WE CAN FIND THE TRUTH, BUT WHERE CAN WE FIND HOPE?

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This month’s CPNN bulletin is devoted to the courageous individuals who dare to seek and publish the truth in the face of the censorship and outright lies of the information war between NATO and Russia.

I add the following taken from the April 22 entry on the Facebook page of Jan Oberg. He is a tireless fighter for the truth, and is director at the Transcend News Service that provides links to many of the articles we republish in CPNN.

“Denmark’s foreign policy is today reduced to what can be done with weapons, soldiers, barbed wire, Defense Intelligence agents, etc. And then more weapons – that ‘the Danes can be proud of’.

“Has one single initiative taken from the Danish side – alone or with others or from the EU – for mediation, negotiations and demilitarization? Of course not because:

“Of course, the purpose is not primarily to support Ukraine, but to satisfy the US/NATO’s desire to make the war in Ukraine so long that it undermines Russia knowing that at the same time it makes Ukraine bleed even more.

“Mette “Kogeplade” Frederiksen knows how to do that and at the same time get some photo opportunities.

“Imagine that in this terrible, destructive war of occupation – as it is produced – that it would be possible for all possible leaders of state to visit Ukraine.

“One has to wonder why they didn’t visit the targets during the NATO and the US wars – Belgrade, Baghdad, Damascus, Tripoli – but it was many times harder. And the attackers were our friends.

“In Denmark, this is called value-based foreign policy.
I would call it worthless, unprincipled, and thoughtless. And in relation to NATO expansion: shameless.”

Oberg’s analysis of April 22 was confirmed by the the remarks of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on April 25 following his visit to the Ukraine when he said that the goal was defeat Russia so decisively on the battlefield that it will be deterred from launching such an attack ever again.

Although, as Oberg describes, Denmark, like the rest of the European Union supports the role of the US and NATO, fortunately most of the countries of Africa and Asia do not agree, and a few countries in Latin America also have the courage to say “no” or abstain.

But where are we headed?

I suppose it will lead to a divided Ukraine like North and South Korea, with enormous human suffering and armaments on both sides that will be always poised to explode again into war. And with new expansions of NATO making it even more menacing to Russia.

Europe which gave us World War I and II, now seems preparing to give us World War III. Responding to the remarks quoted above by the US Secretary of Defense, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov said that the conflict in Ukraine risked escalating into a third world war and that NATO was “in essence” engaged in a proxy war with Moscow by supplying Kyiv with weapons.

As both sides pour their resources into armaments, there is little left for health care, for education, and for other human needs. Their economies, already strained by the COVID pandemic, continue down the path towards a total crash, first economic then political.

And what about human hopes and dreams? Can our children and grandchildren still hope for a culture of peace? Can they still sing for peace and write their dreams and send them aloft on balloons for the International Day of Peace, not only in English, but also in Russian and Ukrainian?

Or are they and we completely swallowed up in the rush to war?

We can find the truth, but how can we find hope? Can we still dream of the promised land of peace?

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NOUS POUVONS TROUVER LA VÉRITÉ, MAIS OÙ POUVONS-NOUS TROUVER L’ESPOIR ?

Le bulletin CPNN de ce mois-ci est consacré aux individus courageux qui osent rechercher et publier la vérité face à la censure et aux mensonges éhontés de la guerre de l’information entre l’OTAN et la Russie.

J’ajoute ce qui suit extrait de la page Facebook de Jan Oberg du 22 avril. Oberg est un combattant infatigable pour la vérité. Il est directeur au Transcend News Service qui fournit des liens vers de nombreux articles que nous republiions dans CPNN.

“La politique étrangère du Danemark est aujourd’hui réduite à ce qui peut être fait avec des armes, des soldats, des barbelés, des agents du renseignement de défense, etc. Et puis plus d’armes – dont ‘les Danois peuvent être fiers’.

“Y a-t-il une seule initiative prise du côté danois – seul ou avec d’autres ou de l’UE – pour la médiation, les négociations et la démilitarisation ? Bien sûr que non parce que :

“Le but n’est pas principalement de soutenir l’Ukraine, mais de satisfaire au désir des USA/OTAN de faire la guerre en Ukraine assez longtemps pour qu’elle sape la Russie sachant qu’en même temps elle saigne encore plus l’Ukraine.

“Mette “Kogeplade” Frederiksen sait comment faire cela et en même temps obtenir des reportages photos “opportuns”.

“Imaginez que dans cette guerre d’occupation terrible et destructrice – telle qu’elle se produit – il soit possible pour tous les chefs d’État de visiter l’Ukraine.

“On peut se demander pourquoi ils n’ont pas visité les cibles pendant les guerres de l’OTAN et des États-Unis – Belgrade, Bagdad, Damas, Tripoli – c’était bien plus difficile, car les assaillants étaient nos amis.

“Au Danemark, cela s’appelle une politique étrangère basée sur les valeurs.

“Je dirais que c’est sans valeur, sans principes et irréfléchi. Et par rapport à l’élargissement de l’OTAN : sans vergogne.”

L’analyse d’Oberg du 22 avril a été confirmée par les remarques du secrétaire américain de la Défense Lloyd Austin le 25 avril après sa visite en Ukraine lorsqu’il a déclaré que l’objectif était de vaincre la Russie de manière si décisive sur le champ de bataille qu’elle serait dissuadée de lancer une telle attaque plus jamais.

Meme si, comme decrit Oberg, le Danemark et la reste de l’europe soutiennent le rôle des États-Unis et de l’OTAN, heureusement, la plupart des pays d’Afrique et d’Asie ne sont pas d’accord, et quelques pays d’Amérique latine ont également le courage de dire “non” ou s’abstenir.

Mais où allons-nous?

Je suppose que cela conduira à une Ukraine divisée comme la Corée du Nord et la Corée du Sud, avec d’énormes souffrances humaines et des armements des deux côtés qui seront toujours prêts à exploser à nouveau dans la guerre. Et avec de nouvelles expansions de l’OTAN qui la rendent encore plus menaçante pour la Russie.

L’Europe qui nous a donné la Première et la Seconde Guerre mondiale, semble maintenant se préparer à nous donner la Troisième Guerre mondiale. Répondant aux propos cités ci-dessus par le secrétaire américain à la Défense, le ministre des Affaires étrangères de la Fédération de Russie, Sergueï Lavrov a déclaré que le conflit en Ukraine risquait de dégénérer en une troisième guerre mondiale et que l’OTAN était « essentiellement » engagée dans une guerre par procuration avec Moscou en fournissant des armes à Kiev.

Alors que les deux parties investissent leurs ressources dans les armements, il reste peu pour les soins de santé, l’éducation et les autres besoins humains. Leurs économies, déjà mises à rude épreuve par la pandémie de COVID, poursuivent leur chemin vers un krach total, d’abord économique puis politique.

Et qu’en est-il des espoirs et des rêves humains ? Nos enfants et petits-enfants peuvent-ils encore espérer une culture de la paix ? Peuvent-ils encore chanter pour la paix et écrire leurs rêves et les envoyer dans des ballons pour la Journée internationale de la paix, non seulement en anglais, mais aussi en russe et en ukrainien ?

Ou sont-ils et sommes-nous complètement engloutis dans la course à la guerre ?

Nous pouvons trouver la vérité, mais où trouver l’espoir ? Pouvons-nous encore rêver de la terre promise de la paix
?

HOW THE UNITED STATES CREATED VLADIMIR PUTIN

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This is the first of two blogs for April, 2022. The other one is entitled THE UKRAINE WAR COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

The title of this blog comes from a speech by Vladimir Posner at Yale Sept 27, 2018. Posner was the spokesman for Mikhail Gorbachev in the latter years of the 1980’s and has continued over the years to provide independent, informed journalism from his base in Russia.

In addition to providing an important background for the present war in the Ukraine, Posner illustrates two of the most important conclusions of the studies that led to my publication of the History of the Culture of War.

First, the culture of war needs an enemy, and will invent one if necessary, in order to justify the profits of the military-industrial complex and its exploitation of workers and countries of the global South. Without an enemy, the culture of war cannot obtain the consent of its voters.`

Second, the control of information has become the main arm of the culture of war, as it is needed to convince people they have an enemy.

Here are excerpts from Posner’s speech with explanatory additions in brackets.

“We are at an extremely dangerous moment. . . . At the height of the Cold War the Russians were not anti-American. . . But today Russians are anti-American at the grassroots level. . . And neither side seems to be afraid of using nuclear weapons.”

“Why are we at the point where we are today?”

[Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in February 1992, Russian president] Yeltsin came to the United States and he addressed a joint session of Congress. And he said the people of Russia are offering their hand to the people of the United States in friendship, to build a better world, a world without war, and this was exactly what the vast majority of Russians wanted. And I would even say that today, the vast majority of Russians would like to have, if not a friendship with the United States, at least a partnership. There’s no doubt to my mind that that’s the case. . . And what kind of response did he get? What kind of response did Russia get?” [Nothing.]

[When Gorbachev was asked about reuniting Germany at the end of the Cold War,] “he was told by the US Secretary of State James Baker, if this happens, NATO will not move one inch eastward [See February blog]. . . . But it’s not only Baker who said that to him, there were several people there, including the West German leadership . . . And NATO stayed put in those days. It stayed put under Bush Senior. It stayed put during the first four years of Clinton. But in the next four years, in 1996, approximately, a decision was taken to enlarge NATO to three countries, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.”

[May 2, 1998. NY Times interview by Thomas Friedman with George Kennan] “He called him up and asked him what did he think about this decision to enlarge NATO? ‘I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War, ” said Mr Kennan from his Princeton home. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely, and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. . . . That’s where it all began, because the Russian reaction . . . was ‘you promised not to do this. So, how do we trust you, if you make a promise?'”

[During the 22 years from Gorbachev until Putin in 2007] “Nothing, not one thing during that period” was done by the Soviet Union or Russia to justify such a decision.

[In the year 2000, Vladimir Putin became President.] And one of the first things he does is to ask for Russia to become a member of NATO. Why not be a member of NATO? NATO was created to defend Europe and perhaps not only Europe from Soviet aggression, from a country that you couldn’t predict. But there is no more Soviet Union and there is no more Warsaw Pact. ‘Why can’t we create an organization where we are part of it,’ said Mr. Putin, “and act together to protect from some kind of aggression?’ He was told, basically, go take a walk!”

“As soon as 911 happens Putin calls up Bush Jr and offers his help. And yes, and does help in Afghanistan. . . .we want to fight terrorism together. . . . And he gets nothing in exchange.”

“So finally in February 10, 2007, in Munich speaking to the group of 20, Putin says this, ‘I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernization of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurance or our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? I would like to quote the speech of General Secretary Mr. Berner of Brussels on May 17, 1990. He said at the time, quote, the fact that we are not ready to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are these guarantees? And you know what the answer was? The answer was ‘Yes, but those were guarantees given to the Soviet Union, and you’re Russia.”

“Last year, I think it was, making a foreign policy speech, Putin said, ‘Our mistake was that we trusted you too much. And your mistake was that you tried to take advantage of that.” That is the situation today. Now it may seem to you that I’m blaming the United States, I don’t want the word blame used. It was a mistaken political decision. . . . that’s why I say that US policy created Putin the way he is today. . . . So now we are in a new arms race, which is terrible. We are in a new Cold War which threatens all of us. . . . ”

“And finally, as someone who works in media, I would like to say that Russian mainstream media paints America black. Russian mainstream media, controlled directly or indirectly by the government, shows an extremely negative picture of the United States, US policy and so on. And much to my surprise, mainstream American media does exactly the same thing vis-a-vis Russia. Which to me is amazing because this is supposed to be a free media that’s differing from the Russian one. As someone who works in Russian media, I can say it’s hard to call it a free media. There are some opposition newspapers and radio, but that’s not mainstream. They address a very small number of people. So there we are, I think people who call themselves journalists, in my book they’re not journalists. But those people have played and are playing a destructive role in creating the fear, the dislike, the distrust that the people in both countries have vis-a-vis each other. And the fact that we don’t seem to question our media is really quite interesting. But there it is, nonetheless, we just take it.”

“So I’d like to wind up with a quote from . . . Herman Goering . . . Hitler’s right hand man . . . interviewed by an American journalist shortly before he committed suicide. Here’s what he said, and I think this is something that we should all remember. ‘Naturally, the common people don’t want war. Neither in Russia nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country,’ said Mr Goering and I think he was absolutely right. And we are being led by our media, by our politicians, in that direction in both countries. . . . We’re being manipulated.”

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COMMENT LES ÉTATS-UNIS ONT CRÉÉ VLADIMIR POUTINE

Ceci est le premier de deux blogs pour avril 2022. L’autre s’intitule LA GUERRE D’UKRAINE AURAIT PU ÊTRE ÉVITÉE

Le titre de ce blog vient d’un discours de Vladimir Posner à Yale le 27 septembre 2018. Posner était le porte-parole de Mikhaïl Gorbatchev dans les dernières années des années 1980 et a continué au fil des ans à fournir un journalisme indépendant et informé depuis sa base en Russie. .

En plus de fournir un contexte important pour la guerre actuelle en Ukraine, Posner illustre deux des conclusions les plus importantes des études qui ont conduit à ma publication de l’Histoire de la culture de la guerre.

Premièrement, la culture de guerre a besoin d’un ennemi, et s’en inventera si nécessaire, pour justifier les profits du complexe militaro-industriel et son exploitation des travailleurs et des pays du Sud global. Sans ennemi, la culture de la guerre ne peut obtenir le consentement de ses électeurs.

Deuxièmement, le contrôle de l’information est devenu l’arme principale de la culture de guerre, car il est nécessaire pour convaincre les gens qu’ils ont un ennemi.

Voici des extraits du discours de Posner avec des ajouts explicatifs entre parenthèses.

“Nous sommes à un moment extrêmement dangereux… Au plus fort de la guerre froide, les Russes n’étaient pas anti-américains… Mais aujourd’hui, les Russes sont anti-américains au niveau de la base… Et aucune des deux parties ne semble avoir peur d’utiliser des armes nucléaires.”

« Pourquoi en sommes-nous au point où nous en sommes aujourd’hui ? »

[Après la dissolution de l’Union soviétique en février 1992, le président russe] Eltsine est venu aux États-Unis et il s’est adressé à une session du Congrès. Et il a dit que le peuple russe tendait la main au peuple des États-Unis dans l’amitié, pour construire un monde meilleur, un monde sans guerre, et c’était exactement ce que voulait la grande majorité des Russes. Et je dirais même qu’aujourd’hui, la grande majorité des Russes aimeraient avoir, sinon une amitié avec les États-Unis, du moins un partenariat. Il ne fait aucun doute dans mon esprit que c’est le cas. . . Et quel genre de réponse Eltsine a-t-il reçu ? Quel genre de réponse la Russie a-t-elle reçue?” [Rien.]

[Lorsque Gorbatchev a été interrogé sur la réunification de l’Allemagne à la fin de la guerre froide] “, le secrétaire d’État américain James Baker lui a dit que si cela se produisait, l’OTAN ne se déplacerait pas d’un pouce vers l’est [voir blog de fevrier]. . . Mais ce n’est pas seulement Baker qui lui a dit cela, il y avait plusieurs personnes là-bas, y compris les dirigeants ouest-allemands… Et l’OTAN est restée en place à cette époque. Elle est restée en place sous Bush père. Elle est restée en place pendant les quatre premières années de Clinton. Mais au cours des quatre années suivantes, en 1996 environ, la décision a été prise d’élargir l’OTAN à trois pays, la Pologne, la République tchèque et la Hongrie.

[2 mai 1998. Interview du NY Times par Thomas Friedman avec George Kennan] “Il l’a appelé et lui a demandé ce qu’il pensait de cette décision d’élargir l’OTAN ? ‘Je pense que c’est le début d’une nouvelle guerre froide’, a déclaré M. Kennan de sa maison de Princeton. “Je pense que les Russes vont progressivement réagir assez négativement, et cela affectera leur politique. Je pense que c’est une erreur tragique. Il n’y avait aucune raison à cela ». . . . C’est là que tout a commencé, car la réaction russe . . . était ‘vous avez promis de ne pas faire cela. Alors, comment pouvons-nous vous faire confiance, si vous faites une promesse ? »

[Pendant les 22 années de Gorbatchev jusqu’à Poutine en 2007] “Rien, pas une seule chose pendant cette période” n’a été fait par l’Union soviétique ou la Russie pour justifier une telle décision.

[En l’an 2000, Vladimir Poutine est devenu président.] Et l’une des premières choses qu’il fait est de demander à la Russie de devenir membre de l’OTAN. Pourquoi ne pas être membre de l’OTAN ? L’OTAN a été créée pour défendre l’Europe et peut-être pas seulement l’Europe de l’agression soviétique, d’un pays que vous ne pouviez pas prévoir. Mais il n’y a plus d’Union soviétique et il n’y a plus de Pacte de Varsovie. “Pourquoi ne pouvons-nous pas créer une organisation dont nous faisons partie”, a déclaré M. Poutine, “et agir ensemble pour nous protéger d’une sorte d’agression?” On lui a dit, en gros, va faire un tour !”

“Après les attentats du World Trade Center en 2001, Poutine appelle Bush Jr et offre son aide. Et oui, et aide en Afghanistan. . . . nous voulons combattre le terrorisme ensemble. . . . Et il n’obtient rien en échange.”

“Donc, finalement, le 10 février 2007, à Munich, s’adressant au groupe des 20, Poutine a déclaré ceci : ‘Je pense qu’il est évident que l’élargissement de l’OTAN n’a aucun rapport avec la modernisation de l’Alliance elle-même ou avec la garantie de la sécurité en Europe. Au contraire, il représente une grave provocation qui réduit le niveau de confiance mutuelle. Et nous sommes en droit de nous demander contre qui est destiné cet élargissement ? Et qu’est-il advenu de l’assurance de nos partenaires occidentaux après la dissolution du Pacte de Varsovie ? Où sont ces déclarations aujourd’hui? Je voudrais citer le discours du secrétaire général, M. Berner, de Bruxelles, le 17 mai 1990. Il a dit à l’époque, je cite, le fait que nous ne sommes pas prêts à placer une armée de l’OTAN en dehors de l’Allemagne doit donner à l’Union soviétique une garantie de sécurité ferme. Où sont ces garanties ? Et vous savez quelle était la réponse ? La réponse a été “Oui, mais c’étaient des garanties données à l’Union soviétique, et vous êtes la Russie”.

« L’année dernière, je pense que c’était le cas, lors d’un discours de politique étrangère, Poutine a déclaré : “Notre erreur a été que nous vous faisions trop confiance. Et votre erreur a été que vous avez essayé d’en profiter.” Telle est la situation aujourd’hui. Maintenant, il peut vous sembler que je blâme les États-Unis, je ne veux pas que le mot blâme soit utilisé. C’était une décision politique erronée. . . . c’est pourquoi je dis que la politique américaine a créé Poutine tel qu’il est aujourd’hui. . . . Nous sommes donc maintenant dans une nouvelle course aux armements, ce qui est terrible. Nous sommes dans une nouvelle guerre froide qui nous menace tous. . . . ”

“Et enfin, en tant que personne qui travaille dans les médias, je voudrais dire que les grands médias russes peignent l’Amérique en noir. Les grands médias russes, contrôlés directement ou indirectement par le gouvernement, montrent une image extrêmement négative des États-Unis, de la politique américaine, etc. Et à ma grande surprise, les grands médias américains font exactement la même chose vis-à-vis de la Russie. Ce qui pour moi est incroyable parce que c’est censé être un média libre qui diffère du média russe. En tant que personne qui travaille en russe médias, je peux dire que c’est difficile d’appeler cela un média libre. Il y a des journaux et des radios d’opposition, mais ce n’est pas grand public. Ils s’adressent à un très petit nombre de personnes. Donc voilà, je pense que des gens qui se disent journalistes, dans mon livre, ce ne sont pas des journalistes. Mais ces gens ont joué et jouent un rôle destructeur en créant la peur, l’aversion, la méfiance que les gens des deux pays ont l’un envers l’autre. Et le fait que nous ne contestions pas nos médias est vraiment très curieux. Mais c’est ainsi, néanmoins, nous acceptons ce qu’ils disent.”

“Donc, j’aimerais conclure avec une citation de… Herman Goering… le bras droit d’Hitler… interviewé par un journaliste américain peu de temps avant qu’il ne se suicide. Voici ce qu’il a dit, et je pense que c’est quelque chose que nous devrions tous nous rappeler. “Naturellement, les gens du commun ne veulent pas la guerre. Ni en Russie ni en Angleterre, ni d’ailleurs en Allemagne. C’est entendu. Mais après tout, ce sont les dirigeants du pays qui le déterminent, qu’il s’agisse d’une démocratie ou d’une dictature fasciste, d’un parlement ou d’une dictature communiste. Voix ou non voix, le peuple peut toujours être amené aux ordres des dirigeants. . C’est facile. Tout ce que vous avez à faire, c’est de leur dire qu’ils sont attaqués et de dénoncer les artisans de la paix pour leur manque de patriotisme et leur mise en danger du pays. Cela fonctionne de la même manière dans n’importe quel pays”, a déclaré M. Goering et je pense qu’il avait tout à fait raison. Et nous sommes guidés par nos médias, par o nos politiciens, dans cette direction dans les deux pays. . . . Nous sommes manipulés.”

THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO JULIAN ASSANGE

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To some extent one must applaud the choice of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to two journalists that have dared to defy government pressure.  It is correct that the free flow of information is essential for peace, as we have maintained in this blog.  In fact, it has become the highest priority because, as we have stressed here, the culture of war now uses the manipulation of information as its primary means of defense.

And the journalists who were chosen, Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, certainly merit the distinction.

But there is another journalist who is even more deserving. And his recognition would have contributed far more to the cause of world peace. That is Julian Assange.

As Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire said in 2019 when she nominated Assange for the Prize, “Julian Assange meets all criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Through his release of hidden information to the public we are no longer naïve to the atrocities of war, neither oblivious to the connections between big business and the acquisition of resources and spoils of war. As his human rights and freedom are in jeopardy, the Nobel Peace Prize would afford Julian much greater protection from governments’ forces.”

His recognition would have contributed far more to the cause of world peace because Assange revealed the secrets of the American Empire, which is the primary force in the culture of war. Those who received the prize this year attacked countries that are secondary: the Philippines and Russia. To be sure these countries are also part of the culture of war, but they are not responsible for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya, for military bases throughout the world, for the systematic overthrow of anyone who is elected to head a country that does not support the American Empire, and for the support of the worst dictatorships and warmongers responsible for wars like that in Yemen.

Assange revealed the American atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan and the involvement of the CIA in covert warfare around the world.

And because of his courageous journalism he continues to be under attack by the American Empire, to the point that it was recently revealed that the CIA asked permission from President Trump to assassinate him.

Ironically, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama at a time when he was initiating the prosecution of Assange and when his administration was beginning the secret warfare of drones, perhaps the most dangerous advance of the culture of war. And Assange was revealing the secrets of the Obama administration.

In fact, as long as we are suggesting who should have won the prize, why not add Edward Snowden who is also being sought by the United States for revealing its culture of war secrets? And Daniel Ellsberg who was the first whistle-blower, revealing the secrets of the Vietnam War, and who continues to speak out in favor of Snowden and Assange? And why not add Mordecai Vanunu, imprisoned for 18 years after revealing the secret of Israel’s nuclear arms, and who continues to be harassed by the Israeli government? And Daniel Hale, recently imprisoned for revealing the secrets of America’s drone warfare?

By revealing the secrets of America’s culture of war, all of these whistle-blowers are making a great contribution to the world’s anti-war consciousness which is a key component of the developments that can eventually produce a transition to the culture of peace.

* * * * *

LE PRIX NOBEL DE LA PAIX AURAIT DU ÊTRE ATTRIBUÉ À JULIAN ASSANGE

Dans une certaine mesure, il faut applaudir le choix du prix Nobel de la paix de cette année à deux journalistes qui ont osé défier la pression gouvernementale. Il est exact que la libre circulation de l’information est essentielle pour la paix, comme nous l’avons soutenu dans ce blog. En fait, c’est devenu la plus haute priorité parce que la culture de la guerre utilise désormais la manipulation de l’information comme principal moyen de défense.

Et les journalistes choisis, Maria Ressa et Dmitry Muratov, méritaient certainement la distinction.

Mais il y a un autre journaliste qui le mérite encore plus. Et sa reconnaissance aurait contribué beaucoup plus à la cause de la paix mondiale. C’est Julian Assange.

Comme l’a déclaré la lauréate du prix Nobel de la paix Mairead Maguire en 2019 lorsqu’elle a nominé Assange pour le prix, “Julian Assange remplit tous les critères pour le prix Nobel de la paix.   Grâce à sa divulgation d’informations cachées au public, nous ne sommes plus naïfs face aux atrocités de la guerre, ni inconscients des liens entre les grandes entreprises et l’acquisition de ressources et de butin de guerre. Comme ses droits humains et sa liberté sont en danger, le prix Nobel de la paix offrirait à Julian une protection beaucoup plus grande contre les forces gouvernementales.”

Sa reconnaissance aurait beaucoup plus contribué à la cause de la paix mondiale car Assange a révélé les secrets de l’Empire américain, qui est la force principale de la culture de la guerre. Ceux qui ont reçu le prix cette année ont attaqué des pays secondaires : les Philippines et la Russie. Certes, ces pays font aussi partie de la culture de la guerre, mais ils ne sont pas responsables des guerres en Irak, en Afghanistan, en Syrie et en Libye, des bases militaires à travers le monde, du renversement systématique de quiconque est élu à la tête un pays qui ne soutient pas l’Empire américain, et pour le soutien des pires dictatures et bellicistes responsables de guerres comme celle du Yémen.

Assange a révélé les atrocités américaines en Irak et en Afghanistan et l’implication de la CIA dans des guerres secrètes à travers le monde.

Et à cause de son journalisme courageux, il continue d’être attaqué par l’Empire américain, au point qu’il a été récemment révélé que la CIA avait demandé la permission au président Trump de l’assassiner.

Ironiquement, le prix Nobel de la paix a été décerné au président Obama à un moment où il engageait les poursuites contre Assange et où son administration commençait la guerre secrète des drones, peut-être l’avancée la plus dangereuse de la culture de la guerre. Et Assange révélait les secrets de l’administration Obama.

En fait, tant que nous suggérons qui aurait dû remporter le prix, pourquoi ne pas ajouter Edward Snowden qui est également recherché par les États-Unis pour avoir révélé leur culture des secrets de guerre ? Et Daniel Ellsberg qui fut le premier lanceur d’alerte, révélant les secrets de la guerre du Vietnam, et qui continue de se prononcer en faveur de Snowden et Assange? Et pourquoi ne pas ajouter Mordecai Vanunu, emprisonné pendant 18 ans après avoir révélé le secret des armes nucléaires d’Israël, et qui continue d’être harcelé par le gouvernement israélien? Et Daniel Hale, récemment emprisonné pour avoir révélé les secrets de la guerre des drones américains?

Tous ces dénonciateurs qui ont révélé les secrets de la culture de guerre américaine et de ses alliés, apportent une grande contribution à la conscience anti-guerre du monde qui est un élément clé des développements qui peuvent éventuellement produire une transition vers la culture de la paix.

CULTURE OF WAR UPDATE

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Two years ago in this blog, I wrote the following:

“There has been so much advance in both democracy and anti-war consciousness over the past few centuries that the state has found it increasingly difficult to get popular support for its wars, overt and covert, and its threats of war. People no longer will vote for this. To get around this problem and to continue its culture of war, the state has increasingly resorted to secret war, secret threats, and outright lies in order to justify its overt warfare. The war against Vietnam was justified by an invented attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. The war against Iraq was justified by the invented “weapons of mass destruction.” The control of information has become a crucial means for the culture of war – without this control it cannot be sustained.”

Recent events confirm this analysis. Their presentation in the commercial mass media has been controlled to mask the covert warfare of the American empire.

Cuba. As described on the website of FAIR: “A wave of protests in Cuba became the somewhat unlikely focus of global attention earlier this week, the events becoming the worldwide No. 1 trend on Twitter for over 24 hours, as celebrities, politicians and even the president of the United States weighed in on the action. . . . However, while giving the protests a great deal of coverage, the corporate press across the political spectrum consistently downplayed one of the primary causes of unrest: the increasingly punitive US blockade.” In other words, the US carries out an economic war against Cuba and then uses the press to justify it.

Nicaragua. A similar covert war has been carried out against Nicaragua. Here is the description reported in Prensa Latina: “The Cuban ambassador to Nicaragua, Juan Carlos Hernández), said today that Sunday’s events in his country follow the same script as what happened in Nicaragua with the failed coup attempt in 2018. We are in the presence of a preconceived script that Nicaragua is not strange to, such as the use of vandalism by the ‘Protesters’, the diplomat stated in his appearance in Live magazine of Channel Four on Nicaraguan television. He explained the use of social networks from abroad to encourage violence and take advantage of the difficult conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic in order to provoke protests.”

Venezuela: Two years ago we reprinted an article in CPNN concerning the US economic war against Venezuela and the control of media reports in order to justify the aggression. The author,  Eric Zuesse, writing in Transcend Media Service compared this to many other similar interventions by the US: “Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. . . . . Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?”

Bolivia: More recently in another article by Eric Zuesse reprinted in CPNN , he states that “Without a doubt, the coup d’état in Bolivia is part of the tradition of the old military coups sponsored by the United States since the end of World War II. However, this practice dates back even further, as the history books show us. That means that the soft coup that was applied against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Lugo in Paraguay and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, has been abandoned and the old formulas have returned. In Bolivia, the old formulas were applied, because in reality there was no possible propagandistic basis for the coup.”

A recent revelation supports the American role in the coup in Bolivia. It is reported by the website TV Mundus: “The coup general who demanded the resignation of President Evo Morales went to live in the United States. Just 72 hours after the coup, Williams Kaliman went to live in the United States without knowing exactly in which state he will hide after having collected a million dollars. The Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in La Paz was in charge of giving one million dollars to each military chief and five hundred thousand of the same currency to each police chief. Between the mutiny of the policemen that allowed the vindictive chaos against the socialists and indigenous people and the inaction of the Army, the coup was implemented. . . . . Kaliman was immediately replaced by the self-proclaimed President Janine Añez and in this way, together with the other military chiefs, they left for the United States, safe from any immediate investigation by the local and international community.” This information, like other analyses of the Bolivian coup, has never been reprinted by the mainstream media.

Brazil: The arrest and jailing of former Brazilian President Lula da Silva in April 2018 opened the door to far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who came to power with the support of the United States and powerful corporate interests. New information indicates that the US was involved as in the countries listed above. According to an article in the Brazil Wire Newsletter, in 2019 the US Department of Justice attempted to pay the Lava Jato task force a $682 million dollar kickback. This was the task force that produced the false evidence used to convict Lula. As they remark, “Over the past 4 years, as most Anglo media completely ignored the issue, Brasil Wire has extensively covered US government involvement in the Lava Jato corruption investigation.”

Syria. American secret wars and media control is not confined to Latin America. In Syria, the United States and its allies funded the White Helmets organization which provided false propaganda to justify US military intervention against the Syrian government. This was exposed by Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, but the mainstream media continued to carry the White Helmets propaganda.

Xinjiang, China. The most recent example of secret intervention and media control comes in the context of Biden’s renewal of a Cold War with China. As described on the website Yilan, “Recently, there has been a flood of posts on various other social media platforms, decrying outrage over alleged abuse of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. These posts claim that Uyghur Muslims are being skinned alive, tortured, starved, and raped in Nazi Germany style concentration camps. According to these posts, the camps seek to indoctrinate Uyghur Muslims into abandoning their Uyghur and Muslim culture. Essentially, these posts are stating that China is engaging in a genocide of Uyghur Muslims.”

Indeed, Uyghur Muslims have been relocated to camps in Xinjiang. But why? Here is where the media fails to give full information. For a long time, the Central Intelligence Agency has financed an organization called ETIM to promote Uyghur independence from China. This is important in the context of the new Cold War because Xinjiang is a key transportation region for the Chinese economic venture, the belt and road initiative, for trade with the Middle East and Europe. The Uyghur camps have been established in response to the CIA-funded terrorist operations.

As described in Yilan, “The ETIM is designated a terrorist organization by many countries for good reason. To quote from a report by the United Nations Security Council, ‘In recent years, ETIM has set up bases outside China to train terrorists and has dispatched its members to China to plot and execute terrorist acts including bombing buses, cinemas, department stores, markets and hotels.” There have been fewer attacks since the camps were established by the Chinese government as a response to these interventions.

As for the media coverage, according to Yilan, “The two main sources that are pushing the narrative of these centers being torture sites include Radio Free Asia, which is unsurprisingly also funded by the CIA, and a man named Adrien Zenz.” (See this analysis of Zenz).

None of this is to defend violations of human rights in the context of the culture of war by the opponents of the United States, but at the present time, it is the American empire that is dominating the culture of war.

That is the bad news, but there is good news as well. Returning to our point of departure, it is “the advance in both democracy and anti-war consciousness over the past few centuries that [explains why] the state has found it increasingly difficult to get popular support for its wars.”

In fact, by disseminating the above information, we contribute to further democracy and further increase in anti-war consciousness.

It does not seem likely that the advance in democracy and anti-war consciousness can overthrow the American Empire and its culture of war, but this empire, like its predecessor, the Soviet Empire, will eventually collapse from its own contradictions. At that point, there will be a window of opportunity. And at that point, the development of democracy and anti-war consciousness will be essential if we are to make a radical change in global governance, a United Nations based directly on the people and promoting a culture of peace.

* * * * *

MISE À JOUR SUR LA CULTURE DE LA GUERRE

Il y a deux ans dans ce blog, j’ai écrit ce qui suit :

“Il y a eu tellement de progrès dans la démocratie et la conscience anti-guerre au cours des derniers siècles que l’État a de plus en plus de mal à obtenir le soutien populaire pour ses guerres, ouvertes et secrètes, et ses menaces de guerre. Les gens ne le feront plus votez pour cela. Pour contourner ce problème et pour continuer sa culture de guerre, l’État a de plus en plus recours à la guerre secrète, aux menaces secrètes et au mensonge pur et simple afin de justifier sa guerre ouverte. La guerre contre le Vietnam a été justifiée par une attaque inventée dans le golfe du Tonkin. La guerre contre l’Irak a été justifiée par les “armes de destruction massive” inventées. Le contrôle de l’information est devenu un moyen crucial pour la culture de la guerre – sans ce contrôle, il ne peut pas être maintenu”.

Les événements récents confirment cette analyse. Leur présentation dans les médias commerciaux a été contrôlée pour masquer la guerre secrète de l’empire américain.

Cuba. Comme décrit sur le site Web de FAIR : « Une vague de manifestations à Cuba est devenue le centre d’attention mondial cette semaine, les événements devenant la tendance n ° 1 sur Twitter pendant plus de 24 heures; célébrités, politiciens et même le président des États-Unis ont pesé sur l’action. . . Cependant, tout en donnant une large couverture aux manifestations, la presse commerciale à travers l’éventail politique ,a constamment minimisé l’une des principales causes de troubles : le blocus américain de plus en plus punitif. » En d’autres termes, les États-Unis mènent une guerre économique contre Cuba et utilisent ensuite la presse pour la justifier.

Nicaragua. Une guerre secrète similaire a été menée contre le Nicaragua. Voici la description rapportée dans Prensa Latina : « L’ambassadeur de Cuba au Nicaragua, Juan Carlos Hernández, a déclaré aujourd’hui que les événements de dimanche dans son pays suivent le même scénario que ce qui s’est passé au Nicaragua avec la tentative de coup d’État ratée en 2018. Nous sommes dans le présence d’un scénario préconçu auquel le Nicaragua n’est pas étranger, comme l’utilisation du vandalisme par les « manifestants », a déclaré le diplomate lors de son apparition dans le magazine Live de Channel Four à la télévision nicaraguayenne. Il a expliqué l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux de l’étranger pour encourager la violence et profiter des conditions difficiles imposées par la pandémie de Covid-19 pour provoquer des protestations. »

Venezuela : Il y a deux ans, nous avons réimprimé un article dans CPNN concernant la guerre économique des États-Unis contre le Venezuela et le contrôle des reportages des médias afin de justifier l’agression. L’auteur, Eric Zuesse, écrivant dans Transcend Media Service, a comparé cela à de nombreuses autres interventions similaires des États-Unis : « Au cours des soixante dernières années, des guerres économiques non conventionnelles ont été menées contre Cuba, le Chili, le Nicaragua, la République arabe syrienne et le République bolivarienne du Venezuela afin de faire échouer leur économie, de faciliter le changement de régime et d’imposer un modèle socio-économique néolibéral. Afin de discréditer certains gouvernements, les échecs dans le domaine des droits de l’Homme sont maximisés afin de rendre les renversements violents plus acceptables. . (…) À part les lecteurs de ce seul journal, où le public a-t-il pu trouver ces faits ? Si les faits peuvent être cachés du public, alors quelle confiance le public devrait-il raisonnablement avoir dans le gouvernement et dans les médias?”

Bolivie : Plus récemment, dans un autre article d’Eric Zuesse réimprimé dans CPNN, il déclare que « Sans aucun doute, le coup d’État en Bolivie fait partie de la tradition des vieux coups d’État militaires parrainés par les États-Unis depuis la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Cependant, cette pratique remonte encore plus loin, comme nous le montrent les livres d’histoire. Cela signifie que le coup d’État en douceur qui a été appliqué contre Manuel Zelaya au Honduras, Lugo au Paraguay et Dilma Rousseff au Brésil, a été abandonné et les anciennes formules sont revenues. En Bolivie, les anciennes formules ont été appliquées, car en réalité il n’y avait aucune base propagandiste possible pour un coup d’État. »

Une révélation récente soutient le rôle américain dans le coup d’État en Bolivie. Il est rapporté par le site TV Mundus : « Le leader du coup d’État qui a demandé la démission du président Evo Morales est parti aux États-Unis. 72 heures seulement après. Williams Kaliman, c’est son nom, est allé vivre aux États-Unis sans savoir exactement dans quel état il allait pouvoir se cacher après avoir collecté un million de dollars! Le chargé d’affaires de l’ambassade des États-Unis à La Paz était chargé de remettre un million de dollars à chaque chef militaire et cinq cent mille de la même monnaie à chaque chef de police. Entre le mutinerie des policiers qui a permis le chaos vindicatif contre les socialistes et les indigènes et l’inaction de l’armée, le coup d’État a pu être mis en œuvre. . . . . Kaliman a été immédiatement remplacé par la présidente autoproclamée Janine Añez et ainsi, avec les autres chefs militaires, ils sont partis pour les États-Unis, à l’abri de toute enquête immédiate de la communauté locale et internationale.” Cette information, comme d’autres analyses du coup d’État bolivien, n’a jamais été réimprimée par les médias grand public.

Brésil : L’arrestation et l’emprisonnement de l’ancien président brésilien Lula da Silva en avril 2018 ont ouvert la porte au candidat d’extrême droite Jair Bolsonaro, arrivé au pouvoir avec le soutien des États-Unis et de puissants intérêts commerciaux. De nouvelles informations indiquent que les États-Unis étaient impliqués comme dans les pays énumérés ci-dessus. Selon un article du Brazil Wire Newsletter en 2019, le ministère américain de la Justice a tenté de payer au groupe de travail Lava Jato un pot-de-vin de 682 millions de dollars. C’est le groupe de travail qui a produit les fausses preuves utilisées pour condamner Lula. Comme ils le font remarquer, “Au cours des 4 dernières années, comme la plupart des médias anglophones qui ont complètement ignoré le problème, Brasil Wire a largement couvert l’implication du gouvernement américain dans l’enquête sur la corruption de Lava Jato.”

Syrie. Les guerres secrètes américaines et le contrôle des médias ne se limitent pas à l’Amérique latine. En Syrie, les États-Unis et leurs alliés ont financé l’organisation des Casques blancs qui a fourni une fausse propagande pour justifier l’intervention militaire américaine contre le gouvernement syrien. Cela a été révélé par Médecins suédois pour les droits de l’Homme, mais les médias grand public ont continué à diffuser la propagande des Casques blancs.

Xinjiang, Chine. L’exemple le plus récent d’intervention secrète et de contrôle des médias survient dans le contexte du renouvellement par Biden d’une guerre froide avec la Chine. Comme décrit sur le site Web Yilan, « Récemment, il y a eu un flot de messages sur diverses autres plateformes de médias sociaux, décriant l’indignation face aux allégations d’abus de musulmans ouïghours au Xinjiang. et violées dans des camps de concentration de style allemand nazi. Selon ces messages, les camps cherchent à endoctriner les musulmans ouïghours pour qu’ils abandonnent leur culture ouïghoure et musulmane. Essentiellement, ces messages déclarent que la Chine se livre à un génocide des musulmans ouïghours. ”

En effet, les musulmans ouïghours ont été relogés dans des camps au Xinjiang. Mais pourquoi? C’est ici que les médias ne parviennent pas à donner des informations complètes. Pendant longtemps, la Central Intelligence Agency a financé une organisation appelée ETIM pour promouvoir l’indépendance des Ouïghours vis-à-vis de la Chine. Ceci est important dans le contexte de la nouvelle guerre froide, car le Xinjiang est une région de transport clé pour l’entreprise économique Chinoise, l’initiative  « Une ceinture, une route », pour le commerce Chinois avec le Moyen-Orient et l’Europe. Les camps ouïghours ont été créés en réponse aux opérations terroristes financées par la CIA.

Comme décrit dans Yilan, « L’ETIM est désignée organisation terroriste par de nombreux pays pour une bonne raison. Pour citer un rapport du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, « Ces dernières années, l’ETIM a établi des bases en dehors de la Chine pour former des terroristes et a envoyé ses membres en Chine pour comploter et exécuter des actes terroristes, notamment des attentats à la bombe dans des bus, des cinémas, des grands magasins, des marchés et des hôtels. » Il y a eu moins d’attaques depuis que les camps ont été créés par le gouvernement Chinois en réponse à ces interventions.

Quant à la couverture médiatique, selon Yilan, “Les deux principales sources qui poussent le récit de ces centres comme des sites de torture sont Radio Free Asia, qui est sans surprise également financée par la CIA, et un homme nommé Adrien Zenz.” (Voir cette analyse de Zenz).

Rien de tout cela n’est pour défendre les violations des droits de l’Homme dans le cadre de la culture de la guerre par les opposants aux États-Unis, mais à l’heure actuelle, c’est l’empire américain qui domine la culture de la guerre.

C’est une mauvaise nouvelle, mais il y a aussi une bonne nouvelle. Pour en revenir à notre point de départ, c’est « l’avancée de la démocratie et de la conscience anti-guerre au cours des derniers siècles qui [explique pourquoi] l’État a de plus en plus de mal à obtenir le soutien populaire pour ses guerres ».

En fait, en diffusant les informations ci-dessus, nous contribuons à faire avancer la démocratie et à accroître encore la conscience anti-guerre.

Il ne semble pas probable que l’avancée de la démocratie et de la conscience anti-guerre puisse renverser l’empire américain et sa culture de guerre, mais cet empire, comme son prédécesseur, l’empire soviétique, finira par s’effondrer à cause de ses propres contradictions. Il y aura une fenêtre d’opportunité. Et à ce point lá, le développement de la démocratie et de la conscience anti-guerre sera essentiel si on peut faire un changement radical dans la gouvernance mondiale, une Organisation des Nations Unies basée directement sur le peuple et promouvant une culture de paix.

A new level, an historic step forward

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We have advanced to a new level, an historic step forward, in the struggle for a culture of peace.

For the first time there are so many virtual events for the culture of peace free and open to the public that we have begun listing them on CPNN. Now there are two faces of CPNN : the old face of articles about events that have already taken place; and a new face – events that have not yet occurred in which CPNN readers can participate.

This makes possible a new step forward in the development of a global movement for the culture of peace.

In the past, activists had to travel physically to take part in meetings. This required great planning and expense. For example, the meeting in Seville that formulated the Seville Statement on Violence in 1986 took a year to plan and required fund-raising and long-range travel for the international participants. Now such a meeting can take place without great expense or travel. Of course, there is still the need for careful planning!

Another example from my experience comes to mind, the meeting sponsored in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire in 1989 that laid the base for the Culture of Peace Program of UNESCO. In that case, the planning was done by UNESCO, under the direction of Federico Mayor and the hard work of George Kutukdjian. UNESCO was able to attract and pay for the travel of its world-wide network of contacts which made for a rich exchange of ideas, including the idea coming from Father Felipe MacGregor of Peru for a culture of peace program. Now, UNESCO and the UN are able to plan for such meetings on a global scale without the expense of past meetings. Again, of course, there is still the need for careful planning.

In the resume on CPNN of virtual meetings last month (November), we may note several important aspects that indicate the global scope of this progress.

1) The events dealt with the full range of culture of peace domains, ranging from human rights and democratic participation to sustainable development and international peace and security.

2) The events were global, coming from organizations in most regions, including the Goi Foundation in Japan, the African Union, an organization of mediators in Mexico, as well as organizations in the United States, Canada, France and Spain.

3) Several of the November virtual events were sponsored by organizations that already have a global scope, including the International Peace Bureau, the Global Campaign for Peace Education, UNFOLD ZERO, and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, And there are upcoming events in December sponsored by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Mayors for Peace European Chapter and ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

In addition to virtual meetings open to the public, virtual meetings may be restricted to the membership of organizations. This is necessary if the meeting is to take votes committing the organization to action. Such an example occurred this month in the annual meeting of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures of Peace (GAMIP). Having been invited to address the meeting, I was able to propose that GAMIP work on the idea of a Mayors Security Council such as I have previously suggested in this blog.

In addition to the above two options, there are now more virtual meetings that require payment in order to participate. In my opinion this is not a good direction. It limits the range of participation to those with money and those with easy access to the currency required. And it excludes many whose participation is vitally needed at this moment of history.

We need both open and closed virtual meetings in order to advance. Open meetings can enlarge participation and encourage visitors to join the organizations involved. Closed meetings can make decisions and take action. I don’t think it’s a good idea to charge money for admission.

Of course, the closed virtual meetings have already been taking place for several years now What is new is the other side, the open meetings to enlarge participation.

As was the case in Seville and Yamoussoukro, we need to develop methods of careful planning for virtual meetings. It is obvious in the case of closed, decision-making meetings that we need a detailed agenda, adept chairing and clearly-formed propositions to be voted on. But we need good planning for the open meetings as well, if they are to succeed to educate new participants and to convince them to join in our organizations.

At CPNN we hope to advance all aspects of this progress.

In my futuristic and utopian vision for the culture of peace written in 2009, I imagined a meeting of cities from around the world coming by plane to Porto Alegre in Brazil and issuing a declaration that would lay the base for a radical reform of the United Nations. The imagined declaration begins:

When in the course of history it becomes evident that the old order has failed and it becomes possible through the development and sharing of a new vision that power be transferred from the nation-state with its culture of war to a new order based on the culture of peace, it is the right and duty of those who have been elected to represent the people on the local and regional level to take up the higher responsibility of world governance.

Now it is possible to imagine such a meeting of cities and such a declaration that does not require the participants to travel.

Yes, another world is becoming possible!

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Un nouveau niveau, une étape historique

Nous avons atteint un nouveau niveau, une étape historique, dans la lutte pour une culture de la paix.

Pour la première fois, il y a tellement d’événements virtuels pour la culture de la paix, gratuits et ouverts au public, que nous avons commencé à les lister sur CPNN. Maintenant, CPNN a deux visages : l’ancien visage pour des articles sur des événements qui ont déjà eu lieu; et un nouveau visage – des événements qui n’ont pas encore pris place et auxquels les lecteurs de CPNN peuvent participer.

Cela rend possible un nouveau pas en avant dans le développement d’un mouvement mondial pour la culture de la paix.

Dans le passé, les militants devaient se déplacer physiquement pour participer à des réunions. Cela a nécessité une planification et des dépenses importantes. Par exemple, la réunion de Séville qui a formulé la Déclaration de Séville sur la violence en 1986 a pris un an pour planifier et a nécessité une collecte de fonds et des voyages à longue distance pour les participants internationaux. Désormais, une telle réunion peut avoir lieu sans grands frais ni déplacements. Bien sûr, il faut encore une bonne planification !

Un autre exemple me vient à l’esprit, la réunion à Yamoussoukro, en Côte d’Ivoire en 1989, qui a jeté les bases du programme Culture de paix de l’UNESCO. Dans ce cas, la planification a été réalisée par l’UNESCO, sous la direction de Federico Mayor et le travail acharné de George Kutukdjian. L’UNESCO a pu attirer et payer les voyages de son réseau mondial de contacts, ce qui a permis de riches échanges. C’est la que l’idée venant du Père Felipe MacGregor du Pérou pour un programme de culture de la paix est exprimee pour la premiere fois. Actuellement, l’UNESCO et l’ONU sont en mesure de planifier de telles réunions à l’échelle mondiale, sans les frais des réunions passées. Encore une fois, bien entendu, une bonne planification est nécessaire.

Dans le résumé sur CPNN concernant les réunions virtuelles du mois dernier (novembre), on peut noter plusieurs aspects importants qui indiquent la portée globale de ces progrès.

1) Les événements ont porté sur l’ensemble des domaines de la culture de la paix, allant des droits de l’Homme et de la participation démocratique au développement durable et à la paix et à la sécurité internationales.

2) Les événements étaient mondiaux, venant d’organisations dans la plupart des régions, y compris la Fondation Goi au Japon, l’Union africaine, une organisation de médiateurs au Mexique, ainsi que des organisations aux États-Unis, au Canada, en France et en Espagne.

3) Plusieurs des événements virtuels de novembre ont été parrainés par des organisations qui ont déjà une portée mondiale, notamment le Bureau international de la paix, la Campagne mondiale pour l’éducation à la paix, UNFOLD ZERO et les parlementaires pour la non-prolifération et le désarmement nucléaires, et il y a des événements à venir en décembre, parrainés par l’Institut de recherche des Nations Unies pour le développement social, la section européenne des maires pour la paix et l’ICAN, la Campagne internationale pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires.

En plus des réunions virtuelles ouvertes au public, elles peuvent être réservées aux membres d’organisations. Cela est nécessaire si la réunion doit prendre des decisions engageant l’organisation à agir. Un tel exemple s’est produit ce mois-ci lors de la réunion annuelle de l’Alliance mondiale pour les ministères et infrastructures de la paix (GAMIP). Ayant été invité à prendre la parole lors de la réunion, j’ai pu proposer que le GAMIP travaille sur l’idée d’un Conseil de sécurité des maires comme je l’ai suggéré précédemment dans ce blog.

En plus des deux options ci-dessus, il y a maintenant plus de réunions virtuelles qui nécessitent un paiement pour participer. À mon avis, ce n’est pas une bonne direction. Il limite la gamme de participation à ceux qui ont de l’argent et ceux qui ont un accès facile à la monnaie requise. Et cela exclut de nombreuses personnes dont la participation est vitale à ce moment de l’histoire.

Nous avons besoin de tous les deux, réunions virtuelles ouvertes et réunions virtuelles fermées pour avancer: des réunions ouvertes pour élargir la participation et encourager les visiteurs à rejoindre les organisations concernées; des réunions à huis clos pour prendre des décisions et agir. Je ne pense pas que ce soit une bonne idée de facturer de l’argent pour l’admission.

Bien entendu, les réunions virtuelles à huis clos ont déjà lieu depuis plusieurs années. Ce qui est nouveau, c’est l’autre côté, les réunions ouvertes pour élargir la participation.

Comme ce fut le cas à Séville et à Yamoussoukro, nous devons développer des méthodes de planification minutieuse de réunions virtuelles. Il est évident que dans le cas de réunions de prise de décision à huis clos, nous avons besoin d’un ordre du jour détaillé, d’une présidence habile et de propositions clairement formées pour être votées. Mais nous avons également besoin d’une bonne planification pour les réunions ouvertes, si elles veulent réussir à éduquer les nouveaux participants et à les convaincre de se joindre à nos organisations.

Au CPNN, nous espérons faire progresser tous les aspects de ces progrès.

Dans ma vision futuriste et utopique de la culture de la paix écrite en 2009, j’imaginais une réunion de villes du monde entier venant par avion à Porto Alegre au Brésil et émettant une déclaration qui jetterait les bases d’une réforme radicale des Nations Unies. La déclaration imaginée commence:

Lorsqu’au cours de l’histoire, il devient évident que l’ancien ordre a échoué et qu’il devient possible grâce au développement et au partage d’une nouvelle vision que le pouvoir soit transféré de l’État-nation avec sa culture de la guerre à un nouvel ordre basé sur la culture de paix, c’est le droit et le devoir de ceux qui ont été élus pour représenter le peuple aux niveaux local et régional, d’assumer la responsabilité supérieure de la gouvernance mondiale.

Maintenant, il est possible d’imaginer une telle réunion de villes et une telle déclaration qui n’oblige pas les participants à voyager.

Oui, un autre monde devient possible!

The International Day of Peace

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The International Day of Peace (IDP), as officially proclaimed by the United Nations, is certainly the most universal action for peace in our times, and there is no doubt that it contributes greatly to the consciousness throughout the world that we need to turn from the culture of war to a culture of peace.

With this in mind it would be good to be able to measure the IDP actions each year, to know if they are increasing or not, and to know if this is occuring throughout the world, or more in some regions than in others.

During the first decade of this century, extensive international surveys were conducted by the Culture of Peace Initiative (see suveys from 2005 and 2009 as documented in Wikipedia), but they were discontinued, and there was nothing to replace them until 2017 when I conducted the first IDP survey from CPNN, searching for articles by Google and using other, less complete surveys.

This is now the third time that I have done the survey – not an easy task requiring something like 100 hours of labor – and I continue to find hundreds of events throughout the world, with the largest number from USA/Canada and Western Europe.

There is no doubt that, despite my best efforts, we continue to under-estimate the number and scope of actions involved. Many actions are not put on the internet. In addition to the languages recognzed by the United Nations (English, French, Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Spanish), I have searched via Google in Ukrainian, German and Portuguese, but no doubt there are actions described in articles in other languages as well.

There are other surveys of IDP events, but it is difficult to assess their data in some cases.

Pathways to Peace, the successor to the Culture of Peace Initiative, provides a map where people can enter their actions for the IDP. This year’s map has 642 entries, but perhaps half of them are from 2018, and perhaps half of the entries from 2019 are marked as meditation (not action in the sense defined by CPNN). The others from 2019 that are marked as music, march or multiple actions have been included in the CPNN survey.

The Campaign for Nonviolence lists CNV 3314 total actions, mostly in the United States, but this includes multiple actions by the 205 sites listed on their map. I have included all the 205 sites in the CPNN data.

One Day One Choir says that for the International Day of Peace “since we started in 2014, more than a million people around the world have connected with us to sing for peace and unity,” There are almost a thousand entries on their map of the world, but I could not use the data because it seems to be an accumulaton of all the events since 2014, with no indication in what year or years the action occurred.

The website of Montessori schools says that “In 2017, “Sing Peace” involved over 150,000 children from some 65 different countries.” The site provides a listing of 1141 schools “signed up to sing” and these are shown on a map of the world,, but as in the case of OneDayOneChoir, it is not clear if this is an accumulation of data over many years or if it refers to actions in 2019.

In addition, I should mention the website of Peace One Day which states that “throughout the years, millions of people have been active on Peace Day in every country of the world. . . In 2016, after several years work with global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, it was estimated that 2.2 billion people had been exposed to the Peace Day message, that 940 million were aware of the day and that 16 million behaved more peacefully as a result.” But since the website provides no listing or source for particular events, I don’t see how its claims. can be verified.

Failing to realize that the data from One Day One Choir and Montessori Sing Peace were not necessarily up-to-date, I included their data in the totals last year (2018). For that reason it makes no sense to compare this year’s CPNN total of 655 to last year’s total of 835. Although it is not possible to be precise, it seems likely that the number of IDP actions listed on CPNN might be as much as doubled if it were possible to obtain up-to-date information from One Day One Choir and the Montessori Schools.

Despite the incompleteness of the quantitative data, there is plenty of qualitative information to be found in the CPNN survey, as described in this month’s CPNN bulletin, and I think this justifies the labor involved. For example, it turns out that data cited from Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Ukraine, and Yemen are not reflected in the other surveys mentioned above.

Why Julian Assange is so important

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Julian Assange has been arrested, imprisoned threatened with extradition to the US where he could face solitary confinement or death. It seems he is considered to be extremely dangerous by the US and its allies. Why? Because he has exposed the weakness of the culture of war – its secrecy and lies.

As we have analyzed previously, there has been so much advance in both democracy and anti-war consciousness over the past few centuries that the state has found it increasingly difficult to get popular support for its wars, overt and covert, and its threats of war. People no longer will vote for this. To get around this problem and to continue its culture of war, the state has increasingly resorted to secret war, secret threats, and outright lies in order to justify its overt warfare. The war against Vietnam was justified by an invented attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. The war against Iraq was justified by the invented “weapons of mass destruction.”

The control of information has become a crucial means for the culture of war – without this control it cannot be sustained.

In the past, only a few of the secrets and lies of the US and its allies were revealed, such as the Gulf of Tonkin and the “weapons of mass destruction.” But thanks to Julian Assange and his organization Wikileaks, we have learned about many more secrets and lies in the past few years.

How do governments react? They certainly do not apologize and promise to tell the truth! Instead they try to control the media. As described in CPNN this month, freedom of the press is under attack. And government lying has become so commonplace that the current US president tells obvious lies almost every day and has surrounded himself with advisors that will do the same. In fact, the repeated lying by the US president and his advisors is one of the few conclusions of the long-awaited “Mueller report” in the US. But go one step further. Is the Mueller report telling the truth? Although the commercial media seems to think so, there are some independent observers who think that the Mueller report, like the Warren report after the assssination of Kennedy, may turn out to be an elaborate coverup. Given the current plethora of government lies, we should remain skeptical.

And how do the commercial media react? They criticize governments on many issues, but when it comes to questions of war and peace they repeat the governments’ lies without question. A case in point is the media coverage of events in Venezuela over the past few months. As we have shown recently in CPNN, it is almost impossible to learn from the commercial media what is really happening in Venezuela. And most recently, the US government lies about the coup attempt were headlined without question, not only by Fox News, but by the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, BBC, etc.

This is not sustainable. As famously expressed by Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

People no longer believe in their governmens. One of the effects is their increasingly erratic voting patterns. People are now voting for the most anti-establishment candidates such as Trump and Bolsonaro. Consequent to this, the government policies that result have become increasingly erratic, upsetting the traditional balances and structures of international relations.

Now people are starting to disbelieve the mass media as well. What will be the effect of this?

One thing we can say for certain. These trends are not sustainable!

And they come at a time when there are other trends that cannot be sustained: the increasing gap between rich and poor, the destruction of the environment, the changing of the climate, the structure of global finance based on debt and speculation that far exceeds actual production, burgeoning military production and sales, and the nuclear arms race increasingly out of control.

Analyzing the accumulation of such unsustainable contradictions in the Soviet Union in 1980, Johan Galtung predicted the collapse of the Soviet Empire by 1990. He was correct. And analyzing the accumulation of such unsustainable contradictions in the American empire, he has predicted its collapse by 2020. Yes, next year !

And speaking of the collapse of empire, we must consider the key role of confidence and lack of confidence of the people in their government and media.

I saw this living from time to time in the Soviet Union in the years before its collapse. People no longer believed their government or their media. As they said, you find no truth in Pravda and no true information in Izvestia. President Gorbachev tried to correct this with his “glasnost and perestroika” but it was too little and too late. When the Soviet economy crashed, the people did not come onto the streets to support their government or reconstruct it. Instead, they washed their hands of it, saying in effect, “let it crash, it is not worth saving.”

If the global ecoomy crashes (next year?), who will come into the streets to save it?

When the global economy and national governments crashed in the 1930’s, what happened? We fell back on the culture of war in its extreme form, fascism. And eventually, world war.

Let us not allow this to happen again ! Let us prepare, instead, for a transition to the culture of peace.

In previous blogs we have explored the various trends that could potentially contribute to such a transition:

* a global student movement

* a “rural-urban continuum” based on solar energy and electric vehicles

* the preparation for a United Nations run by direct representatives of the people instead of by nation-states.

We don’t need a Chinese proverb to tell us that a crisis is an opportunity as well as a danger.

Let us not be distracted by the lies of governments and their media supporters, but keep on working positively on these and other potential “opportunities” that can emerge from the present crisis.

The Paradox of the United Nations: Peace vs. Culture of Peace

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If we consider the purpose for which the United Nations was formed: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” it is failing badly. This spring, when we hoped that the United Nations would convene a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, the meeting was cancelled due to pressure from the United States and its allies. And most recently, we see that the proposal for a peacekeeping force to protect the Palestinian people cannot be implemented because of the American veto.

This month in the CPNN bulletin, we look at recent moves towards peace in the Philippines, Colombia, Korea and Etheopia/Eritrea. What is remarkable is the absence of the United Nations from these initiatives. Only in Colombia did the United Nations play an important role by supervising the disarmament of the FARC guerilla army.

This impotence of the UN is not new. We saw it two decades ago when our work for peace in El Salvador and Mozambique was not supported by the US and its allies.

On the other hand, if we look at the culture of peace, the 90% of the iceberg of peace which is not visible on the surface, we see that the UN is continually developing a culture of peace at the local level.

Education for peace: the ‘Back to Learning’ education campaign of UNICEF will benefit half a million children in South Sudan.

Democratic participation: UN Women contributed to the historic leap in Tunisia where women now make up 47 per cent of local government.

Sustainable development: UNESCO and UNWTO are encouraging cultural tourism as a means of fostering sustainable development.

Women’s equality: As described in their annual report, UN Women is supporting women politicians, electoral officials, voters, lawmakers, civil society activists and many others to claim their equal right to lead and be heard.

Human rights: Although the task is often frustrating, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights works for implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights which is the keystone of work in this area.

Tolerance and solidarity: The United Nations continues to support youth projects for tolerance and solidarity through the Youth Solidarity Fund.

Free flow of information: In Africa UNESCO supports the development of local radio initiatives against gender violence.

Disarmament: Although the UN is failing at the highest level for disarmament, it is quite capable of action when the member states support it, as described above in the case of Colombia.

And on a more general level, the United Nations continues to hold annual high level forums dedicated to the development of a culture of peace and UNESCO continues to support the development of a culture of peace in Africa.

Imagine how effective the UN could be if the stranglehold of the member states as expressed by the veto of the United States were to be replaced by a radical revision of the UN management with direction by representatives of cities or parliaments, as I have repeatedly proposed!

“Slow News” vs “Fast History”

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This month’s CPNN bulletin describes the “slow news” of culture of peace as it has been developing for some time now in Africa. The reforestation of the Great Green Wall and the Plant a Million Trees initiative seem to symbolize the slow pace of the process, especially when one recalls that the pre-colonial peace mechanism of Africa was to meet and resolve conflicts under the village tree.

At the same time this blog last month suggested that history is moving much faster than we think and that the collapse of the American empire is likely to come within the next two years.

This leads me to the question: Can the slow development of the culture of peace make it possible for a transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace when the American empire crashes?

I realize that it is out of fashion since the crash of the Soviet empire, but the best analytic framework to understand history is still that of dialectics as conceived by Hegel, refined by Marx and put into practice by Lenin. As Lenin wrote in his letter to the American workers in 1918: “Historical action is not the pavement of Nevsky Prospekt.” It does not proceed “easily and smoothly.” Instead, it proceeds “by leaps, catastrophes, and revolutions.” Put another way, there are times when the pace of history accelerates.

It seems likely that there will be an acceleration in the development of the culture of peace in the next two years as more and more people realize that the system is collapsing and needs to be replaced. I can see that there has already been such an acceleration in the last year or two, especially since the election of President Trump in the United States. Trump’s policies are the most evident sympton of the process, already many decades in the making, that brings us to the end of the empire. We have entered a period of accelerated history; both negative and positive forces are speeding up.

The key question is whether we are preparing the specific institutional frameworks that are needed for the transition? I have previously suggested that we need international frameworks for culture of peace that are above the level of the individual nation-states.

One such framework could be the African Union (AU) which is included in the “slow news” from Africa this month. As an international body, above the level of the nation-state, the AU is relatively free from the culture of war, and it has already made some initiatives towards a culture of peace.

Of course, the AU does not have many resources. Its previous benefactor, Muammar  Gaddafi, was assassinated at the initiative of the EU and the United States, especially due to the policy of Hillary Clinton who was the American Secretary of State. We don’t know precisely why Clinton undertook this policy, but it seems likely that it was, at least in part, to deprive the AU of Gaddafi’s support. After all, it was during her tenure that the United States was secretly establishing military bases throughout Africa. To some extent the support previously provided to the AU by Gaddafi has been taken up by China, but will this be continued or expanded after a crash of the American dollar? Maybe not, since China is heavily invested in the dollar and may have to reduce its overseas commitments.

For a while it seemed that UNASUR could develop as a regional organization for the culture of peace, but recent developments in Latin America have undermined that possibility. As described in an article from the ALBA movement, the major countries of UNASUR have withdrawn their support for the leadership of Bolivia which was dedicated to the culture of peace: “The sovereign and integrationist vision promoted by Bolivia and the other countries of ALBA-TCP is opposed by the war strategy of other UNASUR members, subordinated – as throughout history – to the imperial powers, at this moment in particular to the United States , whose elite tries to control again what they consider their backyard. For this purpose it is the political, media, economic and military siege against Venezuela and the diplomatic offensive against Unasur and CELAC.” [translation from the Spanish by CPNN.

As long as international organizations are based on nation-states, they are dominated directly by the culture of war (such as the UN, the EU, etc.) or else they are dominated indirectly through sabotage, as in the case of the African Union and UNASUR. This is not surprising when we consider the history of the culture of war and we find that over the course of the centuries it has become monopolized by the state.

At one time, there was some hope that the socialist countries might be able to play a positive role for peace, but they, too, were cultures of war. And in a struggle between a socialist culture of war and a capitalist cuture of war, it has always been the capitalists who win because they profit more from international exploitation. This was very evident towards the end of the Cold War when the Rand Corporation, an American culture of war think-tank, was paid to assess the economic relations betwen the Soviet Union and their “satellite countries” of Eastern Europe. They found that the net flow of wealth was from the center (the Soviet Union) towards the periphery (Eastern Europe), true to the principle of socialist solidarity. This is the opposite of the relationship between the imperial capitalist powers and the countries of the South. This becomes evident when you take into account the economic transactions that are secret and illegal.

For this reason, I have tended to put a priority on institutional frameworks for peace based on regional or global organizations of parliamentarians or cities instead of states, but for the moment it seems that they are also in a “slow mode” of development.

It seems that time is running out . . .

The Role of Media for a Culture of Peace

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Over the past century the control of information, especially through the mass media, has become the most important characteristic of the culture of war. Why?

It is because there has been such an advance over the past century in democratic participation that the modern state is forced to justify its culture of war. Since people in general do not want war, the state and its military-industrial complex must convince them that military preparations are necessary in the face of external enemies. This is a major change from earlier history when the state was not subject to election by the people and it could pursue its policies regardless of their attitudes.

In fact, we see that the mass media in countries with the most powerful military forces, such as the United States, are pro-military and continually publish propaganda against external enemies and give priority to news about unavoidable violence and disaster. They do not give place to peace initiatives.

One is not usually aware of this, but I came face to face with it during the campaign for the Manifesto 2000 during the International Year for the Culture of Peace. We obtained millions of signatures in India, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Kenya, Nepal and many hundreds of thousands in Algeria, Italy, Azerbaijan, Morocco and the Philippines. But in the United States, despite signed agreements for its distribution with the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Council of Churches, each with something like 50 million members, not to mention another 69 organizational partners and over 100 events and projects (more than in other countries!), the Manifesto obtained only 46,000 signatures. I don’t believe that this was because Americans do not want peace. Instead, it was due to the fact that there was a total blackout in the mass media.

In view of this, it is especially important when the mass media begin to promote a culture of peace instead of a culture of war. This is the case in Mexico, Colombia and in much of Sub-Saharan Africa as described in this month’s CPNN bulletin.

Perhaps it is not by chance that these are regions of the world where people have suffered especially from violence and where the state with its culture of war has been weakened. In Mexico, corrupted by the narco traffic, one speaks of a “failed state.” And Colombia is just putting into practice the peace accords that ended decades of war. Africa has been weakened by colonialism and neo-colonialism (which are culture of of war) to such an extent that it is now victimized by extremist violence as well which adds to their suffering. As a result, the people have a special thirst for a culture of peace.

In the Global North the mass media have become monopolized by huge multinational companies that are part of a military-industrial-media complex closely linked to the political parties and the government. As an illustration of this, consider the money paid to the mass media by the political campaigns in the United States. The last Presidential election in the United States cost over one billion dollars, much of it spent for media advertising. And candidates for Congress pay enormous sums as well.

Fortunately, we have the Internet, where it is possible to create media that promote a culture of peace for a very small price. The annual budget of CPNN is in the hundreds (not thousands!) of dollars, even though we publish in three languages and at least one article per day. Hopefully, the Internet will remain a space that is free and available, although there is always the risk that the culture of war will try to restrict it. And hopefully, CPNN will be joined by more and more such internet initiatives for peace.

Given that the control of information has become a key function of the culture of war, it is urgent that we continue to develop media for a culture of peace throughout the world, hoping that someday it will obtain an audience as great as that for the culture of war. When that day arrives, we will have made a great advance towards the historical transition from culture of war to culture of peace.

Mayors and Media for Peace

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Imagine what the world would be like if the United Nations was managed by mayors instead of states! And imagine how it would be if the mass media was dedicated to a culture of peace!

We have some hint of how this might be in the recent events covered by CPNN.

While all of the nuclear-armed states and their allies are boycotting the UN conference to draft a treaty against nuclear weapons, we see that mayors have a different point of view.

At their annual meeting the United States Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution that “welcomes the historic negotiations currently underway in the United Nations, involving most of the world’s countries, on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination” and they demanded that the US government join the negotiations in good faith. Their resolution concludes with the following remarkable paragraph:

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges all U.S. mayors to join Mayors for Peace in order to help reach the goal of 10,000 member cities by 2020, and encourages U.S. member cities to get actively involved by establishing sister city relationships with cities in other nuclear-armed nations, and by taking action at the municipal level to raise public awareness of the humanitarian and financial costs of nuclear weapons, the growing dangers of wars among nuclear-armed states, and the urgent need for good faith U.S. participation in negotiating the global elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Mayors for Peace already includes the mayors from more than 7,300 cities around the world!

If the mayors of the world were running the UN instead of the states, we could achieve nuclear disarmament! And much more! Once again we come back to the need for a radical reform of the United Nations!

As for the media, some indication of the positive role that they could play can be seen in the role of community radios in the peace process in Colombia. They are supported by funds from the European Union in order to send messages on peace to the territories and to promote reconciliation between the Colombians. The EU initiative not only opens microphones to the people, but also includes workshops in which 200 community radio journalists have been trained in the elaboration of educational content on peacebuilding, as well as 50 broadcasters receiving technical assistance and donations of recording equipment.

Similarly, in Uganda, community radio stations continue to work for peace. Back in 2004, they played a major role in convincing over 22,000 child soldiers and commanders to abandon the armed rebellion of the Lord’s Resistance Army: “In short, the LRA conflict could only be ended after the intervention of peace journalism.” Today they continue to work for peace, especially to give a voice to the massive number of refugees in Uganda.

As The Senegalese writer Aissatou Cissé said at the recent meeting of the Writers’ Union of Africa, Asia and Latin America, which took place in Senegal: What we need are “readings of peace in this world context of turbulence, verbal and physical violence”. “Every morning, when we get up, we read on the Internet, or through a newspaper or a book, and what we read does not promote the culture of peace, it disrupts even more and creates zizanie [discord].”

“Children, adolescents and adults who read us need to read positive things that can boost their creativity, and it is in peace that we can create,” said the Special Advisor to the President of the Republic, Macky Sall.

Thank you, mayors, and thank you, writers and journalists! You remind us that “A better world is possible!” Imagine it!

To quote George Bernard Shaw: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”

Trump and Le Pen: Symptoms of the empire’s collapse

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What is the appeal of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen? Why have they able to get so many votes?

A superficial response is easy: Voters are angry and fed up with the present political system and they will vote for whoever best shares their anger and damns the present political system. The more the media attacks Trump, the more his US supporters are confirmed that he represents their own rejection of the system. And the more the other political parties and political elite attack Le Pen, the more the French voters are confirmed that she is allied with them against the present political system.

But a more profound response requires that we analyze why voters are angry and fed up. One cause is their economic hardships. The average wages of a worker continue to decrease year after year. More and more families are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive. And they understand, to some extent, that the problem is due to government policies that support capitalist exploitation, enabling the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. On the other hand, many are confused, misled by populists like Trump and Le Pen, who tell them that the problem is caused by imigrants who take their jobs and receive government welfare.

There is a classic term to describe the anger and frustration related to economic hardship that is blamed on the government and other institutions of the society. It is called “alienation.” The young Karl Marx devoted his doctoral thesis to this topic, describing how industrial workers, unlike handicraft workers in previous centuries, no longer had control over the products that they created. Instead, the capitlalist controlled production and took the profits from it. The more the worker toiled, the more the capitalist got richer and could exploit him even more.

Ironically, when I worked in the 70’s and 80’s in the old Soviet Union, I found that my so-called communist friends had never heard the Russian word for alienation (отчуждение), even though their economic conditions were deteriorating as their country’s economy declined under the burden of the arms race. However, they knew that the government was lying to them about the economic situation. They would say “You can find the truth anywhere except in Pravda and the news anywhere except in Izvestia.” These were the two leading state-run news media in the Soviet Union and their names are the Russian words for Truth and News.

Nowadays, Trump and Le Pen make short-term gains by criticiizing the news media. In the short-term, they gain support of many voters who have come to mistrust pronouncements by the government and the capitalist class that are repeated by the media. The voters think that Trump and Le Pen are “on their side.”

But in the long run, they are playing with fire.

In fact, it is true that the media are lying and that the government is directly or indirectly responsible for the lies. If you read Rolling Stone magazine back in the 1970’s, you would have know from Carl Bernstein’s article that all the major media were infiltrated by the CIA during the Vietnam War in order to ensure support by the American people for the war. Although the Bernstein article was simply the account of the US Senate hearings, headed by Senator Frank Church, he could not publish it anywhere except in Rolling Stone. Why? Of course, because the other media were controlled by the CIA!

The Bernstein story is not an exception. It is more and more the rule. In fact, as I conclude in The History of the Culture of War, the control of the media through secrets and lies has become the most important weapon of the culture of war.

We all know now about the big lie of weapons of mass destruction used to justify the war in Iraq. How many remember the falsified Gulf of Tonkin incident that was used to justify the war in Vietnam? Few know the reason for the war against Ghadafi in Libya: it was because he was using Libya’s oil money to strengthen the African Union to the point that the Africans began to resist exploitation by the Americans and Europeans. And unless you dig deep in the foreign media you will not know that the media reports of a poison gas attack by the Syrian government used to justify American intervention, was based on what appears to be faked videos by the White Helmets, an organization established and funded by the US and UK governments as part of their campaign in the Syrian war.

In fact, control of the media, including secrets and lies, is necessary to the culture of war if is to survive. This is due to two other general historical trends: the increase in democracy throughout the world, and the increasing anti-war sentiment throughout the world. People don’t want their country to make war. A few years ago, a political scientist at Yale got a lot of press by arguing that democracies do not make war against other democracies. When I looked at his data, I came to a different intepretation: in order to conduct a war, a democracy has to convince its people that the enemy is not a democracy or else they have to make war secretly, because otherwise the people will not support it. For example, the American wars against Cuba and Nicaragua, as well as the Cold War against Russia, were possible because they could convince the American voter that these were totalitarian countries rather than democracies. And in order to make war against Chile they had to conduct it secretly. The same process is evident today as the government (and the media) condemn Libya and Syria as totalitarian, while supporting even more authoritatian allies, especially Saudi Arabia. The new form of American warfare, the drone attacks that were greatly increased by Obama, enable the US to engage in secret wars throughout the world.

But in the end, the political and economic system of the American empire will pay a heavy price for the manipulation of the news. As it becomes more blatant and more universal and more evident, it increases the alienation of the people from their government and their media. In the short run, it opens the door to demagogues like Trump and Le Pen and perhaps even worse yet to come.

But the heaviest price will come when the economic system collapses. The people of America and Euorope may do what the Soviet people did when their economic system collapsed. The Soviets stayed in their homes and the troops stayed in their barracks, saying “good riddance!” to the Gorbachev government and the Communist Party in Russia. The system collapsed with a whimper rather than a bang!

It’s a vicious cycle. The alienation of voters makes possible the electoral victories of demagogues and fascists. In turn, these demagogues and facists increase government priorities for military spending which, eventually, will push the American empire over the same cliff as the Russian empire before it, unless of course they stumble into a world war which would be and even worse outcome.

Fortunately, since our species is resilient and our history is dialectical, there are positive reactions against the election of demagogues. As we continue to cover in CPNN, there is a strong positive fightback against the Trump administration which this month concentrated on saving the planet from his disastrous denial of climate change.

And there is also a positive fightback against the secrets and lies of the government and the mass media in the form of independent media. Thanks to modern technology, internet news systems like CPNN globally as well as many local independent news websites and low-cost local radio stations have been made possible by technological progress. And more and more people are relying on the independent media for their news.

I got a taste of this last month when I was invited to participate in a panel discussion in Oregon with other independent media operators on the topic “Cultivating a Culture of Peace in an Era of Trump: What’s the Media’s Role?” It was good to see that CPNN is not the only independent media out there, but there are many good local media in Oregon as well. And thanks to modern technology I was able to take part in the discussion by means of Skype.

To quote the National Coordinator for the Peoples Climate Movement, “Today’s actions are not for one day or one week or one year. We are a movement that is getting stronger everyday for our families, our communities and our planet. To change everything, we need everyone.”

Importance of Truth Commissions

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First, Truth Commissions are important because they break the secrecy of the state which is one of the key defenses of the culture of war.

This month, as described in the CPNN bulletin, there are several examples of this.  The US government, and in particular its CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has kept secret the details of its torture of prisoners in Guantanamo and elsewhere in recent years, as well as its invasion of Panama in 1989.   Despite opposition by the CIA, the torture report by the US Senate has revealed details of the torture, while the upcoming Truth Commission in Panama promises to reveal details of the invasion.   Similarly, despite a law by the Israeli authorities that forbids discussion of the Nakba, the NGO Zochrot has launched a Truth Commission to discuss it.  Other Truth Commissions in Canada, Brazil and Burundi  are revealing atrocities previously previously shrouded in secrecy by their states.

Second, they promote such key aspects of  a culture of peace as human rights and democracy, by revealing and condemning their violations.

And third, Truth Commissions are designed to launch the process of reconciliation, a process that will be necessary for the transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace. The classic example is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa in the transition from Apartheid to democracy under the leadership of Bishop Desmond Tutu and the presidency of Nelson Mandela.  Since then, according to Amnesty International, there have been truth commission in more than 25 countries (as of 2007), most of them dedicated to reconciliation as well as truth.  The commissions mentioned here continue this important historical trend.

Other than Canada, today’s commissions are still far from the stage of reconciliation.  Those in Burundi and Panama are just getting underway.  The Truth Commission in Brazil is still far from the stage of reconciliation, and there is so much opposition that one doubts that the U.S. Senate will be able to go beyond its initial stage and achieve any reconciliation.

It is not surprising that the cases of Israel and the United States are the furthest from reconciliation.  Israel is supported by the U.S. and the American empire is the center of the culture of war in the 21st Century, having organized torture not only in Guantanamo, but also in countries around the world, especially in Latin America.  See a similar analysis by the dean of peace researchers, Johan Galtung.  The strong defense of state secrecy by the U.S. and Israel  is revealed by the continued house arrest of Mordecai Vanunu in Israel for having revealed its nuclear arsenal and the continuing attempts by the U.S. to capture and punish Julian Assange and Edward Snowden for having divulged its secrets.

In my utopian novel about how we arrive at a culture of peace, I imagine that one of the key moments is when Jerusalem, after a process like that of South Africa (with the involvement of Bishop Tutu), becomes an international city of peace where people of all religions are able to coexist with mutual respect.  As for the United States, I can only that its empire will crash like that of the Soviet Union, giving us the chance to establish a radically new economic and political system in the world.

 

 

Two media – two realities – is the world in transition?

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The CPNN bulletin this month is in great contrast to the headlines of the commercial mass media.

CPNN tells us of progress in participatory democracy in the cities of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and the United States.  Ordinary citizens are deciding directly what should be the priorities for the budget in their neighborhoods.  And the results are to the benefit of all the citizens of their neighborhoods; not only the rich or a privileged ethnic group, not to the detriment of other neighborhoods or other cities.  The culture of peace is advancing and it is not surprising that this began and continues to develop in Latin America, which as we have seen in the blogs of March 2014 and February 2013, is at the leading edge of progress.

The commercial media feed us a starkly different picture of war in Israel/Palestine and in the Ukraine, not to mention plenty of plane crashes to make us afraid to venture outside our doors.

‘The news of participatory budgeting is carried by the local media, since citizens need to be informed about when and where they should go to vote and what are the choices that they can make.  But the major commercial media like Fox News, the New York Times and CNN do not include this on their front pages.  In the words on top of the front page of the New York Times, this news is not “fit to print.”  Instead, they consider that war and plane crashes are fit to print on the front page.

In fact, all of this is true.  There are wars and plane crashes, and there is progress in culture of peace at the local level.  But there are two kinds of media, one for the culture of war and another for the culture of peace, and so it seems like there are two realities.

There are two realities as it would seem that the world is in transition from one culture to another.

The major commercial media continue to serve the culture of war.  As I have shown in the History of the Culture of War, over the course of the past few centuries the media have become its most important tool.  Its coverage of war is designed to convince people that a culture of war is inevitable and/or necessary and that it should be supported by them.  Its coverage of disastrous events like plane crashes is designed to convince people that they are helpless in the face of superior forces and there is no way for them to change the course of history.

Media like CPNN, on the other hand, can be a major tool for the culture of peace, letting people know that a culture of peace is possible, and how they can support it.  It can give people confidence that they are the creators of history.  As we said in the slogan for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace, “Peace is in our hands.”

At the present time, there are not enough media sources like CPNN.  I have seen a few new internet sites that provide news on a regular basis about the culture of peace, such as the Good News Agency (in English and Italian) and the People’s World Peace Project (English only).  I have not found culture of peace news sites in other languages, although CPNN carries some articles in French, Spanish and Portuguese.  We need sites in Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Swahili, Urdu, Hindi, etc., as well as in local languages.  And we need many more readers and reporters!

As the number of culture of peace news sites increases, and our readership increases, the commercial media will be forced to cover more culture of peace news in order to avoid losing their readership.  If and when that time comes, we will be able to say that the tide is turning towards a culture of peace!

The Past and Future of CPNN

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The bulletin this month marks a milestone in the evolution of CPNN, as its coverage begins to depend on the extensive involvement of reporters from around the world.

Looking back over the 15 years of CPNN since it began at UNESCO in 1998, I recognize this as the most recent of several milestones.

At first it was hoped that there would be many different CPNN sites in various languages, and I ran CPNN only for the United States, but by 2007, seeing that sites were not materializing in other languages and continents, I expanded it to a global level.

2010 was a watershed year for CPNN. The Culture of Peace Decade of the United Nations had ended, and we had submitted the final report from over 1,000 civil society organizations around the world. In order to continue the information exchange among these organizations, it was necessary to expand the service of CPNN, which had almost ceased to function in the previous year. We established the Culture of Peace Corporation in order to involve young people in the management of the site, including those who had worked on the UN Decade report. With their assistance, the site was revamped to be more attractive using many images.

In the years since 2010, the coverage of CPNN has greatly expanded. There were 205 articles in 2011, 413 in 2012, and already 181 in the first half of 2013. Most of these depended upon me to write or seek out the articles, but as of this month, there is more of a contribution by reporters.

As stated in the conclusion of this month’s bulletin, CPNN aspires to fulfill the challenge in the UN Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, to serve the development of the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace by exchanging information among its actors. As I have written at the end of an article about CPNN to appear in the next issue of the Journal of Peace Education, the future of CPNN is intimately tied to the future of the Global Movement. On the one hand, CPNN can only develop its full potential in the context of a growing Movement, and on the other hand, in order to grow, the Movement needs the extensive exchange of information among its actors.

At this moment of history, it is critical that the Movement should grow. The present global culture of war, headed by the American empire, is reaching the end of its power, similar to the situation of the Soviet empire in the 1980’s. When it crashes, if we are not ready to replace it with the culture of peace, we risk to fall back on the extreme culture of war called fascism, as happened in the 1930’s when the previous system crashed.

But is the Movement growing? And will it be able grow enough to replace the present culture of war when it crashes? This will be the theme of next month’s blog.

 

Internet Freedom and the Culture of Peace

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There is good reason why the free flow of information is one of the eight key areas of the culture of peace, as defined by the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.  On the one hand, it is essential for the consciousness-raising and networking that can make the transition possible from the culture of war to a culture of peace, especially in the hands of the young generation.  On the other hand, its opposite, the control of information by the state and its commercial allies, has become the chief weapon of the culture of war.

As described in this month’s CPNN bulletin, the struggle for internet freedom has been especially sharp in recent weeks.  Media coverage of the World Conference on International Telecommunication was heavily biased toward support of information control by the American empire, of which the commercial mass media is an essential part.  As the CPNN article by Professor Milton Mueller points out, their unrestrained criticism of the International Telecommunications Union diverts attention from the control of the Internet exercised by little-known institutions associated with the culture of war such as: “ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, the US CyberCommand, Israeli cyberweapons, the British Cleanfeed system, data retention and graduated response in the European Union, the Wikileaks financial boycott”, etc.

Within this struggle, the figure of Julian Assange has emerged as something of a hero for the new generation, because he has the courage to confront these and other institutions used to control information.  As he says in his Christmas message reprinted in part in CPNN: “True democracy is the resistance of people, armed with the truth, against lies, from Tahrir to right here in London. Every day, ordinary people teach us that democracy is free speech and dissent.”

Let us agree with Professor Mueller’s conclusion and work together for its implementation: “Internet freedom requires the construction of effective new, open transnational governance institutions and globally applicable legal principles that regulate and limit the power of states and private sector actors to abuse users. It requires liberalized communication industries and free trade in information services; multinational, multistakeholder pressure against censorship and surveillance.”

Meanwhile, there are media institutions that are escaping from control by the culture of war.  CPNN is one of a growing number of Internet information sources for a culture of peace.  And described in CPNN this month, journalists in Africa are setting a good precedent by giving increasing priority to culture of peace news.  We should push that their example is followed by journalists and commercial media in the rest of the world.