United States of America

War profiteer of the month: Textron

Textron is an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies industrial conglomerate. Textron includes several companies including Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, and Beechcraft, Textron Systems, and has offices across the USA and in the United Kingdom.

War Resisters League calls for Sanctuary Cities Beyond Militarism

A WRI affiliate in the United States of America – War Resisters League – stand 'with all migrants in the U.S., especially the many facing renewed threats of mass deportation under the new Trump administration.' WRL are working to challenge police militarisation and racism, and their campaign #NoSWATzone upholds a vision of “Sanctuary Cities” and sanctuary spaces that provide refuge from the federal raids that Trump promises to bring.

Read their statement and recommended reading and resources here.

Reflections on Supporting Peace Prisoners

Paul Magno

In July of 2012 three disarmament activists in the United States - Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice and Michael Walli - engaged in a nonviolent direct action they dubbed "Transform Now Plowshares" at Oak Ridge, TN's Y12 National Security Complex. Oak Ridge is a site dating back to the beginning of the Manhattan project during World War II and remains an essential link in the nuclear weapons production capability of the US. The three were able to traverse the terrain of the Federal reservation during the night, overcome four security fences, and confront the Highly Enriched Uranium Maintenance Facility (HEUMF) - a repository for 400 metric tons of bomb-grade uranium, enough for 10,000 nuclear weapons. Once there they marked the area with crime scene tape, unfurled peace banners and marked the walls of the building with human blood and spray-painted biblical peace messages.

Facing Tear Gas: Chemical Weapons Abuse in US Prisons

(Image: Smoke and Prison Cell via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO)(Image: Smoke and Prison Cell via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO)

YaliniDream

A longer version of this article was first published on TruthOut.org - thanks to Sarah Robinson for abridging

Multiple letters from Mount Olive Correctional Complex (MOCC) in West Virginia, report at least 5-7 imprisoned people are sprayed by tear gas, pepper spray or other chemical agents each week.  First-hand testimonies refer to the guards' lax references to the frequent use of these chemicals as "bug spray."

One person reports getting sprayed after kicking a door and breaking a window because guards ignored his emergency call button. He had not received his diabetic snack bag, which he had been requesting for four hours. In a letter he writes to the War Resisters League he describes that, "I have severe hypoglycemia at nighttime which can result in my death… they opened the beanhole and used a canister of OC [oleoresin capsicum gas] spray on my stomach and testicles intentionally!" OC spray, commonly referred to as pepper spray, is derived from capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers. According to his letter, the spray dispersed to the top tier of the ventilation system impacting at least seven others imprisoned in the MOCC.

War Profiteer of the Month: RE/MAX

Ariel Gold, CodePink

RE/MAX, one of the world’s largest real estate companies, is contributing to the Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. Denver based RE/MAX International oversees more than 100,000 franchises in over 100 countries across the world, including Israel. RE/MAX Israel sells homes in all of the major settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and even has an office in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.

Reaching across the great divide of differences

Carol Thompson

The bright smile. Contagious laughter. Her sunshine drew others to her, to debate and argue, to learn and ponder. Energetic resolution, a passion for justice, for constant giving define Kayla Mueller; not her capture by ISIS, her torture and tragic death at age 26.

An interview with Greg Payton

This interview was originally published in Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements. The editor interviewed Greg Payton, an African American veteran of the Vietnam war, turned international peace activist with Vietnam Veterans against War, Veterans for Peace, War Resisters’ League, and Black Veterans for Social Justice. He talked to us about how race and racism have played out in his experience of this activism.

Can you tell us what got you involved in your activism?

I'm a Vietnam veteran. I got drafted, conscripted to Vietnam. And I really wasn't not into politics, I only went because I didn't want to get locked up, I didn't want to go to jail. That was the number one reason I went to Vietnam. <--break- />The military wasn't difficult for me, I was pretty physically active so it was OK. But when I went to Vietnam, I began to understand what the war was really about. I realised we were being used for the benefit of others. When I spoke about white soldiers and black soldiers and the problems of racism in the military, I became a target. I got attacked several times by American soldiers. It lead to a lot of conflict. I had to leave the army, I left without permission and went to stay with a Vietnamese family. It gave me tremendous insight on the war. I got shot at a couple of times by American soldiers.

USA: preparations to counter Urban Shield

A coalition of activists in the USA are preparing for protests against Urban Shield, a police training event and trade expo. Urban Shield brings together police departments from across the US and globally for intensive training " to learn how to better repress, criminalize, and militarize our communities." The event has been held annually in Alameda County since 2007, and recieves government funding.

Securing whose future? Militarism in an age of climate crisis

Nick Buxton

For anyone concerned with militarism, news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels brought a familiar sense of dread. We ache as we hear the stories of more innocent lives lost, and we feel foreboding from the knowledge that the bombings will predictably fuel new cycles of violence and horror in targeted communities at home or abroad. It creates the binary world that neocons and terrorists seek: an era of permanent war in which all our attention and resources are absorbed – and the real crises of poverty, inequality, unemployment, social alienation and climate crisis ignored.

USA: Air Force Times runs ad urging drone pilots to disobey orders

KnowDronesKnowDronesA story that we missed a few months ago, but that we think is well worth sharing!

KnowDrones, a campaigning group working to ban drones, placed an advert in the Air Force Times on September 14, 2015, which carried a message from 54 U.S. military veterans urging U.S. drone operators to refuse orders to fly drone surveillance and attack missions.

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