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October-December 2011
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Newsletter #45
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Dear Friends and Supporters of Article 9,  


Season's Greetings!


We are pleased to send you some information about the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War's recent activities and related developments.



By David Krieger *   


This article was originally published on November 23, 2011 by Truthout.


Occupy Peace - Stop Wars. Make Jobs The Occupy Movement is demonstrating its durability and perseverance. Like a Japanese Daruma doll, each time it is knocked off balance it serenely pops back up. The movement has been seeking justice for the 99 percent, and justice is an essential element of peace.

For decades, our country has been in permanent preparation for war, spending over half of the total annual discretionary funds that Congress allocates on "defense," our euphemism for war. World military expenditures exceed $1.5 trillion annually, and the US spends more than half of this amount, more than the rest of the world combined.

The US has been engaged in wars around the globe from Korea to Vietnam to El Salvador to Nicaragua to Serbia to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya. In all of these wars, many in the one percent reap financial gains. Many large corporations, such as Halliburton, formerly led by Dick Cheney, are the beneficiaries of lucrative government contracts that support war, while it is mainly the poor who are enlisted to fight, kill and die in our wars. War is a surefire way of transferring wealth up the social ladder.

It is time to wake up to being used as tools in warfare while others profit. War is not an effective or reasonable way to settle disputes. It uses up resources and destroys human lives. In war, people are expendable. Civilians all too easily become "collateral damage." In the Nuclear Age, civilization itself could become collateral damage.

As President Eisenhower pointed out in 1953, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." How little our politicians have responded to the deep concern of this former military leader.

War is costly not only in dollars, but on our national psyche. We slaughtered innocent men, women and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and then celebrated our prowess. We went to war in Vietnam based on lies, killing millions of Vietnamese and dropping Napalm and Agent Orange on them, while they struggled for their freedom and independence. Ultimately, after the death of more than 58,000 Americans, we withdrew in defeat, declaring victory. We seemingly learned little that is meaningful from the experience, as we continue to send our soldiers to fight and die in far-off lands, and still based on lies. Enough is enough.

How do we occupy peace? First, we change our modes of thinking and stop basing our self-worth as a nation on our military prowess. Second, we bring our troops home from exploitative foreign wars. Third, we seek peaceful solutions to conflicts. Fourth, we make our priority justice, and peace will follow. Fifth, we work to end deaths due to starvation and preventable diseases rather than inflicting deaths by high altitude bombing and drone attacks. Sixth, we take the lead in abolishing nuclear weapons so no other cities or countries will suffer the fate of the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seventh, we reallocate our resources to health, education and ending poverty rather than continuing to gorge the military beast until it is too fat to move.

War is a place of fear and fear is a place of borders. Fear requires us to dehumanize our enemies and, in the process, to dehumanize ourselves. Borders should not provide a justification for dehumanization. That is a trick of militarists, who are in need of enemies, real or imagined, to make the war system work for them. But there is another way to deal with enemies, and that is to turn them into friends by our actions.

We need to stop fearing each other and treat each other with kindness. Consideration for the 99 percent does not stop at a country's border. We are all humans together and we need each other to be fully human. We need to embrace our common humanity. In the Nuclear Age, war is far too dangerous, having the potential to end civilization and most life on the planet. Peace is an imperative. We need to find a way to occupy peace, which begins in our hearts and must expand to encompass the world.  


* David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.  


Picture credit: cisc1970 



On November 13, 2011, Costa Rican Attorney at Law and peace activist Roberto Zamora filed a legal complaint against the Costa Rican government's decision to resume sending police to receive training at the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) in Georgia, USA.

In a lawsuit before the Supreme Court, Zamora challenges the government for failing to comply with a declaration made in 2007 by then Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias, in which he announced his country would stop sending police forces to the SOA/WHINSEC in light of the well-known SOA's human rights violations record.

The case argues that under international law, the 2007 presidential declaration constitutes a unilateral obligation that is binding for the Government of Costa Rica, and thus makes the the sending of police forces to SOA unconstitutional.

In March 2011, Wikileaks revealed that Security Minister Fernando Berrocal and then President Oscar Arias bent to the pressure brought to bear by the US Embassy in San Jose, and agreed to renew the sending of police forces to the SOA.

According to the cable, Ministry Berrocal established a system by which he requested Arias to revoke his decision and grant permission to resume sending police forces to SAO/WHINSEC but Arias deliberately did not reply. Interpreting Arias' silence as a tacit approval under the "positive silence" rules, Berrocal proceeded in a way that protected the image of Nobel Peace Laureate Arias, as he did not have to make a public announcement. Zamora, however, claims that such action is not only fraudulent (a written and explicit authorization is requested to overturn a legally binding decision by the state), but also both contrary to the law and contrary to the binding principle of good faith.

The lawyer also argues that any relation to a school like SOA/WHINSEC, which trains people in tactics contrary to peace, democracy and human rights, is incompatible with Costa Rica's constitutional frameworks. Furthermore, sending police to a school that belongs to the US military is in violation of Article 12 of the Costa Rican constitution which abolishes the army and establishes a civil conservation of public order and security, and "as such, it must be declared unconstitutional", claims the case.

Zamora is known for his legal achievements towards upholding Costa Rica's peace constitution. In 2004 he was instrumental in the Costa Rican Supreme Court's decision to invalidate the country's joining of the "Coalition of the willing" in the invasion of Iraq, and to declare that based on the Right to Peace and International Law, Costa Rica could not support wars in any ways. In 2008 he also successfully brought the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional the fabrication of weapons of war in Costa Rica, including uranium weapons, and to recognize the existence of the right to peace. He recently challenged the legality of CAFTA's weapons provision, disputed the Congress' authority to allow foreign troops to patrol Costa Rican waters, and brought the Administrative Law Court of Costa Rica to nullify a decree authorizing the country's police to use military weapons.

Read the full unconstitutionality action against the decision to resume sending police to the School of the Americas (WHINSEC) in Fort Benning, Georgia, USA here.

To read more about the campaign to close the US Army School of the Americas, visit SOA Watch here

For more information about Roberto Zamora's work to defend the Costa Rican Peace Constitution, visit his website, Peace as a Human Right here.  




Japanese Committee for the Human Right to PeaceFrom December 2-10, 2011, the Japanese Committee for the Human Right to Peace held a series of symposiums in Nagoya, Osaka, Okinawa and Tokyo, in coordination with the Spanish Society for the International Human Rights Law/International Observatory on the Human Right to Peace and the sponsorship of many Japanese civil society organizations, including inter alia the Global Article 9 Campaign.

This series of symposiums provided an overview of the work of the Global Campaign on the Human Right to Peace and reviewed the status of the official codification process carried out at the United Nations. It also looked at the Japanese contribution to the Human Right to Peace, notably at the pioneering role played by Japan's constitution's preamble and Article 9 in recognizing the right to live in peace - a right that has been built upon by national courts over the years - as well as at the crucial contribution of Japanese civil society in promoting the right to peace.

On December 3, 68 representatives from the academic field, human rights experts, lawyers and peace activists came together for a symposium in Nagoya in which they adopted the Nagoya Declaration on the Human Right to Peace by acclamation. A few days later, on December 10, on the day of the International Day of Human Rights, another civil society symposium was held in Tokyo, with the participation of close to 100 Japanese civil society representatives, during which they passed the Tokyo Declaration on the Human Right to Peace, which summarizes Japanese civil society's main aspirations in this area.

Both documents call for "human right to peace [to] be considered by the international community as an integral part of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women and men". Further, they insist "the rights to human security and to disarmament are essential components of the human right to peace" and promote a disarmament for development approach, by which "all peoples and individuals have the right to have the resources freed by disarmament allocated to the economic, social and cultural development of peoples and to the fair redistribution of natural wealth, responding especially to the needs of the poorest countries and of the groups in situations of vulnerability, aiming to put an end to inequalities, social exclusion and extreme poverty."

Likewise, the symposiums held in Osaka and in Okinawa (on December 5 and 7 respectively) highlighted the negative effect of excessive armament and military expenditure on sustainable development, and called on the international community to devote part of the resources freed by disarmament and arms control measures to economic and social development with a view to meeting the Millennium Development Goals. In the context of Okinawa, there was a call that States should undertake coordinated measures to progressively phase out their foreign military bases.

In terms of strategy of the campaign for the codification of the human right to peace, the Spanish speakers encouraged the Japanese participants and activists to continue putting pressure on their government to support the Human Right to Peace at the United Nations. Recalling the fact that the Spanish government was originally not supporting the human right to peace either, they evoked the positive role played by the Spanish civil society movement in convincing their government to change position. Such work by Japanese civil society movement certainly plays an important role on the debate related to Article 9 of Japan's Constitution, and eventually will in term of the Human Right to Peace.

For more information about "the Symposiums on the human right to peace: the Japanese contribution", visit SSIHRL's website here.

Read the Nagoya Declaration on the Human Right to Peace here and the Tokyo Declaration on the Human Right to Peace here.


Peace in Asia Pacific Conference (Oct. 2011) On October 21-22, the "Peace in Asia and the Pacific Conference - Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization" was held at the American University in Washington, DC.

Initiated by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the event was a response to the perception that the US peace movement needed to understand the increasing and increasingly dangerous militarization of the Asia, at a time when the Pentagon has undergone a shift in focus in its military planning and spending towards the Asia-Pacific region and is keen to increase its presence and reassert its role as a Pacific power.

Indeed, with US operations in Afghanistan drawing down and troops leaving Iraq, the US Department of Defense has made its intention clear that it intend to strengthen the US military relationships in Asia-Pacific and reposition its forces in the region. "The United States views the Asia-Pacific region as a top priority," recently stated Pentagon Press Secretary George Little.

With the participation of organizations such as Peace Action, United for Justice and Peace, American University's Nuclear Studies Institute, Historians Against the War, the Koran Policy Institute, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Network to Close U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa, and Nodutol, the conference not only discussed Asia-Pacific security issues, but also presented a variety of ongoing campaigns challenging Asia-Pacific militarization and working to create a more peaceful and secure region.

Panelists and participants included engaged scholars and activists from the US, China, South Korea, the Philippines, Japan who addressed issues, such as past and present US foreign and military policies toward Asia Pacific, US-Chinese relations, the evolving role of Chinese diplomacy, the Korean crisis and the Six Party Talks, the US-Japan military alliance and Article 9 of Japan's Constitution, the impact of these issues on peace and stability in the region, and more.

Special attention was given, through workshops, on ongoing campaigns such as Cutting military spending to meet human needs and Campaigning Against Military Bases (which featured the ongoing struggles in Jeju Island and Okinawa), as well as for Nuclear Weapons Abolition.

Participants described the conference as "eye-opening", "engaging" and making participants "want to learn more..."

For more information about the Peace in Asia and the Pacific Conference - Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization, including the participants' list, speeches and presentations, and a conference report, visit AFSC's website here.  




Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free WorldFollowing after the large-scale Global Article 9 Conference, Peace Boat, along with a coalition of Japanese NGOs, is organizing the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World, which will be held in Yokohama, Japan on January 14-15, 2012.

Breaking away from the "safety myth" put forward by the establishment for decades, the tragic human and environmental impact of Fukushima has demonstrated - once again - the risks and dangers of nuclear technology. Indeed, although eight months have passed since the earthquake, tsunami and accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant of March 11, 2011, the situation remains unstable and people including children continue to be exposed to radiation.

Today, well over half the Japanese population supports the goal of breaking away from nuclear power. At the global level, the movement to end nuclear power is growing rapidly, with inspiring precedents taking place in parts of Europe.

In this context, Peace Boat, in partnership with Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, Friends of the Earth Japan, Green Action, Greenpeace Japan, and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, is organizing this international conference to learn lessons from Fukushima, draw attention on the human and environmental consequences and dangers posed by all steps of the nuclear chain, and call for a nuclear power free future.

The event will create a venue for people from all around the world to gather in Japan and respond to the reality of Fukushima. At the same time, it will bring together the voices of people who suffer from radiation exposure all around the world, whether by nuclear power or nuclear weapons - in other words, Global Hibakusha - and learn from each other's experiences, thus illustrating the human and environmental consequences of the nuclear chain.

Combining the experiences of countries around the world, the conference will also aim to demonstrate that it is realistically possible to create a society that is not dependent on nuclear power. Through learning from experiences from around the world, it will aim at creating a road map for the safe removal of existing nuclear power plants, and from there present alternative policies based on renewable energy and propose action plans that can be implemented by Japan and other countries.

The conference will be made up of a plenary session, as well as several main panels on themes such as protecting children from radiation, safe removal of existing nuclear power plants, alternative policies based on renewable energy, learning from the experience of countries around the world and recommendations for future Japanese policy. The event will also propose special sessions for local governments and for civil society; self-organized events; workshops for children; film screenings; information booths; film screenings and more. The conference is expected to attract a total number of participants of around 10,000 people.

Speakers and panelists will include victims of radiation exposure from all around the world, local and international experts, parliamentarians, activists, and medical professionals from over 20 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Tahiti, US and more.

The Organizing Committee invites you to support the conference in any of the following ways:

* Provide an individual or organisational message in support of the Conference here.
(View messages of support here. )
* Share information about the conference within your networks, social media etc
* Participate in the conference if possible and buy tickets here.
* Donate to support the organization of the conference here.

For more information about the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World, visit the official website here.

Download the program of the conference here.

View the list of participants here.

Visit the conference's Facebook page here and follow it on twitter here.

Thank you for your interest in and support for the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War.


The Article 9 Team

Newsletter Editor:
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat

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