug Rawlings at rawlings@maine.edu

Maine WTR Resource Center Marches in Hallowell Annual Parade

 Maine WTRs and Maine WTR Resource Center Stand in Solidarity with the Penobscot Nation. How Many People Do You Know in These Pictures?

Lisa Savage Goes to Waterville for WTR Day

Maine WTR Resource Center Outreach to 900 at Resistance Conference at Maine Civic Center 

In Addition to Taking Action by Becoming a WTR, Here Are Other Actions to Take.

Urge J Street & Ploughshares to help end the Yemen war

 

UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said the “original sin” of the Afghan war was excluding the Taliban from the Bonn talks that produced the Afghan constitution. It was a rationalization dogma of U.S. diplomatic inaction for years that the U.S. couldn’t talk to the Taliban unless the Taliban accepted the Afghan constitution. But the Taliban saw the Afghan constitution as illegitimate because it was produced by a process from which they were deliberately excluded. So the war ground on and more people were killed for no reason.  

The original sin of U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen – besides the fact that it was unconstitutional because Congress never authorized it – was the excuse that it was necessary as a “side payment” to the Saudi regime foracquiescing in the Iran nuclear deal. This is the line that the Obama-Biden Administration sold to the Democratic “peace community” in Washington DC. And they all drank the Kool-Aid, because they were all Team Obama-Biden. 

We’re going to need all the help we can get to convince Nancy Pelosi to decide to end the Yemen war this month in the “veto proof” NDAA that “funds the troops” that is sent to Trump, instead of letting the war grind on for another year, killing more Yemeni civilians for no reason. It would be a just and useful penance if the same people who led the charge in marketing the Kool-Aid that the Yemen war was a necessary side payment to the Saudi regime for the Iran nuclear dealwould now help us end the war that they helped start and perpetuate. 

The Ploughshares Fund was the “quarterback” of NGO efforts to support the Iran nuclear deal. J Street was the most important Jewish group to support the deal. 

J Street is particularly important now. It’s seen in DC as the main Jewish Democratic counterpoint to AIPAC on anything remotely related to Israel. You might think that the Saudi war in Yemen doesn’t really have much to do with Israel, but this is not how a lot of people in Washington see it. They see the Saudi war in Yemen as related to Iran, and they see anything related to Iran as automatically related to Israel. So in DC terms, the Saudi war in Yemen is in J Street’s “wheelhouse.” 

Every time we get close to ending U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen in Congress, a bunch of Republicans start claiming that ending the war would be “bad for Israel.” It is reasonable to assume that this is happening with AIPAC’s permission, because as a rule AIPAC doesn’t permit people to use “Israel” as an excuse for things without its permission. 

J Street is supposed to be protecting Members of Congress from AIPAC. If Members of Congress are trying to stop the U.S. government from doing something bad, and AIPAC gives Republicans permission to say, “No, we have to keep doing the bad thing because of Israel,” J Street is supposed to pipe up and say, “No, we can stop doing the bad thing and Israel will be fine.” 

So if Members of Congress are trying to end the Yemen war, and AIPAC gives Republicans permission to say that ending the Yemen war would be “bad for Israel,” and J Street doesn’t say anything, it would be “shrinking in the hour of their duty,” as Tom Paine put it.  

Evaluate War's True Costs, Including Massive Debt
by Ed Flaherty

 

Have we become a welfare state for the military-industrial complex?  In August, 2018, Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with overwhelming bi-partisan support.  It authorized a whopping $717 BILLION in military expenditures, a $98 Billion increase over the 2017 NDAA.   Only ten senators voted against this bill, and neither of Iowa’s two senators was among the ten.

Why is this important?

First, and most easily understood, is that the FY 2019 military budget translates into about $2,200 per person in the United States.  Repeat, $2,200 per person.  Of course, that is not proportionally reflected in the taxes that we pay.  This gargantuan expenditure is mostly funded by new Federal debt.  The deficit for FY 2018 was $782 billion, and is projected to be  over $1 trillion in FY 2019.  So, we will let our grandchildren carry that burden.

Second, with funding for the military consuming 58% of total Federal discretionary spending, all other programs are suffocated.  For example, military funding is 81.5 times more than the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Funding for transportation, mental health, food safety, education, and many other programs are cut, while the Pentagon goes unaudited and military contractors get rich.  (Most generals, when they retire, go to work for military contractors or consultants and get richer.)

Third, the only possible legal and moral justification for our huge military establishment would be that it is defending our country from enemies outside our borders.  However, we have not fought a war of defense since World War II.  In the past 18 years we have spent six trillion dollars on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and numerous other conflicts.  All of those were wars of intervention in the affairs of other countries, where the safety of this country was not under threat.   Rather than a defender of freedom, the United States has become the bully of the world.  That is immoral and un-American.
All of the above is history.  We can’t undo unnecessary wars, we can’t get the six trillion dollars back, and we can’t take back the $717 Billion military budget for FY 2019.  So, what shall we do about the Trump administration’s proposal for a $750 Billion military budget for FY 2020?

First of all, we must become informed.  As Thomas Jefferson said, “an informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.”  Next, we ought to become angry --  very angry-- and we must focus our anger on change rather than let it fester.   We in Iowa have the unique opportunity to influence whether our country takes the direction of peace or war.  Presidential candidates are streaming through Iowa, and each should be confronted with the hard questions we have raised here.    With only a couple exceptions, they will avoid the issue, unless pressed.  In addition, each of our two senators in Washington, D.C., has a powerful voice and unique background in military waste.  We must tell them that NOW is the time to rein in military spending and to begin encouraging peaceful solutions.

We have become a welfare state for the military-industrial complex.   We must not silently entrust our financial and moral capital to the tools of war, and we must not ignore our better angels’ calls for personal and societal investment in peace.


Ed Flaherty is a member of Veterans for Peace in Iowa City.

Have you phoned or left a message yet about Iran?

Now is a good time to do so-and the calls are weighted

 

Just a reminder, many on this list have already called but just in case…any one out there receiving any responses back?

 

There are now 25 cosponsors on S 1039  the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019. Check out if your Senators are on there.

 

There are now 70 cosponsors of H.R.2354 - Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019.

Looks as if we only have Chellie Pingree out of the 4 stepping up and voting on this.

 

Can you call your members of Congress? Here’s what you can do tonight:

1) Call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121

2) Ask for your representative/senators, and when connected say:

3) My name is ___________ and I am a constituent living at (your address). I’m calling to urge [the Representative/Senator] to publicly oppose U.S. military attacks on Iran. I urge [the Representative/Senator] to tell the president he does not have constitutional authority for any attacks. {My representative] should point out any retaliatory strike on Iran for what happened to the U.S. drone could spiral out of control. Instead, [my representative] should call for the U.S. to return to diplomacy, including supporting a convening of the UN Security Council to work to defuse tensions in this global crisis.

Calls Needed: House debates Pentagon $ this week

 

The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debate on their version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week.

The NDAA is massive. It’s a whopping $750 billion spending bill that authorizes an outrageous and wasteful amount of money for the Pentagon. At the same time, it is also seen by most in Congress as a “must pass” bill. That status, however, means we have a huge opportunity to attach positive amendments to it, which could mean real progress on issues that may otherwise never receive a vote.

That’s why I’m asking you to call your members of Congress today to urge them to support important steps like these that may come up for a vote at any moment:

  • Support any efforts to reduce the wasteful and bloated Pentagon budget

     

  • Support all efforts to end our nation’s “endless wars”

     

  • Support all efforts to block the Trump administration from recklessly starting a new war with Iran

Here’s what I need you to do:

1) Call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121

2) Ask for your representative, and when connected say:

3) My name is ___________ and I am a constituent living at (your address). I’m calling to urge Representative ________ to support amendments that would reduce wasteful Pentagon spending, end our nation’s endless wars, and stop the Trump administration from starting an unconstitutional war with Iran. I look forward to hearing why the representative does or does not support these steps I feel are important.

Thank you for taking this important action today!

Humbley for peace,

Sign This Petition on Venezuela War Powers

 

Trump has threatened to attack Venezuela without Congressional authorization, in violation of Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

So far, under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the “Democratic-controlled” House of Representativeshasn’t voted against Trump’s threats, shirking its Constitutional responsibility. If the unconstitutional U.S.-Saudi war in Yemen is prologue, the only way for the House of Representatives to be heard is to vote.

The House’s failure to act could change any day the House is voting, if Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Eliot Engel, and Adam Smith would agree.

There’s a bill sponsored by CPC Vice Chair David Cicilline that re-affirms that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 is law and that it applies to Venezuela, meaning that Trump can’t attack Venezuela without getting specific Congressional authorization beforehand. This bill was introduced on February 6. There were hearings on it on March 13. It was reported out of Engel’s House Foreign Affairs Committee 25-19 on April 9. This bill has more than 70 co-sponsors. Adam Smith, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, can green-light this bill to the floor. Then Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Eliot Engel can put the Venezuela War Powers bill on the floor, any time they want.

Urge Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Eliot Engel, and Adam Smith to let the House vote on Venezuela War Powers by signing our petition.

2020 Presidential Candidates: Follow Bernie's Lead on Divesting from the War Machine

 

The race is on, with over 20 Democratic candidates currently in the running, but are they leading to peace? This epic campaign season will be a ripe opportunity to raise public awareness and ensure all candidates refuse donations and, in turn, influence, from the top U.S. weapons manufacturers. Can you send a message to presidential candidates today, asking them to commit to refuse donation from companies that make a killing on killing?

This issue is critically important for all presidential candidates because they are running to become Commander-in-Chief. The president-elect will make key decisions on issues related to national security and defense. These decisions must not be based on the profit motive of weapons manufacturers!

The Bernie Sanders campaign has already led the way and committed to not taking campaign contributions from weapons manufacturers, but many more candidates remain. Let’s first flood their email with our crucial request, then we’ll birddog (engage them on this question) them everywhere they go. Let us know by filling out this form if you’re interested in engaging with a presidential candidate to make their commitment. And if you already plan to confront a presidential candidate, print and bring along this copy of the commitment (color version or black and white) to refuse weapons donations for them to sign!

Tell Senate Republicans to override Trump's War Powers veto

In mid-April, President Trump “vetoed” [sic] the bipartisan Mike Lee - Bernie Sanders - Chris Murphy Yemen War Powers Act Congress passed to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the despotic Saudi regime’s war and blockade on children in Yemen. The Saudi regime’s war on Yemeni children, which began in March 2015 under the Obama-Biden Administration, has strengthened the most dangerous branch of the Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked our homeland on 9/11/2001, killing three thousand innocent American civilians - the Yemeni branch, which the Saudi regime has actively supported. The Saudi regime’s war in Yemen has also deliberately created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. A recent UN report says the death toll from the Saudi regime’s war will pass 230,000 by end of this year. Aid groups say 85,000 children have been starved to death so far by the Saudi regime’s war and blockade.
 
As Iraq war veteran and senior writer David French pointed out at the William F. Buckley-founded National Review, not only is U.S. participation in the Saudi regime’s war in Yemen unconstitutional, but Trump’s so-called “veto” is also unconstitutional. Under the War Powers Clause of Article I of the Constitution, re-affirmed by Section 2c of the War Powers Resolution in 1973, the Congress of the United States - not this President, nor the last one, nor the next one - decides when the U.S. uses military force. As David French correctly noted [my bold, his italics]:
 
“Moreover, even Trump’s veto is an unconstitutional act. A declaration of war requires an affirmative act of Congress. A bipartisan majority’s rejection of American participation in the Yemeni conflict is anything but an affirmation. And when the Constitution requires congressional affirmation, then congressional rejection can’t be vetoed by the president.”   
This week, the Senate is expected to vote on “overriding” Trump’s so-called “veto” of the Mike Lee – Bernie Sanders – Chris Murphy Yemen War Powers Act. A two-thirds vote is needed to “override.” That means it’s all up to Senate Republicans now.
 
There is a key historical precedent for what Senate Republicans are now being asked to do: when the Senate overrode President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act [JASTA], the law which enabled family members of victims of the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on our homeland on 9/11/2001 to sue the despotic Saudi regime in U.S. courts for the Saudi regime’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks. The Senate vote on the override of the Obama-Biden attempt to prevent the 9/11 families from getting their day in court against the Saudi regime was 97-1. Only Democrat Harry Reid voted no. Every Senate Republican voted to override the Obama-Biden attempt to protect the despotic Saudi regime from U.S. justice.
 
Urge Senate Republicans to do the right thing now by signing our petition. 

No U.S.-Iran War

The Trump administration just took another giant step towards war with Iran by designating part of Iran’s military as a “terrorist organization.” This is the first time the U.S. has ever done something like this, and it’s a really, really bad sign.

But then things got worse. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to rule out attacking Iran under the 2001 AUMF — the authorization for the use of military force that has been used to justify endless global war around the world. [1]

And as scary as this all is, there’s also a ray of hope. Congress can make crystal clear to Trump’s war cabinet that it does not have the power to take the U.S. to war with Iran, and a bipartisan group of senators, led by Senator Tom Udall, just introduced a bill that puts a giant road block between Donald Trump and war with Iran. Right now, the bill is stalled, but if enough of us demand action, we can break the deadlock and help prevent a devastating war with Iran.

Will you ask Senators Susan M. Collins and Angus S. King, Jr. to support Senator Udall’s bill, S.1039 to prevent U.S. war with Iran?

Don’t let Trump stop us from stopping the war in Yemen

 

President Trump has just used the second veto of his presidency, this time to block S.J.Res.7 to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Take action now to tell your Senators and Representative to vote to override Trump’s veto and support the next, even stronger, legislation--H.R.643 in the House and S.3652 in the Senate--to end the war in Yemen.

Don't Let Congress Move Yet More Money into Militarism.

 

By the middle of this week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a budget bill that further increases military spending, rather than moving funding to human and environmental needs.

Polls have shown for decades that the U.S. public favors reducing military spending. Numerous U.S. cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have repeatedly urged Congress to move money from militarism to human and environmental needs. But, year after year, Congress and the President have done just the opposite.

This trend has now reached extreme levels, with the Pentagon, "Homeland Security," and nuclear weapons in the "Energy" Department amounting to 63 percent of discretionary spending in Trump's 2020 budget request. 

Trump wants to increase this year's already-bloated, record-breaking $716 billion Pentagon budget to $750 billion for next year, including $165 billion off-the-books.

In the Democratic-run House, the Budget Committee has just sent to the full House a bill that would hand over $733 billion to the Pentagon, and spend some $650 billion for everything else.

Non-military spending is at a historic low relative to the size of the U.S. economy, at just 2.9 percent. This is unacceptable. The United States and the earth are in desperate need of useful investment in green energy, education, infrastructure, healthcare, housing, food, and clean water. We urgently need to move hundreds of billions out of the military and into a Green New Deal.

The American People Do Not Want Endless War

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) were among the first members of Congress to sign a new pledge vowing to end America's "forever wars."

"We're watching our friends who we served with now on their eighth and ninth deployments. We're seeing our kids now will be old enough to enlist and having to have hard conversations about that." 
—Alexander McCoy, Common Defense

"The United States has been in a state of continuous, global, open-ended military conflict since 2001," reads the pledge, which the veterans group Common Defense launched on Monday. "Over 2.5 million troops have fought in this 'Forever War' in over a dozen countries—including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Niger, Somalia, and Thailand."

The five other lawmakers who joined Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, and Warren as the first supporters of the "End the Forever War" pledge were: Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.).

"I pledge to the people of the United States of America, and to our military community in particular, that I will (1) fight to reclaim Congress's constitutional authority to conduct oversight of U.S. foreign policy and independently debate whether to authorize each new use of military force, and (2) act to bring the Forever War to a responsible and expedient conclusion," the document states.

The "End the Forever War" effort was started by Common Defense, an advocacy group comprised of veterans and military families committed to drawing down America's perpetual overseas conflicts, which have inflicted untold damage and taken countless lives throughout the world. Common Defense has over 150,000 supporters across all 50 states, according to the organization's website.

In what The Intercept described as a "first-of-its kind lobbying effort," Common Defense organizers traveled to Capitol Hill last week to urge lawmakers to sign on and commit to fundamentally transforming U.S. foreign policy.

"We're watching Trump destabilize entire regions," Alexander McCoy, political director for Common Defense, said in an interview with The Intercept. "We're watching our friends who we served with now on their eighth and ninth deployments. We're seeing our kids now will be old enough to enlist and having to have hard conversations about that."

Rep. Omar, one of the members of Congress who spoke with veterans from Common Defense last week, said the meeting was "emotional."

"War has been so much a part of the American culture. It's so normalized," Omar, a refugee from war-torn Somalia, told The Intercept. "We only talk about vets when we talk about the kind of resources they need; we never really have a conversation with vets on what defense should look like, and where our engagements are appropriate and when they're not. And the ones we often talk to are people who might have led and might not be the ones getting shot at every day."

The launch of the new pledge comes just weeks after the House of Representatives took the historic step of approving a War Powers resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition's assault on Yemen, which has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"Congress must reassert its constitutional authority over the use of force and responsibly end these interventions," Sen. Sanders, who is leading the Senate effort to end U.S. complicity in Yemen, said in a tweet expressing support for the pledge. "American troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly 18 years, Iraq since 2003 and in Syria since 2015. The American people do not want endless war."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Act Like the World Depends on It

The world agreed on 17 GLOBAL GOALS that affect everyone, everywhere. It's up to us to call upon Congress to work with the UN to achieve them. 

Here's how you can ACT FOR THE WORLD.

Pick one issue you care about, or pick them all. 

Tell Congress: Support Diplomacy and a Negotiated Ceasefire. No Increased Sanctions on Syria

 

Ever since Trump announced US withdrawal from Syria, the forces of war have been having a temper tantrum, trying to reverse the decision. Their latest attempt is H.R. 31, legislation that would impose new levels of sanctions on Syria with unrealistic conditions that would have to be met before the penalties could be suspended.

This is a controversial bill and we are concerned about plans in the House to use a fast-track procedure meant for non-controversial bills. Send a message now to your Representative that you oppose H.R. 31 and not to fast-track it.

Stop Spreading Cancer on Military Bases

 

PFAS chemicals cause frequent miscarriages and other severe pregnancy complications. They contaminate human breast milk and sicken breast-feeding babies. PFAS contribute to liver damage, kidney cancer, high cholesterol, decreased response to vaccines, an increased risk of thyroid disease, along with testicular cancer, micro-penis, and low sperm count in males.

A major source of this deadly contamination in hundreds of locations around the United States and around the world is U.S. military bases, which use PFAS for putting out fires, despite full knowledge of the effects, and despite the availability of alternatives.

Ask Amazon employees to refuse military work

Nick Mottern reports that Amazon is likely to win a $10 billion contract “to build a global ‘brain’ for the Pentagon called JEDI, a weapon of unprecedented surveillance and killing power, a profoundly aggressive weapon that should not be allowed to be created.”

Withdraw Troops From Syria and Afghanistan

Issues of war and peace should not be a partisan game. Tell Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, to support the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan. No matter how much we might dislike Trump (and for many of us, that’s quite a lot), we shouldn’t object to decisions that move us out of never-ending conflicts.

U.S. Out of Africa: Shut Down the Africom

October 1, 2018 marked 10 years since the United States African Command (AFRICOM) had been established. The purpose of AFRICOM is to use U.S. military power to impose U.S. control of African land, resources and labor to service the needs of U.S. multi-national corporations and the wealthy in the United States.

When AFRICOM was established in the months before Barack Obama assumed office as the first Black President of the United States, a majority of African nations—led by the Pan-Africanist government of Libya—rejected AFRICOM, forcing the new command to instead work out of Europe. But with the U.S. and NATO attack on Libya that led to the destruction of that country and the murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, corrupt African leaders began to allow AFRICOM forces to operate in their countries and establish military-to-military relations with the United States. Today, those efforts have resulted in 46 various forms of U.S. bases as well as military-to-military relations between 53 out of the 54 African countries and the United States. U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.   

We are focusing on AFRICOM as our contribution to the work of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, of which BAP is a founding member.

 

OUR DEMANDS

  1. the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Africa,

  2. the demilitarization of the African continent,

  3. the closure of U.S. bases throughout the world, and

  4. the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) must oppose AFRICOM and conduct hearings on AFRICOM’s impact on the African continent.

War Profiteers: The U.S. War Machine and the Arming of Repressive Regimes

 

After the Saudi bombing of a Yemeni school bus on August 9, 2018 that killed 44 children, CNN revealed that the bomb used in the attack was manufactured by Lockheed Martin. It showed a map of Yemen pinpointing several other attacks where large numbers of civilians have been killed by bombs from not only Lockheed Martin, but also General Dynamics and Raytheon.

Are the New House Leaders Working for Merchants of Death?

 

It’s time to get to work asking the new 2019 Congress to divest from war. The election is over — in most places — and we will have new leaders in the House.How will those leaders vote if they’ve taken heaps of money from the war machine? Rather than wait for them to vote for the killing industry, we have a better idea: We are joining with Win Beyond War to demand soon-to-be House leaders give back the money they have taken from the weapons industry.

Nancy Pelosi is gunning for Speaker of the House. Between 2017 and 2018, she took over $80 thousand from weapons manufacturers. Adam Smith, slated to be the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, took a whopping $228,750. Rep Clyburn, likely the next majority whip, took $69,500, Nita Lowy took $68,000 and Steny Hoyer took $163,856. Even Barbara Lee took money from the merchants of death. We are asking all of them now — so that we can trust them — to GIVE THE MONEY BACK!

Elected officials should be working for the people, not the military industrial complex. If our leaders are in the pocket of the weapons industry, they will have serious conflicts of interest. But if they give back the money they’ve already taken, they can work in the interest of the people. Elected officials should NEVER be making a killing off killing.

Sign our petition telling soon-to-be House leaders to give back weapons money today.

I’m excited to introduce myself to you. My name is Maya Rommwatt and I just joined the CODEPINK team this week as the new national organizer of Divest from the War Machine. I can’t wait to hear more about the divestment projects and ideas you have. Let me know if you’re interested in working on a campaign to divest your city or institution, or if you want help divesting your own investments from killing. Drop me a line at divest@codepink.org and learn more by checking out the Divest from the War Machine website.

Code Pink on War Profiteers: The U.S. War Machine and the Arming of Repressive Regimes

Tell Congress to Say No to Space-Based Weapons

Members of Congress are currently resurrecting unworkable, dangerous, and costly proposals to build space-based weapons. If they succeed, the world will be less safe. Other countries will likely build their own space weapons, spurring an arms race in space that would pose a significant threat to satellites that the world relies on for communication, navigation, environmental monitoring, and a host of global needs.

UCS helped stop this dangerous idea back in the 80's, and we can do it again now--but we need your help! Urge your members of Congress to oppose the development and deployment of space-based missile defense and instead to advocate for policies that reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons through nuclear arms control and other sensible, achievable risk reduction measures.

U.S. Out of Afghanistan

As we pause to remember the events of 9/11 and honor the victims here in the United States, let’s remember the millions of Afghans who have been killed, maimed and/or displaced over these years. I am one of them.When I was six, we fled our home and country in the middle of the night after a rocket blew up our neighbor's house. By age 24, I had already lived in five countries.

The U.S. troops that invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban are still there 17 years later, and so are the Taliban. Today, up to 20 insurgent groups are waging war in my homeland. U.S. presence has only made the violence worse. And the women the U.S. was supposedly helping through its invasion of Afghanistan are now worse off than they've ever been. CODEPINK has consistently campaigned against this senseless war in Afghanistan. That’s why we are yet again sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking him to finally withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Add your name now!

Afghanistan has suffered in the aftermath of 9/11 more than any other nation. As we approach the 17th year of the U.S. military intervention,violence across the country is escalating at an alarming rate and the bloodshed doesn’t look set to end anytime soon. The Taliban, who were supposed to be part of a dark history, are now the solid reality of the present.Survival is still the primary concern for Afghans. This past Wednesday, a journalist who was working to highlight the human toll of the war was among 20 killed in a deadly attack in Kabul.  

Most Afghans live in extreme poverty. Unemployment is rampant. Millions have become refugees and internally displaced. Afghans make up the world’s second largest refugee population (after Syrians) and they are living in horrific conditions. On a recent trip by CODEPINK organizer Nancy Mancias to refugee camps in Lesvos Greece, Afghan refugees described the camps as even more dangerous than Afghanistan.

It is time to cut through the fog of war and reveal the untold story of the death, devastation and the destruction that the U.S. military is part of. We need negotiations and peace talks to end this war, and all foreign military forces must leave. Tell U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis that after 17 years of war, it is clear that there is no military solution. It is up to us, the Afghan people, to build a future free of war.

Tell Nancy Pelosi to Stop Letting Trump Push War with Iran

Nancy Pelosi was President Obama’s right-hand woman when it came to rallying Democratic support for the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. She spent the August recess collecting and giving to the White House the names of 57 House Democrats who were wobbling on the deal. Obama called each of them personally to persuade them to support this historic win for diplomacy.

Where is Congresswoman Pelosi now that Trump has shredded the deal, re-imposed sanctions and is taking us down the path to war?Where is her response to Trump’s latest tirade to Iran’s President Rouhani, saying that if he ever threatened the United States, Rouhani would “SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.” Tell Nancy Pelosi not to be Missing In Action as we head towards a war with Iran. Tell her to organize her party to stop the Trump administration from imposing more sanctions and leading us into war.

Pelosi is not just MIA; she has refused to distance herself from Donald Trump and his bombastic National Security Advisor John Bolton in their support for the terrorist group MEK. The MEK fought alongside Saddam Hussein during the Iraqi invasion of Iran, has assassinated American and Iranian civilians, and has no popular support in Iran.

There is no other way to say it: the path we are on is leading straight to war. In 2015 Pelosi and other Democrats went to bat to support a nuclear deal that was a great win for diplomacy. Now that the deal has been destroyed and a calamity is in the making, they are nowhere to be found. Join us in telling Nancy Pelosi to do her job as a leader of the Democrats and keep us out of war with Iran.

Tell Trump to Meet with Iran President Rouhani

 

If Donald Trump can meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un, surely he can meet with Iran’s President Rouhani. If Donald Trump is indeed anxious to listen to Putin, he should heed Putin’s warning about the dangers of destroying the Iran nuclear deal. Send a message to Congress urging President Trump to meet with Rouhani and rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.

It is rare that we praise Donald Trump, but meeting with both Kim Jung Un and Vladimir Putin was the right thing to do. If our goal is to build peace, then calm talks, rather than threats and military escalation, are always the better path to take.

Trump’s meetings with Putin and Kim give us the opportunity to set a significant precedent for diplomacy. If we can parlay this into a summit with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, we might have a real chance to avoid war with Iran.

Under the Iran nuclear deal, which Obama signed in 2015 and Trump rejected this year, Iran agreed to reduce its uranium stockpile and nuclear enrichment program in exchange for lifting the crippling sanctions destroying the Iranian economy and harming ordinary citizens. The International Atomic Energy Agency certified Iran’s compliance, and the other signatories—Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia—were happy with the deal.

Since Trump pulled out of the deal on May 8, the Trump administration has been imposing onerous sanctions to squeeze the Iranian economy and is putting us on a DIRECT PATH TO WAR. This might be the personal goal of National Security Advisor John Bolton, but it is not in the national security interest of our nation. Join us in sending a message to Congress that if Trump can meet with North Korea and Russia, he can participate in a summit with Iran and rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.

After a two-year hiatus, At War has returned to The New York Times, reincarnated under The Times Magazine. We launched the new channel in March on the 15th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war (read our inaugural piece by the Iraq war veteran Matt Ufford) and have continued publishing stories that explore the experience and costs of war.

We wanted to send a note to readers who signed up for At War updates to tell you we’re now up and running. And for Vietnam ‘67 subscribers, we wanted to make you aware of this new Times project so you can follow along.

For those of you who didn’t read the original iteration, here’s a quick history:

 

At War existed as a blog from 2009 to 2016. After most Times blogs were discontinued in 2014, it gradually went dormant. But with American troops engaged in the longest war in the country’s history, the need for such a forum was acute, so The Times agreed in late 2017 to bring back At War. You can read the full origin story here in this great Times Insider piece by Lara Takenaga.

 

Over the next few months, At War plans to cover armed conflict through staff reporting and outside voices. We’ll also be starting an official newsletter later this year. In the meantime, you can read all our stories by following us on Twitter,@NYTimesAtWar, or visiting our collections page, nytimes.com/atwar.

 

Get Involved

If you would like to write for us, send a 200-word email pitch to AtWar@nytimes.com.

We’re also working on a long-term multimedia project about veterans and their Alive Day. If you are a veteran and have an Alive Day you plan to commemorate this year, fill out this form with a little bit about yourself and your story, or send us an email.

Boycott is Best Response to Illegal Israeli Killings

 

Ireland and EU Complicit in enabling Israel’s violations of Palestinian’s rights.

byOmar Barghouti

"Heeding our appeals, a few weeks ago, Dublin became the first European capital to adopt BDS for Palestinian rights."

 

Yesterday, Palestinians everywhere commemorated the 1947-1949 Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) – the ethnic cleansing of the majority of indigenous Palestinians from our homeland and the systematic destruction of hundreds of our villages and towns to establish Israel as an exclusionary state.

In 1948, when Zionist paramilitaries forced the family of my late grandmother, Rasmiyyah, out of their spacious home in the picturesque city of Safad at gunpoint, the seminal process of settler-colonialism that was enabled by the Balfour Declaration became personal to my family. The Nakba has shaped my identity and the identity of millions of other Palestinian descendants of refugees.

To suppress the massive peaceful demonstrations in Gaza, where the majority are Nakba refugees and their descendants, demanding an end to the 12-year-old siege and refugees’ rights, Israel has enacted a shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy, killing dozens and injuring thousands, many with live ammunition.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has condemned these crimes, while Amnesty International has called on world governments “to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel” as an effective measure of accountability.

In the meanwhile, Israel has intensified its illegal settlement construction and its brutal policies of forcible displacement of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the Negev, home demolitions, violent interrogation and detention of hundreds of children, and its denial of freedom of movement.

This ongoing Nakba and Israel’s utter impunity were the trigger for the birth in 2005 of the nonviolent, Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, which is led by the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society.

BDS calls for an end to Israel’s 1967 occupation, full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the UN-stipulated right of Palestinian refugees to return to the lands from which they were uprooted and dispossessed since the Nakba.

Enough is Enough. The Time Has Come to BDS the US.

 

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War
https://worldbeyondwar.org/enough-is-enough-the-time-has-come-to-bds-the-us/

 

People, organizations, and governments around the world, and people and organizations in the United States, need to stand up at long last and nonviolently resist the lawless behavior of the rogue U.S. government.

 

The recent U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran is not an aberration. It parallels the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and numerous other disarmament agreements, the U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court, its record-setting use of the veto in the United Nations Security Council, and its unique status outside the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Paris Climate Agreement (which it withdrew from) and other fundamental treaties. Of the United Nations’ 18 major human rights treaties, the United States is party to 5, fewer than any other nation on earth, except Bhutan (4), and tied with Malaysia, Myanmar, and South Sudan, a country torn by warfare since its creation in 2011.

Divest From Blackrock

BlackRock is making a killing on killing! It has billions of dollars invested in weapons companies such as Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Elbit, and General Dynamics. They are positioning themselves as a company that is socially responsible, while they continue to invest in weapons of war. Join us in sending a message to BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, that it’s time to #divestfromwar and stop investing in weapons manufacturers:

Stop Making a Killing on Killing

Cut Military Spending - Don't Increase It!

Our country accounts for at least a third of the world's military spending. Our defense budget is larger than the next dozen nations combined. Meanwhile, our bridges and roads are crumbling, many cities have unsafe water, veterans who risked all for this country cannot get the therapy they need. Defense spending is out of control while public assistance programs are being slashed to the bone.

President Trump has proposed to add billions more to our already obscenely bloated defense budget. We as a country cannot afford to pour such outrageous sums into the Pentagon when only a small fraction of that money could rebuild our roads, ensure that every resident has access to safe water, shelter the homeless, and do so much more that needs to be done.

Tell Israel to stop firing at peaceful protesters in Gaza!

 

Tell the eleven Democratic members of Congress who were just in Israel to publicly condemn Israel’s deadly attacks taking place right now against peaceful protesters in Gaza. You can also call their offices.

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 202-225-4965

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) 202-225-4176

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) 202-225-5541

Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) 202-225-3661

Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) 202-225-2111

Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) 202-225-1640

Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) 202-225-5931

Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) 202-225-2836

Reps. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) 202-225-6365

Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) 202-225-6534

Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) 202-225-5341

Suggested Text from CodePink

I am appealing to you, as you were recently part of a Congressional delegation to Israel. On Friday, March 30, the Israeli military opened fire on unarmed peaceful protestors. Eighteen Palestinians were killed and over 1,400 injured by live fire, rubber-coated steel pellets and tear gas. The Israeli army gave authorization in advance for its soldiers to open fire on the protestors. I call on you to immediately condemn Israel’s deadly tactics and use your influence to tell Israel to stop firing at unarmed protesters. 
Sincerely,

TELL WASHINGTON: NO MORE $ FROM THE NRA & WEAPONS COMPANIES

The impacts of war and militarism are in our schools and in our streets. Our students are standing up and saying no to the NRA and gun violence.  Tell your Representative & Senators in Washington that it is time to #divestfromwar and stop taking campaign contributions from weapons companies and the NRA. They should be representing the people, not companies that profit off of war, death, and destruction.

Protect Palestinian Children from being detained and abused by Israel

 

Each year around 700 Palestinian children are arrested, abused and detained in Israel’s military court system. Tell your Representative in Congress to support the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act.

This bill would prohibit Israel from using any US funds for the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.

 

Israel is the only country in the world that subjects children to a military court system. Their segregated and unequal system applies only to Palestinian, not Israeli, children. The conviction rate in Israeli military court is 99.74%.
 

    Don't Bank on the Bomb Send a message!

 

Congratulate the good ones and demand change from the others. Here you can send financial institutions a clear message, either by email or through twitter.

Fly Kites Not Drones 2018
by Maya Evans, VCNV-UK


Over the last 5 years, UK anti-drone campaigning activities have included entering the drone control base at RAF Waddington to plant a peace garden and carry out a citizens' inspection; blockading Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems; and regularly hosting the London kite-flying event to resist armed drones. This year, as Afghans celebrate their new year on Nao Roz, Voices for Creative Nonviolence-UK invites communities in the U.S. to join the "Fly Kites Not Drones" campaign.

This peace campaign was launched 5 years ago by young nonviolent peace campaigners in Kabul who have first-hand experience of losing family members killed by drones. The campaign was created to highlight the fear and harm which armed drones inflict on children, so much so that they're now too afraid to take part in Afghanistan's much-loved pursuit of kite flying. The Afghan Peace Volunteers asked international campaigners to fly kites on the Persian New Year, 21st March, in solidarity with Afghan children.

Fly Kites Not Drones has since gone international with kite flying becoming recognised as an act of international solidarity for all young people living under armed drones, spotlighting civilian casualties and the psychological trauma inflicted by drones.

An urgent call is being put out to join with this action in the light of recent news that there will be a reallocation of U.S. military resources back to Afghanistan. Army General John Nicholson, Top Commander in Afghanistan recently commented: "As assets free up from Iraq and Syria and the successful fight against [Islamic State] in that theatre, we expect to see more assets come to Afghanistan." According to Brussels, allied officials say they have sensed a shift in U.S. priorities with pressure on NATO to focus less on the Middle East but more on Afghanistan. The Pentagon recently made moves to reallocate drones, other hardware and 1,000 new combat advisers to Afghanistan in time for 'fighting season' which traditionally starts in Spring.

In Afghanistan civilian casualties are at an all-time high. The last UNAMA report published July 2017 calculated 1,662 civilians killed in the first 6 months of the year with 3,581 injured, and of those killed 174 were women and 436 were children, a 23% and 19% increase respectively from the previous year. Trump's August pledge to stop nation building and fight terrorists almost certainly translates to a ramping up in the use of aerial bombing and moreover drone warfare, which, by default means an increase in civilian deaths.

The act of flying a kite is simple but deeply symbolic. For Afghans it's an integral part of their culture and social life; banned under the Taliban it now carries an additional symbolism of resistance. The underlying message of the campaign is that beautiful blue skies should be kept as a place of fun, wonderment and joy. Weapons that cause terror and fear, creating a deathly omnipresence which can last for weeks and even months should not cross the skies over Afghanistan or any other land.

Fly Kites Not Drones is an ongoing campaign which the APV head up every year. So, this Nao Roz, (beginning of the Afghan New Year), on the 21st March (or around that time) join your brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, invite some friends and go fly a kite in your local park, open space, beach or military base! Make a sign, a simple leaflet, take some photos and let us know.   @kitesnotdrones #FlyKitesNotDronesinfo@dronecampaignnetwork.riseup.net

Maya Evans co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence-UK (www.vcnv.org.uk)

How It Could Finally Be Possible to Prosecute War as a Crime

 

By David Swanson


http://worldbeyondwar.org/prosecute

 

War is a crime. The International Criminal Court has justannounced that it will finally treat it as a crime, sort-of, kind-of. But how can war’s status as a crime effectively deter the world’s leading war-maker from threatening and launching more wars, large and small? How can laws against war actually be put to use? How can the ICC’s announcement be made into something more than a pretense?

The Kellogg-Briand Pact made war a crime in 1928, and various atrocities became criminal charges at Nuremberg and Tokyo because they were constituent parts of that larger crime. The United Nations Charter maintained war as a crime, but limited it to “aggressive” war, and gave immunity to any wars launched with U.N. approval.

 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) could try the United States for attacking a country if (1) that country brought a case, and (2) the United States agreed to the process, and (3) the United States chose not to block any judgment by using its veto power at the U.N. Security Council. Desirable future reforms obviously include urging all U.N. members to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ, and eliminating the veto. But what can be done now?

 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) can try individuals for various “war crimes,” but has thus far tried only Africans, though for some time now it has claimed to be “investigating” U.S. crimes in Afghanistan. Although the U.S. is not a member of the ICC, Afghanistan is. Desirable future reforms obviously include urging all nations, including the United States, to join the ICC. But what can be done now?

 

The ICC has finally announced that it will prosecute individuals (such as the U.S. president and secretary of “defense”) for the crime of “aggression,” which is to say: war. But such wars must be launched after July 17, 2018. And those who can be prosecuted for war will be only citizens of those nations that have both joined the ICC and ratified the amendment adding jurisdiction over “aggression.” Desirable future reforms obviously include urging all nations, including the United States, to ratify the amendment on “aggression.” But what can be done now?

 

The only way around these restrictions, is for the U.N. Security Council to refer a case to the ICC. If that happens, then the ICC can prosecute anyone in the world for the crime of war.

 

This means that for the force of law to have any chance of deterring the U.S. government from threatening and launching wars, we need to persuade one or more of the fifteen nations on the U.N. Security Council to make clear that they will raise the matter for a vote. Five of those fifteen have veto power, and one of those five is the United States.

 

So, we also need nations of the world to proclaim that when the Security Council fails to refer the case, they will bring the matter before the U.N. General Assembly though a “Uniting for Peace” procedure in emergency session to override the veto. This is what was just done in December 2017 to overwhelmingly pass a resolution that the U.S. had vetoed, a resolution condemning the U.S. naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

 

Not only do we need to jump through each of these hoops (a commitment to a Security Council vote, and a commitment to override the veto in the General Assembly) but we need to make evident beforehand that we will be certain or likely to do so.

 

Therefore, World Beyond War is launching a global petition to the national governments of the world asking for their public commitment to refer any war launched by any nation to the ICC with or without the Security Council. 

 

After all, it is not only U.S. wars that should be prosecuted as crimes, but all wars. And, in fact, it may prove necessary to prosecute junior partners of the United States in its “coalition” wars prior to prosecuting the ring leader. The problem is not one of lack of evidence, of course, but of political will. The U.K., France, Canada, Australia, or some other co-conspirator may be brought by global and internal pressure (and the ability to circumvent the U.N. Security Council) to submit to the rule of law prior to the United States doing so.

 

A key detail is this: how much organized murder and violent destruction constitutes a war? Is a drone strike a war? Is base expansion and a few home raids a war? How many bombs make a war? The answer should be any use of military force. But in the end, this question will be answered by public pressure. If we can inform people of it and persuade the nations of the world to refer it to trial, then it will be a war, and therefore a crime.

 

Here’s my New Year’s resolution: I vow to support the rule of law, that might may no longer make right.

Senator King Supports First Use Nuclear Strike - Whoa

Write a Letter to King and a Letter to the editor of your local paper

Dear Ginny

As a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I study issues of nuclear strategy carefully and remain fully apprised of developments as they arise. Like you, I believe that the United States must work closely with its international partners to limit nuclear proliferation and we have a duty to promote stability across the globe. I recognize, however, that in order for the United States to ensure this stability and prevent the use of nuclear weapons, it is absolutely necessary to maintain a strong and credible nuclear deterrent—and that retaining the option of a first-use nuclear strike in certain scenarios is a necessary component of this deterrent and to our extended deterrent to critical treaty allies. 

No nuclear war with North Korea

Congress must act immediately to vote on the “No First Use” bill, H.R. 669, to prevent Trump from unilaterally launching a nuclear strike. Add your name to support this bill.

The Fiscal Ship

 

It is a "game" or simulation that you go through. It takes about 10-15 min and it asks your view and values about the use of federal monies, particularly the discretionary funds.

 

With the values that you state you then get to set up the federal budget and then experience directly the trade-offs that you might have to put up with.

Dear Members and Friends of U.S. Peace Council,

We are pleased to announce that the USPC and a number of prominent peace, justice and environmental organizations in the U.S. have jointly formed the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases. We have agreed on a Unity Statement for the Coalition and would like to invite you and your organization to join us.

You can read and sign on to our Unity Statement on the Coalition's website at:

The U.S. government is using airshows to manipulate children to think that war and violence is fun and glorious.

 

See this video done by an Iraq war veteran who enters a San Diego airshow and reveals the extent of indoctrination of the kids by the military.

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