Take Action: Tell President Obama to stop protecting Israel’s nuclear weapons monopoly in the Middle East

May 28, 2015

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Disappointingly but not surprisingly, the month-long Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) at the United Nations ended last Friday in failure.  The United States and other nuclear powers continue to blow off their Article VI treaty obligation to negotiate the elimination of their arsenals, preaching abstinence to the non-nuclear states from a barstool while indulging in an outrageous binge of “modernization” of their nuclear weapons enterprises (the U.S. is the worst, planning to spend up to $1 trillion of our tax dollars over the next 30 years to upgrade all parts of the nuclear weapons complex).

There was no consensus reached at the NPT RevCon to strengthen and extend nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures as the United States (joined by the United Kingdom and Canada) blocked a proposal by Egypt to convene a conference to create a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone.  This isn’t the first time the U.S. put Israel’s desire to pretend it doesn’t have nuclear weapons above humanity’s interest in abolishing these doomsday weapons before it’s too late.

ACTION: Please write President Obama to protest the U.S.’s intervention to protect Israel’s nuclear arms monopoly in the region and demand he reverse course and work to convene the Middle East conference, as agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The Middle East conference was to have been held in 2012, but was never convened, due to Israeli and U.S. opposition. Furthermore, urge him to initiate negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention to eliminate all nukes worldwide, as the NPT’s Article VI requires.

The failure to agree to proceed toward a WMD-Free Zone conference, something advocated by all states in the region other than Israel, is particularly short-sighted.  The U.S. and its “P5+1” negotiating partners (France, China, the UK, Russia and Germany) are in the home stretch of crucial negotiations that would close off Iran’s potential paths to a bomb.  Israel’s nuclear weapons monopoly needs to be acknowledged and addressed or it will remain a stumbling block to regional peace and world security.

Peace Action was proud to be one of the co-conveners of the Peace and Planet mobilization, bringing thousands of peace and disarmament activists from around the world to New York just before the NPT RevCon. Peace and Planet is also a promising initiative to demand rapid progress toward global nuclear weapons abolition, as part of a broader peace and justice movement.

The failure of the obstinate nuclear states at the NPT RevCon is unacceptable.  Please take a moment to let the president know your views.

 

Peacefully and Disarmingly Yours,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. If you want to read more on the NPT RevCon outcome (or lack thereof), please see my article on our Peace Blog


US defense of Israel’s nukes leads to failure of international non-proliferation and disarmament conference

May 27, 2015

We want a nuke free world Picture Petition 041

–Kevin Martin, Executive Director

To paraphrase one of my least favorite presidents, Ronald Reagan (though today he’s practically be a liberal), there they went again.

Once again, despite President Obama’s recent assertion that the U.S. would cease knee-jerk support for and protection of Israel at the United Nations, the U.S. delegation to the every-five-years Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) did just that. Joined by Canada and the United Kingdom and at Israel’s behest, last week the U.S. rejected the convening of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone conference, even though it was agreed by consensus at the last RevCon in 2010, and was supposed to have been held in 2012. Binyamin Netanyahu went so far as to publicly thank the U.S. for its interference-running (Reuters). 

The WMD-Free Middle East Zone issue was not the only problem preventing the conference from issuing a consensus final statement on a program for further progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as it customarily does. Failure of the existing nuclear states to get serious about abolishing their arsenals, as required by the treaty’s Article VI, is a source of ongoing frustration.

As a matter of fact, the Nuclear Nine (U.S., UK, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea), led by the U.S., are moving in the wrong direction, as all have ludicrous, nuclear “modernization” schemes in process or on the drawing board. Uncle Sam is the worst, planning to squander up to $1 trillion of our tax dollars (not. gonna. happen. we will stop this madness!) over 30 years to upgrade the entire nuclear weapons complex, soup to nuts.

Every country has signed the NPT except Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea. (North Korea had signed but later withdrew.) I don’t expect any countries will withdraw from the treaty in frustration, or worse to pursue the Bomb, though that is a possibility. On a more promising note, 107 countries have signed onto the Humanitarian Pledge, led by Austria, committed to pursuing global nuclear weapons abolition as an urgent humanitarian priority, coming out of three recent international conferences focused on the humanitarian and environmental consequences of nukes. That’s obviously not a binding treaty, but it could become one, as there is movement to negotiate a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, starting (unfortunately) without the nuclear states, in order to establish an international norm that nuclear weapons are illegal, as chemical and biological weapons and land mines are.

The timing of this RevCon and the spotlight on its failure over defending Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the world’s most volatile, war-riven region is particularly interesting given the ongoing, promising P5+1 (U.S., UK, France, China, Russia and Germany) peace negotiations with Iran. The talks to reach an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program and close off all paths to a bomb should it decide to build an arsenal (which it has not) may well succeed within a matter of weeks. It’s too soon to tell whether the NPT flap will affect the Iran talks, but it seems like it was an unnecessary risk and complication. After all, what was at issue was picking up a ball that was dropped previously but that had consensus support coming out of the 2010 RevCon. Would it have been so hard to agree to convene the confab later this year, perhaps capitalizing on the momentum of a possible agreement with Iran? Nobody expects Israel (or the U.S. for that matter) to give up its nukes immediately, but neither is its regional nuclear monopoly sustainable. Without a WMD Free Zone, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Turkey or others might pursue the Bomb, or at least be sorely tempted to do so. Also, ISIS has made public its desire to acquire the Bomb. Shouldn’t that focus attention on the gravity of this matter?

For Peace Action’s part, we continue to support any and all proposals for global elimination of nuclear arms, regardless of the mechanism or forum (a treaty could be written on the back of a cocktail napkin for all we care!). We were proud to be a leader in convening the Peace and Planet mobilization prior to the NPT RevCon, and look forward to continuing to build the movement for nuclear abolition as part of a broader effort to create peace, social, economic, racial and environmental justice.

For more views on the failure of the NPT RevCon and the hypocrisy of the nuclear states, see our colleague Joseph Gerson’s op-ed on truthout, an article by IPS News (also re-published by Common Dreams), and a piece on Pressenza by Tony Robinson.

 


Video of Move the Money training session in New Hampshire

May 27, 2015

Peace Action Education Fund’s Move the Money training program, in conjunction with our friends at National Priorities Project and funded by the Colombe Foundation, is in its third year of training local activists on the Pentagon budget and how to build powerful coalitions to impact federal spending priorities — to move the money from weapons and wars to community needs.

New Hampshire Peace Action hosted this training, and Peace Actionistas from Massachusetts and Maine also attended. Peace Action Maine’s Martha Spiess did a great job filming the session, check it out!


Peace and Planet Statement to delegations to the NPT Review Conference

May 19, 2015

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The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) is scheduled to adjourn at the end of this week. There are serious questions about what, if anything, the conference will commit to in terms of concrete next steps toward global nuclear weapons abolition, as the treaty requires.

Here is a statement to the governmental delegates to the Rev Con from Peace and Planet, the terrific mobilization Peace Action helped lead just before the RevCon convened, and Global Wave.

Dear Ambassador [name],

With less than one week to go in the month-long deliberations of governments at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York, Global Wave 2015 and Peace and Planet call on non-nuclear governments to stay strong on the nuclear disarmament language in the draft outcome document.

You have overwhelming support for this from civil society around the world – as was demonstrated by the Peace and Planet rally and conference in New York, the 7 million strong petition we presented to the President of the NPT Review Conference, and the Global Wave actions which took all around the world including in all of the nuclear-weapon States and many of the nuclear umbrella States. See Peace and Planet presentation to the NPT Review Conference, May 1, 2015.

As you know, the NPT 2015 draft disarmament section has some important language calling on nuclear weapon States to take immediate steps to reduce nuclear stockpiles (operative para 5), end modernisation of nuclear weapons (op 6), reducing or eliminating the role of nuclear weapons (op 7), and remove of all nuclear weapons from high alert levels (op 9). The draft also calls on States to engage in an inclusive process within the United Nations to explore and develop the legal framework to achieve and maintain a nuclear weapon free world.

This language is already a compromise from the civil society call for States Parties to the NPT to agree to commence negotiations for the prohibition and complete elimination of nuclear weapons, supported by over 350 organisations in 45 countries. We hope that the draft does not get watered down any further, and that our global actions can help non-nuclear governments like yours to remain strong.

We also support the Mayors for Peace appeal to reinstate language calling on world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to learn first-hand about the devastating humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons.

Last Friday, Global Wave 2015 and the Peace and Planet organised a presentation at the United Nations to promote our nuclear abolition call to the NPT. At the event we showed videos and photos from Global Wave actions around the world.

In addition, during the opening days of the NPT conference we tweeted photos and videos of Global Wave actions from specific countries as the foreign ministers and other representatives of those countries spoke, demonstrating public opinion from their countries in favour of nuclear abolition.

There have been many other events and actions in support.

UNFOLD ZERO, a partner campaign to Peace and Planet, held a side-event last Thursday, outlining the ways in which the abolition of nuclear weapons can be, and is being, facilitated and supported through various UN bodies and initiatives. These include promotion of a nuclear weapons convention by the UN General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General, putting legal pressure on the nuclear weapon States through the International Court of Justice, hosting deliberations and negotiations through a UN General Assembly process, deciding to hold a high-level conference on nuclear disarmament (similar to a UN Summit), criminalising nuclear weapons through the International Criminal Court, and building public engagement and support through the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

All of the above gives support to the language in the NPT draft outcome document on using the United Nations system and other approaches to ensure the participation of all key countries (including nuclear-armed States) in a nuclear abolition process.

Global Wave and Peace and Planet will continue to be active beyond the 2015 NPT Review Conference to build civil society action for a nuclear-weapon-free world. We look forward to cooperation to facilitate this goal.

Yours sincerely

Alyn Ware

Rimma Velikanova

Global Wave Joint Coordinators

 

Jackie Cabasso

Joseph Gerson

Kevin Martin

Peace and Planet Joint Coordinators

 

 

http://www.peaceandplanet.org

http://www.globalwave2015.org


Your Priorities, Not War

May 12, 2015

by Paul Kawika Martin

It’s that time of year when Congress figures out the federal budget for next year. The House will take up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. Despite the Republican stranglehold in the House they may allow a few amendments to be voted on where we can make a difference.

Please call your Representative now at 202-224-3121 and ask them to support amendments to the NDAA that cut Pentagon spending and cut the OCO slush fund.

You’ve heard us talk about the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. It is supposed to be used to fund the U.S. wars abroad that we oppose. The Republicans and, to a lesser extent, the Obama administration has been using it as a slush fund to cover costs for programs the Pentagon would otherwise be forced to cut. Indeed, the Republicans almost doubled the account to nearly $100 billion at a time when the war in Afghanistan is supposed to be winding down.

This week, Congress may vote on amendments to slash the OCO, make the slush fund more transparent, or both. Additionally, House amendments might address various Pentagon boondoggles like the wasteful F-35 and unneeded nuclear weapons.

This is not how we want our hard earned tax dollars spent. Pick up your phone now and call your Representative, 202-224-3121, and tell them to slash the OCO slush fund and cut Pentagon pork like the F-35 and nuclear weapons.


Iran: Our Hard Work Pays Off

May 12, 2015

With a little over a month to go before negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) are concluded, everything is proceeding as planned. The technical details are being worked out in Vienna with no obvious hurdles in evidence at this writing. The deadline for presenting a final document, expected to be several hundred pages long, is June 30, 2015.

Meanwhile, the Corker Bill, which we have been opposing, has passed the Senate, but it’s been watered down and has yet to pass the House. Just last week, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and David Price (D-NC) sent a letter, signed by 151 Representatives, to President Obama praising the work of his administration to finalize an agreement that verifiably ensures Iran will refrain from developing nuclear weapons. The letter demonstrates strong support for the agreement in the House, sufficient to sustain a presidential veto on any effort by congressional opponents of the deal should they attempt to torpedo an agreement this summer.

Peace Action affiliates across the nation generated calls, letters and emails to Representatives urging them to sign on to the letter and will continue to pressure Congress until a final agreement is reached and implemented. Thanks to all our members and our allies for all your hard work.


Liquid Blue

May 12, 2015

Carrying the banner of tolerance and understanding, Liquid Blue revisits classic peace songs on their latest album, Peace Anthems, and is sharing 25% of proceeds with Peace Action!  Thanks Liquid Blue!

Liquid Blue, indie pop rock band formed in San Diego, has performed in more than 500 cities in 100 countries on six continents and has been recognized as “the world’s most traveled band”.  They are more popular in parts of Asia and Europe than in their home country (USA).

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Hear Liquid Blue perform Earth Passport

Hear Liquid Blue perform Imagine


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