DISARM/End Wars February Update

by Ellen Thomas and Carol Urner for the DISARM/End Wars Issue Committee

Sister Megan Rice is joining WILPF and promoting the Nuclear Free Future Bill, HR 1650, from prison. Up-to-date news and background information can be accessed from Transform Now Plowshares. Several of our WILPF members have been attending the trial and sentencing hearings and are in close touch with Sister Megan. If you would like to join those sending her supportive emails in prison contact Coralie Farlee at cfarlee@mindspring.com.

Have you contacted your Representative yet on HR 1650? Background and resources to help you in meeting with your own representative are available from WILPF. Just follow the link for more information and  resources. Keep in touch with Ellen Thomas at et@prop1.org regarding your contacts and results. All members of the House Progressive Caucus should certainly be approached as soon as possible. Raul Grijalva (Arizona), co-chair of the Caucus, has already become a co-sponsor. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who introduced HR 1650, is invited to speak on the bill for nuclear weapons abolition and conversion to a truly green economy at the international conference of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. They will be coming from around the world to Washington D.C.for their meetings February 25-27. John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich (PNND UN Rep.), Barbara Lee, Carolyn Maloney, Edward Markey (PNND Vice-Chair) and George Miller are among the current US members of PNND.

WILPF is helping member Alice Slater attend the Nayarit, Mexico conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear War. Jackie Cabasso, and many other of our US partners will be there joining prominent nuclear abolitionists from Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. Most will be seeking a government to sponsor negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Ban treaty. Alice Slater is an enthusiastic promoter of this process. The long sought Convention on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons remains stuck in the United Nations Committee for Disarmament where it has languished for almost twenty years due to the former recalcitrance of the United States and now resistance of Pakistan. In the meantime, nuclear weapons, the most extreme and diabolical of all weapons invented by men, still threaten all life on earth and there is as yet no treaty banning them. Go to The Case for a Ban Treaty. Explore the site further for dozens of resources, videos and creative ideas for promoting such a treaty now as a serious step toward nuclear weapons abolition. If a nuclear weapons ban could be like the Chemical Weapons Ban treaty just ratified by Syria, it would include destruction of existing stock and production facilities plus inspection to make sure compliance is continuing and complete. Alice is willing to participate in meetings organized by WILPF members and Branches to discuss what we can do to promote a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Jackie Cabasso and Odile Hugonot Huber still have much to share with us on the December conferences in Haifa and in Ramallah. Conferences were organized by Israeli activists who want Israel to participate in negotiations for a nuclear and WMD free zone in the Middle East. All the Arab nations and Iran support negotiations which were scheduled to begin in Helsinki last December. However Israel's Netanyahu objected strenuously and Obama cancelled them. See Odile's entry for the Middle East Committee which includes the final Declaration from Haifa and a petition we can sign. Jackie is already giving public presentations on the Haifa conference and you can hear her discussion on a popular west coast radio program. Both women are willing to meet with other WILPF members. Jackie has already shared in meetings organized by San Jose and San Francisco Branches.

Looking ahead, it's time to register now for the March international conference of the Global Network on Keeping Space for Peace. It will be in Santa Barbara and includes a vigil at Vandenberg Air force Base where MacGregor Eddy and other WILPFers have long been organizing protest events against arming the heavens and nuclear ICBM missile tests. There will be a focus on the Pacific Pivot which is already creating rising tensions and could lead to war with China. Drones and robotic weapons will also be hot topics with plenty of resources available.

Be sure to look at the entry from WILPFer Leah Bolger about participating in the drone quilt project featured on the cover of the fall issue Peace & Freedom. And if you are worried about militarized and automated drones and want to take action contact Marjorie Van Cleef at mvc@igc.org. Marge and Joan Ecklein are now collecting information from Branches and individual WILPFers on what we are already doing, and looking for ways we can better support each other and share information. It is also time to prepare for the month of drone actions in April in cooperation with Code Pink and a wide range of other organizations.

As you can see, there is much to be done. Join us in this important work and together, we can change the world and promote peace!

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