Prestigious International Peace Prize Awarded to Courageous Whistleblower Bradley Manning

July 22, 2013

IPB AWARDS MACBRIDE PEACE PRIZE 2013 TO US WHISTLEBLOWER BRADLEY MANNING

Note: Peace Action is a longtime member of the International Peace Bureau and strongly concurs with this award’s much deserved honoring of Bradley Manning.

manning19 July 2013 Geneva

 

The International Peace Bureau is delighted to announce that this year’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize is to be awarded to Bradley Manning, the US whistleblower whose case has attracted worldwide attention, for his courageous actions in revealing information about US war crimes. His trial is likely to be concluded in the coming days.

 

Read-IPB-Press-Release

Manning was arrested in May 2010 after allegedly leaking more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, 400,000 U.S. Army reports about Iraq and another 90,000 about Afghanistan, as well as the material used in the “Collateral Murder” video produced by WikiLeaks: videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Garani airstrike in Afghanistan. At the time, it constituted the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public. Much of it was published by WikiLeaks or its media partners between April and November 2010.

 

Manning has so far been detained for three years  — first in Kuwait, then in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Va., and finally at a medium-security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. —before being charged with 22 offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy. He pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 of the 22 charges, which could carry a sentence of up to 20 years. A full life sentence is now also possible.

 

IPB’s Co-President Tomas Magnusson comments: “IPB believes that among the very highest moral duties of a citizen is to make known war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is within the broad meaning of the Nuremberg Principles enunciated at the end of the Second World War. When Manning revealed to the world the crimes being committed by the US military he did so as an act of obedience to this high moral duty”. It is for this reason too that Manning has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In more general terms it is well known that war operations, and especially illegal ones, are frequently conducted under the cover of secrecy. To penetrate this wall of secrecy by revealing information that should be accessible to all is an important contribution to the struggle against war, and acts as a challenge to the military system which dominates both the economy and society in today’s world. IPB believes that whistleblowers are vital in upholding democracies – especially in the area of defense and security. A heavy sentence for Manning would not only be unjust but would also have very negative effects on the right to freedom of expression which the US claims to uphold.

 

About the MacBride Prize

The prize has been awarded each year since 1992 by the International Peace Bureau (IPB), founded in 1892. Previous winners include: Lina Ben Mhenni (Tunisian blogger) and Nawal El-Sadaawi (Egyptian author) – 2012, Jackie Cabasso (USA, 2008), Jayantha Dhanapala (Sri Lanka, 2007) and the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2006).It is named after Sean MacBride, a distinguished Irish statesman who shared the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize, and is given to individuals or organisations for their outstanding work for peace, disarmament and human rights. (details at: http://ipb.org/i/about-ipb/II-F-mac-bride-peace-prize.html)

 

The (non-monetary) Prize consists of a medal made in ‘Peace Bronze’, a material derived from recycled nuclear weapons components*. It will be formally awarded on Sept. 14 in Stockholm, at a special evening on Whistleblowing, which forms part of the triennial gathering of the International Peace Bureau. See brochure at:http://www.ipb.org/uploads/tbl_events_web/172/documents/Stockholm_brochure.pdf

 

 

*IPB is deeply grateful to the manufacturers of the medal:  http://www.fromwartopeace.com/


Scenes from an Empire in Decline, from Afghanistan, Yemen and the U.S.

June 1, 2012

–Kevin Martin, Executive Director

Norwegian philosopher and peace studies pioneer Johan Galtung has a very useful analytic framework for peace and justice activists in our current times, “the Decline of the U.S. Empire and the flowering of the U.S. Republic.” While Professor Galtung writes very convincingly about the nature of U.S. empire and how it can be transformed into a republic truly worthy of our national mythology and wonderful people, it’s a fairly self-explanatory concept, namely that as the U.S. Empire inexorably declines, as all empires have, there should be space and resources freed up to help the U.S. Republic really blossom. (And Peace Action’s “Move the Money” campaign to slash military spending in order to invest in human needs and environmental restoration embodies this concept in a concrete way.)

I’ll return to this theme often in the future, but for now I won’t attempt a comprehensive description of the U.S. Empire, nor the signs of its decline (which won’t necessarily be quick, or pretty). Instead, here are a few snapshots.

Reuters has an article today by Peter Apps that lays out the complexities of the political and military situation in Yemen, and what appears to be an inevitable slide into further entanglement by the U.S. and its allies, which raises serious war powers concerns. Peace movement veteran Tom Hayden’s article in The Nation puts the conflict in Yemen, including U.S. drone strikes, into the context of “The Long War” that many military analysts say could be measured in decades.

Turning to Afghanistan, the country in which the U.S. is waging its longest war (eleven years and counting, and President Obama’s agreement with President Hamid Karzai might keep U.S. troops there for another dozen years), Ian Pounds, a volunteer teacher of orphans in Afghanistan, has one of the most comprehensive, damning condemnations of the failure of U.S. policy in that country I have ever read, published by CounterPunch. It’s long-ish, but worth a read. Here’s an excerpt from near the end of the piece:

“The U.S. government pays no attention to law anymore. It murders American citizens without trial (yes, the President signed into his powers the ability to have an American citizen assassinated if he or any future president deems that person a threat to security). America tortures, still. It invades privacy without a warrant. It invades countries illegally and under false pretenses. And America doggedly refuses to take responsibility for any of its multiple failures in this war, or any war.”

So where is the “Flowering of the U.S. Republic” in this blog post, you may well ask?

People in this country and around the world working for peace and justice  are contributing to the turn from Empire to Republic, but many U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are doing more than their share in this regard. Read Iraq War vet Zach LaPorte’s moving account of returning his war medals at the terrific NATO protest in Chicago two weeks ago, published on Michael Moore’s website, and view the terrific slideshow and video of the protest on the Iraq Veterans Against the War website.

We all have a role to play in determining how the Empire ends and what comes after, and I hope we build a country worthy of the example of these vets who have sacrificed so much, and who now testify so eloquently that war is not the answer.


The Greek Tragedy

May 24, 2012

by Peter Deccy

Much has been reported about the decline of the Greek economy. Some Republicans have enjoyed using the tragedy to warn the same fate awaits the US unless it cuts its social spending, often implying the social safety net in Greece supports a lazy society that prefers drinking on the beach and handouts to hard work and productivity.

Nice try. What’s been missing in mainstream media coverage is the fact that Greece is the 3rd largest importer of weapons in the world. That’s right, China, India, Greece.

Greece is largest importer of weapons among the NATO allies. While NATO countries spend an average of 1.7% of their GDP on ‘defense’, Greece has been spending 4%. That’s roughly $1,500 per person.
It has a standing army of 156,000 men, more than the UK which has 6 times the population of Greece. Military service of nine months is compulsory.

And who is selling them the weapons? No, it’s not the world largest weapons trafficker (the US) this time. It’s France and Germany, the belt tighteners who have been pressing Greece to accept a bread and water diet to solve their financial crisis.

Of course, you need a threat of cosmic proportions to justify runaway military spending. For Greece, that’s Turkey. But wait, isn’t Turkey Greece’s NATO ally? Yes, they are, but don’t look behind the curtain. The extreme right in Greece has long used the dispute over Cyprus to justify their militarism. That sounds vaguely familiar.

So the Republican’s have it half right, which is twice their average score. If we don’t watch out we’ll end up in the same mess Greece is in. But it won’t be because we’re taking too good care of our people. It will be because of our addiction to militarism.


In Chicago for the NATO Free Future Counter-Summit and marching on May 20?

May 14, 2012

Image

If you are marching on May 20, take our Nonviolence & Media training at 5pm on Wednesday, May 16.

Feel prepared and supported to exercise your right to nonviolent protest and speak to the media about why we must  end the war in Afghanistan and retire NATO.

After an overview of NATO/G8, the National Lawyers Guild and Street Medics will do presentations and answer questions.

You will have the option to do a NVDA training or break out to a media training session led by trainers from Peace Action and AFSC.

RSVP

You will feel ready to go on Sunday, know your rights and counter the NATO summit media spin! Space is limited, please email Mary at mzerkel@afsc.org if you are interested in participating.

March on May 20 with the Network for NATO Free Future contingent for  the IVAW and CANG8 march.


Only a Month Away, Won’t You Please Come to Chicago…for Peace, Justice and a NATO-Free Future!

April 16, 2012

–Executive Director Kevin Martin

In just over a month, peace activists and allies from other social justice movements from around the country and around the world will gather in Chicago (where I lived and worked for ten terrific years) to call for peace, economic justice and the end of NATO when that alliance convenes for its annual meeting. Please plan to join us May 18-20 for what will be an illuminating, action oriented Counter-Summit conference, and a march of veterans of the Afghanistan war returning their medals to U.S. officials to call for an end to our country’s longest war and just treatment for returning veterans and the people of Afghanistan who have suffered immeasurably over the last several decades of nearly endless wars.

More information, including registration and speakers can be found on the NATO-Free Future website (Peace Action is a founding member of the national and international coalitions on this issue). I’ll be there and hope you will join us!

Also, WBEZ-FM, Chicago’s public radio station, hosted a thought-provoking live public town meeting on NATO and the upcoming summit, featuring Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, a longtime friend and ally and a principle speaker at our conference in May. It’s long, and hour and a half, but worthwhile. Kathy, who has traveled many timed to Afghanistan in solidarity with the people of that war-weary country, is excellent as always on the show, and the audience Q and A session with host Jerome McDonnell (the last 30-45 minutes or so) is very interesting, great questions and comments from the attendees.


Peace Action on C-SPAN

August 17, 2011

Thanks to the hard work of national Peace Action board member (and University of Hawai’i Human Rights Law Center founder) Joshua Cooper, Peace Action got some serious airtime (an hour and a quarter) on C-SPAN. Joshua has organized Human Rights on the Hill conferences in DC for law students and the public for a decade now, and he and I were filmed at this year’s event at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke Law School.


Nonviolent Opposition to Militarism from Kansas City to Korea!

August 5, 2011

As the U.S. Empire declines, more indefensible and inexplicable pieces of the war machine are exposed and opposed by peace-mongers around the world. Two in the news today, both for their absurdity but also for the effective, nonviolent resistance they have provoked, are the new bomb factory to make non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons in Kansas City and a proposed U.S. naval base related to Star Wars “missile defense” on Jeju Island, South Korea.

KC Peace Planters, a coalition which includes our Peace Action affiliate, PeaceWorks Kansas City, succeeded in placing an initiative on this fall’s election ballot to stop the planned bomb factory and replace it with a green energy plant. The Kansas City council is moving to get the initiative off the ballot, citing spurious “national security” arguments. Stay tuned for more information on how to support the struggle to stop the bomb factory in KC.

Half a world away, the residents of Gangjeong, Jeju want to be left alone to continue farming and fishing on their beautiful island rather than hosting a naval base intended to serve as part of a provocative and useless “missile defense” system. Our friend Christine Ahn has an excellent op-ed on the issue in the International Herald Tribune. Read it, learn more and act in solidarity with the people of Jeju by signing and circulating this petition.


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