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Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Newsletter from the International Peace Bureau

Dear Friends,
We hope your year started in a spicy, colourful and peaceful atmosphere, as we did here at IPB office. 2014 has already been busy for peace and disarmament.

 

On January 1, IPB shared its message of peace with the 24 Hours for World Peace initiative, which was a big success with many people sharing New Year messages and ideas. At the beginning of January, IPB Co-President Ingeborg Breines travelled to India to receive a prize from the Sri Ramanuja Mission Trust, in recognition of IPB’s long standing efforts in building peace and fostering disarmament. Ingeborg has also shared an article she wrote in the Mouvement de la Paixmagazine about the importance of a culture of peace and the need to support UNESCO. In addition, right at the end of December, IPB had been notified of its nomination for 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award, along with Pope Francis!

The following months will see many important activities: stay tuned to follow the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, which will take place on April 14; and the Peace Event in Sarajevo (early June) which will commemorate the anniversary of the start of the first World War; our photo exhibition Making Peace will be given another showing there.

We hope you find this edition useful and interesting.

 


Colin Archer
IPB Secretary-General
31 January 2014

Military Spending

USA: Aerospace industry trends reflected by Ipsen orders
According to Nasdaq, several new emerging markets, as well as developed nations, are boosting defense spending and generating business for U.S. Aerospace and Defense companies, even as the U.S. Aerospace and Defense sector battles budget cuts and spending constraints. An improving global economy, increased defense spending in other countries, and technological innovations and acquisitions have made up for U.S. military budget cuts. Meanwhile, from the civilian side, the commercial aircraft fleet is aging rapidly, so many companies are endeavoring to upgrade their fleets.

USA: Coalition suggests military downsizing commission
A coalition that advocates for cuts to military spending is calling on Maryland to establish a military downsizing commission to help the state deal with the result of reductions already underway. Fund Our Communities, made up of 60-some political, veteran, faith and union organizations, said Wednesday that it is asking legislators to launch a jobs-focused commission “tasked with developing plans and policies to ensure a competitive advantage for Maryland” as military spending falls. The Olney-based Fund Our Communities supports a shift in spending “away from war and militarism and towards peace and social justice.”

EU: New €77 billion research fund launches; €3.4 billion for security research
The European Commission announced this week the first opportunities for funding under the new Horizon 2020 research budget, which has a total budget of just over €77 billion. €3.4 billion of that money will be directed over the next six years towards the theme ‘Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of its citizens‘, which aims to contribute towards “the implementation of the policy goals of the Europe 2020 strategy, the Security Industrial Policy, the Internal Security Strategy and the Cyber Security Strategy.” €119 million will be made available in 2014 for projects within these topics and the Commission is seeking proposals for research on specific issues such as, “improving the aviation security chain” under critical infrastructure protection, “minimum intrusion tools for de-escalation during mass gatherings” under the fight against crime and terrorism, and “novel concepts for land border security” under border security and external security.

UK: Top general warns over ‘hollowed-out’ armed forces
The British armed forces are due to be significantly reduced in numbers by thousands of personnel by 2020. The Army will lose 20,000 soldiers, the Navy 6,000 personnel and the RAF 5,000. General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Chief of the Defence Staff, emphasised that if the UK wished to stay in what he called the Premier League of smart power, then it must invest in armed forces that could generate credible hard power capability and deterrence. BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said this first annual talk by the new chief of the defence staff contained rather blunter warnings than many had anticipated – Gen Houghton said the UK must both fund and use its armed forces properly.

UK: OPINION: If the MoD can’t name the enemies, it shouldn’t buy the weapons
Britain hasn’t faced a true threat since the cold war, but that hasn’t stopped the defence lobby from peddling paranoia. A defence secretary thinks Britain should spend more on defence. The former Pentagon boss Robert Gates is in Britain promoting his old lobby and his new book. He is concerned that Britain’s current defence cuts may deprive the Atlantic alliance of “full-spectrum capabilities”. They will weaken the world’s fourth largest armed force (Britain’s, believe it or not) in deterring dreaded foes. No one at these events ever talks about who is being defended against whom. [..]Without some idea of an enemy, we cannot judge how much defence is needed where. Not since the end of the cold war has there been a sensible threat to Britain. The defence lobby has cleverly converted criminal deeds by terrorists into threats to “national security”.

JAPAN: Japan to increase military spending as row with China continues
Japan said on Tuesday it intends to boost military spending by five per cent over the next five years, with a hardware splurge intended to beef up defence of far-flung territories amid a corrosive row with China. The cabinet of hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed 24.7 trillion yen (£150 billion) would be spent between 2014 and 2019, including on drones, submarines, fighter jets and amphibious vehicles, in a strategic shift towards the south and west. Fears are growing in Japan over the rising power of China, with the two countries embroiled in a dispute over the sovereignty of a group of islands.

The Global Military Ammunition Market 2013-2023
The Global Military Ammunition Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile is a new market research report announced by Reportlinker.com and available now in its catalogue. This report provides readers with a comprehensive analysis of the Military Ammunition market through 2013-2023, including highlights of the demand drivers and growth stimulators for Military Ammunition. It also provides an insight on the spending pattern and modernization pattern in different regions around the world. This report is meant to give insight into the Military Ammunition market with current and forecast market values, and illustrate the various factors impacting the growth of the Military Ammunition market. For more information, please click here.

Industrial Demilitarization of Conventional Ammunition
In many countries, excess stockpiles of obsolete or unserviceable munitions have reached a level requiring demilitarization on an industrial scale, often in a race against time, because the ammunition tends to become unsafe with age.  Since states rarely have the capacity to demilitarize the surplus ammunition stockpiles of their collective security forces, they often turn to private demilitarization contractors.Industrial Demilitarization of Conventional Ammunition, a new Research Note by the Small Arms Survey, provides a snapshot of the ammunition demilitarization industry in Europe and the United States. These regions account for the majority of industrial ammunition demilitarization activity worldwide. You can download the research here or listen to the podcast ‘A Fresh Approach to Ammunition Demilitarization: Guiding policies to reduce excess stockpiles’.

Arms Trade

 

BRAZIL: Brazil Picks Sweden’s Gripen For Its Air Force
Sweden’s Saab edged out French and US rivals to win a multi-billion-dollar contract to supply Brazil’s air force with 36 new fighter jets, Defense Minister Celso Amorim said Wednesday. The announcement came after more than 10 years of discussions and repeated delays due to budgetary constraints. It came as a surprise, as experts were forecasting a Dassault-Boeing duel. Amorim said the Gripen, a state-of-the-art, multi-role fighter, got the nod based on performance, assurances of full technology transfer and overall costs. The Swedish aircraft, which was favored by the air force brass, is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions.
EU: EADS chief calls for EU drone budget
Europe will have to buy its next fighter jet from the US or Asia if it does not invest in its own defence industry and allow sector consolidation, the chief executive of Europe’s biggest defence and aerospace company has warned. Tom Enders, chief executive of EADS, said European leaders meeting at a Brussels defence summit next week needed to commit money and agree a timeline for developing and building a military drone if Europe was to narrow the wide gap with the US and Israel. He said European politicians must decide how important having a defence industry was to them.

SWITZERLAND: Swiss could vote in May on fighter deal
The Swiss public could vote in May on a deal to buy 22 fighter planes from Sweden, after opponents submitted over 100,000 signatures seeking a referendum. The goal of the campaigners is to block the purchase of the Gripen fighters, which would cost the Alpine country 3.13 billion Swiss franc ($3.47 billion, 2.45 billion euros). Under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, citizens can have the last word on a huge array of issues if campaigners muster enough signatures from voters in order to force a plebiscite.

SWITZERLAND: Swiss central bank to sell shares of ‘unethical’ companies
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) will sell securities in companies that do not meet its ethical standards, including those of firms that commit serious human rights abuses, the central bank said on Friday. “Recently the board has decided in principle to refrain from shares of companies that produce weapons condemned by the international community, seriously abuse fundamental human rights or systematically cause grave damage to the environment,” the SNB said in a statement, distributed on the sidelines of an event on Thursday evening.

NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

 

USA: Obama Administration Underestimated Cost of Maintaining Nuclear Weapons by $140 Billion 

Defense officials in the Obama administration were more than a little off when they told Congress the cost of maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal over the next 10 years. They missed the mark by at least $140 billion. (…) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) looked at the Defense Department’s future plans and found that nuclear weapons-related costs were more likely to reach $355 billion by 2023. (…) That’s 66% higher than the 2011 estimate. And that’s just the direct costs related to the nuclear arsenal. CBO officials point out there are other, very costly programs that exist because of the nuclear weapons program, such as cleaning up shuttered nuclear fuel facilities or the nation’s missile defense systems for shooting down other nation’s nuclear missiles. These other costs will likely cost the government another $215 billion over the next decade.
Declaration of the Haifa Conference for a Nuclear Weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East

Frightened by the immediate threat of another catastrophic war in the Middle East, with its resources that underlie the economies of major global powers, and the derailed Helsinki conference that would have created a process for precluding such a war, an historic Conference was initiated by Israeli citizens under the slogan, “If Israel won’t come to Helsinki, Helsinki will come to Israel.” A coalition of current and former Israeli parliamentarians and local and international peace and human rights activists met in Haifa, Israel, on December 5, – 6, 2013, to call for a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East and for a world free of nuclear weapons. In a letter of greeting sent to the Conference, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wrote: “A middle East free of weapons of mass destruction is a reasonable and attainable goal.” And he added: “I commend the conference organizers on this important initiative and call on all states in the region to take immediate steps to rid this volatile part of the world of these dangerous weapons.” The Haifa Conference affirmed support for prompt convening of the Helsinki Conference on creating such a WMD-free zone.

IMPACTS OF WEAPONS

‘Nuclear Savages’ film about US radiation experiments in Marshall Islands
Nuclear Savage” is a recent documentary film that explores American nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, 1946-1958, and particularly the secret Project 4.1: an American experiment in exposing Pacific Islanders to overdoses of radiation – deliberate human radiation poisoning – just to get better data on this method of maiming and killing people. The public broadcasting establishment has spent more than two years keeping this story off the air.  In 2013, PBS World Channel scheduled “Nuclear Savage” for four showings on May 28 and 29 – and PBS executive Tom Davison emailed Horowitz in advance, saying “Congratulations on this airing.” When the airing failed to take place, without explanation from PBS, Horowitz was unable to get a straight answer from Davison, Ferrer, or anyone else in the public broadcasting food chain. Read the whole story here.

ENVIRONMENT

UN says lag in confronting Climate Woes will be costly

Nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising, according to a draft United Nations report. Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies, experts found. […] Business leaders will tackle many of the problems raised in the draft next week, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where a day will be devoted to addressing the rising economic costs of climate change — and the costs to businesses and governments of solving the problem.

An incredible 150,000 people saw Making Peace in 2013 when the exhibition was presented in Utrecht (Netherlands) and in Stockholm (Sweden) at The Nobel Museum. Following on from these successful presentations, we hope to achieve the 1 million visitor mark by the end of 2015. Importantly a high percentage of visitors are young people who visit the exhibit either with other family members or as part of a school outing. Thanks to those of you who sent us words of encouragement. We particularly appreciate what this teacher had to say: “The {Making Peace} exhibit was amazing- it brought me to tears! The highlighting of global wisdom and work for peace and human security was awe inspiring and very hopeful! Amazing job!” And also this one sent to us from Prof.Steven Pinker from Harvard University who was with us in Utrecht: “Making Peace is immensely informative and intensely inspiring — a masterpiece of visual communication, and a contribution to the noble aim of making peace.”

In 2014/2015 the Making Peace Team will continue to work hard in bringing Making Peace to other cities including (in alphabetical order): Atlanta, Basel, Berlin, Cape Town, Chicago, Dublin, Edinburgh, Locarno, London, Linköping, Manchester, New York, Paris, Sarajevo and Strasbourg. If you / or your organization would like to find out more about Making Peace or would like to to see Making Peace presented in your town/city, please do let us know. help@makingpeace.org

Newsletter edited by Tania Sibiglia and Nadia Cornejo.
 
Please send all material and comments to:nletter.ipb@ipb.org

MISCELLANEOUS

Call for Local Spring Asia-Pacific Event
After twelve years of war in the Middle East and Central Asia, the Obama Administration is “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific.  Sixty percent of the U.S. military forces are being deployed in the region to “contain” China.  The popular phrase in Washington to describe this process is a “re-balancing” of US forces. The increased militarization of the US’s Asia-Pacific policies is anything but benign. It is fueling region-wide arms races, increasing the dangers of war, as we have seen in the territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, reinforces Japan’s transformation into a national security state, and has devastating impacts on the people of Jeju Island, Okinawa, Guam and Hawaii where new bases are being built. The House Armed Services Committee will begin a series of hearings in February to further demonize China and to create the support for additional Congressional funding for the military “pivot”. The Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization invites peace groups, faith communities, and API solidarity groups to join to counter-organize around those hearings this coming spring. We invite you to organize local or regional educational forums or other public events to create greater public awareness about the pivot. For comments or questions, please contactjgerson@afsc.org or globalnel@mindspring.com.

Despite Legal Attacks, Conflict Minerals Ban Gets Stronger
Major manufacturing and business groups on Tuesday urged a court here to roll back a new U.S. regulation that would soon require major manufacturers to ensure that their global supply chains are free of minerals used to fund violence in the Great Lakes region of central Africa. Yet the previous day, Intel, the major computer hardware manufacturer, announced the world’s first product formally dubbed free of such materials, stating that its microprocessors would no longer use “conflict minerals”. The announcement highlights trends that advocates of greater supply chain accountability say are already well underway, and which they suggest belie parts of the legal case against the rule. (…) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Business Roundtable, major lobby groups, say the new rules impose an undue financial burden on companies and infringe on constitutional guarantees of free speech. The groups say they are supportive of the aims of the regulation, known as Section 1502, but want significant tweaks and the inclusion of certain exemptions. But supporters counter that the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC), the country’s lead regulator of publicly listed companies, has already thoroughly weighed these issues.

US military is the largest energy hog in the country
The US military is the largest energy hog in the country in an unsustainable situation that even the Pentagon recognizes. In 2008, the Pentagon spent $24 billion on electricity and fossil fuel — 80% of the government’s energy consumption. In 2010, the military used more than 5 billion gallons of fuel. The military uses more than 125 million barrels of petroleum every year, at times costing $400 per gallon when delivered in Afghan and Iraqi war zones. The Navy alone uses 80,000 barrels of oil daily.

New Campaign! World Beyond War
Plans are in the works to launch a widespread global push for the abolition of all war and the creation of a just and sustainable peace. This new campaign encourages individuals and organizations around the world to sign onto a 2-sentence declaration of peace and, when doing so, to indicate how they would like to be involved in planning and shaping the effort. Those already engaged are hopeful of creating a broad coalition able to bring new energy to peace work already being done, to involve new people, to provide useful resources, and to build popular understanding that war can and must be ended, not just reduced or refined. When preventing particular wars or weapons or tactics is seen as progress toward a world beyond war, not as the civilization of war or wise use of militarism, then the complete elimination of war will come into focus. We invite concerned people all over the world to join us. For more information and contact visit the website.

Job: Institute for Economics and Peace Executive Director – US, New York
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is a global think tank dedicated to studying the intersection between business, peace and economics. Its core product is the Global Peace Index, an internationally renowned index and the leading measure of world peacefulness. The Institute also develops a series of National Peace Indices as well as many other indexes, measures and economic analyses, funded both by IEP and other organizations. Based in New York, the Executive Director of IEP-US will report to the Executive Chairman and will be responsible for the development of the Institute for Economics and Peace in the US including the building of its team and its American profile. This will entail responsibility for the overall management and day-to-day operations of IEP-US ensuring compliance with the Institute’s directives and applicable regulations as well as responsibility for fundraising and outreach.  For more information please check the website.

Small Arms Policy and Practice: Bridging the Research-Policy Divide
On January 8, 2014 IPB attended the launch event of the new book entitled “Controlling Small Arms: Consolidation, Innovation and Relevance in Research and Policy”. The panel discussions focused on the relationship between research and policy in meeting the challenges posed by small arms and light weapons over the last 15 years, and on the challenges for research and action for the coming period. The event was organized by the Small Arms Survey, an independent research project based at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.

Women Lead to Peace Summit in Geneva
On January 21, 2014 IPB attended the Women Lead to Peace Summit in Geneva. This event was organized by CODEPINK and a coalition of women’s groups, which call for an immediate ceasefire in Syria, an embargo on arms sales, greater humanitarian aid for the refugees and displaced, and the full participation of women at the peace negotiations. IPB recognizes the importance of women’s full participation in peacebuilding processes. You can read IPB message here.

Internship opportunities with IPB!

The International Peace Bureau is now looking for two new talented interns to join the team. The profiles needed at this time are Social Media and Communications Assistant and GDAMS Campaign Assistant. Please read carefully the job descriptions and do not hesitate to contact the secretariat for more information! We are looking forward to receive your applications!