Yes to Peace, No to War: First International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases

The myths around NATO

1. NATO is here to protect us.

2. NATO protects small countries.

3. NATO protection is necessary for US defense.

The Conference

Some of the primary conference themes were US world domination, colonialism and militarism; the need for unity in what is global strife and an international struggle; the need for networking, both at the conference and beyond.

Panels were organized by region and the conference focused on the number and effects of military bases worldwide, approximately 1000, with each region reporting. I think the map above explains clearly about U.S. military domination worldwide. And just looking at it dispels the Russian threat. What the map does not explain is how in country after country US military bases are often there to protect corporate interests in the countries while the people who cannot benefit from their own resources are held hostage to poverty. The best examples are the exploitation of resources in Africa, where the US military has significantly increased its presence. Ajamu Baraka from Black Alliance for Peace describes the tangle in Africa and US involvement in the Congo. In the process he gives an alternative to common explanations of what happened in Rwanda.  You can find Baraka’s talk on the Sunday video at 2:29.

Another example of the way bases are used is Shannon in Ireland. Ireland is supposedly a neutral country. But the US routinely sends troops to the Shannon Airport base, who are then sent on to other countries, and the airport base is maintained at great cost to the Irish people. This type of arrangement is typical, where the bases belong to a country but are used by the US military. Ramstein Air Base in Germany is, of course, a place of protest because killer drone flights are launched from the base.

Italy has 10 percent of all US bases (10 percent of 1000) due to its proximity to the Middle East. The list goes on and on and includes South and Central America, Australia, and Okinawa and Japan. The US does not have bases in Canada, but according to one of the conference participants from Canada I spoke to, there are many Canadian bases that the US uses for training.

Panels were also held on the Expansion of NATO and on the Environmental and Health Impacts of Military Bases.

Map: US military bases in red, Russian bases in mustard.  Map: Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA.ie)

Further Action

Of particular interest for North American peace activists, but also worldwide, is David Swanson’s report on the North American group’s planning meeting that focuses on the 70th Anniversary of NATO celebration in Washington DC during the week beginning March 30, 2019. This week includes the significant date of April 4th, the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, which was exactly one year after his famous speech at Riverside Church in which he condemned the Vietnam war and all war.  Actions and programs are being called for nationwide and worldwide, as David explains in this video of the report.

Recommended viewing: David’s report is only a few minutes long, but well worth listening to. The video link here is to the full day of the Sunday program, but by going to 5:41 on the video you can view David’s report about the activities planned and how to connect to them.

Websites for more information:
No2NATO2019.org  UNAC  Call for Mass Mobilization

 worldbeyondwar.org/notonato/  World Beyond War Peace Festival

The First International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases website is NoUSNATOBases.org

Articles Highlighting Aspects of the Conference

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AGAINST US/NATO MILITARY BASES, REPORT BY ROGER HARRIS (Rise Up Times)

The Depth Of US Empire-Imperialism (Popular Resistance)

Black Internationalists Demand Closure of Hundreds of U.S. Military Bases  (Black Alliance for Peace)

Greatest Crime on Earth (World Beyond War)

The Dramatic Struggle for Our Planet and for Humanity in Henoko, Okinawa  (World Beyond War)

Known Terrorist Searched for Explosives at Dublin Airport or Peace Activist Endures Routine Harassment at Dublin Airport?(World Beyond War)

NOTE: You can watch the entire conference here.

You can view photos at this link from the official conference photographer:  https://www.stopthesewars.org/ellen-davidson/

WILPF contingency.jpg

Contingency from WILPF. Countries represented are Chad, USA (CA), Italy, Norway, and again USA (Minneapolis/St. Paul)

Demonstration at the Saudi Embassy in Dublin for Yemen Nov. 19, 2018Demonstration at the Saudi Embassy in Dublin for Yemen. November 19, 2018

Photo NoUSNATOBases

Photo NoUSNATOBases

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