American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
Selected Protests, Arrests, and Actionsy
Trident Ploughshare at Scottish Naval Base
Police in Scotland arrested more than 60 people who tried to blockade a nuclear submarine base Feb 14. Anti-nuclear protesters began gathering at Faslane Naval Base, near Lochgoilhead in western Scotland, early Monday to try to prevent workers from entering the complex where Britain's Trident nuclear submarines are based.
Protest organizers, the anti-nuclear group Trident Ploughshare,
said up to 400 protesters were involved, including two members
of the European Parliament as well as Scottish lawmakers and clergy.
Police said more than 60 people were arrested in two separate
demonstrations at the main entrances. The demonstration follows
a ruling by Scottish Sheriff Margaret Gimblett in October that
the Trident system was illegal under international law and attempts
to "disarm" it were justified. The Lord Advocate,
Scotland's senior law officer, has asked the High Court
to review Gimblett's decision.
Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium
Trial for Phil Berrigan, Susan Crane, Rev. Steve Kelly SJ, and Elizabeth Wall--who face 26 years in prison for disarming two A-10 Warthog fighter planes, the type most responsible for the dropping of hundreds of tons of radioactive, depleted-uranium-coated munitions over Iraq and the former Yugoslavia--will begin in Circuit Court in Towson MD on March 20, 2000. The four, known collectively as Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium, acted in the biblical tradition of beating swords into ploughshares. More than 70 such actions have taken place since 1980. The Plowshares have asked that we help generate media coverage of the issues raised by their action, and all are eager to answer media questions from their Baltimore jail cells, where they are held on prohibitively high bail awaiting trial.
In the statement they issued after their action, the Plowshares stated: "Iraq and Yugoslavia are template wars, blueprints for future imperial wars--targeting the total of a society --military, civilians, the unborn, the infrastructure, the ecology, the health and spirit of a people. These wars even overflow against the troops that fight them. 90,000 American Gulf War veterans are now chronically ill. A US Department of Veterans Affairs study of 251 veterans' families in Mississippi shows that 67% had children with severe illnesses or birth defects. The US has made another fatal mistake with depleted uranium--it has given it away to a score of other countries, openly inviting them to make their own weapons, fight their own nuclear wars and infest the planet with more radiation."
There will be a Festival of Hope the night before the trial, March 19, although there are as yet no specifics. For information: Elizabeth McAlister, <email@example.com>
For further reading and information:
Campaign of Concience for the Iraqi People
Campaign organizers say: Future generations will remember that we acted as though the very lives of Iraqi children were in our hands. They are.
How to sign on
We reproduce here the statement which individuals are asked to sign in order to add their voices to the Campaign. (Organizations and faith communities wishing to sign on should request a copy of the similar statement tailored to expressing collective witness.) Complete this participant form and mail it with your check to AFSC or FOR.
Campaign Participant Letter
"Enclosed is my contribution to support the Campaign of Conscience for the Iraqi People. I understand that these funds will be used for educational efforts to lift the sanctions and for humanitarian assistance and civilian infrastructure repair for the people of Iraq.
"I support the American Friends Service Committee and Fellowship of Reconciliation in expressing their moral and legal commitments to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. I understand that AFSC and FOR will, in good faith, apply for licenses to ship these goods to the people of Iraq. I am aware that the US Treasury Department may invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations to deny licenses to ship some of these materials. In that case, AFSC and FOR will ship these items without licenses, in violation of the sanctions. My contribution might then be interpreted by the US government as a violation of a law which provides for civil fines up to $275,000 per violation and criminal penalties up to $1 million and/or 12 years in prison. [Persons under 18 and those with immigrant status may face additional legal problems and should contact the Campaign of Conscience before signing a participant form or making a contribution.]
"By contributing this money, I wish to be publicly associated with AFSC and FOR's effort to end the economic sanctions against the Iraqi people. I share with AFSC and FOR the conviction that, as individual citizens and as a nation, we are morally obligated to help alleviate the human suffering in Iraq which has resulted from nearly a decade of bombing and international sanctions. I also share the conviction that, as individual citizens and as a nation, we are morally and legally obligated to assist in the repair of Iraq's civilian infrastructure, such as water treatment and distribution systems and power generation for schools, hospitals, and residential areas.
"I understand that a copy of this signed statement will be presented by the Campaign of Conscience to the President, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, and my US Senators and Representative and that my name may be used in public statements of support for the Campaign of Conscience.
Signature, Name, and Address
Also supply this additional information which will not be sent to the government: Amount of contribution, Phone (day and evening), and Email. Please make check payable to "AFSC" or "FOR," earmarked "Campaign of Conscience." Send to:
Nonviolent Resistance at the UN
Kathy Kelly of Chicago, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness and Reverend John Dear, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation were among 86 protesters from across the US and Canada arrested at the US Mission to the UN on Feb. 14th, confronting the US/UN Security Council sanctions against Iraq.
A broad spectrum of human rights groups were represented in both the nonviolent resistance action and the legal demonstration. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Pax Christi USA, the AFSC, and FOR have all taken official stands against the sanctions. Leaders from every major religion in the US have also condemned the sanctions.
UNICEF and other UN agencies operating in Iraq estimate that more than one million civilians, mostly children, have died from malnutrition and disease as a result of the embargo. In August 1999 UNICEF used the infant mortality rate from before the sanctions to estimate that 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five have died; despite the UN's Oil-for-Food program, several thousand children under the age of five die every month. "They die from dysentery, typhus, cholera, and other epidemics of water-borne diseases which were created when the US bombed the civilian infrastructure of Iraq during the Gulf War. The sanctions prevent infrastructure repair and maintenance," noted Raed Battah from Kentucky, who recently traveled with Voices in the Wilderness to Iraq, in open and public violation of the sanctions.
Also on Feb. 14, Hans von Sponeck, coordinator of the Oil for Food UN program in Iraq, resigned in protest over the continuing economic sanctions. Diplomats said von Sponeck will be leaving because of the difficulties entailed with implementing the UN trade sanctions, initially imposed to force Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. The sanctions have crippled the Iraqi economy, leaving ordinary Iraqis struggling to feed and clothe themselves. Von Sponeck wanted the Security Council to separate Iraq's humanitarian needs from its disarmament. His outspoken remarks drew sharp criticism from both the US and Britain, the main proponents of sanctions. Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food Program in Iraq, handed in her resignation that same day. Her resignation is the third by a senior official involved in UN humanitarian efforts in Iraq in two years. Denis Halliday, Von Sponeck's predecessor, resigned in 1998, stating, "We are destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that."
At a Feb. 16 press conference, Reps. David Bonior (D-MI), Tom
Campbell (R-CA) and John Conyers (D-MI) called for the lifting
of economic sanctions. Seventy members of Congress have signed
on to an appeal letter to President Clinton.