Peace Action Statement on US Helicopter Crash at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan

August 12, 2015

Okinawa, Japan — August 12, 2015 — Hours after Paul Kawika Martin, the policy and political director of the United State’s largest peace organization, Peace Action, addressed protesters in front of Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan a U.S. helicopter crashed in the ocean near the base. He is available for phone, in-person or Skype interviews in Okinawa and released the following statement from in front of the base:

“I am glad that all 17 crew were rescued from the helicopter crash at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan. I hope that all physical and mental injuries heal quickly.

This accident happens one day before the 11th anniversary of another U.S. helicopter crash that occurred at the Okinawa International University. Accidents such as these occur regularly and the consequences could be much worse with residential communities extremely close to U.S. bases in Okinawa.

This is why nearly 80% of Okinawans oppose U.S. bases. Peace Action supports Okinawans in their request that the U.S. military leave the island. U.S. bases take up nearly a fifth of the island, which is larger than the U.S Virgin Islands. Despite their opposition, Okinawans are forced to pay through their tax dollars subsidies to the U.S. government to help cover costs of the bases while they suffer noise pollution, contaminated lands, chemical spill and aircraft accident risk and possible loss of income from tourism.

Though the U.S. is taking a small step by planning to move some troops to Guam, they plan on expanding the base in Henoko by filling in delicate, ocean reef environments to build two large runways. It is time that the U.S. listen to local Okinawans and relocate all U.S. military bases to Hawaii and other alternate locations where similar training can occur.”


Action Alert: Show up for peace with Iran at Congressional Town Hall Meetings this month!

August 11, 2015

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Our August campaign to build support for the peace deal with Iran is off to a great start.  Yesterday at the Manhattan office of New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Peace Action of New York State led a demonstration that attracted close to 500 people, sending Sen. Schumer a powerful message of outrage against his decision to oppose the deal that would block Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon.

This is just the beginning.  Teaming up with MoveOn.org (which provided a great assist at the Schumer protest) and several other major peace and justice groups, we now have a website 60daystostopawar.com which details where Town Hall meetings will be taking place over the August Congressional recess so constituents can rally in support of this historic peace agreement.

There are town halls TODAY in Brooklyn with Rep. Jefferies (that one sponsored by AIPAC and other “pro-Israel groups, but it is open to the public and there will be at least one pro-peace expert speaker), Morgantown, West Virginia (Sen. Manchin) and Dallas (Rep. Veazey), as well as others later this week and throughout the month, so please check out the website now!

Please plan to show up for peace, and invite friends, neighbors, family to join you! Also please help promote this website via your social media networks and channels.

Where Town Hall meetings have taken place, Peace Action chapters are reporting in with news that support for the deal is overwhelming opposition.  We know we can’t outspend the War Party, determined as they are to torpedo the agreement, but we can out organize them.   And we will!

So far our combined efforts have generated and turned in over 244,000 petition signatures and 45,000 phone calls to Congressional offices supported the Iran peace deal, and that effort continues. But there’s no substitute for showing up and letting lawmakers and your fellow constituents we want more peace, not more war, in the Middle East.

Polls continue to show strong majority support for the Iran peace deal despite the multi-million dollar media barrage against it.

We can win this.  We can beat the War Party.  Let’s make some noise!

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

 


Peace Action Statement from Hiroshima-On 70th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan

August 5, 2015

IMG_0609Hiroshima, Japan — August 5, 2015 — On the 70th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings (August 6th and 9th), Paul Kawika Martin, the policy and political director of the United State’s largest peace organization, Peace Action, released the following statement from the official commemoration in Hiroshima.

“Here in Hiroshima, on the 70th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of this city and Nagasaki, we remember the hundreds of thousands of casualties caused by the most basic of nuclear weapon designs and know that we never want another populous to suffer from such a bomb. Even worse, today’s nuclear weapons are several to hundreds of times more destructive.

Clearly, these horrific weapons are no asset to any country. The current U.S. plan to waste $1 trillion over the next thirty years modernizing, maintaining and replacing delivery systems must be stopped.

President Obama should heed his Prague speech and live up to U.S. obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) by significantly reducing America’s 7,100 nuclear warheads.

Additionally, the agreement reached with Iran will verifiably block it from getting a nuclear weapon, making it paramount that the U.S. Congress support the accord.”

This is Mr. Martin’s fourth trip to Japan as a guest of one of the largest peace groups, Ginsuikin. He will also travel to Nagasaki for the commemoration there and to Okinawa to work with the super majority of locals who oppose the U.S. military bases there.

Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace-Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika


Peace Actionistas in the press in support of the Iran peace deal

July 31, 2015

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Besides pressuring Congress, getting our voices for peace into the media is one of the most important things we can do to support the Iran nuclear deal. Please check out these media hits, and like/promote/circulate as you see fit.

Jon Rainwater, Peace Action West Executive Director in Huffington Post — Huckabee, Trump, Netanyahu and the politics of provocation

Michael Carrigan of our associate organization Community Alliance of Lane County (Eugene, Oregon) in the Register-Guard — If Congress rejects Iran deal, we lose our chance for peace

Peace Action National Board of Directors member Carol Kiger Allen in the Trenton, NJ Times (second letter down) — Thoughts on nuclear deal with Iran

Peace Action National Board of Directors member Professor Lawrence Wittner in the Albany Times-Union — Iran deal cause for celebration

Lastly, not published except on this blog, national board member Lauri Kallio from Albuquerque, NM:

In the July 18 Albuquerque Journal, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer attacked the deal, devoting special attention to the conventional arms and ballistic missiles embargoes; in addition, Krauthammer contended that undeclared sites could not be inspected. I wrote a letter to the Journal in which I pointed out that without the embargoes, other nations, particularly China and Russia, could be selling conventional arms and ballistic missile components to Iran today.
In regard to inspections, the agreement allows international inspectors to inspect declared sites for periods ranging from fifteen to twenty-five years, depending on the type of activity involved. For undeclared sites, Iran will have about two weeks to consider a request for inspections. If Iran refuses to allow an inspection, a joint commission will have a period of time to mandate an inspection. The provision is tailored so that three of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the U.S., Great Britain and France, for example — can issue a binding decision to inspect. Even if China, Russia and Iran acted in concert to block the inspection, they could not prevail.
Lastly, I wrote that Krauthammer had not presented a viable alternative. Renegotiation would almost certainly be a non-starter, because even our partners would not be with us, and Iran would not agree to grant any more concessions than those already made. Harsher sanctions would more deeply impoverish the great mass of the seventy million Iranian people.
The only remaining alternative would be military action. The United States does not need another Middle Eastern war; also, because President Barack Obama made the unwise vow that if Iran crosses an unspecified red line, the U.S. will take military action, with the use of nuclear weapons not ruled out, great damage, not confined to Iran, would be the result. A computer simulation concluded that if nuclear weapons are used to try to destroy Iran’s deeply buried nuclear facilities, as many as three million people could be killed due to blast effects and radioactive fallout.
FROM THE INCONGRUITY DEPARTMENT: 1.) It is incongruous for nations that supply nations around the world with conventional weapons to try to prevent Iran from getting any; 2.) It is incongruous that nations with a a collective 16,000+ nuclear warheads (according to the PCU Nagasaki Council for Nuclear Weapons Abolition) should be trying to prevent Iran from getting even one; and 3.) It is incongruous that the U.S. and other allies who engage in the foreign policy fiction that Israel does not have a nuclear weapons arsenal, would try to move heaven and earth to prevent Iran from developing even one warhead for ever and ever.

 

 

 


Iran Deal – Keep Dialing for Peace! Congress Needs to Hear from You!

July 27, 2015

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About two weeks ago we celebrated the historic deal with Iran we all worked on over the last decade.  As you know, the agreement would make it impossible for Iran to build a crude nuclear weapon for at least 15 years with intrusive inspections and monitoring to last indefinitely.  Once Iran complies with blocking the pathways to a nuclear weapon, sanctions will be lifted.

Despite overwhelming support by nonproliferation experts, former diplomats and others, Republican mega-donor, Sheldon Adelson, who just last year said the U.S. should use a nuclear weapon on Iran, and his friends are pouring tens of millions of dollars to kill this important accord.  Some of this money is being used to do paid “patch through” calls that use scary rhetoric and automatically connect people to congressional offices.  While the quality of these calls are low (uninformed callers who aren’t constituents), several congressional allies tell me that they are getting more calls against the deal.

This is where you come in, Congress has until early fall to vote on the agreement.  We need to keep positive calls, ringing in Congress every week until the votes.  Will you make three call a week for peace?

Call Congress!  (855) 68 NO WAR (686-6927 toll free)  First, ask for each of your Senators, when finished call your Representative and say:

I am calling to ask that my Senator/Representative publicly support the historic Iran agreement and vote to support the deal.  My name is XXX and I live in CITY AND ZIP CODE.

Then, forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.

You can reach most offices from 9 AM – 6 PM Eastern M-F.  Outside those hours, some offices allow you to leave messages or you can try local offices.

Please take a moment to make a few calls and forward this email.  Do it now.

With your help, we pressured the Bush and Obama administration to use diplomacy instead of war to solve conflict with Iran.  With your help, we created the political space that allowed the international community to reach this diplomatic agreement with Iran.  Now, with your help, we will make sure that Congress doesn’t scuttle the peace by voting against the deal.

Will you please take the above actions today?

Thank you for your efforts to finalize a victory and further steps for peace in the Middle East.

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Political Director
Peace Action


Peace Action Iran article on MSNBC.com, please help promote!

July 17, 2015
Paul Kawika Martin at a pro-democracy rally in front of the Iranian interests section in Washington, DC attended by nearly 1,000 Iranians

Paul Kawika Martin at a pro-democracy rally in 2009 in front of the Iranian interests section in Washington, DC attended by nearly 1,000 Iranians

Our Policy Director, Paul Kawika Martin, had this op-ed published by MSNBC (they gave it a less than great headline though). Please help promote the article by:

  1. Retweeting: https://twitter.com/PaulKawika/status/621810654962434049
  1.  Sharing: https://www.facebook.com/paulkawika
  1. Liking by going to the article and clicking the up arrow: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/the-iran-deal-isnt-perfect-its-better-another-war
  1.  Making positive comments.  Go to the article and comment.

 The Iran deal isn’t perfect. But it’s better than another war.

Now that the United States, other world powers and Iran have reached a final agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, the action on this historic chance for peace turns to Congress.

The legislative branch, authorized by President Obama to approve the Iran deal, now has great power and responsibility: They can either reject the accord, potentially killing diplomacy and putting the United States on a path to war, or allow the president to implement the deal and solidify American goals of blocking all of Iran’s paths to building a nuclear weapon and making the U.S., its allies, and the Middle East more secure.

RELATED: Obama: Without Iran deal, we risk more war

As Congress debates the merits of the final nuclear agreement, it would be wise to listen to the nuclear and non-proliferation experts who say this agreement will move Iran’s breakout time – the time to produce enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon – from the current three months to one year or more. They also point out that the agreement provides unprecedented inspections, monitoring and verification regimes, which would catch Iran if it cheated and “snap back” sanctions in short order.

Some lawmakers claim that the U.S. can get a “better deal.” But experts say there is no such thing.

Why? A better deal would require more pressure on Iran in the form of more sanctions, which have only worked when the entire international community participates. If the U.S. backs out of the deal, our partners aren’t likely to join us in the re-imposition of sanctions after they all just agreed to the deal on the table. Remember, it wasn’t just the Americans and the Iranians negotiating over the past decade and with great intensity the last few years: The British, French, Chinese, Russians and Germans all okayed this agreement, too. As Nicholas Burns, a former top U.S. negotiator with Iran, points out, the global sanctions regime would collapse if the U.S. walks away now from this international agreement.

The other alternative, military intervention, wouldn’t work and would be extraordinarily costly in blood and treasure. Military experts agree that even a highly successful war with Iran may only set its nuclear program back a few years and it wouldn’t destroy the country’s technological know-how. Intervention could also force Iran to do everything possible to obtain a nuclear weapon.

It’s very difficult to estimate long-term costs of wars. You must calculate long-term health care, interest on debt, opportunity costs, loss of productivity and other difficult variables. Nobel Prize-winning economists estimate the total costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars will run between $4-$6 trillion – nearly enough to fund the U.S government for two years. Now consider that Iran is nearly three times as populous as Iraq, four times larger geographically, and spends $8-$14 billion annually on its military compared to the few billion Iraq spent when the U.S. invaded in 2002.

RELATED: On Iran, no need to speculate about the alternative. We’ve already lived it.

Other experts posit that for just the first three months, targeted strikes on Iran’s nuclear program would cost nearly a trillion dollars, with expanded bombings of some military sites increasing the bill by several hundred billion and a full-scale invasion nearing a whopping $2 trillion.

Again, a war with Iran would likely have unpredictable consequences. Would a military intervention spark a larger war in the Middle East with Shiite militias attacking American assets in Iraq, Yemen and other countries? Iran has been linked to acts of terrorism from bombings to assassinations. If the U.S. or Israel attacked Iran, they could certainly use such tactics on American targets abroad and perhaps here at home. Iran’s naval capacity and anti-ship missiles could attack U.S. assets or start a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz, where 20% of the world’s oil passes, creating a spike in oil prices that would have a deleterious affect on the entire world economy.

The most important cost to consider is human. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have caused nearly 7,000 U.S. deaths, left well over 50,000 Americans physically wounded, countless mentally and emotionally scarred and, some claim, over one million civilian casualties. It would be difficult to predict the causalities from a war with Iran, but with the likely outcome not solving the problem, it’s clearly not worth the human or financial costs.

The international agreement with Iran keeps it from a nuclear weapon for a decade at least. There is no better agreement to be reached. The alternatives would fail and their price is unacceptably high. While it’s not a perfect path, it is the only path Congress should support publicly and vote to approve. I am contacting both my Senators and my Representative to tell them just that. I hope you’ll join me.

Paul Kawika Martin is the political and policy director of Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. He can be reached on Twitter @PaulKawika.


Tell Congress to Give Diplomacy, and Peace, a Chance!

July 16, 2015

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Dear Kevin,

The ink had hardly dried on peace deal with Iran when opponents launched a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat the deal.  Make no mistake, Peace Action and our allies will need to go all out to insure we have the votes to sustain a presidential veto. I am forwarding Kevin’s alert from earlier this week and asking you to sign our petition and call your Senators and representative today at (855) 686-6927 (toll free)

So far, our coalition has collected over 100,000 signatures and generated over 13,400 calls to Congress.  Help protect this historic agreement.

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin

Begin Forwarded Message:

Dear Kevin,

You made history!

The peace deal reached this morning with Iran thwarting any nuclear weapon production is one of the most important diplomatic accomplishments of the century so far. It demonstrates that intelligence, patience, creativity and an openness to conflict resolution can prevent war.

Illustrating that, the history books, as usual, will be full of photographs of a handful of people, around a table.

But we know that thousands of our members and like-minded folks protected the talks by speaking up for diplomacy. Without you, attacks by the Iran hawks could easily have derailed diplomacy.  Peace Action was one of the first organizations to work on this issue by organizing a high-level meeting of NGO leaders over eight years ago.

Now we all need to make one final push to ensure that the peace deal makes it across the finish line.  Congress is likely to vote to approve or disapprove the deal in the next 60 days   Please take three simple actions now:

1.  Please sign this coalition petition to stop Congress from killing the agreement. 

2.  Call Congress!  (855) 68 NO WAR (66 927 toll free)  First, ask for each of your Senators, when finished call your Representative and say:

I am calling to ask that my Senator/Representative publicly support the announced Iran agreement and vote to support the deal.

3.  Forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.

Because we know that an epic battle is about to begin in Congress we’ve teamed up with 18 other progressive groups to send a strong message to Congress: don’t take us to war by destroying this peace deal.

Please take a moment to do as many of the three actions as you can above.  Do it now.

We know that many in the Republican party will do anything they can to deny the president a major foreign policy victory.  At the same time many Democrats have historically voted a very hawkish line on Iran.

This campaign brings together progressive groups to push the swing Democrats back to diplomacy.

The petition’s ask is simple but its political message is clear. It reads:

“Republicans are trying to take us to war by sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal. I urge you to support the deal and stop the Republicans from starting another war of choice in the Middle East.”

Can you please take the above actions today?

Thank you for your help during this historic moment,

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. -You’ve heard about the monumental agreement reached with Iran this morning on its nuclear program. A deal which you helped to bring about.  Now do as many of these three things that you can to seal the deal:

1.  Please sign this coalition petition to stop Congress from killing the agreement.

2.  Call Congress!  (855) 68 NO WAR (66 927 toll free)  First, ask for each of your Senators, when finished call your Representative and say:

I am calling to ask my Senator/Representative to publicly support the announced Iran agreement and vote to support the deal.

3.  Forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.

Take Action:

Tell Congress: Support the Historic Iran Deal!
Sign The Petition
Make Calls (855) 68 NO WAR (66 927 toll free)

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