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.

Integrity Initiative links from around 40 countries and some Atlantic Council links – Content

Here you find an overview of the content in our list of Integrity Initiative links from 36 countries and some Atlantic Council links. The list is compiled by Activist for peace, Sweden, January 5, 2019 and it contains four parts. Each part is linked from this blogpost. You find that the headings below are clickable.

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Screenprint of UK Column: “What is the Integrity Iniative? A short briefing paper.”, December 2018.

Each part with links includes mainly unique texts. Reposted and republished text have been avoided; unless there is a specific interest in terms of additional comments, languages or countries.

When the title is easy readable in the end of the link it is sometimes not stated in the heading. Sometimes, you also have to click on the link to check the date when the text was published.

Note that we have not made any assessment concerning trustworthiness. You have to use your own judgement; preferably by assessing the content rather than the sender. All texts have been included based on that they have some substance and that we have not missed any text. One exception is many Russian sources since we have not been able to assess them quickly.

At the moment, we have no intention to update this list. We can reconsider this if we are offered help in this work. If you want to contribute, you can contact us through our website (see above).

Content – Part 1 of 4

  • Basic information 
  • Integrity Initiative: official site, statements and leaked material
  • Atlantic Council: Kremlin’s Trojan Horses publications
  • Sources connecting Integrity Initiative and Atlantic Council

Content – Part 2 of 4: Selected UK and UK Integrity Initiative links

  • Selected Integrity Initiative links
    • 5 best Integrity Initiative main stream press stories 
    • 20 best critical Integrity Initiative stories
  • Integrity Initiative, comments, UK
    • UK press
    • UK parliamentary debate (December 12, 2018)
    • UK parliamentarians (Labour MPs)
    • UK sources via foreign media
    • UK online media
    • UK Twitter

Content – Part 3 of 4: Integrity Initiative, links sorted by countries or group of countries

Countries from and groups of countries A-U (List of countries and number of entries)

  • Azerbaijan 1
  • Australia 1
  • Austria 1
  • Bulgaria 1
  • Canada 6
  • China/Hongkong 1
  • Czechia 1
  • EU/Europe 3
  • Finland 1
  • France 1
  • Germany 10
  • Ghana 1
  • Greece 1
  • India 1
  • International 22
  • Ireland 2
  • Italy 2
  • Kazakhstan 1
  • Lithuania 1
  • Netherlands 4
  • New Zealand 1
  • Norway 19
  • Pakistan 2
  • Poland 4
  • Romania 2
  • Russia (selected smaller part) 20 
  • Serbia 1
  • Slovakia 1
  • Spain 10
  • Sweden 11
  • Switzerland 2
  • Uganda 1
  • Ukraine 2
  • United Kingdom – See Part 2 of 4: Selected UK and UK Integrity Initiative links
  • The United States 25

Content – Part 4 of 4: Atlantic Council Kremlin’s Trojan Horses projects

  • Atlantic Council Kremlin’s Trojan Horses and other projects, selected comments.

Extra: Swedish Disinformation research controversy – links

To complement our compiled list of Integrity Initiative links from around 40 countries and some Atlantic Council links, Activists for peace (In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) has chosen to publish a  an extensive compilation of links in relation to a related scandal that took place last (2017) in Sweden.

In early December 2018, Tord Björk from Activists for Peace was once more the target of a smear campaign. In a joint effort by Stockholm Free World Forum, an NGO paid by The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise to promote business interest in security affairs and Atlantic Council, the closer cooperation between environmental and peace movement and linkages to the Green Party was presented as a threat in the report Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 3.0. Tord Björk had written in an article in an environmental magazine that the referendum in Crimea in 2014 was a breach of international law but that a majority of the local population including the Ukrainians supports the outcome. The author of the report, Henrik Sundbom, a fellow at Stockholm Free World Forum, claimed that the article showed to much sympathy with the Russian Crimean narrative.

Last year a close cooperation partner to Henrik Sundbom , Martin Kragh, head of the Russia and Eurasian programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and researcher at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University where he also is Research Director at the Uppsala Forum for Democracy, Peace, and Justice, together with the daily Expressen also started a smear campaign against Tord Björk and Ukrainabulletinen, the newsletter publicized by Activists for peace.

Activists for peace in Make 2019 a year of peace!, January 5, 2019

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Screenprint of the Institute of Statecraft’s homepage, December 2019.

Make 2019 a year of peace!

Activists for peace (In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) can look back to two fruitful years. Together with our cooperation partners we can now move forward on several different initiatives:

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  1. Calling for international actions on the 5th memorial day of the attack on the house of trade unions in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, 2019.
  2. Work against repression in Russia and Ukraine. A project initiated in a co-operation between Russia and Ukraine.
    Link will be posted.
  3. Cooperate with other popular movements in the Nordic and other European countries towards and beyond the EU parliamentary elections in May. The chances are better than ever to be part of building alliances for conflict resolution and Yes to peace negotiations – no to war. More and more movements say Yes to common security – no to rearmament and strengthen peace demands by saying Yes to investments for social justice and the environment – no to austerity policies.
  4. Be part of building stronger world-wide alliances – for peace on earth and peace with the earth.

We have together with the social forum network Prague Spring 2 against right wing extremism and populism (PS2) been able to contribute to take initiatives such as the Odessa solidarity action and work to stop repression in Russia and Ukraine. With PS2 we have closely followed Thematic World Social Forum on migration in Mexico City, Mexico, European Forum in Bilbao, Spain and been part of Europe in movement in Barcelona, Spain, Assembly of Resistance in Budapest, Hungary and Nordics in movement in Malmö, Sweden.

In 2017, Activists for peace initiated Dags för fred! (In English: Time for peace!) in Stockholm, Sweden and co-arranged Another Europe is possible in Gothenburg, Sweden. This have made it possible to start cooperation with a broad range of peace, migration, environmental, solidarity, no to EU and EU-critical movements.

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This year, 2018, we have supported our two Ship to Gaza activists. Although we are not working politically on the Palestine issue – since we are mainly focused on Ukraine and criticism of how NATO advances closer to Russia in the Nordic region – we have supported Divina Levrini who went all the way from Sweden until getting hijacked by the Israeli military on international waters and Lars Drake, a Ship to Gaza veteran.

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During the autumn; informing and support protests against NATO military excercise in Norway where also Sweden actively participated, has been a main task.

We also have participated in Naturbrukskonferensen (In English: Conference on Land management), a yearly meeting with small farmer, environmental and other organisations to promote food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture and forestry. Here we addressed the need to strengthen civil contingencies by raising food self sufficiency, reestablish food and other contingency storages and give small farmers a say in the planning of civil contingencies.

In early December 2018, Tord Björk from Activists for Peace was once more the target of a smear campaign. In a joint effort by Stockholm Free World Forum, an NGO paid by The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise to promote business interest in security affairs and Atlantic Council, the closer cooperation between environmental and peace movement and linkages to the Green Party was presented as a threat in the report Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 3.0. Tord Björk had written in an article in an environmental magazine that the referendum in Crimea in 2014 was a breach of international law but that a majority of the local population including the Ukrainians supports the outcome. The author of the report, Henrik Sundbom, a fellow at Stockholm Free World Forum, claimed that the article showed to much sympathy with the Russian Crimean narrative.

Last year a close cooperation partner to Sundbom, Martin Kragh, head of the Russia and Eurasian programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and researcher at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University where he also is Research Director at the Uppsala Forum for Democracy, Peace, and Justice, together with the daily Expressen also started a smear campaign against Tord Björk and Ukrainabulletinen, the newsletter publicized by Activists for peace.

In late December 2018 Activists for peace started to inform on our blog about the smear campaigns and their connections in Sweden and internationally to Integrity Initiative and Atlantic Council. Activists for peace have compiled links to some 150 comments made in 24 countries and this is complemented with open source material presented in 100 links about the scandal last year. What was once a tragedy during the Cold war seems to have returned as a farce. You can read more here (link will be posted).

More links:

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The purpose of the Integrity Initiative and what it does – We are all in an ongoing war according to Chris Donnelly, founder and director of The Institute for Statecraft and former NATO advisor

This text is written by Activists for Peace, Sweden.

The purpose of the Integrity Initiative and what it does
We are all in an ongoing war according to Chris Donnelly, founder and director of The Institute for Statecraft and former NATO advisor.

Are the British doing what they claim Russia alone is doing; Pushing their agenda onto other countries through semi-secret influence operations? Members of the British parliament have questioned the way the state funded Integrity Initiative have used tweets and operated secretly to organize smear campaigns. Leaked documents, confirmed as coming from the computers belonging to the initiative, have so far caused a debate in more than 25 countries. Is this project, under the disguise of stopping Russian disinformation, carrying out a constant low intensity warfare as well as fast smear campaigns in many European countries against anyone that divert from the British Foreign policy agenda?

Finally, the leader of the project steps forward. In a video on Youtube, Chris Donnelly – former NATO advisor and director at Institute for Statecraft which is the parent organization behind the semi-secret Integrity Initiative – tells the public about the purpose of the project. He says the aim is to be able to ”track, expose and tackle” new problems influencing governments all over Europe with the help of 2 million pounds a year from the British government.

According to Donnelly, Institute for Statecraft looks into the issue of ”malign influence and disinformation” in order to ”educate and inform policymakers and decision makers” so they can ”expose and tackle” the problem which present in all European countries and all over the world.  Donnelly makes the following statement concerning how Integrity Initiative is doing this:

”We have across Europe a network, we call them clusters, of people who understand the issue and have agreed voluntarily to bound themselves to keep together in order to tackle the issue in their own country and to share information between each country on the problems and how to tackle them and how to improve their own governmental capacity how to deal with them.”

Chris Donnelly on the initiatives, 23 December 2018

The reason for having an NGO such as Institute for Statecraft to protect democracy against malign influence that can come from anywhere is according to Donnelly changes since the 20th century. Then the main threat was a world war between states. In this century, he claims that there is a new kind of conflict where everything can be used as a weapon in the conflicts between states; information, energy supply, cyber-attacks, corruption and financial investments. Donnelly claims that information is the issue that unites all these conflict issues and gives them a third dimension.

Governments are not able to address these challenges to democracy, says Donnelly. They cannot protect themselves or our societies against this malign influence; “that’s why institutes like Institute for Statecraft, Non-governmental organisations run by specialists without governmental direction are so important because they can generate, from the grass roots, a movement of people. They can educate people more effectively. They can respond more rapidly to the kind of informational, disinformational threat we now are facing.”

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Paul Robinson, a professor at the University of Ottawa specialised in military history and military ethics writing on Russian and Soviet history, sees rather a lack of integrity than protection of it in the Institute for Statecraft’s projects. He writes:

“Furthermore, as the leaked documents purport to show, the initiative engages in exactly the sort of ‘meddling’ in foreign affairs of which its members accuse Russia. In one instance, project members disliked the Spanish government’s choice for the post of director of Spain’s Department of Homeland Security. The Spanish ‘cluster’ set about lobbying against the candidate on social media, and eventually the Spanish government appointed somebody else. One can well imagine what the reaction would be if it turned out that a network of influential people who secretly belonged to a group funded by the Russian government had successfully lobbied to prevent the appointment of an official in Spain because Russia objected to him or her.”

Paul Robinson on the initiatives, 25 November 2018

Paul Robinson concludes: “Projects like the Integrity Initiative help strengthen the impression of secret conspiracies and double standards. Far from solving the problem, therefore, they accentuate it.”

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Donnelly has earlier expressed that: ”War is change. If war is change, change is war.” This kind of false equivalency brings the Orwellian new speak “War is Peace” to mind and if War is Peace, Peace is War. The challenge for Donnelly and his initiatives is to educate people that the peace they are living in is war. All activists for peace are enemy combatants in a war against their war on peace. Donnelly is losing the peace, but hopes to win this war.

In Donnelly’s world everything is subordinated their war on peace. Every aspect of our lives; social interactions, cultural activities, religious affiliation, trade links, political activism, professional activity and so on requires servitude to this war.

Activists for Peace, Sweden

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