Category: May 2016

North Korea, Following China and India, Pledges No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons. So Could Obama

JOHN LAFORGE – North Korea’s May 7 declaration that it would not be first to use nuclear weapons was met with official derision instead of relief and applause. Not one report of the announcement I could find noted that the United States has never made such a no-first-use pledge. None of three dozen news accounts even mentioned that North Korea hasn’t got one usable nuclear warhead. The New York Times did admit, “US and South Korean officials doubted that North Korea has developed a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile that would deliver a nuclear payload to the continental United States.”

Direct Action Taken to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

ANNE MILLHOLLEN – On May 7, members of Beyond War NW were able to join the Mother’s Day Gathering and Action sponsored by the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington ( The back fence to their lovely, forested Center, is part of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. Located 20 miles from Seattle, the Trident submarine base at Bangor has the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal. The base is the last active nuclear weapons depot on the West Coast.

Woman Describes How Street Abuse Feels

LAURA FINLEY – It wasn’t the first time. Like most women—84 percent across 22 countries, in fact– I have been catcalled by random men many times. In a widely shared 2014 experiment, a woman in New York City received 100 catcalls in just ten hours. But last night was definitely the scariest I have ever experienced. This man amped up his harassment.

Yes to Assertive, No to Aggressive

TOM H. HASTINGS – I teach and write in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, with a special focus on strategic nonviolence. It is a rich field, growing in its scholarship and its widespread usage. I’m so enthused by this—the more we wage our conflicts with nonviolence the lower the costs. Counting the costs of conflict, we normally think of blood and treasure, of casualties and expense. We are slowly beginning to also count other costs, including our environment, our relationships, our civil rights, our human rights, our metrics of democracy, and more. Nonviolence is superior to violence in every way if we read the research and consider all the costs.

Nuclear Ground Zero Is Everywhere Now

WINSLOW MYERS – Torture and rape are unbearable enough, but a nuclear war anywhere could throw billions of people into the misery of worldwide starvation. It is a dangerous illusion to assume that our political leaders and foreign policy experts will magically prevent apocalypse—that the generals on the front lines in Pakistan or anywhere else are sufficiently trained and disciplined never to fall into fatal error. With each further deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons, weapons that the United States and other nuclear powers are also developing, the temptation grows to cross the nuclear threshold. As Lao Tzu said, “if you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” All nations share an interest in stepping back from a catastrophe where any “victory” is a mirage that briefly disguises defeat for all.

The Blue Revolution – How Kuwaiti Women Used Nonviolence to Gain Suffrage

RIVERA SUN – This week in nonviolent history commemorates the successful conclusion of Kuwait’s Blue Revolution. On May 17th, 2005, Kuwaiti women gained suffrage after more than 40 years of struggle. The women used a wide variety of approaches to achieve their goals, including lobbying, introducing repeated legislation, protests and demonstration, marches, rallies, and mock elections.

Panama Papers Reveal How the 1% Operate

MEL GURTOV – One of the many tools at the disposal of multinational corporations (MNCs) for maximizing profits and undermining state sovereignty is moving operations to low-tax countries. Global companies do not simply “go abroad”; they shift capital, as well as labor and technology, to wherever the advantages are greatest. This reality of globalization is well known, and it is matched by the similar behavior of powerful, wealthy individuals, including present and former top government officials. Like the MNCs, wealthy individuals are not content to make tons of money at home if they can make even more by finding tax shelters abroad, where their money is completely hidden from public view. It’s what the One Percent do.

NATO’s Dangerous Game: Bear-Baiting Russia

CONN HALLINAN – “Aggressive,” “revanchist,” “swaggering”: These are just some of the adjectives the mainstream press and leading U.S. and European political figures are routinely inserting before the words “Russia,” or “Vladimir Putin.” It is a vocabulary most Americans have not seen or heard since the height of the Cold War. The question is, why?

Here’s What a U.S. Military “Mistake” Looks Like

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – “The people are being reduced to blood and dust. They are in pieces.” The doctor who uttered these words still thought the hospital itself was a safe zone. He was with Doctors Without Borders, working in Kunduz, Afghanistan, where the Taliban and government forces were engaged in hellish fighting and civilians, as always, were caught in the middle.

Youth > Fossil Fuels

KATIE MCCHESNEY – Something big is unfolding on campuses across the country this spring. In early April, twenty students from Swarthmore College launched a creative theatre action outside their administrator’s office in Philadelphia to call out her shady ties to the fossil fuel industry — including to oil giant Exxon — that are clouding her judgment on divestment. This marks the beginning of a national wave of campus action students are calling Youth > Fossil Fuels. Students are demanding that universities divest from fossil fuels once and for all, and reinvest in just solutions to the climate crisis.

Pennsylvania Township Legalizes Civil Disobedience

COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND – Grant Township, Indiana County, PA: Tonight, Grant Township Supervisors passed a first-in-the-nation law that legalizes direct action to stop frack wastewater injection wells within the Township. Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) has sued the Township to overturn a local democratically-enacted law that prohibits injection wells.

North Korea’s New Weapons: Full Speed Ahead

MEL GURTOV – North Korea is on a military tear. How and when any of the weapons the North claims to have might actually be operational is open to speculation. What does seem clear is that Kim Jong-un is pressing his weapons specialists to produce a reliable deterrent that will force the issue of direct talks with the U.S.

Iraq Today: Can We Feel the Heat?

CATHY BREEN – Outwardly everything seemed so normal that at first I forgot I was with people now counted among the hundreds of thousands who are internally displaced in Iraq. In the next couple of hours, though, we would hear many tragic stories that would dispel any thought of “normalcy.”