What's new in INES (No. 7), 1st October 2013
Dear friends and colleaugs,
Please note: Postponement of the Afghanistan conference! After extensive discussions in the preparatory process for the Afghanistan conference in October, the organizing team has decided to postpone this year's conference to April 25-27, 2014. Thank you for your understanding. Please find a more detailed explanatory statement below or on the website.
Lucas Wirl (Program Director)
Jeannine Dreßler (Executive Assistant)
Offensive Insecurity - The role of science and technology in UK security strategies
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.
For the preparatory committee: Karim Popal, Reiner Braun, Claire Chastain
Statement from the Triennial Conference of the International Peace Bureau
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.
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!
 At the Triennial, IPB’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize was awarded to Chelsea Manning.
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
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”.
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 Sept 2013. Berlin / Geneva.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to come here to speak with you tonight. It’s quite an honor, actually, and it’s really a privilege, especially to have someone like Laura [Poitras] in the audience here with us and to have Glenn [Greenwald] to send a video. I would speak with you in German, but this seems like a place where I should be able to express myself naturally and it’s a little difficult for me, so I apologize if English is not easy for you; I’ll try to not speak too quickly. When I spoke with Edward Snowden this evening, he wanted me to convey a message to you, which I will read, but he also wanted me to not talk too much about geopolitics, and not to talk too much about all of the things that everyone also has already said this evening. And instead he wanted me to talk about individuals, to talk about people, he wanted me to talk about hope for change, and this reminded me of something that one of the greatest American whistleblowers to ever live is famous for saying – that is Daniel Ellsberg; he said: “Courage is contagious.” I see amongst people here in the audience a number of people who embody that – Laura being the clear winner of that so far. And I think that it is important to talk about what each of us have as our personal agency, that is to say: each and every one of us has the ability to stand against corruption, to stand against war crimes, to stand against things that we know are obvious lies that are done in our name. And it happens for each and every one of us when we choose it in each of the actions we do every single day. It’s a very straightforward and simple thing, and so I think it is important to think of this not as an issue of internet freedom, but as a question of our own personal liberties, and we must have a consciousness raising about our own role in this. So, when we talk about spying on the internet, we should not pretend we are exempt from this, because in fact it is a question on our very lives and every aspect of our lives so as to be able to – literally, in some cases – try to read our minds. This is something that each and every single one of us I think would reject in its core if we were to really truly have an honest discussion about it, and so it is up to us to have those honest discussions with each other.[Read on here]
by Jacob Appelbaum, August 30, 2013
The actions leading toward US involvement in the civil war in Syria have been moving at a rapid pace. US officials, starting with President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, have been strong advocates of a limited attack on Syria to punish the Assad regime for an alleged chemical attack on its own citizens. It is unlikely, though, that a limited US military attack on the Syrian regime will result in a positive outcome. More likely, it will cause additional death and untold sorrow to Syrian civilians, make Syrian President Assad a hero in the region, increase the possibilities of a broader regional war, increase tensions between the US and Russia, further undermine respect for international law, and diminish rather than uphold US credibility in the region and beyond.
Below is a sketch of the sequence of events leading to where we are now; important choice points for the Congress with implications for the president and the American people; and some conclusions and recommendations.[read on here]
by David Krieger, September 06, 2013
UK government funding of military research and development (R&D) has long been among the highest in the world. However, there has been very limited publicly available information on what the UK taxpayer is actually funding, or analysis of what alternatives might be better for our security. This report reveals new data on the billions spent on continuing to develop Cold War-style weaponry that is not relevant to the UK’s current security threats, as well as exposing the failure of government departments to account properly for hundreds of millions of pounds. The report compares military R&D spending with R&D focused on understanding and tackling the roots of conflict and the longer term security threats that we face from climate change, resource scarcity and other global problems.
The authors argue that security-related R&D should be based on a radical rethink of UK defence and security policy, which the current government acknowledges in theory but ignores in practice. The report addresses the arguments surrounding defence reform and spending that will be at the heart of the security debate for the next decade, and challenges accepted ways of thinking about defence and security across the political spectrum.[Full report]
Stuart Parkinson, Barnaby Pace and Philip Webber, 30 September 2013
No to the US attack and continued military pressure
by Wilhelm Langthaler
We are relieved that the imminent threat of an US aggression on Syria is preliminarily put on hold and a diplomatic channel has been opened up. But the US military power projection remains in place and the bloody civil war continues. We therefore need to continue and step up the campaign against foreign intervention and especially the western one. But at the same time we ought to help to pave the way for a transitional government fulfilling the demands of the original democratic popular movement.
From the very beginning of the conflict we have been strongly opposing any foreign meddling let alone military intervention. As anti-systemic opposition in the west we regard it as our main task to fight imperialism and neo-colonialism disguised as humanitarianism, export of democracy, responsibility to protect or similar camouflages. This is an issue of principle which proved valid in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places.
In Syria foreign interference has been crucial in transforming the civil democratic and social movement of the popular masses into a sectarian civil war destroying the hope for victory for the people as subaltern classed opposed to the elite.[Read on here]15/09/2013
by Wilhelm Langthaler, September 15, 2013
At about 3.45 pm on Sunday September 1st peace activists Margaretta Darcy and Niall Farrell were arrested in Shannon airport in the vicinity of the main runway. They were taken to Shannon Garda station where they were questioned and detained overnight. They were then brought before Limerick District Court at on 2nd September 2013 with Judge Eugene O’Kelly presiding. About 45 minutes after the arrests of Darcy and Farrell two other individuals, including photo-journalist and human rights activist Tommy Donnellan, were arrested several miles from the scene of the airport incursion. Tommy and his friend were later released without charge.[Read on here]
We are approaching the 100th anniversary of the onset of World War I. One of the lessons of that horrendous war was that chemical weapons cause inhumane suffering and death and that they are not reliable weapons. Their effectiveness depends on which way the wind is blowing, a situation subject to change. After the war, the use of chemical and biological weapons in warfare was banned by the Geneva Protocol of 1925. More recently, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997, and today 189 countries are parties to this treaty.
But the deadliness and unreliability of chemical weapons were not the only lessons of World War I. A far more important lesson is that a war can take on a life of its own. No one expected that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Hungary would lead to a world war, but that is the way it worked out. The assassination set in motion a chain of events leading to all-out war, in which national leaders felt bound to their allies and were unwilling to back down. It was a war that no one wanted, but one that took four years to halt and resulted in 37 million casualties, including 16 million deaths.
The Syrian civil war has been going on since spring 2011, but suddenly it has taken on new potential for morphing into a regional or global conflagration. President Obama said that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be the crossing of a red line. When leaders of superpower countries say such things, they are to be taken as warnings to less powerful states to behave accordingly or face serious consequences. Someone in Syria appears to have used chemical weapons, and the US government is expressing certainty that it was the Syrian government. Thus, for US leaders, the red line has been crossed.[read on here]
by David Krieger, September 12, 2013
• 11th-13th October 2013: The Mediterranean Seminar between Marseille and
• 25th - 27th April 2014: International Afghanistan Conference, Strasbourg