End the sickness of war – NOW!

Who should we be listening to? While Nato’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg based on a fictional enemy, is pleading for continued increased founding for military and militarisation another General Secretary speaks of the importance to put disagreements aside so we all side by side can fight against a real threat to humanity – the corona virus.

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On March, 23 United Nation’s Secretary General António Guterres held a speech where he asked for an immediate global cease fire in all corners of the world to give everyone a real chance to fight the corona virus.

He talked about the reality where the virus hit us all. It does not care neither about ethnicity or nationality nor faction or faith; “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.”

Around the world we see a severely cut healthcare system that is trying to deal with more and more people getting ill with COVID-19. Beds, equipment and personnel are missing to treat everyone. In this chaos, Guterres reminds us of something we must never forget; In war ravaged countries have the whole health systems collapsed and health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted.

Recently, we have also started to hear warnings about what will happen when the corona virus takes an iron grip on overcrowded refugee camps around the world. Guterres states that refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable. He calls to;

End the sickness of war… Pull back from hostilities. Put aside mistrust and animosity. Silence the guns; stop the artillery: end the airstrikes. This is crucial… To help create corridors for life saving aid. To open precious windows of diplomacy. To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

We would like to add that also all preparations for war must be stopped immediately and we must start investing in the future of humanity..

We say

  • Stop Defender 20, Aurora 20 and other large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere
  • End rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment

Activists for peace will every day choose the solidarity that the UN Secretary General raises by calling for an immediate global cease fire; “That is what our human family needs, now more than ever”.

If you agree, sign our call.


Antonio Guterres whole speech follows:

Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19.

The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly.

Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world.

The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.

They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.

Let’s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed.

Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted.

Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable.

The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.

That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.

It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.

To warring parties, I say:

Pull back from hostilities.

Put aside mistrust and animosity.

Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.

This is crucial…

To help create corridors for life-saving aid.

To open precious windows for diplomacy.

To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Let us take inspiration from coalitions and dialogue slowly taking shape among rival parties in some parts to enable joint approaches to COVID-19. But we need much more.

End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world.

It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now.

That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.

Source

Guterras, Antonio: “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of the war”. March, 23 2020, United Nations Coronavirus Communications Team.

Listen to the call:

In the midst of coronavirus pandemic, they want money for games – Join over a thousand from all over the world to stop them

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Our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak

A call to discontinue all large scale military exercise in Europe and the world after corona outbreak has collected over a thousand signatures. Signatories come from all over the world; Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. People from every continent have come together and speak up against the present policies with large scale exercises bringing together tens of thousands of soldiers from different countries as part of a drastic increase in military expenditure.

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EUCOM’s statement on Defender Europe 20 from March, 16

Defender Europe 20 is downsized, but some exercises are unfortunately still on. For instance, EUCOM has expressed that “as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise, they expect an armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe to conduct gunnery and other combined training together with Allies”. In parallel, we also hear statements that they already have “exercised the Army’s ability to coordinate large scale movements with Allies and partner”. They try to tell a story of success as they, since January, have been moving soldiers and equipment from the United States and equipment from prepositioned stocks in Europe to fulfil the goal of Defender Europe 20; “to build strategic readiness by deploying a combat credible force to Europe in support of NATO and the U.S. National Defense Strategy”. In practice, soldiers and equipment are moved to the east, closer to the Russian border.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine on March, 19

Nato’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed the readiness of the Alliance even though the corona virus tests the resilience of the allies “to the limit”; “our forces remains ready and our work continues”. This includes the multinational combat allies stationed in the Baltic States to conduct airspace surveillance and also the naval allies and all missions from Afghanistan to Kosovo. He also expressed that exercises had to be slowed down or shortened, especially the large maneuver Defender Europe 20, but not discontinued.

It is clear that neither EUCOM nor Nato has any intention to stop or even decrease their presence in Europe. EUCOM explicitly state that changes are anticipated to the deployment timelines of soldiers already in Europe and redeployment of equipment today stationed in the United States. Schedules for future troop rotations in support of Atlantic Resolve are also likely to be adjusted at the same time as efforts are put into “maximizing efforts to advance alliances and partnerships”. Nato’s Stoltenberg also speaks about exercises slowed down or shortened, not cancelled.

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USNI News on March, 7

Regarding other large scale military exercise such as Aurora 20 in Sweden and RIMPAC in the Pacific, there are no reports that any changes have been made. These military exercises are planned to be larger and more complex than ever before and also include more participants.

In this context, Nato’s Stoltenberg has acknowledged his main concern. He is worried that member states should decrease their military budgets due to the current corona crisis which has “serious economic impacts” on state budgets. Stoltenberg expects that allies will stick to the goal of “investing more in security” in order to protect themselves in an unsecure world. He says that the military threat has not changed. He prefers fictitious enemies instead of real threats to Europe and the world such as coronavirus pandemic and climate change which destroys whole ecosystems.

We say

  • Stop Defender 20, Aurora 20 and other large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere
  • End rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment

No more money should be given for games. The money should go to the people by investments in health, welfare, peace and the environment.

If you agree, join over a thousand from all over the world to end rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment. Don’t forget to spread the word.

Activists for peace


References

 

This is how the military should be used – Cancel all military exercises and end rearmament to make use of the resources for humanity

Yesterday, March 17, German news reported that the German capital Berlin ”has approved plans ahead of a expected spike in corona or COVID-19 infections”. It is planned to make use of the large Berlin Messe trade fair exhibitions grounds in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district; a facility that every year, for instance, hosts the world’s largest farmer trade fair in late January. The plan is that the Berlin Messe will house up to 1 000 patients and both relatively minor corona virus cases as well as emergency respiratory patients will be treated.

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Berlin Health Senator Dilek Kalayci said that ”This measure complements the well positioned Berlin hospital system to deal with possible bottlenecks” at the same time as existing hospitals in Berlin will expand their capacity to treat patients requiring ventilation in intensive care.

In parallel, hospitals in Berlin are beginning to postpone scheduled non acute surgeries in order to prepare the treatment of more patients tested positive for the corona virus.

Perhaps the most interesting part here is that German media further reports that the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, will be drafted to help create the desired facility. We are convinced that this is how the military can and should be used and especially during crises. This time it is definitely something that poses a threat to citizens´ lives. That is the lives that any armed forces are allocated to protect.

In a time when peoples’ movements are restricted, the same should also apply for the military. But, all resources including military resources should also be put to use for humanity without risk of harm to civil society. We are looking forward to learn how this is done as military exercises are discontinued in favour of dealing with a real threat.

We are already aware of further such examples in, for instance, Norway and Sweden, but also in the United States. We plan to publish updates on the subject.

Stay tuned. Don’t forget to support our call and ask others to do the same.

Background

On Tuesday, March 17, Berlin counted 332 of more than 7 500 cases of corona across Germany. The number of corona infected patients increased with 1 500 cases from the day before, Monday. So far 20 have not survived the pandemic virus infection and 500 are hospitalised.

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During the next few months, German officials are expecting a much higher volume that will require hospital treatment after being tested positive for the corona virus. To, with the help of the German armed forces Bundeswehr, make use of the large exhibition hall in Berlin is one measure to try to contain the pandemic and ensure that the country’s health sector can cope.

Other measures includes that ”schools have been shut across most of the country, border controls have been tightened and new restrictions put on public and social spaces. Companies are being urged to offer employees remote work”.

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However, some parts of the large-scale military exercise Defender Europe 20, i.e. the largest military exercise in 25 years in Europe, seems to still be on. Bundeswehr, which is responsible for host nation support during Defender Europe 20, on Monday, March, 16 said that they already had completed the major maneuvers and EUCOM expressed something similar in an update on Defender Europe 20. At the same time; Italy, a nation severely affected by the corona virus, officially withdrew their participation in the exercise. The United States has said that they are significantly reducing their participation after the Secretary of Defence’s travel bans for American soldiers and personnel went into force on Monday, but they also say “We anticipate the armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe will conduct gunnery and other combined training events with Allies as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise“.

Both American soldiers in Europe and senior military officials from at least two European countries who recently attended an annual NATO-meeting at an American military base in Wiesbaden, Germany as well as staff at the NATO headquarter in Brussels have been tested positive for the corona virus. In Europe, in the United states and around the world, cases of corona infected solders are reported. These soldiers and those they have spent time together with are put in quarantine, but some are still expected to conduct military exercises in Europe and elsewhere during the ongoing pandemic.

References

Write to make a change – Join in to call for discontinuation for all military exercises

During last weekend, Activists for peace submitted a text where we call for discontinuation of all military exercises in Europe in the wake of the corona outbreak. It was sent to Swedish newspapers all over the country and today this text began to be published.

We do this since we want to alert people to what is going on and to create discussion, build opinion and initiate reactions. Of course, we also want to spread the word to get people to support our call.

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This time the text was however written before we published our call where we also, completely reasonable, extended it to cover the whole world. We are working hard to keep us updated and to gather relevant information so that we are able to write more texts. We write texts to update here and to publish on both on our English blog, on our Swedish blog and on our Facebook-page. We are also writing more opinion pieces and letters to the editor.

You can do the same.

We read the comments to this call and we see a lot of potential.

We would like everyone to write a text and submit it for publication somewhere.

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.

If you decide to write a text, please send a copy to us. Send it to aktivisterforfred@gmail.com

You can also send us texts that you have already authored.

All texts can discuss and motivate why we need to discontinue all military exercises and stop rearmament wherever it occurs. They can also tell everyone why we should invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment.

We look forward to hear from you.

Activists for peace


 

Activists for peace’s text has so far (March, 16 2020) been published by:

Local newspaper Kinda-Posten – Vimmerby Tidning

Local newspaper Kristianstadsbladet

Local newspaper Västerviks Tidning

 

Defender Europe 20 reduced in size and scope, but much more is urgently needed

All resources are needed for humanity, not for war games. Remember to support our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world in the wake of the corona virus outbreak. To sign, follow this link. Don’t forget to share the call.

 

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EUCOM’s statement on Defender Europe 20 from March, 16.

Today March, 16 EUCOM (The United States European Command) announced that Defender Europe 20 is, due to the outbreak of the corona virus and recent guidelines by the Secretary of Defense, modified in size and scope.

Military exercises linked to Defender Europe 20 are discontinued and this includes Dynamic Front, Joint Warfighting Assessment, Saber Strike (the Baltic States) and Swift Response, which involved paratroops dropping into the Republic of Georgia and the Baltics.

EUCOM however also indicates that some exercises still are on. As part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise, they expect that an armor brigade combat team already deployed to Europe will conduct gunnery and other combined training together with Allies.

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News on Defender Europe 20 from Pentagon’s Stars and Stripes.

From Friday March, 13 all movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe ceased. EUCOM states that ”the health, safety and readiness of our military, civilians, and family members is our primary concern” and that ”forces already deployed to Europe for other linked exercises will return to the United States”.

The purpose of Defender Europe 2020 is expressed as ”to build strategic readiness by deploying a combat credible force to Europe in support of NATO and the U.S. National Defense Strategy”. All movement of soldiers and material from the United States to Europe and within Europe already conducted is in this context proclaimed to have ”exercised the Army’s ability to coordinate large scale movements with Allies and partners”. EUCOM state that changes are anticipated to the deployment timelines of soldiers already in Europe and redeployment of equipment today stationed in the United States. Schedules for future troops rotations in support of Atlantic Resolve are also likely to be adjusted at the same time as they are now ”maximizing their efforts to advance their alliances and partnerships”.

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Our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak

We welcome the decision to reduce Defender Europe 20 since it includes discontinuation of related exercises. However, we see an urgent need for much more to be done.

Already deployed American soldiers are said to be on their way back to the United States at the same time as other American soldiers stationed in Europe as part of, for instance, Atlantic Resolve is not mentioned more than that their rotation is likely to be adjusted. Atlantic Resolve is explicit to have a purpose to “deter Russian aggression in Europe” and it’s obvious that the United States is planning to further militarize Europe.

This is not what is needed in these difficult times. As countries around the world appeal to their citizens to return to their home countries, the American soldiers which are deployed based on an imaginary threat as opposed to the corona virus is allowed to, together with certain other deployed soldiers, stay in Europe and they are also planned to increase in the future. Some of the deployed soldiers are even expected to conduct military training in the midst of the corona virus outbreak. This is incorrect use of resources.

In parallel, preparations for Aurora 20 is continuing according to plan. Aurora 20 – the largest military exercise in years which also means a debut for the American Patriot system in Sweden – is due to take place in Sweden May, 11 to June, 7. This military exercise is scheduled to start in less the two months and preparations already include transport of equipment and soldiers to Sweden. NATO has, for example, a large military base in Norway and even if Norway recently closed its border, the border is still open to both Sweden and Finland at the same time as Sweden’s borders are fully open.

In a time when people’s mobility is reduced, the military’s mobility should not be an exception. At the same time, all military resources should be put to work for humanity by combating the corona virus, not some imaginary enemy. The best way to achieve this is to discontinue all military exercises – both ongoing and planned ones – and allocate all resources for humanity.

That’s way we say:

  • Stop Defender 20, Aurora 20 and other large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere
  • End rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment

If you agree, don’t forget to sign and share our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak. You find the call by following this link.


References

Cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world – Now in Spanish

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Our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world in the wake of the corona outbreak is translated to Spanish. It is published under a title which says that there is no quarantine for Nato military.

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Share the translated text to everyone who speaks Spanish so to they can read and sign the call.

You should not forget to sign yourself

We have published our call for discontinuation of all military exercises in Europe and around the world because we are convinced that this is the only correct decisions to make. These decisions should already have been taken.

Sign the call to show that you agree that we need all resources for humanity, not for war games.

Sign our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after the corona outbreak

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Do you also want to sign our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after the corona outbreak?

Sign by following this link.

Share this post both in Sweden and elsewhere so as many as possible can help to:

  • Stop Defender 20, Aurora 20 and other large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere
  • End rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment

Show that the present policies with increased military spendings are out of touch with today’s realities that we demand change.

In Swedish:

Vill du också skriva under vårt upprop om att ställa in alla militära övningar i Europa och på andra platser i världen i kölvattnet av coronakrisen?

Skriv under genom att klicka på denna länk.

Dela inlägget både inom och utanför Sverige så fler kan hjälpas åt att:

  • Stoppa Defender Europe 2020, Aurora 20 och andra storskaliga militära övningar i Europa och på andra platser i världen
  • Avbryt upprustningen och investera i fred, välfärd, hälsa och miljö

Visa att den nuvarande politiken med ökade militära utgifter inte har kontakt med dagens verklighet och att vi kräver förändring.