From World Beyond War
A CALL TO CHANGE THE PUBLIC CONVERSATION
TEN URGENT STEPS FOR NUCLEAR ABOLITION
- Stop making new weapons!
- Institute a moratorium on any new weapons, laboratories, delivery systems!
- No refurbishing or “modernization” of old weapons! LET THEM RUST IN PEACE!
- Immediately separate all nuclear bombs from their missiles as China does.
- Take up repeated offers from Russia and China to negotiate treaties to ban space weapons and cyberwar and dismantle Trump’s Space Force.
- Reinstate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty.
- Remove U.S. missiles from Romania and Poland.
- Remove U.S. nuclear bombs from NATO bases in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and Turkey.
- Sign the new Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
- Take up past Russian offers to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals from what is now 13,000 bombs to 1,000 each, and call the other seven nations, with 1,000 nuclear bombs between them, to the table to negotiate for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons as required by the Nonproliferation Treaty of 1970.
Given the continued escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the past months, all concerned parties should implement the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in a more strict manner and return to peaceful negotiations, the People’s Daily said in an editorial published on Sunday.
The commentary came after Friday’s ministerial meeting on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula hosted by the UN Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York.
The latest developments on the peninsula highlighted an imperative need for all parties to intensify their efforts to bring stakeholders to dialogue table, added the commentary published under the pen name Zhong Sheng, which is often used to express the paper’s views on foreign policy.
It is reasonable for the DPRK to pursue its own security, but its nuclear and missile ambitions have put itself and the whole region into dire peril, stressed the article titled “Responsible actions are needed to ensure peace of Korean Peninsula”.
The country has been immersed itself into a strong sense of insecurity given historic reasons and reality, the paper added.
The DPRK must not be obsessed in a wrong path of repeated nuclear tests and missile launches that resulted in rounds of sanctions, the commentary said, calling on the country to respect and comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions.
The article pointed out that the Republic of Korea(ROK) and the US also added fuel to the escalated tensions since the two allies, who have been maintaining a high-handed pressure on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, revealed a strategic intention to crush the DPRK.
It is almost impossible to ease the crisis on the peninsula if the ROK and the US continue their fantasy to settle the problem with more military actions but turn a blind eye to reasonable appeals of the DPRK, the paper stressed.
China is not a directly-concerned party of the peninsula crisis, and it does not hold the key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula, the commentary admitted.
But it emphasized that no matter what happens, China will never waiver in its clear-cut position regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, which means it will stay committed to the goal of denuclearization as well as the path of dialogue and negotiation.
In the next step, the DPRK should refrain from further nuclear test or missile launches, the article urged, adding that the ROK and the US, for their part, also need to stop launching or expanding their military drills or deployment against the DPRK.
All stakeholders need to comprehensively understand and fully implement the DPRK-related resolutions adopted by the Security Council, the paper said. The international community needs to step up their anti-proliferation efforts against the DPRK action. Meanwhile,all parties also need to do more to persuade stakeholders back to peaceful dialogues, it added.
China will, with its utmost sincerity and efforts, safeguard the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and realize the goal to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula along with relevant parties, the paper vowed, stressing that though a peace lover, the country is fearless of any provocations or tests.
China has proposed the “dual-track approach” and “suspension for suspension” plan for peaceful settlement of the issue, in an attempt to help the parties breakout of the security dilemma and return to the negotiating table.
The objective, reasonable and feasible proposals, according to the editorial, not only conform to the requirements of the UN resolutions, but also meet the fundamental interest of all parties including the US and the DPRK.
Translated from Chinese, People’s Daily, April 2017.
In 2003 I had, along with some American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild, the good fortune to be able to travel to North Korea, that is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, in order to experience first hand that nation, its socialist system and its people.
The joint report issued on our return was titled “The Grand Deception Revealed.”  That title was chosen because we discovered that the negative western propaganda myth about North Korea is a grand deception designed to blind the peoples of the world to the accomplishments of the Korean people in the north who have successfully created their own circumstances, their own independent socio-economic system, based on socialist principles, free of the domination of the western powers.
At one of our first dinners in Pyongyang our host, Ri Myong Kuk, a lawyer, stated, on behalf of the government, and in passionate terms, that the DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent Force was necessary in light of US world actions and threats against the DPRK. He stated, and this was repeated to me in a high level meeting with DPRK government officials later on in the trip, that if the Americans would sign a peace treaty and non-aggression agreement with the DPRK, it would de-legitimize the American occupation and lead to reunification. Consequently there would be no need for nuclear weapons.
He stated sincerely that,
“It’s important that lawyers are gathering to talk about this as lawyers regulate the social interactions within society and within the world,”
and added just as sincerely that, “the path to peace requires an open heart.”
It appeared to us then and it is apparent now, in absolute contradiction to the claims of the western media, that the people of the DPRK want peace more than anything else so they can get on with their lives and endeavours without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation by the United States. But annihilation is what they in fact face and whose fault is that? Not theirs.
We were shown American documents captured in the Korean War that are compelling evidence that the US planned an attack on North Korea in 1950. The attack was carried out using American and south Korean forces with the assistance of Japanese Army officers who had invaded and occupied Korea decades before. The North Korean defence and counter-attack was then claimed by the US to be “aggression” which the United States manipulated in the media to get the UN to support a “police operation,” the euphemism they chose to use to carry on what was in fact their war of aggression against North Korea. Three years of war and 3.5 million Korean deaths followed and the US has threatened them with imminent war and annihilation ever since.
The UN vote in favour of a “police action” in 1950 was itself illegal since Russia was absent for the vote in the Security Council. The quorum required for the Security Council under its Rules of Procedure, is all member delegations so that all members must be present or a session cannot proceed. The Americans used a Russian boycott of the Security Council as their opportunity. The Russian boycott took place in defence of the position of the Peoples Republic of China that it should have the China seat at the Security Council table, not the defeated Kuomintang government. The Americans refused to do the right thing, so the Russians refused to sit at the table until the legitimate Chinese government could.
The Americans used this opportunity to carry out a type of coup in the UN, to take over its machinery for its own interests by arranging with the British, French and Kuomintang Chinese to back their actions in Korea by a vote in the absence of the Russians. The allies did as the Americans asked and voted for war with Korea, but the vote was invalid, and the “police action” was not a peace-keeping operation nor justified under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, since article 51states that all nations have the right of self defence against an armed attack, which is what the North Koreans faced and had reacted to. But the Americans have never cared much about legalities and they did not then for the American plan in its entirety was to conquer and occupy North Korea as a step towards the invasions of Manchuria and Siberia and the law was not going to get in their way.
Many in the west have little idea of the destruction carried out in Korea by the Americans and their allies; that Pyongyang was carpet bombed into oblivion, that civilians fleeing the carnage were strafed by American planes. The New York Times stated at the time that 17,000,000 pounds of napalm were used in Korea just in the first 20 months of the war. More bomb tonnage was dropped on Korea by the US than the US dropped on Japan in World War Two.
American forces hunted down and murdered not only communist party members but also their families. At Sinchon we saw the evidence that American soldiers forced 500 civilians into a ditch, doused them with gasoline and set them on fire. We stood in an air raid shelter with walls still blackened with the burnt flesh of 900 civilians, including women and children who had sought safety during an American attack. American soldiers were seen pouring gasoline down the air vents of the shelter and burning them all to death. This is the reality of the American occupation for Koreans. This is the reality they fear still and never want to repeat. Can we blame them?
But even with this history, Koreans are willing to open their hearts to former enemies. Major Kim Myong Hwan, who was then the main negotiator at Panmunjom on the DMZ line, told us that his dream was to be a writer, a poet, a journalist, but said in sombre tones, that he and his five brothers “walk the line” at the DMZ as soldiers because of what happened to his family. He said their struggle was not against the American people but their government. He was lonely for his family lost at Sinchon; his grandfather strung up a pole and tortured, his grandmother bayoneted in the stomach and left to die. He said,
“You see, we have to do it. We have to defend ourselves. We do not oppose the American people. We oppose the American policy of hostility and its efforts to exercise control over the whole world and inflict calamity on people.”
It was the opinion of the delegation that by maintaining instability in Asia, the U.S. can maintain a massive military presence and keep China at bay in its relations with South and North Korea and Japan and use it as a lever against China and Russia. With the continuing pressure within Japan to remove the U.S. bases in Okinawa, the Korean military operations and war exercises remain a central point of American efforts to dominate the region
The question is not whether the DPRK has nuclear weapons which it is legally entitled to have, but whether the United States, which has nuclear arms capability on the Korean peninsula, and which is now installing its THADD missile defence system there, a system that threatens the security of Russia and China, is willing to work with the North toward a peace treaty. We found North Koreans avid for peace and not attached to having nuclear weapons if peace can be established. But the American position remains as arrogant, aggressive threatening and dangerous as ever.
In this age of American “regime change,” “pre-emptive war” doctrines, and American efforts to develop low yield nuclear weapons as well as their abandonment and manipulation of international law it was not surprising that the DPRK plays the nuclear card. What choice do the Koreans have since United States threatens nuclear war on a daily basis and the two countries that logic dictates would support them against American aggression, Russia and China, join with the Americans in condemning the Koreans for arming themselves with the only weapon that can act as a deterrent against attack.
The reason for this is unclear since the Russians and Chinese have nuclear weapons and built them to act as a deterrent to an attack by the United States just as North Korea is doing. Some of their government statements indicate that they fear not being in control of the situation and that if North Korea’s acts of defence draw a US attack, they will be attacked as well. One can understand that anxiety. But it begs the question why they cannot support North Korea’s right to self-defence and put more pressure on the Americans to conclude a peace treaty, a non-aggression agreement, and to withdraw their nuclear and armed forces from the Korean peninsula. But the great tragedy is the clear inability of the American people to think for themselves, in the face of continual deceptions, and to demand that their leaders exhaust all avenues of dialogue and peacemaking before even contemplating aggression on the Korean Peninsula.
The fundamental foundation of North Korean policy is to achieve a non-aggression pact and peace treaty with the United States. The North Koreans repeatedly stated that they did not want to attack anyone, hurt anyone or be at war with anyone. But they have seen what has happened to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and countless other countries and they have no intention of having that happen to them. It is clear that any U.S. invasion would be defended vigorously and that the nation can endure a long, arduous struggle.
At another location on the DMZ we met a Colonel who set up field glasses through which we could see across the divide between north and south. We could see a concrete wall built on the South side, a violation of truce agreements. The major described such a permanent structure as a “disgrace for the Korean people who are a homogenous people.” A loud speaker continuously blared propaganda and music from speakers on the south side. The irritating noise goes on for 22 hours a day, he said. Suddenly, in another surreal moment, the bunker’s loudspeakers began belting out the William Tell overture, better known in America as the theme from the Lone Ranger. The Colonel urged us to help people see what is really going on in the DPRK, instead of basing their opinions on misinformation. He told us “We know that like us the peace loving people in America have children, parents and families.” We told him of our mission to return with a message for peace and that we hope to return someday and “walk with him together freely in these beautiful hills.” He paused and said, “I too believe it is possible.”
So while the people of the DPRK hope for peace and security the United States and its puppet regime in the south of the Korean peninsular wage war, carrying out for the next three months the largest war games ever conducted there, involving air craft carriers, nuclear armed submarines and stealth bombers, aircraft and large numbers of troops, artillery and armour.
The propaganda campaign has been taken to dangerous levels in the media with accusations that the North murdered a relative of the leader of the DPRK in Malaysia, though there is no proof of this, and no motive for the north to do it. The only ones to benefit from the murder are the Americans and their controlled media using it to whip up hysteria about the North and now allegations of the North having chemical weapons of mass destruction. Yes, friends, they think we were all born yesterday and that we haven’t learned a thing or two about the character of the American leadership and the nature of their propaganda. Is it any wonder that the North Koreans fear that any day these on going war “games” can be switched to the real thing, that these “games” are just a cover for an attack, and in the meantime to create an atmosphere of terror for the Korean people?
There is a lot that can be said about the real nature of the DPRK, its people and socio-economic system, its culture. But there is no space for that here. I hope people can visit as our group did and experience for themselves what we experienced. Instead I will close with the concluding paragraph of the joint report made on our return from the DPRK and hope that people take it in, think about it, and act to bring on its call for peace.
The people of the world have to be told the complete story about Korea and our government’s role in fostering imbalance and conflict. Action must be taken by lawyers, community groups, peace activists, and all citizens of the planet, to prevent the U.S. government from successfully generating a propaganda campaign to support aggression in North Korea. The American people have been subjected to a grand deception. There is too much at stake to get fooled again. This peace delegation learned in the DPRK a significant piece of truth essential in international relations. It’s how broader communication, negotiation followed by maintained promises, and a deep commitment to peace can save the world – literally – from a dark nuclear future. Experience and truth free us from the threat of war. Our foray into North Korea, this report and our on-going project are small efforts to make and set us free.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
March 1, 2017
Almost 230,000 DPR residents have signed the petition to world leaders asking them to make Kiev stop the Donbass genocide, the Republic’s parliament press service told Donetsk News Agency on Wednesday.
“As of the evening of Feb.27, the petition to the Russian, US and German leaders was signed by 229,778 DPR residents,” the press service said.
On 31 January, DPR and LPR People’s Councils chairmen Denis Pushilin and Vladimir Degtyarenko brought forward a joint petition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel asking them to make Ukrainian leadership stop the Donbass genocide.
The campaign to collect signatures in support of the document began in the republic on the same day. The petition with signature lists will be handed over to OSCE special representative in the Contact Group Martin Sajdik and later on to western and Russian leaders.
February 26, – Fort Russ News –
|“Suggestion for the division of Syria. (Graphic: RAND Corporation)” Interesting note: But what about the Golan Heights?|
US plan for the division of Syria may set off a new wave of refugees
The think tank of the Pentagon wants to divide Syria according to the model of Bosnia. The result would be ethnic cleansing and new, massive flood of immigrants.
The RAND Corporation, a leading US think tank close to the Pentagon, has published a report proposing a “Bosnian model” to resolve the Syrian conflict.
“In this sense, as in Bosnia in the mid-1990s, peace will be facilitated by demographic changes on the ground, external approval for such changes, and exhaustion of the combat parties. Unlike in Bosnia, however, peace would not arise from a detailed formal agreement but from a set of local and international understandings. In order to achieve the various understandings, the cease-fire agreement between Russia, Turkey and Iran is a good starting point, but it is insufficient. Sustainable long-term agreements will be most effective if they involve the consent of other key stakeholders, including the US, its golf partners and other supporters of the opposition to Assad.”
The RAND Corporation calls for a decentralization of the country in control zones. The area from the west coast to Deir Ezzor with the exclusion of Rakka is to be controlled by the government in Damascus and the Russians. The area liberated by Turkey under Operation Euphrates Shield and the province of Idlib would be under Turkish control. The southern area of Daraa, on the border with Israel, would also be controlled by an “opposition” not described in detail by the RAND Corporation. A large part of Northern Syria would be controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), consisting of Kurdish militia and led by the US.
It is particularly noteworthy that the RAND Corporation is proposing to place the ISIS strongholds and oil centers Rakka and Deir Ezzor under an “international administration.” “We therefore recommend that the United States place the Rakka province, after its liberation, under an international transitional administration, creating a neutral territory that is not held by either the regime or the opposition until the final solution of the civil war.” The area should be controlled by the UN, which in turn uses provincial councils. RAND Corporation, on the other hand, argues against sending a purely UN peacekeeping force to the international zone. Instead, the US and Russia would have to organize the deployment of a “coalition force,” which is given a UN mandate. Such a solution would not only tolerate the US and Russia, but also Turkey and other regional US allies, which would not leave Rakka and Deir Ezzor either under the control of the ISIS terrorist militia or control by the Kurdish militia, according to RAND Corporation.
On the Syrian map, it is noticeable that the city of Manbij is placed in the Turkish zone in northern Syria. The Turkish army has not yet taken Manbij, and the Kurdish militants of the YPG are against the city being occupied by the Turks. However, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said at the beginning of the week that after the liberation of Al-Bab, Turkey would move to take Manbij.
Last year, Manbij was taken by the Kurdish militia. There are currently numerous associations of the Kurdish militia in Manbij, but the majority of the population is Arab and Turkmen.
The plans for the division of Syria are highly problematic: already in the Syrian war, massive ethnic cleansings have already taken place. These were carried out based on the planned petroleum pipelines. A territorial breakdown by ethnicity would greatly accelerate the trend towards expulsion. New escape movements would be the result. These would then come to Europe – which is desperately trying to shut itself off.
From Fort Russ:
From Roots Action
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has systematically violated the prohibition against the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. It has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes based on its UN Security Council veto, non-recognition of international courts and sophisticated “information warfare” that undermines the rule of law with political justifications for otherwise illegal threats and uses of force.
Former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz has compared current U.S. policy to the illegal German “preemptive first strike” policy for which senior German officials were convicted of aggression at Nuremberg and sentenced to death by hanging.
In 2002, the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy described post-September 11th U.S. doctrine as “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept.” And yet the U.S. government has succeeded in assembling alliances and ad hoc “coalitions” to support threats and attacks on a series of targeted countries, while other countries have stood by silently or vacillated in their efforts to uphold international law. In effect, the U.S. has pursued a successful diplomatic policy of “divide and conquer” to neutralize global opposition to wars that have killed about 2 million people and plunged country after country into intractable chaos.
As representatives of civil society in the United States, the undersigned U.S. citizens and advocacy groups are sending this emergency appeal to our neighbors in our increasingly interconnected but threatened world. We ask you to stop providing military, diplomatic or political support for U.S. threats or uses of force; and to support new initiatives for multilateral cooperation and leadership, not dominated by the United States, to respond to aggression and settle international disputes peacefully as required by the UN Charter.
We pledge to support and cooperate with international efforts to stand up to and stop our country’s systematic aggression and other war crimes. We believe that a world united to uphold the UN Charter, the rule of international law and our common humanity can and must enforce U.S. compliance with the rule of law to bring lasting peace to the world we all share.
This will be sent to all the world’s national governments. You can sign as an individual on this page — http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12247.
To sign as an organization click here.
By Nina Beety
Global Research, December 23, 2015
This is a magnificent universe.
Everything is alive and conscious. Children know that. Indigenous people know that. And in your bones, you know that. It is your deepest dream and desire.
Atoms and particles are alive. Where else would life and consciousness come from? Everything around us has life, from the atomic level on up. You are surrounded by friends and allies. You are not alone.
How is it that we turn our backs on such a glorious reality? Why do we cut ourselves off from such knowledge, learning, communication, and friendship?
The secret life of plants
Westerners often wonder how indigenous people know what plants to use for healing. The simple answer is: the plants tell them. Indigenous people cultivate relationships with the creatures around them. All of us can do that.
In 1966, polygraph expert Clive Backster hooked up his house plant to a lie detector machine to see if it would indicate when it needed watering. Instead, he made very different discoveries. He found that plants have profound awareness, they feel pain, they have a range of emotions, they go into shock when overwhelmed with events or emotions, they exhibit compassion and love, they communicate with each other instantaneously across distance without regard to distance, they telegraph threats to each other, they care about the people who care for them, and they connect with those people across distances. These discoveries, as well as those by other people, are detailed in The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.
Biophilia is the birthright of every human – real fellowship with all living beings. It is no wonder that many humans, particularly in Western society, feel so lost and alone. This level of relationship is what we’re made for.
Nature is reality and wisdom
Trees, plants, and mycelium are chief examples of the highest species on Earth.
They are integrated into existence, into life. They are rooted and interact and interface with the very elements which are the foundation of life. Think of that.
Their interaction with the earth includes this essential rootedness to a place and to the Earth. Humans, the most mobile species, are the least connected. Mobility comes at a high cost: connection and belonging. When home and rootedness are removed, with its related earth wisdom, humans are lost — uncertain who they are, unhappy, refugees and aliens in their own land, prey to hucksters, reduced to survival, their moral base gone. Look around.
The wise thing to do is to root and land, to learn from trees and plants, to connect to place, and to spend time outside sitting, listening, and seeing.
Children are most connected to rootedness, and they grow deeper, stronger, calmer, wiser, healthier, more compassionate, and more independent the more time they are in nature and with trees. They are our teachers. The most important thing for communities and our world is to free children to spend their time outside so they can show us how to be connected.
In a healthy society, every child would have a connection to trees, would have their own garden, would have special places outdoors, and would be expert in the nuances, the seasons, the species, the sounds, and the wisdom of those places. Those places would be laboratories of learning and study. Each child would be a teacher of his or her discoveries. Children would be leaders in our communities.
The more connected humans are, the more content and capable they are and the less need for material things, for status, or to be placated or soothed. We become free when we are connected.
Freedom is our birthright. Examples surround us — wolves, horses, prairie dogs, coyotes, snakes, streams and rivers, mountains, trees, and children. These are our teachers and mentors.
Happiness and creating the future
Plants and trees harm no one in order to live. Think of that. This is true of bees and butterflies and other species. They are life-positive. They take what they need to live and harm no one. Their lives are a constant and beautiful gift, full of abundance, and they are essential for the rest of us. The oxygen alone from trees and plants makes our lives possible.
What vast wisdom is in these life-nourishing people that use no violence. To create thriving, diverse, happy, and healthy societies, we begin by sitting at their feet and listening and learning.
Universities of life
Skills permeate every bit of life from the atomic level, as well as
- insights, knowledge, and wisdom
- values, and
They are intrinsic to life, a part of the “is-ness” of reality. They are in cells, molecules, atoms, particles, and light. They are part of all beings.
The highest education is the most connected to nature, the most rooted and local-based, the most integrated, and the least technological, with only the most porous of walls. The true universities are outdoors and integrated with nature. The best universities would be the forests.
Can you talk with trees and plants? Can you hear nature’s wisdom and messages? Are you rooted and connected to a place? What do you know about your home? These are the most important skills and knowledge.
Places of learning would be typified by diversity and teaching flowing back and forth; all would be students and teachers. No degrees or pieces of paper. One’s life is the only reliable proof of learning and wisdom.
This type of education would be free. No college debt. And no SAT, GRE, or ACT tests required.
Real world skills would include creating new healthy systems of food, water, energy, building, and production, eliminating waste, and recycling. Each person would discover for themselves what is good and valuable and important.
These learning places would be characterized by languages, community, healing arts. They would be everywhere — vibrant, pulsating with honest, open dialogue, with life and happiness, authentic, open, heart-based, and earth-based, for all ages and species. Each would learn many skills.
Trees, plants, mycelium, and other species transmute elements by the “technology” of their own beings. Water responds to spoken or written words. What incredible skill sets to include in any curriculum.
Trees are very special among Earth’s people. Wise and beautiful, their deep, abiding qualities have been honored throughout time, and many regard them as sacred.
As a long-lived people, they acquire a deep wisdom and perspective. Because they are place-based, they embody and create home. They are protectors, strong, often tall, fragrant hiding places for people large and small, with fruits and flowers available to all, and amazing voices. They offer deep and soul-nourishing friendship to all who wish it.
They are our hope for the future. The Ents of J.R.R. Tolkein’s stories were not a huge stretch of the imagination. Trees are wisdom keepers, mentors, teachers, and friends.
Trees are people. They are not fuel or building material or oxygen factory. They are not extra or unimportant. They are living, breathing, feeling, tremendously wise and good people. When humans cut down a tree, they murder a person. Protecting trees is of the very highest importance.
Trees can help us be at home, wherever we are on Earth. Their friendship can bring us joy, fulfillment, and peace. Trees are willing to be a part of our lives into the future.
Trees are the master teachers living everywhere who can help us create life and peace, prosperity and health beyond the 7th generation. They stand ready to be partners in creating communities brimming with life and happiness.
The only hope for the world is if we realize the reality and goodness that surrounds us, if we start paying attention to all the people, whether they have leaves, bark, fins, wings, horns, fur, scales, feathers, cilia, many legs, or no legs, and understand, in the midst of all the other benefits, that we belong to a community of extraordinary people.
Our partners wait. The future is possible. The rest is up to us.
Nina Beety is a researcher, writer, and public speaker on foreign policy, the environment, and wireless radiation hazards. Her 2012 report for public officials “Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems: Legislative Solutions” is on her website http://www.smartmeterharm.org. She lives in Monterey, California.
A couple of weeks ago a group of influencial German figures, the members of Willy Brandt Circle, have signed an Open Letter to SPD (German Social-Democrats) Bundestag delegates and cabinet ministers urging them to abandon the confrontational course in relations with Russia. The authors reviewed the degrading EU-Russia ties in the context of Ukraine’s crisis which was the direct result of mutual misunderstandings and controversies. Hereby ORIENTAL REVIEW publishes an exclusive English translation of the Letter in full:
Europe is experiencing the worst crisis since the end of the East-West conflict. Not only dealing with Greece and the thousands of refugees heighten tenses across the continent, but also the ceasefire negotiation process in Ukraine remains fragile. As long as the conflict over the future of Ukraine is unsolved, the real danger of escalation is on the table.
A comprehensive peace treaty for Europe, envisioned by the Charter of Paris 1990, is still needed. Europe has no interest in aggravating old controversy between the United States and the USSR, bringing Russia to its knees. There is a difference between the European and the American interests: pan-European problems cannot be solved without Russia or even against Russia. Recent history shows: Russia and the peoples of the Soviet Union contributed more than anyone to the liberation of Europe from fascism and later to the unification of Germany. Therefore, Germany has a special responsibility to win Russia as a negotiating partner in the European peace order.
In 1990 it seemed that the answer to these questions is found once and for all: Russia became a co-architect of the European integration. Russia, alongside with the USA, would naturally become an anchor and an equal partner. Since then Russia’s expectations have been deeply disappointed: EU and, what’s more important, NATO enlargement policy totally excluded the possibility of Russia’s membership. It was too difficult, as the country was too big. Moreover, some Eastern European states claimed that their quick accession to NATO membership was a military precaution against Russia. Having no perspective to join NATO itself, more and more patriotic Russia sees the expansion of the structures of the Western alliance as a threat. NATO expansion nourished Russia’s old fear of being surrounded and it was gradually forced to thinking in geopolitical categories and zones of influence.
The Ukrainian crisis is a reflection of a major conflict between Russia and the Euro-Atlantic structures. It may lead to a catastrophe if the ongoing arms race, military provocations and confrontational rhetoric is not stopped. We strongly appeal to all responsible politicians and peace-loving citizens but first and foremost directly to the SPD:
In this situation bold political initiative is needed comparable to the initiatives that helped to stop the conflict spiral during Berlin Wall and Cuban Missile Crisis. It was German social democracy that paved the way to the new Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik and the détente. In 2015 we require such courage and political wisdom to counter the threat of renewed confrontation and division of Europe. We call to stop the confrontation and restart our relations with Russia before it is too late for all of us.
- The Ukraine crisis cannot be solved by political sanctions against Russia. The underlying causes of the Russian-European alienation should be discussed at EU-Russia summit talks. Lasting reconciliation of interests can only be achieved through dialogue and negotiation. The economic sanctions undermine the development of Europe as a common economic area. Cooperation is an engine of confidence building. Energy infrastructure that has already been affected by the current sharpening of contradictions is a vital part of our mutual interests and bilateral trade.
- The European Union that is partially responsible for the roots of the crisis must contribute to its solution on the basis of consensus. The interaction of Germany, France and Poland with Ukraine and Russia in Minsk II Agreement is an innovative approach. Implementation of Minsk II may bridge the credibility gap. A wider European integration is needed. Germany must throw into the say its position as a future OSCE president and act in the spirit of dialogue.
- The United States as the most important partner of the new Ukrainian government has also high responsibility to find a solution to the crisis. All available international fora should be used to bring Russia and the US together. In times of crisis we need to maintain close ties in order to communicate effectively. Therefore, G7 should involve Russia and the work of the NATO-Russia Council should continue as soon as possible. Essential ways to negotiate in crisis should not be limited but broadened.
- The incorporation of the Crimea into Russia is a violation of international agreements. At the same time it is a political reality that cannot be undone against the will of the majority of Crimea’s voters. The status quo must not undermine the constructive cooperation with stakeholders of the common European interest.
- Ukrainian crisis is also the result of a weak federal structure in a relatively new state. Only through a strong federal system the country can protect itself from ethnic strife and the threat of secession. The experience of other European countries with federal structure should be offered to Ukraine if needed.
- NATO membership for Ukraine will not enhance Alliance’s security. It will fuel the flame of Russia’s fears about NATO objectives and increase the risks of unwanted military confrontation. The framework of the OSCE and the “Vienna Document” 2011 is vital in times of crisis and should be implemented to bring together political and military bodies of all European states.
- The Ukraine crisis threatens the European arms control. Arms race, transfer of lethal military equipment and new troop deployments on both sides of the Russian border undermine the existing system of arms control treaties. The participation of German troops in the military training of the “intervention force” can trigger on the Russian side memories of the German invasion and aggravate tension, which is unnecessary. Disengagement of troops, non-proliferation and arms curbs are goals to be achieved as soon as possible.
- During the Ukraine crisis we saw alarming rise of nuclear intent once again. There is a risk of rearming with medium range nuclear missiles in Europe as it happened in the 1980-es. Nuclear weapons must be finally outlawed. A matter of principle weapons of total annihilation should not be part of employable forces.
- European peace order is not only an order of states. It is based on strong civil societies and, among other, international cooperation in the field of culture, media, sports and science. Restart of European youth exchange programs with Russia and Ukraine may help to overcome stereotyping and encourage better understanding of each other and, consequently, build better relations.
Europe needs Russia and Russia needs Europe. We stand at a tipping point. Either we enter a more or less Cold war with dim future or pave the way together the new common European peace order.
Now is the time to act!
Berlin, July, 21, 2015
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Prof. Dr. Ingomar Hauchler, Bundestag MP (SPD) from 1983 to 1998.
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Prof. Dr. Götz Neuneck is the Deputy Director of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) and Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Group Arms Control and Disarmament (IFAR).
Prof. Dr. Rolf Reissig is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation.
Prof. Dr. Elmar Brähler, was the Professor of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology at the University of Leipzig.
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Prof. Dr. Lutz Götze, Professor Emeritus of the University of Saarland.
Dr. Enrico Heitzer, Researcher of the Brandenburg Memorials Foundation.
Gunter Hofmann is the German journalist working for Die Zeit.
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Dr. Irina Mohr is the leader of Forum Berlin of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
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Dr. Friedrich Schorlemmer, is a German Protestant theologian, civil rights activist and member of the SPD.
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