Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, Stop Drone Assassinations

Eliminate Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Chain: Stop Drone Assassinations and End Wars

By Carol Urner, Co-Chair, DISARM/End Wars

Thanks to all of you in WILPF who have been doing so much, and in so many ways, to make our world a better place. True we still have a long way to go, but it feels like we are making progress even in our work of demilitarizing our nation and ending wars.

In April, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced HR 1650, which, for the first time calls on Congress and the Administration to help rid the world of nuclear weapons by 2020!  WILPF women also continued to challenge nuclear power and the whole nuclear chain. In this photo WILPFers and friends wearing masks of ousted  NRC chief Gregory B. Jaczko  read his parting call for phasing out nuclear power  to NRC commissioners at a Vermont Yankee hearing in Brattleboro VT. Jaczko has warned that all existing plants are unsafe. Also see news on Branch Actions to stop drone assassinations and to shift tax money from waging war to ensuring human security and human rights.

In May, we will continue our work in promoting the new version of this bill as well as supporting the creative projects of US Branches and members determined to abolish nuclear weapons and cut the nuclear chain.

In May, we will also continue to press for an end to assassination by drones, building on the successful national April campaign in which WILPF Branches and members actively participated. Contact Marge Van Cleef at mvc@igc.org with questions or event reports. Watch for more action resources later in May!

Work with us on these and other DISARM/End Wars issues about which you care most. You don’t have to be a committee member to participate, but you are certainly welcome to join. Contact Ellen Thomas at et@prop1.org and/or Carol Urner carol.disarm@gmail.com, our current co-chairs, for information and support.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington, DC House Delegate, introduced her latest version of the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act on April 18, two days after meeting with five WILPFers during the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability DC Days. Read her statement here. The bill would require the United States to negotiate an international agreement to disable and dismantle its nuclear weapons by 2020 and to redirect the funds to human and infrastructure needs. She apparently revised it further after five WILPFers met with her during Alliance for Nuclear Accountability DC Days. The bill now incorporates the same goals as the US Conference of Mayors. It also supports phasing out nuclear power as the USA switches to truly green energy. We expect to support this new bill vigorously during the coming two years and will seek help from WILPF members and Branches.

Latest word is that international NGOs at the UN for 2013 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treat meetings are inviting Delegate Norton to join Representatives John Conyers and Barbara Lee (both WILPF members), Ed Markey, Dennis Kucinich (still UN representative) and Carolyn Maloney in Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. Members have been meeting at the UN in Geneva in person and by Skype/Internet to push forward on nuclear abolition treaty negotiations. International NGOs are delighted with the bill and it is already posted on the Basel Peace Office web pages.

ANA DC Days (April 14–19) included a two day leadership planning retreat in which the two co-chairs actively participated. Ellen Barfield (former co-chair), Coralie Farlee (WILPF-DC Coordinator), Ellen Thomas (co-chair and treasurer) and Carol Urner (co-chair) attended. We also gained a new DC member (Pam Moffat) and a renewal by an ANA member who joined in 2010. Basic 2013 ANA fact sheets can be found here.

Representative Edwin Markey has now introduced the 2013-14 SANE Act. The bill may not express the sense of urgency felt by WILPF, Mayors for Peace—or among many other members of ANA—but it supports almost all of ANA’s Asks expressed in the fact sheets and in meetings with Congress and Administration, Anyone who does not accept these basic precautions might be judged insane.
Coralie was able to meet with Sister Megan Rice during DC Days and she, Ellen Barfield and Ellen Thomas will update us on the Plowshare three trial for entering the top level Y-12 security site at Oakridge, Tennessee which began on May 7. Ellen Barfield and Ellen Thomas are both attending the trial in Knoxville. Read, if you haven’t yet done so, the amazing article published in the Washington Post. For background on the trial itself visit the partial transcript of the pre-trial hearing taken down by Pastor Ralph Hutchinson, the ANA affiliated "watch dog” at Oakridge Tennessee Y-12.
During DC Days Coralie Farlee, Ellen Thomas and Carol Urner all visited briefly with new WILPF member Charmaine White Face who was in DC seeking a sponsor for a moratorium on uranium mining on Native American lands. (We think we’ve found one to introduce the bill!). Other Lakota Sioux traveling with Charmaine are campaigning for a return to the original matriarchal Lakota Sioux culture where grandmother elders guided tribal decisions and actions. Sounds like a natural companion for WILPF! See Truth Out story on their April 9 visit to the United Nations in New York.

While DISARM/End Wars members were meeting in DC, WILPF life member Jackie Cabasso represented the DISARM/End Wars committee at the demonstrations seeking removal of British nuclear weapons from Faslane Trident Base in Scotland. On April 17–18 she attended the Abolition 2000 annual meeting in Edinburgh and then the Nonproliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee in Geneva April 20–May 3.The document on the civil society-parliamentarian seminar in Edinburgh on April 19 gives a good glimpse of the struggle for nuclear weapons abolition in Scotland and the wider world. See it here. We expect a report back from Jackie in May. We also expect useful reflections on these April meetings from our other two WILPF member advisers, Alice Slater and Ray Acheson.

The 2013 UN Preparatory Committee concluded on May 3 and in 2014 will again meet at the United Nations in New York. It is time now for those who wish to attend to begin saving for transport and housing and to study up on past and current history of the NPT. The best way to understand what happened at the 2013 Prep Com is to skim through the daily NPT News in Review edited by Ray Acheson and Beatrice Fihn of WILPF Reaching Critical Will.

We continue to press for the Helsinki meetings on a Middle East Nuclear and WMD Free Zone. Odile Hugonot Haber (odilehh@gmail.com), who is also co-chair of the Middle East Issue Committee, is tracking progress for all of us. The Arab nations threatened boycott of the NPT sessions if the Helsinki meetings are not held this year and Egypt’s delegate did walk out when satisfactory progress was not made. Odile has shared with us the statement of the Iranian delegate to the United Nations on this matter. In WILPF, our own experience is teaching us that pursuit of nuclear energy is a tragic mistake for any nation, including our own.

During all of May, we will be actively preparing for Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima days and August Nuclear Free Future month. WILPFer Cecile Pineda, author of Devil’s Tango: How I Learned to Dance the Fukushima Step-by-Step has offered to do a speaking tour in northern California during that month, starting with Hiroshima-Nagasaki Days. She is currently available to speak on the west coast after successful tours arranged by WILPF members and Branches in New England and the Great Lakes region.

We are proud of the work members and Branches have been doing to close nuclear power plants across the country, and to stop generation and shipment of highly radioactive nuclear waste. The frequently arrested Shut it Downers protesting Vermont Yankee this time brought masks and words of Gregory Jaczko to a public hearing of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (see photo above).

The whole month of April was designated for Drone actions around the country. Go to Know Drones. Elsewhere events are listed by state (see right hand column). Pittsburgh and Boston WILPF events are already posted on the web. However we know many more WILPFers were involved from Fresno, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, St Louis, Tucson and probably more, and they all have stories to tell. Please send your own reports to WILPFer Marge Van Cleef at mvc@igc.org who was a key national organizer. Continue to help Marge and her national No Drones committee investigate drone research in universities and think tanks. On April 30, the final day, at-large WILPF members Ellen Barfield and Beth Adams were arrested at Hancock CIA AFB in Syracuse. Bruce Gagnon, with whom our Branches work on Keeping Space for Peace was also arrested. Read his blog on the event here.

April 15 was Tax day and we are still getting Branch reports to put up on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending web pages for summaries of actions around the world supporting USA tax actions re cutting military spending. Go directly here and scroll down to the United States for pages of reports on US Tax Day actions. Peninsula, Portland, Santa Barbara, St. Louis and Tucson were among the Branches passing out flyers at Post Offices. They were also visiting local Congressional offices, writing letters and holding “town meetings” insisting that our tax money should be going for human security, human rights and human needs—not for drones, nuclear weapons   and other instruments of war and killing.

We are proud of all the work that WILPF women do to care for our planet, challenge corporate personhood, advance human rights, build the beloved community and preserve life on earth. And it isn’t just WILPFers who are movers and shakers. We have so many companions along the way, including Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, War Resisters League, Fellowship of Reconciliation, WAND, AFSC, FCNL, Peace Action and all those grass roots peace and justice groups, churches, colleges and communities across our land. How can our causes fail with so many wonderful peace builders in our land?

Photo 1 (top): by Mary-Ann DeVita Palmieri. From left, front, Christopher Miller and Ron Bellamy of the NRC; back, Linda Pon Owens, Anneke Corbett, Susan Lantz, and Connie Harvard of the Shut It Down Affinity Group

Photo 2: Photo courtesy of Ellen Thomas. L to R Coralie Farlee  (WILPF DC coordinator), Pamela Moffat (WILPF DC member), Ellen Barfield (WILPF at-large, Baltimore), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (Delegate, Washington, DC) Ellen Thomas (WILPF at-large, Tryon NC), in front Carol Urner. Portland OR Branch).



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