International Appeal - No to war - No to NATO

On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the NATO military organisation, we appeal to all people to come to Strasbourg and Kehl in April 2009, to protest against NATO’s aggressive military and nuclear policies, and support our vision of a just world free of war. NATO is an increasing obstacle to achieving world peace. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has reinvented itself as a tool for military action by the “international community”, including the promotion of the so-called “war on terror”. In reality it is a vehicle for US-led use of force with military bases on all continents, bypassing the United Nations and the system of international law, accelerating militarisation and escalating arms expenditure – NATO countries account for 75% of global military expenditure. Pursuing that expansionist agenda since 1991, designed to advance strategic and resource interests, NATO has waged war in the Balkans, under the guise of so-called “humanitarian war”, and has waged seven years of brutal war in Afghanistan, where the tragic situation is escalating and the war has expanded into Pakistan.

In Europe NATO is heightening tensions, feeding the arms race with so-called “missile defence”, a massive nuclear arsenal and a nuclear first strike policy. EU policy is increasingly tied to NATO. NATO’s ongoing and potential expansion into eastern Europe and beyond, and its “out of area” operations are making the world a more dangerous place. The conflict in the Caucasus is a clear indication of the dangers. Each advance of the NATO border increases the possibility of war, including the use of nuclear weapons.

To achieve our vision of a peaceful world, we reject military responses to global and regional crises – these are part of the problem, not part of the solution. We refuse to live under the terror of nuclear weapons, and reject a new arms race. We must decrease military expenditure – directing resources instead to meeting human needs. We must close down all foreign military bases. We oppose all military structures used for military intervention. We must democratise and demilitarise the relations between peoples and establish new forms of peaceful cooperation to build a more secure and just world.

We call on you to spread this message in your communities and movements, to come to Strasbourg and Kehl and to make this vision a reality. We believe that a world of peace is possible.

 

No to war - No to NATO.

The activities during the anti-NATO protest will include a demonstration on Saturday 4th April 2009, an international conference from Thursday 2nd April to Sunday 5th April, direct action and civil disobedience, and an international resistance camp from Wednesday 1st April to Sunday 5th April.

 

The Irish Anti War Movement which has endorsed the above appeal believes that Ireland, despite not being a member of NATO, is directly involved with the the militarisation of Europe. This can be seen in a number of ways.

 

  • NATO military expenditure. NATO military expenditure is about $900 billion every year, or $2.5 billion every day-NATO accounts for about 65% of world military expenditure. (Ireland’s defense budget is about $1 billion yearly).
  • NATO nuclear first-strike policy. NATO retains the possibility of using nuclear weapons first. This means that NATO preserves the option of using nuclear weapons to respond to a non-nuclear attack on one of its member countries.
  • NATO-EU cooperation. The Berlin Plus agreement allows the EU to use NATO resources for its operations.
  • EU Battlegroups. NATO’s Response Force and the EU’s Battlegroups work in close cooperation. NATO aims to harmonise further military capabilities and operations and take their cooperation to a higher level
  • Partnership for Peace and NATO’s expansion East. PfP is a programme of bilateral cooperation between individual Partner countries and NATO. The Irish government joined NATO’s PfP - without a referendum - in 1999. PfP programmes have concentrated on Central and Eastern Europe, as part of the   NATO membership. This NATO expansion itself creates military tensions ast he recent Georgia-Russia stand off showed.
  • Military bases and Shannon. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being waged through Europe. Soldiers and weaponry for the continued occupation pass through US militiary bases in Germany Italy and Greece. Likewise, over one million US troops have passed through Shannon. Carriers with prisoners on their way to torture – so called “extraordinary rendition” – also transit through Shannon.
  • The occupation of Afghanistan. SomeEU countries are heavily involved in the occupation of Afghanistan. 21 of the EU states are members of NATO, and there are 25,000 European military in the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), also in Afghanistan. Ireland has sent seven military advisors and personnel to assist these occupying forces. This clearly makes them an integral part of the NATO occupation force, something for which they have no mandate from the people of Ireland.

The IAWM believes that for all these reasons, we need to stand with our European anti-war activists in Strasbourg from 2nd- 5th April and oppose the militarisation of Europe. We strongly urge all peace lovers and anti-war activists to join us.

 

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