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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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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Financial Times: global action is needed to end the fighting in Libya

July 12, 2019

 

The FT editorial board: foreign meddling is fuelling a conflict in which there can be no victor

Some of those who have read the Financial Times for its news coverage for several years will have noticed a change of emphasis on issues of social justice since it was bought by the Nikkei. It has also withdrawn from the unjustifiable media onslaughts on the leader of the Labour Party.

Its call for global action to end the fighting in Libya is consistent with Japan’s security policy and Article 9 of its constitution.

Japan has closely monitored the use of its peacekeepers in South Sudan who were helping to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the long civil war between northern and the southern Sudan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that the Government of Japan has now decided to revise the Implementation Plan for the International Peace Cooperation Assignments and extend its peace-keeping service there until 31 May 2020.

The Financial Times editorial opens with the news that a detention centre for African migrants in Tripoli (below) was hit by an air strike killing at least 55 people, including six children – the Cyprus Mail gives the numbers as 40 dead and 80 injured.

After trekking through the Sahel, African migrants are rounded up and held for an average of two years in inhumane conditions. Now they have become targets in the latest conflict to erupt in the oil-rich north African state.

The FT editorial: “foreign powers have played a duplicitous role”

Rival factions carved up the country into a ‘patchwork of fiefdoms’ following the western-backed toppling of Muammer Gaddafi in 2011.

While preaching peace and stability, regional powers supported rival sides. Qatar and Turkey have supported militias loyal to the Tripoli government, while Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have backed the self-styled Libyan National Army. More than 1,000 people have been killed since the offensive was launched.

Two days after the strike, which UN envoy said could be a war crime, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the attack — calling for a ceasefire. The editorial comments that the communiqué was apparently delayed by US foot dragging.

This detention centre for African migrants in Tripoli was hit by an air strike earlier this month, killing at least 55 people, including six children

The editorial reports that the main players have pursued rival interests that have hampered diplomatic efforts.

  • Italy, which worries about the flow of migrants, has favoured the UN-backed government,
  • France, which has courted Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army and
  • Russia which has also backed Mr Haftar who controls eastern Libya.

It continues: “Washington, meanwhile, has delivered confused messages typical of the Trump administration’s incoherence on the Middle East. The State Department initially condemned the fighting, only for Donald Trump to call Mr Haftar and praise his ‘significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources’ “.

Weapons have been flooding in to all sides, in violation of a longstanding arms embargo. This, coupled with the inaction of the UN Security Council, has led to prolonged suffering for the war-weary population. The FT’s editorial board ends:

“World powers must put serious effort into securing a ceasefire and the UN Security Council needs to enforce the arms embargo. There should then be concerted action to restart a UN-led diplomatic process that would offer the best chance of bringing a semblance of stability. If no diplomatic process is launched, regional and international powers will be complicit in a proxy war that drives Libya towards deeper disintegration”.

 

 

 

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Britain could transform its role in the world

June 25, 2019

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The EWG-NLW shares three quarters of George MacPherson’s post-imperial nonlethal defence vision

George MacPherson, who served for three years in the RAF, sets the scene:

We live in a military society. British culture, prosperity, ceremony and government structure are built on conquest and annexation. Our empire, though, is over and we have to readjust . . .We are not against men and women in uniform – simply against the violence that is a small part of their existence. There are so many ‘better things to do’ that, in the long term, are less expensive.

  • Our politicians, influenced strongly by arms manufacturers, allow war while, personally, keeping away from any battlefield.
  • Every missile, mine, lethal drone, bullet and bomb exported supports our treasury and pension funds.
  • Our children are brought up to admire military exploits and stories of valour.
  • We celebrate our assassins and condone distant killing by remote control.

He asks if Britain can convert its ‘fighting force’ into a ‘force for nonlethal defence and law enforcement’

This would keep the command structure; the recruitment; the excellent training in so many artisan and technical skills; the great engineering ingenuity; the communications excellence; the medical expertise; the awards for bravery; the camaraderie and team spirit; the career structure; the overseas bases to meet emergencies; the sporting teams and the rules of conduct.

But the role of our military services would be redefined to leave out mass destruction and combat, expanding the design and development of nonlethal defence equipment for emergency use against crazed violence, criminal acts and despotic rulers.

Let’s refine prevention nets, vehicle cripplers, darting, tasers, anaesthetic gases and, of course, digital intelligence to predict future incidents and prevent them.

The European Working Group on Nonlethal Weapons (EWG-NLW) has members from many countries, drawn from NATO and the naval, scientific, technical, policing and defence research sectors

Its mission statement follows:

 Could it go a step further and work towards the use of these technologies to halt armed conflict and enter mediation, followed by long-term economic and cultural peacebuilding?

And, as George MacPherson urges (paywall): “redirect our spending towards, for example, disaster relief; housing and services; renewable energy; rapid response to pandemics; the United Nations and international law and order; and environmental conservation.

 

 

 

 

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Trident: Bruce Kent and the Bishop of Chelmsford are ‘wise as serpents and (hopefully) as harmless as doves.’

April 8, 2019

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Renowned peace campaigner, Bruce Kent, has called on the Catholic bishops of England and Wales to condemn the Trident replacement plans.

Speaking to The Tablet at the 27th Ash Wednesday Witness at the Ministry of Defence, at the start of Lent, Mr Kent said: “It’s a time of penance, and prayer. And here is the most awful thing in the world, weapons that can destroy whole cities and thousands of people” (below) and that triggering a nuclear attack is “absolutely impossible, morally”.

He acknowledged that the bishops have condemned nuclear weapons in general, and singled out Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon, for his stance on nuclear weapons. 

After urging the Bishops’ Conference to speak out about Trident replacement, that Christian CND has estimated will cost more than £200 billion, he continued: “Now that we’re going to spend £200 billion on more nuclear weapons, I would expect a statement from the bishops about the immorality of it. And I’m still waiting”.

On April 5th, The Times reported that senior clergy are calling on Westminster Abbey to cancel a ceremony to honour Trident submarine crews, planned for May 3, to mark 50 years of Britain’s “continuous at-sea deterrent”, because it appears to “celebrate” nuclear weapons.

Today Dr Julian Lewis, MP, Chairman, defence committee, countered one assertion in a letter:

“Far from being “designed to indiscriminately kill and destroy thousands of innocent civilians”, as (the Bishop of Colchester) asserts, these weapons have been created — and for 50 years successfully deployed by the Royal Navy — to eliminate any realistic possibility of hostile powers threatening to kill millions of British civilians with impunity”. He did not cite the Bishop of Chelmsford’s more accurate reference to an affirmation in July last year by the church’s General Synod, that (emphasis added):

“(N)uclear weapons, through their indiscriminate and destructive potential, present a distinct category of weaponry that requires Christians to work tirelessly for their elimination”.

Lambeth Palace said that there were no plans for the Bishop to the Armed Forces or the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend the invitation-only ceremony, which will be attended by Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, Earl Howe, the defence minister, and Admiral Sir Philip Jones, the First Sea Lord.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, also said that he did not doubt Westminster Abbey’s good intentions in celebrating those men and women who serve in the Royal Navy on these nuclear submarines, but saw this service as appearing also to celebrate the weapons, adding:

“I hope the abbey will include other voices in this service which can bear witness to the horror of nuclear weapons and the growing consensus . . . to work for their elimination.”

 

 

 

 

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Legal charge: the US “global war on terrorism” is not justifiable under German law

March 21, 2019

 

In 2010 a C3000 post quoted the Wall Street Journal’s report (link no longer active) that opinion polls in Germany reported the opposition of a ‘solid majority’ of Germans to their country’s military role in Afghanistan. Many were aware that this war was contrary to their law as it stands, set out in Article 24 [International organizations] and Article 26 [Ban on preparations for war of aggression].

Earlier this month, a report by the Open Society’s Justice Initiative highlights how, with German support, the United States has carried out illegal killings as part of its “War on Terror” doctrine—which represents a threat to the rule of law everywhere.

On March 13th, the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster heard arguments from lawyers representing a Somali herdsman whose father was killed in a U.S. drone strike in February 2012. The charge argues that allowing U.S. bases on German territory to support such drone strikes violates both the German constitution and Germany’s Status of Forces Agreements with NATO, under which U.S. forces are granted the right to operate on its territory while respecting German law.

The legal team earlier filed an application to the Higher Regional Court of Zweibrücken arguing that that the United States’ so-called “global war on terrorism” is not justifiable under German law, (Articles 24 & 26) and that the German government has a duty to prevent any U.S. military action under that category that is supported from German territory.

The complaint asserted that German officials are jointly responsible for the deaths of the two men because Germany hosts two U.S. military facilities indispensable for planning and operating drone strikes in Africa: the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein, which plays a crucial role in conducting U.S. drone operations worldwide, and the U.S. military’s African command headquarters (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, which is responsible for all military operations in Africa.

The application seeks a judicial declaration that Germany has committed these violations and an order directing the prosecution to conduct the necessary investigations into this case.

 

 

 

 

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