What's new in INES (No. 5), 29th July 2013
Enclose we send you our latest INES-newsletter edition.
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We wish you an informative lecture.
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Dear friends and supporters of the Global Article 9 Campaign
First of all, we would like to thank all of you who have already signed the international petition highlighting the global support for Japan's Peace clause and asking Prime Minister Abe not to amend Article 9.
In just a few days, we have collected over 1700 signatures, from 70 countries. But THIS IS NOT ENOUGH!
If you have not yet signed this important international appeal, please do so now!
We would also like to ask you to help us spread this appeal far and wide!
You can also use the short URL: http://is.gd/save_article_9
With Japan holding elections of the Upper House of the Diet on July 21, we are hoping that this initiative will contribute to ensuring that voices in support of Article 9 are heard in the lead up to the election.
With JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT before the ballot, we need your urgent help to collect an impressive number of signatures.
Many thanks for your support and contribution to save Article 9!
The Global Article 9 Campaign team
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.
Since 1999 the Whistleblower Prize is awarded bi-annually by the German chapter of International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and the Federation of German Scientists (FGS, the German Pugwash group). The prize money is 3000 Euros. The previous winners include, among others, Rainer Moormann (2011: Risks of pebble bed reactors), Rudolf Schmenger / Frank Wehrheim (2009: tax inspectors in Frankfurt) and Brigitte Heinisch (2007: Berlin geriatric nurse). This year, for the first time, the anti-corruption organization
Transparency International, Germany is involved in the Whistleblower Prize.
In the view of the jury, the revelations of Edward J. Snowden leave no choice but to thoroughly check the facts and the state of the evidence. On this basis, the actions and processes by domestic and foreign authorities of the secret services revealed by Snowden need to be examined. The guiding question is if, and if so in what form, the governing law has been breached. Based on current information, Article 10 of the Basic Lawi as well as the G10-law (regulating compliance of intelligence services with Article 10) have been violated. By publicizing the information, Edward Snowden accepted major disadvantages knowing of the prosecution of whistleblowers in the security industry.
Hartmut Grassl of the Federation of German Scientists stated: “an open society needs civil courage and courageous people like Edward Snowden in order to uncover and stop abuses.” German IALANA’s Otto Jaeckel said: ”Who could be more suitable to grant asylum to a US citizen being persecuted than the country which has been spied upon as heavily as
Germany? Nevertheless, the whole EU has to act. Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing did a great service to Germany and the other EU member states. Therefore we should compete to grant him asylum: from conviction, but also out of gratitude.”
Edda Müller, Chair of Transparency Germany stated: “We owe a great debt to Edward Snowden: his courageous actions must have consequences. International treaties limiting the sovereignty of Germany must be changed. Furthermore, Great Britain as a member state of the European Union must explain very clearly in Brussels its position on the basic rights of EU citizens. And finally, Germany needs to ensure adequate protection of whistleblowers through appropriate legal regulations".
Berlin, July 25th 2013
For further information please contact:
Prof. Dr. Edda Müller, Chair
Dr. Christian Humborg, Executive Director Transparency International, GermanyTel.: +49 30 - 54 98 98 0 chumborgtransparencyde
Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (VDW e.V.)
IALANA – German Section of International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms
Tel.: 0+49 170/ 29 65 66 0
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 on here
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 governmentâ€™s 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 â€œassociated 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 countrys government or that he has any connection to their intelligence services
Then there is the broader â€œnational 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 Bamfords 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.
by Philip Giraldi * - The American Conservative, July 19, 2013
The wars of the last century have offered important lessons for peace. Among these are:
Wars begin in the minds of men (and women) and are often based on the lies of leaders.
Wars can occur when they are not at all expected.
Politicians and generals send the young to fight and die.
Wars can consume entire generations of youth.
Wars are not heroic; they are bloody and terrifying.
Wars now kill more civilians than combatants.
Long-distance killing and drones make wars far less personal.
Any war today carries the risk of a nuclear conflagration and omnicide (the death of all).
The terms of peace after a war can plant seeds of peace or the seeds of the next war.
The best ways to prevent illegal war are nonviolent struggle and holding leaders accountable for the Nuremberg crimes: crimes against peace (aggressive war); war crimes; and crimes against humanity.
Lessons offered unfortunately do not necessarily translate into lessons learned. Philosophers have warned that we must learn the lessons of the past if we are going to apply them to the present and change the future. In a nuclear-armed world, the challenge is made all the more urgent. As Einstein warned, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” Today, learning these lessons for peace and changing our modes of thinking to put them into practice are necessary to assure that there is a future.
This article was originally published by Truthout. Vaya aquí para la versión española.
by David Krieger, July 24, 2013
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 on here.
by Angela Kane, huffingtonpost.com July 15, 2013
I have been working for a world free of nuclear weapons for over four decades. On occasion I am asked, “Why do you continue this struggle when change seems to come so slowly?” Here is my response.
Nuclear weapons threaten the existence of civilization and the human species. We humans cannot continue to be complacent in the face of the nuclear dangers that confront us. Too many people are complacent and too many are ignorant of the threat posed by these weapons.
Albert Einstein warned: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” The nature of the catastrophe was demonstrated first at Hiroshima and then at Nagasaki. We continue to face the possibility of a global Hiroshima.
If even a few nuclear weapons were used today, the humanitarian consequences would be beyond our capacity to cope. There would not be enough surviving medical personnel available to aid the suffering of the victims. There would not be enough hospitals or burn wards. Water supplies would be contaminated. Infrastructure would be destroyed. The damage would not be containable in either time or space.
Atmospheric scientists have modeled the effects of the use of nuclear weapons. They find that the use of only one hundred Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons in a regional war between India and Pakistan would trigger a nuclear famine that would lead to the deaths by starvation of some one billion people globally. That would be the result of a small nuclear war. How would this happen? The weapons would destroy cities, putting massive amounts of soot into the stratosphere, blocking warming sunlight, shortening growing seasons, causing crop failures and food shortages.
by David Krieger, July 02, 2013
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
by Policy Paper 3/2013 by Erhard Crome, July 5th, 2013
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 one here
By Policy Paper 3/2013 by Erhard Crome. June 30, 2013
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.
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.
Thursday, 27 June 2013 11:08 By Dr Joseph Gerson, Truthout | Op-Ed
"Please also note that following on a sign on letter delivered to President Obamalast month, next week AFSC, along with our Peace Action and Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy partners, will be launching a petition campaign designed to encourage President Obama to engage in multilateral nuclear disarmament forums."
For peace and justice,