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29.11.2011: INES 20th Anniversary

News 2013

  31. December 2013 

On the New German Government – a Grand Coalition of Militarism

By Reiner Braun, spokesperson of the national “Cooperation for Peace” and Co-President of the IPB

With the new German government made up of the conservatives (CDU/CSU) and social democrats (SPD), the headings in the coalition agreement fail to mention the word “peace” for the first time in at least 15 years. In other words, the coalition agreement opens the door to an arms build-up and war.

As far as foreign and security policy is concerned, this coalition agreement even falls short of other policies we are long familiar with, particularly when it comes to the continued presence of nuclear weapons in Germany. Our forecast: The coming four years will not see Germany taking any fundamental initiative to disarm. Instead, new nuclear missiles from the US will be developed for Europe and stationed here at the end of the present decade. This is at least what the US government would like to see and the new German government is unlikely to stand in their way. The direction being set is one of building up arms – and refers to more than just European drones.
The coalition agreement frequently and unabashedly cites “German interests”, arousing a range of suspicions in the mind of the reader not only for historical reasons.
By placing a central emphasis on the German interests in resources and trade routes and by demonstrating no shame in citing Germany’s hegemony in Europe as part of an aggressive European foreign policy, the authors of this agreement are obviously also assuming that NATO and the Bundeswehr will continue to take part in wars of intervention, whether in Afghanistan or Africa. The politics of German interests, as understood by this coalition government, will see Germany as a hegemonial state in Europe playing a more central role in the world together with the EU, on the one hand as a partner to NATO (and a junior partner to the USA) and on the other as an independent actor, according to its own hegemonial (economic and geo-strategic) interests. This independence will become more clearly visible in Eastern Europe, but also in the Middle East and in Central Asia. Core mechanisms here are both diplomacy and the arms trade with German weapons exports. The whole range of possible war participation possibilities, from German military involvement, through EU or NATO actions to civil-military cooperation and support for local actors: all of these are inseparable components of the policy.
This is a policy with no resemblance to peace policy. The latter would demand preventive controls on arms, especially with regards to technological armaments research involving automation and robotisation of war, and call for civil conflict management as an alternative to war and military intervention.
As the peace movement, we are called upon to step up our actions in order to put peace and disarmament back on the agenda and to restrain this “Grand Coalition of Militarism”.

Reiner Braun, December 2013


  29. December 2013 

International Drone Working Meeting in Berlin on December 12, 2013

Subsequent Reports from Germany, Pakistan, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK (The reports are in alphabetical order by country.)

Germany
In Germany we have so far worked to oppose 1) plans of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) to acquire weaponized drones, 2) German complicity in US Drone wars, and 3) German and EU military drone development programs. We have not yet defined clear campaign goals regarding surveillance drones, which have also been used domestically in Germany. Since the briefing paper being prepared by Hans, Tobias and Chris Cole will discuss 3), the report below discusses only 1) and 2).
1) For many years the Bundeswehr has deployed to battlefields smaller surveillance drones, most of them made in Germany. For surveillance in AfghanistanIn the Bundeswehr in 2010 leased three larger Israeli MALE Heron-1 drones from the German firm Rheinmetall (in a partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries); the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign, a Palestine solidarity group, organized protests at the Rheinmetall office in Berlin. In August 2012, the German Defense Minister announced that the Bundeswehr intends to acquire weaponized drones (either US Reapers or Israeli Heron TPs), and he was sharply criticized in the Bundestag and by some leading German media. Several local peace groups began anti-drone initiatives, and in March 2013 a national network, the German Drone Campaign (Drohnen-Kampagne), came together. The Campaign's petition, "No Combat Drones," has so far been signed by ca. 20,000 individuals and endorsed by more than 140 peace and civil rights organizations, by the Left and Green parties and by some leaders and local organizations in the Social Democratic Party (SPD).[Read on here]


Submitted by Elsa Rassbach, member of Drohnen-Kampagne coordinating committee


Bildschirmfoto_2014-01-08_um_14.31.23.png

  29. December 2013 

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on

Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?" And: "How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?" Or even more pointedly: "How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?"[Read on here]


by Heather Linebaugh, theguardian.com, Sunday 29 December 2013 12.30 GMT


Bildschirmfoto_2013-12-17_um_12.43.53.png

  17. December 2013 

Drones –International Texts and Articles


Dear reader,

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) —generally referred to as drones— have increasingly come into the public eye. “Killing by remote control”, illegal “targeted killings” - the expansion of the use of drone deployments in the civil and military arenas as well as the technological quantum leap to automatization and robotization are being discussed in the national and international fields.

The deployment of drones seems to have no limits and a new dawn of global conventional armament with UAVs seems to be on the rise.

Intensive international debate on and networking in this subject is necessary. This brochure seeks to assist in gaining a more comprehensive overview to the worldwide situation of drones and by this allowing networking in this complex topic. The main points of the brochure are the following:

- The horizontal and vertical proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles;
- The work towards containment or (a) prohibition of drones.

We hope that this collection of texts and articles will help to increase of international debates around this important topic.[Please find the booklet here]

Julián Vásquez / Lucas Wirl Berlin, December 2013


  12. December 2013 

Ban Weaponized Drones!

Statement by the European Section Global Anti-Drone Network

We oppose the use of drone technology for killing, surveillance and repression.
We oppose weaponized and surveillance drones because their deployment
lowers the threshold to armed aggression,
is used for “targeted” killing of people within and outside warzones – without indictment, trial and conviction,
terrorizes the population of the targeted territories, fuels hatred, thereby increasing the cycle of violence,
leads to the development of autonomous killer robots, thereby making even more horrifying wars likely,
initiates a new round in the arms race. 
[Read on here]


  07. December 2013 

Letter of Donation

Letter to the Coordinating Committee and supportive organisations of the Peace Event Sarajevo 2014

 

Dear colleagues, dear friends in the international peace movements,

The meeting of the Coordinating Committee in Sarajevo November 29th and 30th was really successful. We can say that we are on a good way. We solved with the great help of local people a lot of urgent problems.

We would like to give you a short overview:

-        We received about 100 proposals for Forum-workshops as a result of our call for workshops.

-        We arranged the preconditions for a youth camp.

-        We have first financial support, definitely not enough, but a good starting point.

-        We got a lot of positive reactions from all over Europe and from civil society groups from the region.

-        We have a central meeting location and got first support from the local municipalities.

-        First prominent speakers agreed to come.

We can continue the list. You will see more details in the minutes of our meeting which we will send out during the next week.

The reason we are writing to you is that we need your actual support and help.

We need some “start money” for the local coordination work. We have local and regional expenses which we cannot pay by the money we got from foundations or this money is not available now.

Printed material has to be payed, there are some office and travelling costs, the normal bureaucracy of a local peace office costs some money.

We would like to ask you and your organisation: please give a “start donation Sarajevo 2013” now. The amount could be 100 Euro, 200 Euro would be great and extensively helpful.

Please continue supporting us and transfer the money under the key word “start donation” as quick as possible to the bank account:

Name of recipient: Udruženje "ART GRUPA"
Name of bank: Unicredit banka d.d.
Bank address: Ulica Kardinala Stepinca bb, Mostar
IBAN BA39 3386 9048 6820 7209 SWIFT UNCRBA 22
Reference “Start Donation”

Thank you for your great contribution.

 

For the Coordinating Committee,

Reiner Braun   Aida Topic (Local Coordinator)

http://p2014.eu/youth-camp.html 

http://p2014.eu/forum.html 


Bildschirmfoto_2013-12-07_um_12.40.27.png

Quelle: fr-online.de

  07. December 2013 

Afghanistan between troop withdrawal and elections – Interview with Karim Popal


Reiner Braun interviewed Karim Popal, a German-Afghani lawyer and member of the IALANA board of directors, on the current situation in a sorely afflicted country. The interview was conducted on October 14th 2013.

Reiner Braun: What is your assessment of the situation facing people in Afghanistan as of Autumn 2013, in particular related to the issues of troop withdrawal, Taliban attacks, acts of brutality and corruption?
Karim Popal: The situation for people in Afghanistan in Autumn 2013 is drastic. Corruption is higher than ever. There is not an official body in the country which is not corrupt. Whoever pays the Attorney General in Kabul the most can have anyone they do not like arrested. Many judicial bodies are corrupt and dependent on this corruption. Paying bribes to the judiciary and the authorities makes anything possible in Afghanistan.
The security situation is very bad. At any moment in any place in the country, people can fall victim to an attack carried out by the Taliban or NATO. The number of civilian casualties killed during NATO actions is constantly increasing. It is so bad now, even pupils are being bombed on their way to school. I have been contacted by Afghan parents who lost children, killed by American bombardment as they were going to school. Nowhere is safe anymore. Even political leaders in the north of Afghanistan feel threatened, since the armed resistance has spread to all provinces and villages. A good example of the precarious security situation is the ceremony to mark the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Kunduz. The entire Afghan police force and all Afghan soldiers had to hand in their weapons before the German Minister of Defence Thomas de Maizière and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle could safely be brought to Kunduz to attend the ceremony. Representatives of the provincial government were also subject to significant observation because of the presence of the German ministers. This clearly illustrates the dramatic deterioration in security. Foreign troops are extremely insecure and do not trust anybody anymore. [Read on here]


  26. November 2013 

German universities use Pentagon research cash

German universities are breaking ethics rules by taking millions of euros from the US military for research projects into munitions, environmentally-friendly explosives and drone software, critics claim.

At least 22 universities and research institutes have confirmed accepting more than €10 million in Pentagon research grants since 2000, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said on Monday.

Its research, conducted with broadcaster NDR, revealed that although there were some cases of US Defence Ministry money being used for basic research, other projects were clearly military.

It is this that critics say is impossible to square with academic ethics. "Research for war is not ethically responsible," said Reiner Braun from the Federation of Germany Scientists.

The University of Bremen takes funding from the Pentagon even though it has an explicit commitment to conduct research only for civilian purposes, the Süddeutsche said.

Yet the university said its research into satellite technology was "purely civilian basic research". The US funding is organized so that the Defence Ministry can pump money into non-military research projects.

Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU) received more than €470,000 from the US Defence Ministry for research to improve military explosives, while the Fraunhofer Society, a nationwide network of research institutions, is working on bullet-proof glass and explosives.


Professor for inorganic chemistry at LMU Thomas Klapötke said he had no problem working with nearly half a million dollars of Pentagon money in his project to develop more environmentally-friendly explosives.

"If you believe in the Nato alliance, there is nothing wrong with kitting out your own people with good material," he said. He told the Süddeutsche that a large share of the funding for his research came from military sources.

The University of Marburg is researching navigation systems for drones and "steered munitions". Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Saarland received more than €130,000 from the US Army Research Laboratory for the mathematical research of language structure. The university said this was pure research, the results of which could have many uses.

Many scientists were constantly on the hunt for funding to boost their research budgets. But a spokeswoman for the LMU stressed that the US military cash made up significantly less than one percent of all outside funding.[Read on here]

by Hannah Cleaver TheLocal

List of German Universities funded by Pentagon:

List for online and secret ware university's

List for online and secret ware foundations


  26. November 2013 

German universities contributing to US war effort

The August 21st attack with chemical weapons in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria was a wake-up call that these inhumane and indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction still exist in the world and, in this particular case, killed reportedly over 1,400 innocent Syrian citizens. News reports indicate that over 400 of these victims were children sleeping in their beds.


The world condemnation of this brutal attack with Sarin nerve agents, and especially the serious threat of missile attack by US forces against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military, quickly convinced the Syrian government to accede to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This was a historic breakthrough in universalizing this important treaty regime, and the hard work is now beginning to fully implement the treaty’s obligations in Syria. The CWC bans the development, testing, production, stockpiling, and use of all chemical agents in warfare, and requires declared stockpiles and programs to be fully destroyed under the watchful eyes of international inspectors from the CWC implementing agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, The Netherlands.[Read on here]

by Nils Naumann, DW


  25 November 2013 

Pentagon lists 66 countries as eligible to buy US drones

(Reuters) - As many as 66 countries would be eligible to buy U.S. drones under new Defense Department guidelines but Congress and the State Department, which have a final say, have not yet opened the spigots for exports, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday.

The 66 countries were listed in a Defense Department policy worked out last year to clear the way for wider overseas sales of unmanned aerial systems, as the Pentagon calls such drones, said Richard Genaille, deputy director of the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency. He did not name them.

"We don't really have a comprehensive U.S. government policy" on such exports, he told an industry conference called ComDef 2012. "It hasn't moved quite as fast as we would like, but we're not giving up."

Northrop Grumman Corp chief executive Wes Bush on Wednesday praised the Obama administration for what he described as significant moves to boost arms exports, but voiced frustration at delays in codifying them in a new export policy.

"I wish we were further along in getting that done. It's slow, it's painful, but we're doing the right things to move in that direction," Bush told Reuters.

U.S. arms makers are looking abroad to help offset Pentagon spending cuts spurred by U.S. deficit-reduction requirements.

Northrop Grumman's ability to boost its overseas arms sales, which now account for less than 10 percent of its overall revenues, hinges largely on streamlined export controls, Bush said.

U.S. defense and high-technology exporters have long complained about the complex web of regulations governing exports of weapons and "dual-use" goods that have both civilian and military applications. They believe the rules disadvantage them versus foreign competitors.[Read on here]

Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer


  25. November 2013 

German research institutes funded with Pentagon money, study finds

German universities and research institutes have confirmed accepting Pentagon research grants, the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung reported Monday.
At least 22 schools and institutes accepted more than 10 million euros ($13,514,207) from the U.S. Department of Defense for projects in both basic and military research that includes munitions, explosives and drone software, the newspaper said.

Critics say ethics rules are being broken. "Research for war is not ethically responsible," Reiner Braun of the Federation of German Scientists said.[Read on here]

MUNICH, Germany, Nov. 25 (UPI)


  02. December 2013 

 Right Livelihood Award 


  27. November 2013 

Making Trouble – and Alternatives – in Asia

TThe Obama Administration’s provocative decision to send a veiled nuclear threat to China with last week’s B-52 flights over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands grew out of a complicated set of issues with deep historic roots. Not the least of them being the Obama Administration's campaign to preserve U.S. Asia-Pacific hegemony in the era of U.S. decline and China’s rise.
There are few good guys in this dangerous game which brings to mind my first international relations professor's maxim that the study of international relations is analogous to studying the rules of the game among Mafia families. (Such was the world view taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service when Bill Clinton and I were students there.)

The crisis didn’t begin last week. It was initiated a year and a half ago with a very calculated right-wing Japanese semi-coup, reminiscent of those that brought militarists to power there in the early 1930s. In the spring of 2012, Tokyo's then extreme right-wing Governor Ishihara set the coup in motion by moving to purchase the uninhabited Senkaku/Diayou islands from their private owner. This he understood would lead Beijing to over react, and that in turn would reinforce right-wing and militarist political forces in Japan’s next national election. 
[Read on here]

by Joseph Gerson* November 27,2013 “


  25. November 2013 

German universities use Pentagon research cash

German universities are breaking ethics rules by taking millions of euros from the US military for research projects into munitions, environmentally-friendly explosives and drone software, critics claim.

At least 22 universities and research institutes have confirmed accepting more than €10 million in Pentagon research grants since 2000, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said on Monday.


Its research, conducted with broadcaster NDR, revealed that although there were some cases of US Defence Ministry money being used for basic research, other projects were clearly military.

It is this that critics say is impossible to square with academic ethics. "Research for war is not ethically responsible," said Reiner Braun from the Federation of Germany Scientists.

The University of Bremen takes funding from the Pentagon even though it has an explicit commitment to conduct research only for civilian purposes, the Süddeutsche said.

Yet the university said its research into satellite technology was "purely civilian basic research". The US funding is organized so that the Defence Ministry can pump money into non-military research projects.

Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU) received more than €470,000 from the US Defence Ministry for research to improve military explosives, while the Fraunhofer Society, a nationwide network of research institutions, is working on bullet-proof glass and explosives.


Professor for inorganic chemistry at LMU Thomas Klapötke said he had no problem working with nearly half a million dollars of Pentagon money in his project to develop more environmentally-friendly explosives.

"If you believe in the Nato alliance, there is nothing wrong with kitting out your own people with good material," he said. He told the Süddeutsche that a large share of the funding for his research came from military sources.

The University of Marburg is researching navigation systems for drones and "steered munitions". Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Saarland received more than €130,000 from the US Army Research Laboratory for the mathematical research of language structure. The university said this was pure research, the results of which could have many uses.


Many scientists were constantly on the hunt for funding to boost their research budgets. But a spokeswoman for the LMU stressed that the US military cash made up significantly less than one percent of all outside funding.

[Read on here]

by Hannah Cleaver,The Local - Germany's News in English


  21. November 2013 

From Offensive Insecurity to Sustainable Security: The Role of Science and Technology

Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, argues that current funding patterns of R&D in the UK support a militaristic approach to dealing with security problems. He makes the case for a shift in funding to R&D which helps to tackle the roots of conflict, including climate change.

Presentation at SGR conference, London, 16 November 2013, and in Kendal, Cumbria, 30 November 2013

Download pdf of presentation [6.7MB]


  04. November 2013 

Nagasaki Appeal

Although more than 50,000 nuclear weapons have been eliminated since 1986, more than 17,000 remain. It would only take a small number of these weapons of mass destruction to end civilization and most life on earth. Nine countries possess nuclear weapons, another five host U.S. nuclear weapons on their soil, and more still base their security on alliances with nuclear weapon states. Countless atomic bomb survivors worked hard until their last days for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The danger of nuclear annihilation, by accident, miscalculation or design continues to cast a dark shadow over humanity’s future. In addition, the failure of the nuclear weapon states to achieve more progress toward a nuclear weapons free world is undermining the legitimacy of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The nuclear weapon states’ repeated delays in fulfilling their “unequivocal” commitment to nuclear disarmament has discredited the nonproliferation regime and may destroy it.[Read on here]

by Jackie Cabasso, November 4th 2013 The 5th Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons


Bildschirmfoto_2013-10-08_um_14.26.47.png

Paul F. Walker

  08. October 2013 

Building a World Free of Chemical Weapons

The August 21st attack with chemical weapons in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria was a wake-up call that these inhumane and indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction still exist in the world and, in this particular case, killed reportedly over 1,400 innocent Syrian citizens. News reports indicate that over 400 of these victims were children sleeping in their beds.


The world condemnation of this brutal attack with Sarin nerve agents, and especially the serious threat of missile attack by US forces against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military, quickly convinced the Syrian government to accede to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This was a historic breakthrough in universalizing this important treaty regime, and the hard work is now beginning to fully implement the treaty’s obligations in Syria. The CWC bans the development, testing, production, stockpiling, and use of all chemical agents in warfare, and requires declared stockpiles and programs to be fully destroyed under the watchful eyes of international inspectors from the CWC implementing agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, The Netherlands.[Read on here]

by Paul Walker, he is Director for Environmental Security and Sustainability at Green Cross International, and was recently announced as a Right Livelihood Award Laureate for 2013 “for working tirelessly to rid the world of chemical weapons.”


  26. October 2013 

Serious Questions about the Integrity of the UN Report

Abstract:
News reports of an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces in the suburbs of Damascus in the early morning hours of August 21 spreaded like wildfire. As reports were coming in, the US, French, and the British governments began to claim that there was a massacre. U.S. Government claimed that exactly 1429 people had died including 426 children. In the ensuing days and weeks the media repeatedly showed video images of ghastly scenes of dead and dying. Most of these videos were posted on the Internet and their authenticity could not be verified. Yet, those governments pronounced that the Syrian military was responsible for the massacre. As the U.S. and France prepared to carry out a military strike against Syria to punish President Assad, a UN team of chemical weapons experts were allowed after a few days to visit the sites in the Damascus suburbs called Ghouta where the attacks reportedly took place. The UN team visited Ghouta on August 27 and again on August 29. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who called it a war crime, released their report on September 16, 2013. The report’s basic conclusions were that sarin gas was used in a large-scale attack in Ghouta on August 21 and that surface to surface rockets were used to deliver the nerve agent. In making their determination about the rockets, the inspectors examined rocket parts and other ordnance. In my analysis, I examined the UN report carefully, especially its Appendix 5, which describes in some detail, with photographs and drawings, the two types of rockets they found in Ghouta. Prior to the publication of the UN report, two other significant reports were made public. One was reported in the New York Times and the other a report by the Human Rights Watch. Both these reports presented details of a warhead that could have carried between 50 and 60 liters of sarin – an amount that could explain the high casualty figure above quoted by the US government. The UN report, which was issued some time after these reports, repeated their conclusions. From my careful study and analysis of all these reports, I found that the UN report included diagrams and photographs that were in the said reports without referencing them. There was striking agreement between estimated and measured dimensions of the large warhead, which was merely a concept described in the New York Times article. It took center stage in the UN report. I describe in detail how I arrived at my conclusion.
[Read on here]

by By Subrata Ghoshroy, September 26, 2013


  24. September 2013

Postponement of the Afghanistan conference

Announcement on the change of dates for the international Afghanistan Conference “Afghanistan 2014: Challenges for Peace and Development” from October 11-13 to April 25-27, 2014 in Strasbourg

After a long and assessing discussion the preparatory committee of the international Afghanistan Conference agreed to change the dates of the conference to April 2014. This decision was made in a preparatory meeting on September 21 2013 in Freiburg.

The international situation characterized by the manifold efforts of the peace movements of many countries to assist in a process of peace in Syria and to prevent military intervention, the huge load on the activists and their organizations but also the complicated political situation in Afghanistan were among the reasons for changing the date of the international Afghanistan conference to after the presidential elections in Afghanistan.

We hope that the change of date to April helps this important conference to gain the international attention that it needs and deserves due to the singular composition of speakers and organizers. Our aim remains the facilitation of intense, common, and solidary exchange of people from different social, religious, and political networks from Afghanistan and the European peace movement. Peace in Afghanistan only can be reached together and beyond all bounds.

A new date in spring seems to be particularly suited.

We will intensify discussions and will try to gain further people to actively participate and participate in the conference.

Freiburg, 21.09.2013

For the preparatory committee: Karim Popal, Reiner Braun, Claire Chastain


  23. September 2013 

2013 World Conference Against A- and H-Bombs, Japan


Bildschirmfoto_2013-09-30_um_10.53.08.png

Reiner Braun, 17 Sept 2013. Berlin / Geneva.

  17. September 2013

New IPB Co-President : Reiner Braun, Germany

The German peace activist Reiner Braun is the new IPB Co-President. The managing director of the German section of Lawyers Against Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons (IALANA), he was elected at the IPB's Triennial Assembly last week in Stockholm. His Co-President, the former UNESCO Director Ingeborg Breines from
Norway, was confirmed in her post, for a further 3 years. Reiner Braun is also Director of the Federation of German Scientists (VDW). In late August, both it and IALANA- Germany, together with the anti-corruption organization Transparency International, jointly awarded the Whistleblower Prize to the former NSA employee Edward Snowden. German news report: http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/833310.deutscher-friedensaktivist-neuer-praesident-des-international-peace-bureau.html

Election statement/biography:

1. CV
I was born 1952, studied German Literature, History and Journalism, and was active in the German student movement and a student representative for many years. Since 1982 I have been actively involved in the Peace Movement, working as Executive Director for Scientists for Peace and Sustainability (Germany) and the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) until 2001. Since 2003 I have been working for various projects related to the “Einstein year 2005” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and for the Max Planck Society.
Since 2006 I am Executive Director of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) Germany; since 2010 I am executive director of the international IALANA. Also since 2006, I am the executive director of the Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (VDW, Federation of German Scientists), the German Pugwash group.
I am a steering member of the International Peace Bureau for the past six years and one of the speakers of the German peace movement. I am a founding member of the international network "No to war - no to NATO" and a member of its coordinating committee.
I am author of different books, i.e. “Einstein and Peace”, “Joseph Rotblat – Visionary for Peace”, and “Chernobyl – 20 years after, myth and truth”.

2. Motivation
To me, applying to the position of co-president of the largest and most traditional international peace-organization is a great challenge and honor, especially knowing who has led IPB in the past.
I bring in experiences from 30 years of activities in the national and international peace and anti-war movement, having leading positions in occupational organizations as well as having co-organized central and huge actions of the peace movement (i.e. February 15 2003 and protests against Cruise Missiles in the 80ies). The creation of broad and pluralistic coalitions has always been an objective for me.
What do I want to develop further?


1. The manifold activities „Disarmament for Development“, maybe the trademark of IPB of the past years. The scandalous military spending in the face of global challenges should be further developed into a broadly carried (with a leading role of IPB) and action-oriented field of international and national politics. I dream of a World Congress “Disarmament for Development” which neither can be avoided by politics nor by CNN.

2. Nuclear disarmament remains a key challenge for IPB – in its networks, above all ICAN, as well as in own activities focusing on costs of nuclear armament.

3. I would like to put a strong focus of my work on the more active engagement of member organisations in projects and activities of IPB. This I would like to try to develop for the actions of 100 years of World War One in 2014.

4. Strengthening the organization IPB by enlarging its function as a network as well as creating a sounder financial situation

5. As a global organization we should increase our actions to overcome any euro- centrism. I would like to work on a peace project for the overcoming of danger of war in the pacific area as well as to increase IPB’s engagement in Latin America.


  17. September 2013

Putting an end to militarism

Statement from the Triennial Conference of the International Peace Bureau
September 13-15
Stockholm , Sweden

“The World is Over-armed and Peace is Under-funded”
- Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

There was a new hope expressed at the IPB Triennial Conference, welcoming the agreement between Russia and the USA on chemical weapons in Syria. Hopefully this will lead to negotiations to put an end to the terrible civil war.
The forming of international coalitions for military intervention is now much more difficult as public opinion against war has become so strong. People are weary of war and the deceit and rhetoric that go with it. They are suspicious of double speak and are tired of ‘humanitarian’ statements which end with actions that simply generate more human suffering.

We demand that our voices are heard and our desire for peace taken seriously!
Military intervention and the culture of war serve vested interests. They are extremely expensive, escalate violence, and can lead to chaos. They also reinforce the idea that war is a viable solution to human problems.
The money being fed into the military would be far better spent eliminating hunger and poverty, providing education and stimulating culture, reversing climate change and improving social justice. Just some 10% of the world’s annual military spending would be enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Disarmament and peace have to be an important part of the UN post-2015 development agenda.
There is now an urgent need to remove once and for all the dominance of military thinking and the way it is implicit in aggressive alliances, notably NATO. Instead we need to strengthen the process towards real democracy and enable the UN to focus on diplomacy, international law and intercultural cooperation to achieve environmental and human security.
Over the centuries many courageous men and women have risked imprisonment and even their lives by speaking out against militarism. Among them, conscientious objectors and whistle-blowers are democracy’s safeguard_1.
In the twentieth century, millions died and suffered from violent conflicts. We should use the upcoming centenary of World War 1 to demonstrate the alternatives. Imagine what the world would look like today if we had used non-violent means to solve conflicts rather than war.
Now is the time to end the era of militarism![download german statement here]

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1_At the Triennial, IPB’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize was awarded to Chelsea Manning.


  2nd September 2013

Whistleblower Award 2013

Ceremony awarding Edward J. Snowden

 

"I don't want to live in a world where

everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to,

every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded."

Edward Snowden on July 8, 2013

Edward Snowden receives the Whistleblower Award. Due to his courageous actions the world has gained insights into the surveillance and espionage practices of intelligence agencies. Every single one of us can be affected by them at any time and without there being any grounds for suspicion. The pressing problems associated with whistleblowing will be analyzed in a festive dedication to the honorable Edward Snowden. The focus of the lecture will be the latitude of the secret services in Germany. However, there will also be an analysis of how this has occurred and how it can be changed.

Program

Statement of the Jury

Photos

Video-Documentary

Press article - DW Akademie


  29. August 2013

Berlin Declaration by Scientists on the Prerequisites for Democracy in the DIGITAL WORLD

The revelations made by the whistleblower Edward J. Snowden have led to some shocking facts becoming recognisable for many citizens: evidently it is not only authoritarian states but also liberal democracies who routinely monitor the electronic communication of a growing number of people. In fact, the technology used to monitor, record and evaluate these communications appears to be even more advanced in the democratic states. This is happening on a global scale by means of a range of different filters and mathematical algorithms and not only to investigate specific, tangible suspicions. One consequence was even the “mistaken” inclusion of tens of thousands of people in the surveillance net, according to an account given by the intelligence agencies themselves.
These practices have arisen in recent years out of an increasing interaction between technological developments, economic ways of thinking and new security policies enacted after the attacks of September 2001.
Even before this, the relationship between liberty and security could best be described as precarious and now it has clearly shifted towards security: fundamental personal rights are being breached on a large scale; the importance of democracy, justice and the rule of law for the exercising of state power is being challenged. In this way, core achievements of Western constitutional states are being surrendered and it is particularly worrying to see one of the oldest modern democracies playing a central role in this process. A range of different historical experiences (including in the former GDR with the Stasi) should lead us to the conclusion that a political system which regards its citizens with a permanent attitude of mistrust and general suspicion is not viable in the long-term. It has to fall apart because of this distrust. As social and natural scientists from a wide range of disciplines we are deeply perturbed by the news of systematic, wide-ranging, routine storage and evaluation of electronic communication, some of which was performed jointly with private network operators and data services. This forces us to conclude that the foundations of our democratic societies are being increasingly undermined.[Read on here]

Enquiries to:
Federation of German Scientists (VDW e.V.) Marienstr. 19/20
10117 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30-212 340 56
E-mail: infovdw-evde


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  20. August 2013

Today Is Earth Overshoot Day

August 20 is Earth Overshoot Day, the approximate date humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can renew in a year. In just 7 months and 20 days, we have demanded a level of ecological resources and services — from food and raw materials to sequestering carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions — equivalent to what Earth can regenerate for all of 2013. Humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year.

For the rest of the year, we are operating in overshoot. We will maintain our ecological deficit by depleting stocks of fish, trees and other resources, and accumulating waste such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans. As our level of consumption, or “spending,” grows, the interest we are paying on this mounting ecological debt — shrinking forests, biodiversity loss, fisheries collapse, food shortages, degraded land productivity and the build-up of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and oceans — not only burdens the environment but also undermines our economies. Climate change — a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans — is the most widespread impact of ecological overspending.

In 1961, humanity used only about two-thirds of Earth’s available ecological resources. Back then, most countries had ecological reserves. Yet both global demand and population are increasing. In the early 1970s, increased carbon emissions and human demand for resources began outstripping what the planet could renewably produce. We went into ecological overshoot. Global Footprint Network’s 2012 National Footprint Accounts show humanity is now using ecological resources and services at a rate it would take just over 1.5 Earths to renew. We are on track to require the resources of two Earths well before mid-century.

Today, more than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that use more than the ecosystems within their own borders can renew. These “ecological debtor” countries either deplete their own ecological resources or get them from elsewhere. Japan’s residents consume the ecological resources of 7.1 Japans. It would take four Italys to support Italy. Egypt uses the ecological resources of 2.4 Egypts.

Not all countries demand more than their ecosystems can provide, but even the reserves of such “ecological creditors” like Brazil, Indonesia, and Sweden are shrinking over time. We can no longer sustain a widening budget gap between what nature is able to provide and how much our infrastructure, economies and lifestyles require.

It is possible to turn the tide. Ecological debtors have an incentive to reduce their resource dependence, while creditors have the economic, political and strategic motive for preserving their ecological capital. Global Footprint Network and its network of partners are working with organizations, governments and financial institutions around the globe to make decisions aligned with ecological reality. Rather than liquidating resources, it is wiser to treat them as an ongoing source of wealth.

Earth Overshoot Day is a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about humanity’s ecological resource use. We invite you to promote Earth Overshoot Day on your website, in your newsletters and on your social media channels. Our Twitter handle (@EndOvershoot) uses the hashtags #OvershootDay, #EcologicalFootprint and #EcologicalOvershoot.

We would love to hear your plans to mark Earth Overshoot Day, whether as simple as a newsletter item or Facebook post, or as elaborate as a national plant-a-tree campaign. Also, please inform us of any media coverage in the form of links to newspaper articles or broadcast reports. You can reach us at mediafootprintnetworkorg.

Thank you for supporting Earth Overshoot Day! We look forward to being part of this year’s observance with you.

Global Footprint Network
312 Clay Street, Suite 300
Oakland, 94608
USA


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Latern Ceremony Hiroshima, Aug. 6th 2013

  15. August 2013

2013 World Conference Against A- and H-Bombs, Japan

Commemorating the victims, reflecting the consequences, gathering momentum for joint activities

From August 3rd until 9th 2013, the World Conference Against A- and H-Bombs was held for the 58th time in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. This year’s conference focused on the theme “A nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world”, thus broadening its agenda to encompass various aspects of the global nuclear weapons regime, the militarization of societies and the use of nuclear energy. Due to the current state of world affairs, a renewed sense of urgency dominated among international delegates and participants regarding the effective abolishment of nuclear weapons and related aspects of the continuing militarization of our societies. That is why the upcoming NPT Review Conference, to be held in 2015 in New York City, is seen as the crucial turning point among international peace organizations, movements and activists to exert such public pressure on the world leaders that real political changes can be achieved.

Introduction

In accordance with the targets of the atomic bombs that were used by the U.S. Army on Aug. 6th and 9th 1945, the Conference takes place both in Hiroshima and in Nagasaki and consists of a meeting of international delegates as well as an open conference with participants mainly from the south-east pacific region. This year, from August 3rd – 6th, approximately 230 international delegates from 80 countries gathered in Hiroshima to inform about their national activities, discuss recent developments in global politics and economy, learn about the testimonies of the hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings) and commemorate the thousands of victims that lost their lives due to the atomic bombings. The international delegates took part in the official Hiroshima Peace Memorial on August 6th, which was also attended by Japanese Prime Minister Abe and other governmental representatives. In the evening, the annual Lantern Floating Ceremony near the original A-Bomb dome (formerly the Shima Surgical Clinic) took place. Self-made paper lanterns, often decorated and painted with greetings, prayers and peace messages are set into the water of Motoyasu River. Their lights shall guide the suffering souls of the a-bomb victims to finally find their peace. The ceremony is particularly held for the citizens of Hiroshima, who can thus send their lost relatives love and peace.
The conference was reconvened on August 7th in Nagasaki, where about 8.000 participants took part in the plenaries and workshop sessions. The focus of speeches and workshops paid tribute to the broader theme of the conference and called not only for the effective abolishment of nuclear weapons, but also discussed the humanitarian effects of such weapons, the inherent dangers of nuclear energy, and the need to gather public support for joint actions at the NPT 2015 in New York City. For this end, the involvement of many young delegates and participants in the conference was particularly promising. Another focal point of the Nagasaki gathering was the ongoing nuclear energy disaster at Fukushima, which continues to endanger the surrounding communities and environment and caused many locals to voice their protests against nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. On August 9 at 11:02 a.m., the conference participants held a minute of silence to commemorate the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki 68 years ago. Similar to the International Meeting in Hiroshima earlier, the Nagasaki Conference ended with the adoption of the conference declaration and, for the first time, with a joint action signature street campaign for the implementation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

[Read the full report here] 

More conference material, please find below.

 

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 12. August 2013

Declaration of the International Meeting

Sixty-eight years have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered the atomic bombings. The bombs instantly devastated the two cities and took lives of over 200,000 citizens by the end of 1945. They created a “hell on earth,” which denied humans either to live or die as humans. The Hibakusha, who survived the days have continued to suffer from wounds in both mind and body. The tragedy like this should never be repeated anywhere in the world.[Read the full paper here


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  30. July 2013

1914 - 2014: We stand firm to achieve peace without weapons

In 2014, the peace movement will mark the historical anniversary of the end of World War I with critical reflection, creative activities, and new initiatives. We seek to use the centennial as a time to learn from the past and work for a more peaceful future, rather than merely celebrate uncritically the European Union as the new "civil force".

Today, vast amounts of money, resources, and intellect are being poured into military technology. While the goal of the United Nations is to protect future generations from war, its work is undermined by so-called humanitarian operations that bring destruction in their wake. Germany itself is shifting from a defence army to a global operation troop, is fuelling conflicts worldwide as the world’s third largest arms-exporter, and is engaging in modernizing nuclear weapons instead of abolishing them. For these reasons it is paramount to draw attention to the challenges of the future. In today’s world, every minute a human dies of want and one of every six people worldwide does not have access to clean drinking water.

The peace movement will celebrate 2014 by drawing lessons from peace and war during the last 100 years. It is a challenge to us all: to social movements, scientists, politicians, youth organisations, trade unions, world religions, and to societies as a whole to map out strategies for peaceful conflict resolution.

More details and all information you will find on our campaign site please click here and also on the official website www.peaceeventsarajevo2014.eu

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1st August 2013 

EGYCOM-Projects - to combating poverty

Manufactoring modern furniture from Palm Midribs

In 2010, we decided to focus our efforts on combating poverty. We discovered that, according to a United Nations human development report, the poorest 762 villages in Egypt are located in Upper Egypt, specifically in the Sohag, Asiut and Menia governorates. We also found that 44% of these villages are located in the Menia governorate. That is why we decided to begin our work in Menia. First, a research team conducted a field study of the poorest 10 villages in Menia (according to the human development index). We then set a point system to decide which village had priority. The result was El-Kayat village, North of Menia. During the period of 2011-2012, we conducted the exploratory phase of our project to make sure that the local community could accept our technological intervention and be able to produce new products from palm midribs, a locally available and neglected resource. These products are parquet pieces and block boards. This is the project, which was awarded the International Khalifa Reward of 2013, in the category „best development project“.

Also, we obtained a small grant from the Global Environmental Fund (affiliated with UNDP). We launched our new project, moving to teach the sons of the peasants of El-Kayat village to make modern furniture from palm midribs, instead of the impractical, unsustainable and unfortunately wide-spread tradition of making furniture from imported European wood, in blind imitation of ready-made and parachute-dropped forms of modernity. This was a challenging route to take, but we are beginning to see success! We were lucky to find a carpenter/artist who was fascinated with the idea of helping the peasants of poor villages and putting them on the path of indigenous development. He brought us proof that palm midribs were a royal symbol in Egyptian history, used to record the number of years in the reign of each Pharaoh (see attachment). He took the path, not of introducing the palm midribs as a cheap, locally available substitute for the imported European wood, but by focusing specifically on the beauty of palm midribs as a traditional and newly rediscovered material. He has manufactured many beautiful samples of palm midrib products and is finding a market for them in Egypt. We are now in the process of procuring a European green-product certification for these products.

Our ultimate goal is to arouse the spirit of entrepreneurship in El-Kayat village: to own and manage the manufacture of furniture from palm midribs: a local, royal and sustainable material.

by Hamed El-Mously, Egyptian Society for Endogenous Development

www.egy-com.org


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PK 2013 Whistleblower, von VDW-eV

  26. July 2013

Whistleblower Award to Edward Snowden

This year's Whistleblower Award goes to the American Edward J. Snowden. An insider, he publicized the massive, hidden surveillance of communications data by Western secret services. People who, in the public interest, are revealing major grievances and dangerous developments for individuals and society, for peace and the environment, are worthy recipients of the Whistleblower Prize.

Read the full paper here


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Dr. Roday, www.flickr.com

  19. July 2013

Killer Robots and the Rule of Law

By Angela Kane
United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

A new type of arms race is underway and its outcome will shape the future of our planet. This race is not one between two countries. It is between the "tortoise" of our slowly changing legal and institutional norms and the "hare" of rapid technological change in the arms industry.

The case of lethal autonomous weaponry--what many now call killer robots--offers a classic example of this larger challenge.

All civilizations have had to adapt to technological change. The horrible wars of the 19th and of course the 20th Century underscored not just the lethality of modern weaponry, but also their tragic effects upon civilian populations. Read one here


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  18. July 2013

Edward Snowden Is No Traitor

By Philip Giraldi * - The American Conservativeolicy 

Why treason charges against the NSA whistleblower don't hold up

There are a number of narratives being floated by the usual suspects to attempt to demonstrate that Edward Snowden is a traitor who has betrayed secrets vital to the security of the United States. All the arguments being made are essentially without merit. Snowden has undeniably violated his agreement to protect classified information, which is a crime. But in reality, he has revealed only one actual secret that matters, which is the United States government serial violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution through its collection of personal information on millions of innocent American citizens without any probable cause or search warrant.

That makes Snowden a whistleblower, as he is exposing illegal activity on the part of the federal government. The damage he has inflicted is not against U.S. national security but rather on the politicians and senior bureaucrats who ordered, managed, condoned, and concealed the illegal activity.

First and foremost among the accusations is the treason claim being advanced by such legal experts as former Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Senator Dianne Feinstein. The critics are saying that Snowden has committed treason because he has revealed U.S. intelligence capabilities to groups like al-Qaeda, with which the United States is at war. Treason is, in fact, the only crime that is specifically named and described in the Constitution, in Article III: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Whether Washington is actually at war with al-Qaeda is, of course, debatable since there has been no declaration of war by Congress as required by Article I of the Constitution. Congress has, however, passed legislation, including the Authorization for Use of Military Force, empowering the President to employ all necessary force against al-Qaeda and associated  groups; this is what Cheney and the others are relying on to establish a state of war.

But even accepting the somewhat fast and loose standard for being at war, it is difficult to discern where Snowden has been supporting the al-Qaeda and associated groups enemy. Snowden has had no contact with al-Qaeda and he has not provided them with any classified information. Nor has he ever spoken up on their behalf, given them advice, or supported in any way their activities directed against the United States. The fallback argument that Snowden has alerted terrorists to the fact that Washington is able to read their emails and listen in on their phone conversations enabling them to change their methods of communication is hardly worth considering, as groups like al-Qaeda have long since figured that out. Osama bin Laden, a graduate in engineering, repeatedly warned his followers not to use phones or the Internet, and he himself communicated only using live couriers. His awareness of U.S. technical capabilities was such that he would wear a cowboy hat when out in the courtyard of his villa to make it impossible for him to be identified by hovering drones and surveillance satellites.

Attempts to stretch the treason argument still further by claiming that Snowden has provided classified information to Russia and China are equally wrong-headed, as the U.S. has full and normally friendly diplomatic relations with both Moscow and Beijing. Both are major trading partners. Washington is not at war with either nation and never has been apart from a brief and limited intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1918. Nor is there any evidence that Snowden passed any material directly to either country government or that he has any connection to their intelligence services.

Then there is the broader national security argument. It goes something like this: Washington will no longer be able to spy on enemies and competitors in the world because Snowden has revealed the sources and methods used by the NSA to do so. Everyone will change their methods of communication, and the United States will be both blind and clueless. Well, one might argue that the White House has been clueless for at least 12 years, but the fact is that the technology and techniques employed by NSA are not exactly secret. Any reasonably well educated telecommunications engineer can tell you exactly what is being done, which means the Russians, Chinese, British, Germans, Israelis, and just about everyone else who has an interest is fully aware of what the capabilities of the United States are in a technical sense. This is why they change their diplomatic and military communications codes on a regular basis and why their civilian telecommunications systems have software that detects hacking by organizations like NSA.

Foreign nations also know that what distinguishes the NSA telecommunications interception program is the enormous scale of the dedicated resources in terms of computers and personnel, which permit real time accessing of billions of pieces of information. NSA also benefits from the ability to tie into communications hubs located in the continental United States or that are indirectly accessible, permitting the U.S. government to acquire streams of data directly. The intelligence community is also able to obtain both private data and backdoor access to information through internet, social networking, and computer software companies, the largest of which are American. Anyone interested in more detail on how the NSA operates and what it is capable of should read Jim Bamford excellent books on the subject.

The NSA capabilities, though highly classified, have long been known to many in the intelligence community. In 2007, I described the Bush administration drive to broaden the NSA activities, noting that

The president is clearly seeking open-ended authority to intercept communications without any due process, and he apparently intends to do so in the United States House Republican leader John Boehner (OH), citing 9/11, has described the White House proposal as a necessary step to break down bureaucratic impediments to intelligence collection and analysis.It is not at all clear how unlimited access to currently protected personal information that is already accessible through an oversight procedure would do that. Modernizing FISA would enable the government to operate without any restraint. Is that what Boehner actually means?

It was clear to me that in 2007 Washington already possessed the technical capability to greatly increase its interception of communications networks, but I was wrong in my belief that the government had actually been somewhat restrained by legal and privacy concerns. Operating widely in a permissive extralegal environment had already started six years before, shortly after 9/11, under the auspices of the Patriot Act and the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

The White House colossal data mining operation has now been exposed by Edward Snowden, and the American people have discovered that they have been scrutinized by Washington far beyond any level that they would have imagined possible. Many foreign nations have also now realized that the scope of U.S. spying exceeds any reasonable standard of behavior, so much so that if there are any bombshells remaining in the documents taken by Snowden they would most likely relate to the specific targets of overseas espionage.

Here in the United States, it remains to be seen whether anyone actually cares enough to do something about the illegal activity while being bombarded with the false claims that the out of control surveillance program “has kept us safe.It is interesting to observe in passing that the revelations derived from Snowden whistleblowing strongly suggest that the hippies and other counter-culture types who, back in the 1960s, protested that the government could not be trusted actually had it right all along.This year's Whistleblower Award goes to the American Edward J. Snowden. An insider, he publicized the massive, hidden surveillance of communications data by Western secret services. People who, in the public interest, are revealing major grievances and dangerous developments for individuals and society, for peace and the environment, are worthy recipients of the Whistleblower Prize.


  05. July 2013

PROTECTING THE HIGH NORTH, DEMILITARISING OUTER SPACE AND REMOVING THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION

Policy Paper 3/2013 by Erhard Crome.

The International Conference on the High North and International Security was held in the city of Kiruna, Sweden, on 28-30th June 2013. Representatives from a wide spectrum of civil societies and public movements from a number of Scandinavian, European, Asian and Latin American countries, Russia and the United States of America attended and agreed the following:

Conference members recognize:

that we are facing major threats to our survival through the continued pretence that security can be obtained through aggressive foreign policies and military action;

that the ultimate consequences of these policies is the continued development and threatened use of nuclear weapons and the exploitation and militarization of environments that should be protected for the benefit of all humankind - such as the Arctic and outer space;

that the High North is being used by an expanding NATO as a military practice ground in which to rehearse future war fighting strategies and to test and develop new killing technologies;

that the US has established a satellite ground station in the Svalbard islands in Norway which is used by the military and therefore violates the Svalbard or Spitzbergen Treaty that requires that the archipelago is not used for military purposes;

the rapidly increasing deployment of space based military systems and the global network of ground based stations (including radars, downlink and surveillance facilities) that support and supplement them;

that the uncontrolled and irresponsible use of outer space has resulted in that environment being littered with debris that could eventually render it impenetrable;

the destabilizing effects that the deployment of space based, ground based and sea based missile defense systems have on undermining international stability and that they are risking the possibility of reaching further agreements on nuclear disarmament;

that all states who have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should honour its Article VI and “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”;

the negative consequences stemming from the stationing of US tactical nuclear weapons in a number of European nations;

that US President Obama’s focus on his “pivot to Asia”, the sending of missiles and warships to the region and the encouragement of the construction of support bases in the region (such as the one threatening the lives of the Gangjeong villagers on Jeju Island, South Korea), is aimed at containing China and is increasing international tension.

We therefore call on all governments, political parties, members of civil societies and public movements all over the world to share these concerns and urgently request them to call upon:

the leaders of the Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to arrange an urgent meeting on the revival of stalled arms control processes and to embrace all key areas, including nuclear weapons, missile defense and conventional weapons stationed on the ground, at sea, in the air and in outer space;

the members of the United Nations to firmly work towards the adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention, leading to nuclear disarmament, and we call upon the nuclear weapon states not to obstruct the discussion of the Nuclear Weapons Convention in the General Assembly of the UN;

all nations possessing or about to possess missile defense components should recognize their destabilizing nature and seek instead, through diplomatic processes, to reduce international tensions and work towards a situation where cooperation, mutual trust and understanding;

all space-faring nations should engage immediately in high level talks on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space and the adoption of outer space as a de-militarized zone;

all states to respect and renew their commitment to protect the unique and vitally important regions of the Earth, such as the Arctic and Antarctic, and reconfirm that they are not the property of any one nation, and never should be, but are to be protected as a common heritage for all humankind and never used for military purposes.

The money and material assets that will be gained from the above steps and other arms control and disarmament measures should not then be redirected to other military projects but used instead to help convert our militarized societies to peaceful ones that work for the betterment of the social and economic wellbeing of all people – for human rather than state security – and for dealing with our common problem of climate change.


As declared at the conference in Kiruna, Sweden, 29th June 2013.

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space


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  30. June 2013

Germany in Europe -

A new role after the financial crisis?

Policy Paper 3/2013 by Erhard Crome.

Since the outbreak of the world financial and economic crises, the continued effects of which we are still grappling with, academics, politicians and journalists have been absorbed by the issue of the euro and the fate of the European Union. At the same time, despite various EU summits, no viable, sustainable solution has been found. This has been confounded by the enforcement of neoliberalism over recent decades. However, without a fundamental break from neoliberalism as a way of thinking and acting, as well as its institutional form, it is unlikely that a solution to these crises will ever be found.

Read more here


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  29. June 2013

Towards Innovation in Legal Education

Menu for Justice – Toward a European Curriculum Studiorum on Judicial Studies is an EU research project aimed to develop guidelines for a European curriculum of studies. This book brings together the research papers of this project dealing with innovation in judicial studies. It shows the need for innovation of legal education, the current trends and difficulties, and finally, the opportunities offered by innovation.The contributors present proposals and suggestions how legal training could support the development of adequate knowledge, professional skills and increase the competences of lawyers. This book is a companion volume to “Legal Education and Judicial Training in Europe”.


Read more here


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  27. June 2013

President Obama in Berlin: Why Not Ask for More?

President Barack Obama waves to a crowd before speaking at the Brandenburg Gate with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, June 19, 2013. Challenged personally by Merkel about US intelligence programs that monitor foreigners' communications without individualized court orders, Obama said Wednesday that German terrorist threats were among those foiled by such operations worldwide – a contention that Merkel seemed to confirm. (Photo: Michael Kappeler/Pool via The New York Times)

Earlier last month, President Obama returned to Berlin and used his highly publicized speech at the Brandenburg Gate to spell out his nuclear arms control goals for the remaining years of his presidency. His words brought to mind the lyrics from Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire": Why not ask for more? Obama's speech in Pariser Platz was a comedown from the vision and soaring hopes loosed by his 2009 speech in Prague, in which he committed the United States, the world's most powerful and dangerous nuclear power, to work for the creation of a nuclear weapons-free world.

In essence, President Obama reminded his audiences that "so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not safe." He reiterated his long-standing pledge that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the US will remain the world's dominant nuclear power. He celebrated the New START Treaty with Russia and raised the possibility of negotiating an agreement to reduce the two great powers' deployed strategic nuclear arsenals from 1,550 to 1,000. He said that he would work to reduce the number of US and Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. He pledged to "build support" for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), to hold another Nuclear Security Summit in 2016 and to "reject" weaponization of North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs.

There was, not surprisingly, less in President Obama's Berlin speech and the related Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy than meets the eye. The speech was a rehash of long-standing articulated policies, but the US media again played the role of "frictionless conveyer belt" for the White House and Pentagon. The cynicism in the president's proposed cuts in the US and Russian strategic arsenals is extraordinary and is better understood as public relations and soft power diplomacy than as a serious goal. For many months, senior Russian officials have reiterated that they will participate in multilateral nuclear weapons negotiations only, and the Obama Administration has refused to participate in such forums. With Israel, the US played the lead role in sabotaging the convening of the Middle East WMD Free Zone conference, which was mandated with US approval by the seminally important Final Declaration of the 2010 NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) Review Conference. This spring, the US boycotted the international conference on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons in Oslo, attended by 127 other governments, as well the Open Ended Working Group created by the United Nations General Assembly, and it has signaled that it has no intention of participating in the High Level Meeting to be devoted to nuclear disarmament at the United Nations this September.

Obama failed to address why Moscow relies increasingly on its nuclear arsenal and is thus anything but eager for negotiations with the United States to reduce either its strategic or tactical arsenals. Beginning with the Clinton administration, US presidents have constantly violated President George H.W. Bush's promise to Mikhail Gorbachev not to move NATO a centimeter closer to Moscow in exchange for Russia accepting German reunification on Western terms. NATO has been expanded and now threatens Russia's borders. Having suffered catastrophic invasions from the West over the past two centuries, Russian leaders are profoundly wary of the newly deployed "missile defenses" in Eastern Europe (seen by Moscow as shields to reinforce US first-strike swords) and the Pentagon's enormous superiority in high-tech "conventional" weapons and militarization of space.

It is possible that, as promulgated in the Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy, issued on the same day as Obama's Berlin speech, President Obama wants to reduce the central role of US nuclear weapons in US military policies. But actions speak louder than words. In the fifth year of Obama's presidency, preparations and threats to initiate nuclear war remain central to enforcing the United States' empire in decline. How else to understand the simulated B-2 and B-52 nuclear attacks against North Korea this past March and the "all options on the table" threat that still stands against Iran? Along these same lines, not counting the $1.5 trillion to be spent to build the nuclear-capable F-35 fighter/bomber, the United States is in the process of spending just under $200 billion to "modernize" its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems. This comes at the same time that schools in Chicago and Philadelphia, not to mention other cities, are being shuttered at a record pace, that hospitals are being closed, people in subsidized housing are losing their Section 8 certificates and being forced out of their homes, and a host of other essential social services are being slashed.

The president's words about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) were no less misleading. "Building support" is not the same thing as submitting the treaty to the Senate for ratification. Ratification and entry into force of the CTBT are universally recognized as the most critical steps to stemming nuclear weapons proliferation and for the world to move meaningfully toward the complete elimination of these omnicidal weapons.

Nice words from a politician, but with little real meaning.

The same applies to Nuclear Security conferences ostensibly designed to limit nuclear weapons proliferation. As Joseph Rotblat, the Nobel Peace Laureate and the only senior scientist who quit the Manhattan Project, taught, unless meaningful progress is made for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons, their proliferation is inevitable. Why? Because no nation will long tolerate what it experiences as an unequal (and unjust) imbalance of terror.

We are, indeed, birds balancing on all-too-fragile nuclear wires. Nuclear war growing out of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the Japanese-Chinese confrontation over disputed ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands or between India and Pakistan could end life on earth as we know it.

To fulfill the promise of Prague there are a host of actions President Obama could initiate: He could spark global nuclear disarmament diplomacy by unilaterally withdrawing US tactical nuclear weapons from Western Europe and reducing the Pentagon's strategic nuclear arsenal by 1,000 genocidal weapons. The United States would still have more than enough nuclear weapons to end life on the planet and to be used as bargaining chips with Russia and the lesser nuclear powers, including China. He could announce his commitment to participate in September's High-Level Meeting and the intention to use the United Nations Forum to advance the President's commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world. The president could reaffirm his commitment to cosponsor the promised Middle East WMD Free Zone conference and to participate in the follow-on conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war scheduled for next year in Mexico. And, he could dare Senate Republicans to stand in the way of nuclear nonproliferation by sending the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification.

At root, what we need is less public relations and more meaningful action if the world's most heavily armed nuclear power is to open the way to fulfilling the promise of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of the world's nuclear arsenals.

Copyright, Truthout.

By Dr Joseph Gerson, Truthout, Thursday, 27 June 2013


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  21. June 2013

Revealed: The Story Behind the "NATO 3" Domestic Terrorism Arrests

Accused of domestic terrorism in the course of the Chicago NATO summit, Brian Church, Brent Betterly and Jared Chase were arguably victims of police entrapment and the use of "Red Squad" tactics the Chicago police were formerly enjoined from employing.


When local and federal police conducted a no-knock, midnight search warrant raid in May 2012 at an apartment in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, it looked at first like a failed mission.

Yes, police seized a group of 11 political activists in Chicago to protest an international summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). But most of the arrestees were released without charge, and rumors soon began to swirl. Read on here


By Matt Stroud and Steve Horn, Truthout, Friday, 21 June 2013


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 20. June 2013

Nuclear disarmament must be multilateral

Saying that “so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” President Obama used his speech yesterday, June 19, 2013 at the Brandenburg Gate to revive his modest but flagging nuclear arms control agenda.

Meanwhile, the United States is ignoring multilateral efforts to move the world toward his vision of a world without nuclear weapons and also clear signals from Russia that multilateral diplomacy is the only way to achieve further significant reductions in the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.

Read on

AFSC 20.06.2013

The letter is online at [click here]


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 19. Juni 2013

Demonstration "Red-card Obama" in Berlin on June 17, 2013

About 1000 people marched from Bertolt-Brecht-Platz to Platz des 18. März and demonstrated for an immediate end of the war in Afghanistan, a worldwide ban on combat drones, the abolition of nuclear weapons, the end of missile defense shield, a stop of the armament madness of the USA, an immediate closure of Guantanamo and the release and compensation of all political prisoners, as well as active engagement against the inhumane prison industry in the USA.After the rally, they red-carded Obama while surrounding the US embassy.Appeal for Demonstration_Obama visit

Our executive director Reiner Braun made a speech. Read the speech here.

Photos


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 17. June 2013

In 2009, Barack Obama has outlined his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons in a major speech in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

The US president called for a global summit on nuclear security and the forging of new partnerships to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. He said he hoped to negotiate a new treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. Although his nuclear goals might not be realised in his lifetime, he said he would strive to achieve them.


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14. Juni 2013

Stand with Edward Snowden

Sign the petition!

To President Barack Obama: "We call on you to ensure that whistleblower Edward Snowden is treated fairly, humanely and given due process. The PRISM program is one of the greatest violations of privacy ever committed by a government. We demand that you terminate it immediately, and that Edward Snowden be recognized as a whistleblower acting in the public interest -- not as a dangerous criminal".


SIGN HERE


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 15. Juni 2013

Report and Appeal to the International community to support a process of dialogue and reconciliation in Syria between its people and Syrian government and reject outside intervention and war.

After a 10 days visit to Lebanon and Syria, leading a 16 person delegation from 8 countries, invited by Mussalaha Reconciliation Movement, I have returned hopeful that peace is possible in Syria, if all outside interference is stopped and the Syrians are allowed to solve their own problems upholding their right to self-determination.

An appeal to end all violence and for Syrians to be left alone from outside interference was made by all those we met during our visit to Syria. We have tried to forward it to the International community in our Concluding Declaration(l).

During our visit we went to refugee camps, affected communities, met religious leaders, combatants, government representatives, opposition delegations and many others, perpetrators and victims, in Lebanon and Syria.

1. Visits to refugee camps: In Lebanon we visited several refugee camps, hosted by Lebanese or Palestinian communities. One Woman said: "before this conflict started we were happy and had a good life (there is free education, free healthcare, subsidies for fuel, in Syria ,) and now we live in poverty". Her daughter and son-in-law (a pharmacist and engineer) standing on a cement floor in a Palestinian refugee camp, with not even a mattress, told us that this violence had erupted to everyone surprise’s and spread so quickly they were all still in shock, but when well armed, foreign fighters came to Homs, they took over their homes, raped their women, and killed young males who refused to join their ranks, so the people fled in terror. They said that these foreign fighters were from many countries like Libyans, Saudis, Tunisians, Chechens, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Emiratis, Lebanese, Jordanians, Turkish, Europeans, Australian, and these gangs are financed and trained by foreign governments. They attach suicide vests around peoples’ bodies and threaten to explode them if they don’t do what they are told. One refugee woman asked me ‘when can we go home’? (To my great delighted a few days later in Damascus I met a woman working on a government programme which is helping refugees to return to Syria and over 200 have returned to date). Read on here

BY Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate. Spokesperson for Mussalaha International
Peace delegation to Lebanon/Syria l-llth May, 2013,



 26. May 2013

Peace Movers in Afghanistan - Calling for Peace

Impressions from our journey.

Despite many warnings, we found the courage to visit Kabul, from May 16 to 23, 2013.

We were:
Reiner Braun, Executive Director, IALANA
Christine Hoffmann, General Secretary, pax christi
Otto Jäckel, Chairperson, IALANA
Wahida Kabir, Commission for Peace and Freedom in Afghanistan
Kristine Karch, Member of the coordination group for the German-Afghan Peace Network
Karim Popal, German-Afghan lawyer representing the victims of the air strike on Kundus
Farida Seleman, Afghan Cultural Association, Freiburg
The members of our group have known each other for several years from our joint activities working towards peace and from protests against the deployment of NATO troops in Afghanistan.

We landed in a city of war. Moving freely is not possible, let alone sightseeing. The city has been destroyed by war and is governed by terror. Cars have become the most important means of transport and also form the basis of an ambivalent security; our drivers’ circumspection was the most important "guarantee of safety" we had. A very careful and well-supervised excursion out of Kabul to nearby Paghman completed the picture of general insecurity.

Kabul, a city of almost 7 million residents, is a terribly fragmented military fortress, with every public building and every road junction subject to military and police observation. Fear of attacks is everywhere: attacks by the Taliban, military actions (and aggression) by NATO troops, and warlike behaviour or violence by Afghan soldiers and police against their own population, especially against women. A deep feeling of insecurity prevails in a city that was never developed for this number of people. The sanitary facilities, the road system and the water supply are all in a disastrous state; the healthcare system is lamentable; 120,000 beggars roam the streets searching for scraps to survive; refugees desperately try to find a place to stay; the refugee camps are indescribable slums; and youth unemployment runs up to 80% ¬– all of this characterises a very young society. We could not shake off an impression that violence is omnipresent; one sign was the barbed wire everywhere, even on top of traditional courtyard walls encircling old houses.

Our guesthouse presented a strong contrast to this reality. Situated centrally, but secluded and protected in a side street, it offered us our oasis – a place to recuperate and discuss. This was where we experienced the meaning of traditional Afghan hospitality.

The days were full of conversations and discussion. "Fact-finding for peace" was our aim: learning and listening were the primary tasks we had set ourselves [read the full report here]


by Reiner Braun and Kristine Karch, Berlin, May 26, 2013


 

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 17. April 2013

Out of the marathon bombings: A conversation of Bosten-area peace activists

By Joseph Gerson, AFSC

A group of Boston-area peace activists met on Tuesday, the day after the Boston Marathon bombings, to share what we know about the bombings and to discern how best to respond to the deadly attack against our community and against people from across the nation and around the world who came to Boston to participate and enjoy the marathon. Several of us had loved ones or close friends who would have been among the attack’s victims, had they not left the finish line area shortly before the bombings or who had yet to arrive there. First and foremost our thoughts and sympathy go out to family and friends of those killed yesterday, to those who injured and maimed, and to their families and friends. Read on here.

 

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The Game With North Korea: Nuclear Roulette Has No Winners, 03 April 2013

By David Krieger, Truthout 

The United States and North Korea are playing a dangerous game of nuclear roulette. The United States is taking actions that threaten North Korea, such as conducting war games with US ally South Korea, including practice bombing runs that send nuclear-capable B-2 bombers from Missouri to the Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans, in turn, are blustering, declaring they are in a state of war with South Korea, which, technically, is true, since a truce and not a peace agreement ended the Korean War in 1953. North Korean leaders have also cancelled the military hotline it maintains with Seoul to coordinate movement between the countries' borders and are threatening nuclear attacks on the United States, its troops and its allies.

Read on here.


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 25. März 2013

World Social Forum

26th - 30th March, Tunis, 2013 (Programme)


Material:

Disarmament for Development

Food production and conflicts

Military research at universities

Impressionen vom Weltsozialforum (DE)

Impressions of the World Social Forum (EN)


31. Januar 2013

The real invasion of Africa is not news and a licence to lie is Hollywood's gift


A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.

The invasion has almost nothing to do with "Islamism", and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a "menacing arc" of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus "red menace" of a worldwide communist conspiracy.

Read on here: http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-real-invasion-of-africa-is-not-news-and-a-licence-to-lie-is-hollywoods-gift


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 20. March 2013

German court to rule of Kunduz airstrike


A case has been opened to rule on whether the German government can be held liable for a lethal airstrike on two fuel tankers in Afghanistan in 2009. Over 90 people are believed to have been killed in the bombing.
Muhammad Agbad was the scribe of his small community in the Afghan province of Kunduz. Every day, the 12-year-old walked two kilometers (1.2 miles) to the school in the neighboring village. In the afternoons, he often sat under a tree in front of the main mosque, writing letters on behalf of the other villagers to their relatives in Pakistan and Iran.
In the night from September 3 to 4, 2009, Muhammad walked along a dried-up river to where two abandoned fuel tankers had broken down. Perhaps the boy was looking to get some free fuel for his family - or maybe he was just curious and wanted to have a look. He was killed shortly before 2 a.m. on September 4, when two NATO fighter jets bombed the fuel trucks, which had earlier been hijacked by the Taliban.

Read on here:


4. January 2013

Afghan War Commander gives Options for after 2014

In a report in the New York Times under the title “Afghan War Commander Gives Options for After ‘14” General Allen has given the Obama Administration three options for the future: continuing with 6,000, 10,000 or 20,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Read the article at:www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/world/middleeast/afghan-war-commander-gives-options-for-after-2014.html


20. January 2013

Declaration of the French-German Peace Seminar

French and German organizations of the peace movement met in Berlin on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Élysée Treaties to discuss common actions and challenges for peace.

On January 19/20 2013 (for the first time in almost 15 years), representatives of the German and French peace movements met for a two day seminar in Berlin.

This meeting was convened to highlight the holding of the gathering of members of the German Bundestag and the French National Assembly, to commemorate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaties. It was these treaties that lay the foundation to the French-German friendship and peaceful relations in the second half of the 20th century. Read on here: http://www.no-to-nato.org/wp-content/uploads/declaration-german-french-peace-seminar.pdf


2. January 2013

CTBTO Interview with Alyn Ware

Global Coordinator, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament


Alyn Ware trained as a kindergarten teacher in New Zealand before establishing peace education programmes in pre-school, primary and secondary schools, and helping establish peace education as part of the national curriculum. He was active in the campaigns to end nuclear tests in the Pacific and to create a nuclear-free-zone in New Zealand. Since the late 1980s, Ware has worked internationally, advancing disarmament education and nuclear disarmament initiatives at the United Nations, in parliaments and universities around the world, and through international civil society organizations. He has worked diligently to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention. Ware is currently the Global Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.