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)

CONNECT TO US:

 Find us on Facebook
 Follow us on Twitter
 Read our blog
 Contact us

Join Peace Action at the US Social Forum in Philadelphia this Friday, June 26!

June 22, 2015

Geneseo chapter

Peace Actionistas from the national office and our Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania affiliates will give presentations and lead discussions on various peace and justice issues at three different sessions this Friday, June 26th at the US Social Forum at Temple University in Philadelphia.

1. Massachusetts Peace Action on a Foreign Policy for All, 8:30 to 10:00 am, Temple University Mitten Hall Room, 1801 N. Broad St.

2. Peace Action of New York State board chair Jim Anderson and Student Coordinator Natia Bueno, along with American Friends Service Committee’s Joseph Gerson and Sofia Wolman, Shattering Silos – Building Connections Between Peace and Disarmament, Social, Economic and Racial Justice and Climate Change Movements, 10:30AM-noon – Temple University Gittis Student Center – Room 217 A, 13th St. and Montgomery Ave. This workshop is a follow-up to our Peace and Planet organizing in New York in April and May.

3. No Wars, No Warming! Justice at Home, Peace Abroad! Explore Solutions for our Communities! Organized by Coalition for Peace Action’s Ed Aguilar and Alesha Vega along with colleague organizations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this Peoples Movement Assembly will explore a variety of peace and justice issues. National Executive Director Kevin Martin will speak at 4 pm on the prospective peace deal with Iran and prospects for a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Middle East, and Code Pink co-founder (and Peace Action Advisory Board member) Medea Benjamin will recount her recent trip to Korea as part of a women’s peace delegation. 1:00 – 5:30 pm (presented in four separate sessions, see previous link for details) Reel Cinema, ground floor, Temple University Gittis Student Center, 13th St. and Montgomery Ave.

Hope to see you there!


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.

 


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