Handing over New Zealand’s Disarmament and Security Centre

September 11, 2019

Many readers first met Robert Green in the ‘90s as a member of Just Defence and co-author – with Dr Frank Barnaby – of Deterring War Responsibly: a new defence policy for Britain. He recently wrote:

As I approach my 75th birthday, we are handing over our centre to a new team of young workers, who are attracting some fresh energy, commitment and support. The Disarmament and Security Centre (DSC) is a non-profit charitable organisation based in Aotearoa New Zealand. We specialised in disarmament and peace issues and carried out research and disarmament education in these areas.

20 Australian students from Monash University, Melbourne recently visited our centre in our home down here in Christchurch, to hear about the work of my wife Dr Kate Dewes and myself to pass on NZ’s nuclear free legacy, and raise awareness about the irresponsible hoax of nuclear deterrence – see our new website at www.disarmsecure.org.

My focus now is to try to find ways to encourage the wave of young campaigners inspired by Greta Thunberg to broaden their campaign to include nuclear deterrence – which is a more immediate threat. To this end, I briefed the Monash students on a new report from an Australian thinktank in their own city – an analysis of climate-related security threats – (NB the Foreword by Admiral Chris Barrie RAN (Ret’d), former Chief of Australia’s Defence Forces).

 

 

 

 

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War cannot solve any problem. . . If you solve one by waging war, four more spring up

September 2, 2019

Dawn News, one of Pakistan’s 24 hour news channels, reports that Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the first International Sikh convention, which began on Saturday at the Governor’s House in Lahore and was attended by Sikh delegates from the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.

Prime Minister Imran said that he realised that Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib were as holy for Sikhs as Makkah and Madina were for Muslims, and promised to make access for Sikh pilgrims as easy as possible.

“This is not a favour, this is our duty,” he said.

He also addressed the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan and expressed particular concern for the residents of Indian-occupied Kashmir, who have been under a restrictive lockdown for the past 27 days.

The premier told the attendees of the convention that his overtures for peace had been dismissed by the Indian government, and the latter had continued to put forward conditions before it would engage, commenting: “[They acted] like a superpower does when telling a poor country to ‘do this, do that’. I was very surprised”.He denounced the idea of war, saying:

“I do not believe that war can solve any problem. Whoever thinks that, is not sensible, has not read world history. If you solve one problem by waging war, four more spring up because of it. Everyone who has tried to solve problems by waging war has lost, even in victory. It takes years for a country to recover from the losses.”

 

 

 

 

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Global Campaign on Military Spending: Colin Archer IPB Secretary-General (retired)

August 27, 2019

The Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS) is an international campaign founded in December 2014 and promoted by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) following the first Global Days of Action (GDAMS), which have been an annual occurrence since 2011. The main aim is to reduce the global military spending thanks to the cooperative work of the organisations of civil society. So far, more than 100 organizations from 35 nations have joined the campaign. The GCOMS is run by a steering group of activists from all over world, and is coordinated by the Center of Peace Studies J.M.Delàs in Barcelona, a decentralized office of IPB. It works through its members to change government policy and practice on military spending.

The overall goal is to achieve major reallocations of military expenditures (especially in high-spending countries) to five broad alternative areas, which include:

1. Peace: disarmament, conflict prevention and resolution, human security;

2. Sustainable development and anti-poverty programmes;

3. Climate change and biodiversity loss –for mitigation and adaptation;

4. Public services/social justice, human rights, gender equality and green job-creation;

5. Humanitarian programmes to support the most vulnerable groups.

All the above are part of a wider global transformation towards a culture of peace.

 

Continues here: https://civilisation3000.wordpress.com/articles-2/global-campaign-on-military-spending/

 

 

 

 

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Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS)

August 22, 2019

Gill Hurle of MAW draws attention to GDAMS 2019 Final Report which presents a summary of 2019 Global Days of Action on Military Spending, including an overview, highlights, materials and a compilation of all actions carried out, accompanied by a selection of pictures.

During 26 days, from April 13 to May 9, over 110 GDAMS events took place in 27 countries all around the world:

USA, Canada, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Norway, Finland, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Cameroon, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, India, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

See more on GDAM’s Facebook page

As in previous years, these events varied in shape and size depending on countries and partners, generating a whole range of actions that included street protests/demonstrations, seminars, press conferences, joint statements, interviews, workshops, stalls, leafleting, petitions, letters, peace vigils, penny polls, school rallies, videos and photos.

These diverse actions highlighted the unacceptable global military expenditure of $1.82 trillion in 2018 while linking it to different national and local realities.

GDAMS 2019 Final Report

Download the full report here

 

 

 

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The Strait of Hormuz: is Germany a self-righteous pacifist – or wise and clearsighted?

August 13, 2019

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Constanze Stelzenmüller, the Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at America’s the Brookings Institution (see funding details) condemns Germany’s refusal to lead a naval mission to protect the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important oil trading routes because of Iran’s ‘nefarious role in destabilising the Middle East and supporting Islamist terrorism’ (FT 7.8.19).

Iranian patrol boat circling the detained the Swedish owned Stena Impero, which sails under a British registered flag

Ms Stelzenmüller finds Germany’s ‘posturing as a self-righteous pacifist’ unconvincing, citing its involvement in an EU anti-piracy forces operating off the Horn of Africa and in a May article asked whether Germany, is in denial or is ‘hedging’ against a bullying and erratic America with the help of authoritarian powers like Russia and China. (9.5.19)

Germany has offered an EU observer mission that would collect information about attacks, but not escort ships or give them military protection.

Having read her article, Robert Hunter, US ambassador to Nato (1993-98),’ widely recognized as one of the Nation’s leading authorities on Europe and the Middle East, in all dimensions’, responded (12.8.19).

Though he designed the 1980 Carter Doctrine, guaranteeing the security of oil transiting Hormuz which has aimed to prevent any state from completely dominating the Gulf since then, he challenged Ms Stelzenmüller’s description of Iran’s role in the Middle East, writing.

“Beyond any doubt, the title for promoting Islamist terrorism — Taliban, al-Qaeda, Isis, Boko Haram — belongs to Saudi Arabia, with help from the UAE”.

He recommends Germany and other European countries, including the UK, not to send warships to the Gulf, but to demand that President Donald Trump rejoins the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), adding:

“With Iran’s leaders, he shares responsibility for the current crisis. The Europeans need to have the guts to stand up to the US president when he is contributing so much to endangering everyone’s security. Otherwise, what is the point of being allies?”

 

 

 

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An alternative to a formal peace process that has largely ground to a halt

July 28, 2019

 

The US-led conference held last month in Bahrain, designed to increase investment in the Palestinian economy and pave a path to peace with Israel came under criticism, was attended by no official delegation from either of the two parties. The terms of the US peace plan, which was made without consulting the Palestinians, have not yet been made public.

Last week, the Palestinian village of Wadi al-Hummus, south of East Jerusalem, saw the largest eviction in the city since 1967.

About 1,000 soldiers and police officers took part in the campaign broadcast live on television, detonating explosives planted in an eight-storey building near the Israeli separation wall, which was seen as a “security” risk.  See the Jerusalem video witness here.

A Wimbledon reader draws attention to James Reinl’s article about a Canadian law professor, Michael Lynk, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territory – a ‘controversial’ appointment. He has been meeting Israeli and Palestinian officials and activists in Jordanian capital Amman to carry out research for a report he will submit to the UN’s Geneva-based Human Rights Council in October.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday where he shared his conclusions, YNet news, an Israeli outlet, reports that Lynk said the international community had “recoiled from answering Israel’s splintering of the Palestinian territory and disfiguring of the laws of occupation with the robust tools that international law and diplomacy provide.”

As the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is continuing, he is drafting a series of steps the international community could take to deter Israel from building more settlements in the occupied West Bank and from making any efforts to formally annex the Palestinian territory

To this end, he advocates the cutting of economic, political and cultural ties with Israel

“The international community actually holds a lot of cards with Israel, and it has to say to Israel: ‘Your membership or privileges through bilateral or multilateral agreements with respect to your economy, political and cultural relationships are all going to be called into question and reviewed unless you show genuine attempts to unwind and undo the occupation’.”

Lynk’s recommendations are not legally-binding but Palestinian activists could well see them as a useful alternative to a formal peace process that has largely ground to a halt.

He has emphasised the role of the EU, which accounts for some 40% of Israel’s external trade and could make the flow of Israeli goods and services to the 28-nation bloc contingent on policy shifts that help Palestinians.

Citing two UN-backed mechanisms designed to hold Israel accountable for human rights violations that appear to have ground to a halt under pressure from the US and Israel, he called for:

  • the speedy publication of a long-awaited blacklist of Israeli and international companies that profit from operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which has been drawn up by the UN’s human rights apparatus in Geneva
  • and urged prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to hasten its preliminary investigation of allegations of rights abuses by Israel and Hamas on Palestinian territory, which began in 2015.

Photograph taken in 2015

Today it is reported that Israeli settlers destroyed 80 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers in the village of Yasouf, east of the West Bank city of Salfit. Yasouf mayor, Khaled Abbieh, said that the land where the trees were cut down is located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Rahalim, and is owned by two brothers who are residents of that settlement. The act came as Palestinian farmers prepare for the olive harvest season, which is done in the autumn. Thousands of families live by harvesting olives.

Will the international community courageously take all possible steps to deter Israel from building in the occupied West Bank and to encourage both sides to plan for a peaceful, prosperous future?

 

 

 

 

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Japanese people are proud that their defence forces have not killed one citizen of any other country for seventy-four years

July 25, 2019

 

During the recent election, Japan’s ruling coalition fell short of a two-thirds supermajority in the upper house of parliament. This means that the prime minister Shinzo Abe would not be able to revise the country’s pacifist constitution – his lifelong ambition, according to the FT’s Robin Harding.

Earlier in May, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cited regional security concerns as one reason to revise the country’s war-constitution. He spoke at a rally on Constitution Memorial day, the national holiday marking the 70th anniversary of the US-drafted and imposed document that has shaped Japan’s domestic and international politics since 1947. He hoped to effect this change by 2020, when the Olympic Summer Games will be held in Tokyo.

As we noted earlier, in 2015, when changes were made to Japan’s Self-Defence Forces (JSDF) by laws passed permitting the force to fight overseas for the first time since the second world war, there were reports of 100,000 protesters in the streets outside Japan’s parliament (below). An estimated 25,000 people also gathered at the Shibuya crossing in central Tokyo. The most recent polls on the issue, conducted by Nikkei, showed 46% against change versus 45%.

Yuki Tatsumi, a senior associate and director of the Japan program at the Stimson Centre in Washington DC says that “Japanese people have been proud that their defence forces have not had to fire a shot to kill the citizens of other countries up to this point, even with their participation in UN peacekeeping operations. I think they would very much like to continue to keep it that way.”

The editor of Japan’s Asahi Shimbun emphasises that Article 9 in no way bans the government from using armed force to protect the lives and freedom of its people from foreign attacks, which is its most important responsibility, according to the government’s traditional interpretation of the Constitution.

 

 

 

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