Towards Boston and the Chicago Pre-Summit „Retire Nato – Our Future Nuclear Free“ !
Reflections presented by Irene Eckert (WILPF/ Working Group for Peace Politics – Nuclear free Europe, released for Boston May 12th / Chicago 18th/19th 2012)
Colleagues and friends,
Dismantle Foreign Military Bases, cut Military Expenditure!
- Meet Human Needs !
we, the people want nothing more dearly than freedom from the burden of warfare. Its astronomical costs must be redirected to free us from want, to free us from pollution, to free us from fear. We want to live without fear that comes with the enemy images and artificially created dangers. We, the people care dearly for peaceful solutions, for harmonious coexistence for all inhabitants of this planet. We care for mutual respect and dignity for all earthlings as foreseen in the UN-Charter. Foreign military locations are contrary to these needs. In Büchel and Ramstein in Germany, in Vincenca in Italy, in Okinawa, Japan and on Jeju island in South Korea, people stand up and say „No“ to foreign military installations. We, the people do not want to host nuclear and other ghastly devices in beautiful spots of nature, nor elsewhere. We want be freed from the infrastructures for warfare brought in by the US or other NATO „partners“. Those of us, who live close to such unhealthy and menacing outposts of warfare say „No“ to the pollution that comes with them. We say „No“ to the 30 000 starts and landings at the US-airbase Ramstein, causing noise damage in the neighbourhood and much more serious damage to the places from where they come from and to which they go. The more than thousand US-military bases in the world, over 50% of them densely installed in the South and South West of Germany must all be dismantled. Military sites are contrary to security. They provoke aggression and cause unrest in their respective neighbourhoods. They all bear the same fruit of destruction. Therefore all countries must get rid of these harmful installations.
Peace comes with justice, not by threatening with lethal weaponry. People, aware of this basic truth still have a dream. It is a common dream, a dream of a peaceful and joyful nuclear free future. It is this dream, that will one day help us realize the promises of the UN-Charter.
We are, however, not only dreamers, we work hard for this vision to become reality. In every corner of Mother Earth people are at work. On all levels of society we bring in our energy and their insight to rid this beautiful planet of the nuclear threat and the threat that comes with depleted uranium. People seek refuge in national and international law, they study agreements, they educate their communities, they assemble peacefully and protest. Across the planet they organize marches or bike rallies to express their yarning for a nuclear free earth. People take their struggle to their parliamentary representatives, bringing in legal suits. 1 Others work on a national and international scale for a World Economic Order based on global justice and sustainability, an order that can easily do without means of mass destruction. Therefore people the world over demand military expenditures be cut and redirected to meet human needs.
Whereas NATO Bears Death - Our Struggle Is For Life!
Our struggle is for life. People across the planet join in this struggle for a livable society in which women, the young and the elderly, can fully participate. These people are committed to communities that allow for young people to be creative and develop their personalities in breadth and depth, to perform excellently and to do so without drugs. They strive for an economic order under which nobody will be forced to make harmful choices. They strive for a world where careers and children are compatible and both part of a meaningful and humane life. NATO with all its lethal infrastructure is contrary to such a humane vision and even its smartest strategy concepts can never end in fulfilling our human dreams.
NATO secures only the interests of a tiny handful of oligarchs, a handful of people who do not want to share the natural riches that Mother Earth still provides in abundance. We need to challenge those few on their road to destruction and help one other to understand the true nature of the NATO – alliance. This being an alliance that serves the exclusive needs of an over privileged minority, while others go hungry. Such an antisocial coalition must not be allowed to govern the world. And history proves that this will not be the case No Empire has lasted forever. No matter how affluent its resources and how powerful the military machinery at its disposal, it all came to an end. And this is the moment of truth for NATO. Its wisdom has come to a dead end. Whereas the military apparatus swallows almost everything the serious global economic crisis encreases conflicting interests within the alliance's rank and file. And we, the people, need butter not canons. We need jobs, but not with the war-machine. Therefore NATO and all military bases abroad and at home must be dismantled. This call is urgent if humanity is to survive.
We need to dismantle NATO's true nature!
Since its beginning in 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been an apparatus of coercion, conceived as a protective shield for the greedy appetite of a few. NATO's main objective is counter insurgency.
Today it is obvious, the precious resources of Mother Earth are limited . The have-nots of today will demand their share tomorrow. This is why NATO-members continuously conceive new weapons to prevent this nightmare of theirs from becoming real. But they are bound to fail. Threating other nations with pre-emptive or preventive nuclear strikes will not help to suppress the massive social unrest and strong opposition is bound to grow worldwide. It is NATO itself with its astronomic costs and its disastrous interventions into sovereign nations which allows No Achievements Towards a peaceful society. This why victimized nations and individuals bravely oppose this greedy military juggernaut. Whereas NATO's „War Against Terror“ creates the Terror of War, people demand an end to this insanity. Strong and firm grassroots movements the world over, with the support of nations like the BRIC-states2, and others like Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, in Latin America and Iran and Syria in the Middle East, peacefully join hands. Eventually they will succeed in their endeavors. With the UN Charter as their backbone, they can create strong support. NATO is NUTS – Not Useful TO Security!. This alliance has left its destructive footprints for more than six decades. Their globally scattered military bases, outposts of the Empire, will accentuate the fiscal problems of NATO's member states and beyond. Whereas host nations pay the biggest part of the bill, the donors invest in encircling peaceful nations and force them into respective arms build ups. NATO speech is treacherous, its promises are false. The nasty outposts of the imperial alliance are seldom called by their true names. They come along as FOLS (Forward Located Sites) or euphemistically as „Lily Pads“. In reality they altogether provide the infrastructure for bombing, for killing by unmanned drones, for spying. These FOLS are foolishly meant for „Full Spectrum Dominance“3- for the USA, lead-nation of NATO, including Western Europe and Canada and their quest for hegemony.
NATO is a shield for Neoliberalism
Another approach for the maintenance of the Empire is the neoliberal credo shared by NATO-“partners“. Disobedience towards this oppressive economic ideology and its structures will always be punished. Their leaders are tagged as fanatics, lunatics, terrorists, murderers. Some will even be condemned to death. The effectiveness of such defaming depends however on the strength of the opponent and his alliances. We need a realistic picture of the global state of affairs. The weaknesses of moribund NATO must be understood. We must analyze the conflicting interests of its components. Public awareness must cut through the effectiveness of its propaganda, which still is its strongest weapon. No further tagging of nations as „rogue states“ and people's resistance movements as terrorists must pass uncritized. Nato's „Partnership for Peace“- programs must be understood for what they are. The 22 countries, brought in 1994 in addition to the 28 NATO members are trapped in a sham. The same is true for the „Mediterranean -“ and other „Dialogue-Strategies“ equally conceived to bully weaker and lesser armed nations. The same holds for so called „Civil-Military-Cooperation-Concepts“. CIMIC aims at harmful interactions between NATO-led forces and civil actors in alliance-led „operations“. The acronym CIMIC means therefore war business as usual.
The economically strongest sets the tone
As usual, the economically strongest „partners“ in business set the tone. The USA comes first, followed by Germany in the second place, then by its „European partners“, the main money and technology providers. The General Secretary of the alliance, always European, serves as an eloquent spokesperson , whereas the Chief military commander, an experienced US general or admiral4 , guides the actions.
NATO'S weakness – a sign for hope.
NATO's latest „Smart Defence Strategy “ 5 calling for closer cooperation and for the joint purchase of the smartest equipment6 with the hottest nuclear, biological and chemical devices can hardly cover growing rifts within NATO. Conflicting interests in times of limited resources will necessarily weaken the alliance. The growing budget problems are only one aspect of the deepening crisis, under which the US deficit and the Euro crisis pose serious obstacles for NATO-strategists.
The growing aggressiveness of the alliance 7 with the latest devastating and costly war against blooming Libya with more than 50 000 civilian casualties of a total population of only 6,5 million can not hide the symptoms of this crisis. This latest interference in North Africa left behind a war torn country, torturers in office and a shattered image of the alliance in the Southern Hemisphere. It has never been more evident. Conflict raising not solving is NATO's business. The continued threats against old cultures and better equipped countries like Iran and Syria with strong allies expose NATO's growing incapacities. But, whereas being paralyzed in open action, the alliance breeds other strategies and a phraseology that becomes more and more Orwellian. „War is Peace“!
Again - for how long will people be fooled by such euphemisms while their brothers, partners and sons come back in body bags?
Such bitter harvest helps to see through tricky language and to uncover the true nature of disasterous military interventions in other people's affairs. A global economic order, based on piracy, theft and disrespect for the sovereignity of other nations cannot be upheld forever. An interventionist alliance feeding the military machinery and the oil companies, and in support of the banks cannot be maintained and bully the world forever. Press releases in sweet language, twittering in tones of 'peaceful cooperative efforts', of 'crisis management' and 'smart defence' will no longer fulfill their purpose.
We must take the future in our hands
Having all this in mind, we must join forces with the peoples of the war-ridden nations, nations under occupation. Those people threatened with „NATO PEACE KEEPING MISSIONS“, mostly in the southern hemisphere, are the first ones to understand what the liberation efforts of NATO and its allies are all about. They have been victimized, because their soil contains precious minerals or because of their strategic importance. They are victimized because they want to go their own ways. Nations in the South are easily marginalised and stigmatised as „Failed States“, a label that blows in the horn for NATO's intervention. Due to its internal conflicts NATO often is replaced now by a „Coalition of the Willing“. This was the case in the wars against Iraq and Libya. But it is NATO-bomber-fighters that come in with lethal weaponry. More and more often they come in under the title „R2P“ , self declared „Responsibility to Protect“, a label that assumes to protect citizens of other nations. This presumptuous responsibility comes in blatant violation of the UN-Charter which guarantees sovereignity to all member nations small or large. We must learn how do defend such sovereignity, the very essence of UN-Charter.
Again, our struggle is for the protection of humanitarian laws, of the full implementation of the Human Rights Charter, for the protection of social achievments, for the right to survive in a healthy environment.
We must demand that there be
No more humanitarian wars!
We must understand that:
The original enemy colour of NATO was Red. It has been replaced after the fall of the Berlin Wall by Green, the colour of the Prophet Mohamed, the colour of Islam. Today NATO claims to have no enemies.
The enemy hunt has been replaced by „protective and humanitarian interventions“. This kind of humanitarian warfare started in 1999 against a mostly Orthodox Christian country, where the assumed victims were a minority of Muslims. It was the illegitimate NATO war against the former Republic of Yugoslavia8 that re-established war as a means of „conflict solution“ in post-war Europe. In its aftremath the harmless sounding acronym „R2P“ was introduced.9 in 2001. Gradually we have since then become used to „bombing for human rights“ and to the dropping of DU-munition for the "safeguard of the environment“10.
In fact the acronym „R2P“ stands for a dangerous blending of the peace-serving ideals of the United Nations with the NATO war machine. In fact it re-introduces the outdated and outlawed notion of a „Just War“. In the meantime civil victims are the fall out of more NATO interventions called „humanitarian acts“. The victims, if listed at all, come under the title „collateral damage.“
NATO's questionable history
Let us recall:
NATO as a regional military alliance was baptised only four years after the Second World War: a monstrous child of the Cold War, conceived in its hotbed. The Washington Treaty signed by 12 founding members of the Western World was already then a blatant rebuff to the UN-charter, meant to outlaw war as a means of conflict resolution for ever.
The bitter taste of unacceptable violations of international law committed by NATO member states since its hour of birth was always sweetened by humanitarian statements. After two major slaughters on a world scale, war was no longer acceptable. The Nuremberg Trials even outlawed wars of aggression as a crime against humanity. Therefore military actions had to be camouflaged under a positive sounding UN code. Therefore NATO language comes along as a promise for peace, security and democracy with the UN-Charter as its referential basis. Let us keep in mind that the precious UN-Charter even outlaws the mere threat of violence not to mention open acts of aggression 11. Furthermore the term „aggression“ was clearly defined of December 1974 by UN – General Assembly Resolution 3314, there is no scope for interpretation.
By contrast NATO's strategy still implies the threat of even an atomic first strike against countries which neither possess the bomb nor the expertise , nor the material to develop one, nor have the desire to do so. It is NATO's later lead nation the USA alone, that has used such ghastly means of mass destruction twice in history, ignoring warnings by nuclear expert Albert Einstein whose letter to President Roosevelt remained unopended on his desk. Under his follower in office, Truman, the unthinkable happened in the early years of the Cold War. Former ally, ex-partner in the anti-Hitler - coalition, war-plagued Russia, tired of war with 27 million dead, was accused of planning to overrun Western Europe with its tanks, whereas the US had just dropped two nuclear devices over Japan. These two nuclear devices were mainly meant to „deter“ alleged Soviet adventures. With such audacious assumption the Soviet Union their past ally, became the defined enemy of NATO. The RED-hunt had begun and included all liberation efforts the world over .
Germany, the enemy nation of yesterday, was soon to be admitted as NATO member 12, at least the Western half of it . Former Nazi generals, who had been sentenced at the Nurmberg Trials, were chosen as key personnel for building NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Its logo – resembling the Star of Mercedes Benz - was well designed given its hardly hidden aims and principles. Soon after joining Germany was offered access to nuclear devices through the „dual use“ concept.13 and through the „nuclear participation strategy“ 14 . By this strategy Germany violated the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it had signed in 1969. From the huge amount of nuclear weapons originally stored on German soil to counter an assumed Soviet attack, 20 still remain in Büchel, in the Eifel region. In disrespect of the German government coalition consensus of 2008 these nuclear devices have not not been withdrawn.15 The will of the German oligarchy as well as that of the US stands against it. Furthermore there are plans to modernise these means of mass destruction. In order to prevent this and in order to get rid of them altogether we need much stronger public awareness in the USA, too. We need a more vociferous public outcry in the region and beyond. This not easy because for a long period the presence of US nuclear devices in Germany was justified as unavoidable under occupational status. Only in 1990 when the '2 + 4 Treaty' was signed, did Germany regain full sovereign rights. These came with the German guarantee that only peace would come from German soil in the future.
As German membership for NATO, covers 18% of its annual dues16, a financial contribution next to that of the USA this guarantee this was obviously untrue .
In South Germany near the city of Stuttgart EUCOM and AFRICOM, the central command units for all Europe and Africa are hosted and in Ramstein we keep the largest US-military base abroad on a „SOFA“17. Under the pretext of the obligations guaranteed in the Status Of Force Agreements (short SOFA) German decision makers provided key assistance to all major wars since 1999. This is true for the war against Afghanistan (since 2001), Iraq (2003), against Libya (2011), twice despite of official abstinence. Germany has played a military tune in Sudan, in Somalia, at the Horn of Africa and in the Mediterranian Sea. Military bases secured by Sofas provide key infrastructure, intelligence and retreat possibilities for US-military interventions near and far.
Military Bases are Outpost of Warfare - most of all in Germany
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the US presence in Germany was still a stunning 250,000 soldiers with as many civilian employees and family members. The soldiers and their families worked and lived in one of 47 major military bases, which were made up by some 800 separate sites. The predominance of West Germany in US military planning can be glimpsed from the resources allocated to the bases there. During the Cold War, 70% of US troops in Europe were stationed in West Germany and the country was home to 60% of all U.S. overseas bases. This policy had the support of all post war governments.
By 1995, troops in Germany had been reduced to 94,000, their number has now stabilized at 71,000 soldiers, 97,500 dependents and 10,488 civilian employees. Enough infrastructure to carry on with the evil conduct of warfare.
People's movements opposing military bases in Germany
People's resistance to these evil intentions has seen ups and downs.
The most successful struggle my country has seen after the Wall came down was one that went on for many years and led to the closure of a planned military training area near Wittstock upon the Dosse, located to the northwest of Berlin on the motorway to Hamburg. The NATO bombing site was foreseen in a beautiful holiday area called Fretzdorf Heath, or casually „Bombodrom“ 18. After a period when 10 000 participants had followed a call to this remote region year after year with speakers coming even as far as Middle America, the site was definitely given up as military training field in 2011.
The struggle for a 'Free Heath' near Wittstock, a place that has a history of warfare dating back centuries, shows how people's movements can be succesful. The struggle was supported by a wide range of political parties, it was carried into the German parliament and it was followed up by law suits. Members of all social strata participated and support came from all over Germany.
This year in 2012 the focus of public campaigning goes against the remaining nuclear weapons on German soil. These US lethal devices must neither be modernised nor must they remain on our land. The B16 fighter bomber must be withdrawn in agreement with the government coalition treaty of 2008 and in compliance with the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT.) Together with partners from the International Campaign ICAN – the German peace coalition demands the Abolishment of Nuclear Arms . Our future must clearly be Nuclear Free.19
1An alliance of lawyers in Germany has recently forwarded a law suit against the the unlawful usage of the airbase Ramstein in Rheinland-Paletinate. Peace activist Jung from Kaiserslautern has sued the government arguing that tne biggest power center of US-NATO, the largest aviation hub of the US army wit h90 % night flights is supplying the Middleand Far East War scenarios in clear breach of the German constitution. He also argues that the origin of excessive warefare as well as the torture flights being handled from here are incompatible with international law. Article 25/26 of the German Basic Law as well as all principles of international law are forbidding the aggression of war. Source : Neues Deutschland March 24th 2012
2Brasil, Russia, India, China (evtl. joined by Sotuh Africa)
3 an imperial strategy conceived under US-President Bush junior's auspices and unchallenged by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,
4tThe Danish ex-politician, now Nato 's genral secretary, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (since 2009) called the war against libya „a great success“ Supreme Allied Commander and Europe Commander (SACEUR) is US-admiral James Stavridis
5 In Lisbon 2010 „The new Strategic Concept offers partner countries around the globe more opportunities for dialogue and cooperation and commits NATO to reinforce cooperation with Russia. It also keeps the door firmly open to membership in NATO to European democracies.“ Nato homepage
6 At the 2011 Munic Security Conference NATO General Secretary Rassmussen „noted that 10 years ago, the US accounted for a little less than half of NATO members’ total defence spending, whereas “today, the American share is closer to 75 per cent,” he said, “and it will continue to grow, even with the new cuts in the Pentagon’s spending that US defence secretary Bob Gates announced last month”.
Those ‘cuts’ in the Pentagon budget, for example, will at best only reduce the rate of growth. (Military spending has continued to grow as a share of the economy under President Obama and for 2012 a record $670.9bn has been requested for defence - although the real bill for the total US national security budget has been calculated at more than $1.2 trillion a year). As Andrew Bacevich points out “The essential facts remain: US military outlays today equal that of every other nation on the planet combined, a situation without precedent in modern history”. The United States presently spends more in constant dollars than it did at any time during the Cold War, despite having no real (as opposed to imaginary) ‘peer competitor’. Nato watch, submitted 03/02/2011
7 February 07th, 2008, ntv „Nicht offen ausgesprochen - Es kriselt bei der NATO ( ntv, a German tvp-rogram, whichte titeld“ Not pronounced in public – NATO in crisis“
Nichts ist in Ordnung. In Afghanistan kehrt kein Frieden ein. Die NATO befürchtet dort ihr eigenes Scheitern. Die Verbündeten ziehen nicht an einem Strang. Eine Einigung mit dem Iran über seine Atompolitik ist nicht in Sicht. In Europa, vor der Haustür Deutschlands, kann man noch nicht von Stabilität auf dem Balkan sprechen, vom Kosovo ganz zu schweigen. In diese Gemengelage fällt an diesem Wochenende die internationale Sicherheitskonferenz in München. Ihr Titel: "Eine Welt in Unordnung - veränderte Machtverhältnisse - fehlende Strategien".
8The so called Kosovo-war was illegitimate because it even violated NATO's founding document, the Washington agreement, this promises each other's assistance in case of armed aggression. But Jugoslavia clearly did not attack any NATO- member. A UN-mission was also out of sight.
9 Whereas it never received the status of an internationally agreed upon document of law
10„Bombing for human rights is like fucking for virginity“ a slogan that frequently has been seen at anti war rallies.
11 See below literature on how gradually NATO undermined or approached the UN, beginning with the early 9Oies : Jeffrey Simon, NATO Enlargement and Central Europe: A Study in Civil-military Relations, 1996
12 Inspite of the strong anti-war sentiment in Germany of Chancellor ADENAUER promised in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer to supply German troops for the newly created transatlantic alliance. This was of course unconstitutional. Germany's new Basic Law had neither forseen an army nor conscription. Adenauer's promise was incompatible with the Potsdam Agreement which in 1945 had also called for Germany's heavy arms industry to be dismantled.
13„Dual-Use“ ist ein Begriff welcher die doppelte Verwendungsmöglichkeit einer Technologie sowohl für die Gesellschaft als auch für das Militär beschreiben soll. Er sagt auf der einen Seite, dass zivile Forschung für militärische Zwecke genutzt werden kann auf der anderen Seite jedoch auch, dass militärische Forschung Entdeckungen für die zivile Forschung mit sich bringt. Aber was bedeutet „Dual-Use“ wirklich? Ist es lediglich eine wirtschaftlichere Art der Forschung oder eine bewusste Entscheidung die Militärtechnologie nach dem kalten Krieg auf dem neusten Stand zu halten? Asta Uni Köln 2011
14 Nukleare Teilhabe
Unter "nuklearer Teilhabe" wird verstanden, dass Deutschland und andere Nato-Staaten, die den Atomwaffensperrvertrag als Atomwaffenverzichtsstaaten unterschrieben, über Planungsstäbe, Infrastrukturkooperation an Atomwaffen verbündeter Atomwaffenstaaten "teilhaben".
Wäre es tatsächlich "Teilhabe", so wäre es ebenso tatsächlich ein Bruch des Atomwaffensperrvertrags, den die Bundesrepublik Deutschland am 28.11.1969 unterschrieben hat. Es wäre ein Vertragsbruch sowohl der "teilhabenden" als auch der "teilüberlassenden" Vertragsstaaten.
Da sich jedoch die verbündeten Atomwaffenstaaten den alleinigen Oberbefehl über die Atomwaffen vorbehalten, stellt die "Nukleare Teilhabe" vielleicht "nur eine Vertragsverletzung" dar.
Ob Vertragsbruch oder Vertragsverletzung - beides müsste sofort endigen, aber bislang setzte sich keine bundesdeutsche Regierung für vertragskonformes Verhalten ein, auch nicht die zwischenzeitliche rot-grüne Regierung unter Schröder und Fischer, sondern fühlen sich beobachtbar geschmeichelt, an Beratungen beteiligt zu sein - in der "Nuklearen Planungsgruppe der Nato". Markus rabanus, 05.04. 2008 netz, siehe auch bits
15No matter what our foreign minister Guido Westerwelle may have negotiated again, no matter the wording of latest NATO statements declaring therir will to check with possible options ( see Der Spiegel April 30th 2012), or what parliament says.
16The United States contributes between one-fifth and one-quarter of NATO's budget. In FY2010 that contribution totaled $711.8 million. (???) says outgoing US- Defense minister Bill Gates in Brussels in 2011on June 10th according to CBS news, in additon to that the US pays over 21% to the NATO's civil budget to international organisations
17SOFAS= Status of Forces Agreement, giving all kind of privileges on the troups and free of charge use of the premises
18„Der Truppenübungsplatz Wittstock („Bombodrom“) war ein militärischer Übungsplatz in der Kyritz-Ruppiner Heide im Norden des Landes Brandenburg. Der am 30. Juni 1992 beschlossene Ausbau zu einem Luft-Boden-Schießplatz wurde 2009 aufgegeben und am 21. April 2010 der endgültige Verzicht der Bundeswehr zur Nutzung des Geländes bekannt gegeben. Die Kommandantur wurde am 13. Januar 2011 offiziell aufgelöst
19 As our government plays a key role in Nato, we have to continuously address our decision makers to respect our constitution, to respect the UN-charter and to the treaties we signed, none of them allowing for aggression against other countries. Most important in this context is the NPT.