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

 

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.

Cancel all military exercises in Europe and elsewhere

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We call for cancellation of all large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere. To continue carrying out the largest combination of training of military in a war situation in 25 years is damaging our capacity of addressing the Corona crisis. From the Arctic Sea along the border of Russia all the way to Georgia this combination of simultaneous exercises under names as Defender 20 in Central in Eastern Europe and Aurora 20 in Sweden must be stopped together with military exercises elsewhere.

NorwayCancelsColdResponse

The exercise Cold Response 2020 in Norway with 14 000 soldiers from Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK and USA was cancelled March 11. It was announced by Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Chief of the operational staff at the Joint Operative Headquarters, at a press conference were he stated: “What is new since yesterday is that the corona virus is out of control in society. We want to preserve the armed forces’ ability to fight so that we are able to support society in the complex period that will follow”. This response came late. When the exercise already had started, a soldier was tested positive for Coronavirus on March 5. Finland withdraw their soldiers already March 8.

On March 10, at least two top European military commanders tested positive for corona after they, together with other senior military representatives, attended a conference on an American military base in Germany. During the meeting it was discussed how to protect soldiers participating in Defender Europe 20 form the corona virus. No decisions were made.

ChinaHelpsItalyCorona

Countries like China, Singapore and South Korea show that it is possible to stop the growth of number of people infected by the corona virus by acting fast and decisive. Unfortunately, Italy and some other countries did not. Today, not the European Union but China helps Italy by sending medical experts and offering 10 000 pulmonary ventilators, 2 million face masks, and 20 000 protective suits. The Italian foreign minister Luigi di Maio, after a conversation with his Chinese colleague Wang Yi, expressed that ”Chinese doctors were the first (to treat the virus) and they can bring their experience”. Yi said that “Although currently China itself still has great demand for medical materials, we will overcome the difficulties and offer material aid, including face masks, to Italy, and increase exports of materials and equipment to meet Italy’s urgent need”.

We call for a change in the way Europe and others worldwide address vulnerability. Rather than starting an arms race and foment enemy images we see the need of cooperation across borders. What we need is peace and welfare to address the common threats to our health, social security and global environment. Not as Western State leaders at the Munich security conferences make China and Russia their adversary.

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The large scale exercises bringing together tens of thousands of soldiers from different countries as part of a drastic increase in military expenditure show how out of touch with today’s realities the present policies are. These exercises not only pose and immediate threat in terms of risk for disseminating the corona virus, they are also a misuse of our common resources for addressing the problems in the world today. What we need is not further escalation and polarization between West and East but addressing of social, health and environmental concerns of importance to all of humanity.

This is why 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 want to join in on our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and elsewhere, please follow this link.

Activists for peace


References and links

Activists for peace

Activists for peace blog in English

Activists for peace blog in Swedish

Activists for peace on Facebook

Our international cooperation partner Prague Spring 2 on Facebook

Defender Europe 20

Official Defender Europe 20 information

Nato’s official information about Defender Europe 2020

Criticism

Hudson, Kate: “US to practice invasion in Europe”. Campain for Nuclear Disarmament, 10 February 2020.

Wagner, Jürgen: “Großmanöver Defender 2020” (In German). IMI, 10 January 2020.

Positive tests for corona in relation to Defender Europe 20

Aurora20

Official information about Aurora20 from Swedish Armed forces

Criticism

Görgü, Kemal, Nordlund, Harald and Sevéus Harald: “Krigsförberedelser eller fredspolitik?”. (In Swedish). Uppsala Nya Tidning – debatt, 23 February 2020

Cancelled Cold Response 2020

Finland pulls out of Cold Response

Woody, Christopher “Finland pulled troops from an Artic military exercise with the US and 8 other countries over coronavirus concerns”. Business Insider, 8 March 2020.

Cold Response 20 cancelled

Bakkemo Danilov, Peder: “Cold Response 2020 cancelled”. High North News, 11 March 2020.

Nielsen, Thomas: “Norway cancels Cold Response due to coronavirus outbreak”. The Barents Observer, 11 March 2020.

China helps Italy

Boffey, Daniel: “Italy criticises EU for being slow to help over coronavirus epidemic”. The Guardian, 11 March 2020.

CGTN “Italy Criticizes EU for not responding its call for help, ´only China responded bilaterally´“. CGTN, 12 March 2020.

Hume, Tim: “China Is Now Sending Doctors, Masks and Hazmat Suits to Help Italy With Its Coronavirus Outbreak”, Vice News, 11 march 2020.

Wu, Wendy: “China sends team of medical experts, gear to help Italy fight coronavirus”. South China Morning Post, 11 March 2020.

The new face of European resistance – Protests at the EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden 2017 and the political background

This material is a report from protests and a seminar i Gothenburg November 16-17, 2017. Activists for peace (In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) was one of the organizations coarranging the seminar.

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Why the EU protests in Gothenburg, Sweden 2017 makes a difference

1. Movements from all of Europe came together. From the East and the West, from the South and the North.

2. Popular movements independent from political parties took the leading role in connecting issues building both alliances across established parliamentarian issue sectors as well as going much further criticizing the whole development model and the present world order. With the support of MEPs.

3. Rural and urban movements were equally important, ecological issues as important as social.

4. The coming together of all movements had its roots in growing cooperation between popular movements uniting peasant, environmental and solidarity organizations struggling for food sovereignty; these movements together with trade unions against TTIP and CETA; peace, trade unions and environmentalists against militarization and for climate transition; refugee becoming more EU-critical connecting to other movements and in general movements democratizing society and building for alternatives to EU austerity politics.

5. EU politics was challenged at all levels, from social policy to the EU growth model, the two official summit issues.

6. The follow up possibilities are many at all levels from the local to the international. Especially on transversal issues and in general for all-European cooperation including both non-EU and EU countries, both East and West as well as the next World Social Forum in Brazil, March 2018.

Read the report as a pdf here: The new face of European resistance


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Foreword: “Only united can we achieve change”

The EU bears responsibility on so many levels – from the current economic system that’s devastated our planet to human tragedies due to climate change. What we have also been seeing in the past couple of years is a humanitarian crisis – or better said- a crisis of humanity. We need collective action for social transformation. We need a systemic change in order to achieve climate justice. And this change, this transition, needs to be driven by principles of justice. Because we do not want to replicate the current system that is exploiting people. We need to build a better one, a more human one. What needs to be done to make this happen is movement building. And this movement needs to be inclusive and collaborative. A movement that is not just an environmental one. But which brings together all the injustices created by the system. Which recognises that some are suffering more than others as a result of these injustices. And which says: Refugees welcome. Black lives matter. Gender justice. Social justice. Because only united can we achieve change. Another Europe can and will be possible because people have the power.

Maruska Mileta from Friends of the Earth Croatia
in a speech at the Alternative Summit manifestation
at Gustav Adolfs Torg 
in Gothenburg, Sweden, November 17, 2017

Content

p2 Foreword: “Only united can we achieve change”
p3 Op-Ed and content
p4-7 Activities during the Alternative Summit
p8-13 Social rights & fair jobs everywhere!
p14-15 Another Europe is possible
p16-19 EU – The dictatorship of capitalism. EU history and whose interests it serves

– Kajsa Ekis Ekman
– The case of Greece
– Bike action against corporate EU

p20-25 Stop Corporate power!

– Lora Verheecke
– CEO articles

p26-31 Refugees Welcome!

– International Call for PPT
– Emancipation with refugees, not from them! CEESF in Wroclaw
– The rise of the far right
– Closing borders to refugees and migrants is unjust and dangerous!

p32-43 Peace on Earth – Peace with Earth

– Dave Webb
– Militarization of information: NATO and EU propaganda is now called Strategic Communications
– Building peace in Warsaw
– EU loves NATO
– Anti-militarism and socio-ecological transition in unity
– We need a new critical and indepedent peace movement

p44-47 System change – not climate change!

– Maruska Mileta
– Climate transition
– COP23: EU acts as if climate change a distant prospect
– COP23: From the coal mine to the conference

p48-55 The EU and agroindustrial threat to family farmers and society

– Ole Jacob Christensen- Via Campesina Europe articles

p56-65 Alternatives to EU austerity politic

– Basic income workshop
– Matyas Benyik
– Marko Ulvila
– The hidden agenda of the European Union
– Keynes and his critics in the same boat
– Austerity measures in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Hungary
– The Collapse of the Eastern EU model

p66-69 Just transition & No to EU growth model

– EU-critical economic theory

p70-73 EU a tool for neocolonialism

– EU rewrites history

p74-79 The Future of EU

– Black Swans Queuing in Europe

p80-93 The road to Gothenburg

– Resisting EU in Sweden
– Time to build resistance in Europe
– Internationalism more necessary than ever
– Movements challenging the European Crisis
– Another internationalism is possible
– Left projects in Western Europe
– No Future without peasants!
– Behind the scenes

p94-95 Call for unity

p96-104 The road from Gothenburg

– World Social Forum – Alternative to Capitalism
– A new people’s global initiative
– Another Europe in the Making
– Reflections after the alternative EU summit