NATO counter summit November 20th

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The countdown to our anti-war /anti-NATO activities has begun

five weeks before the NATO summit

Dear colleagues, dear friends, dear ILR readers

Following a very eventful and productive peace-weekend in Lisbon, with the participation of activists from 11 European countries, we have entered the last stage of preparations of our protests against the new NATO strategy due to be made public in the NATO Summit to take place in Lisbon on November 19th – 21st.

We are asking all our friends in the IAWM, in PANA, in the IPSC , every activist of the Campaign for Social Europe and every ILR supporter to consider joining us in Lisbon during that weekend. For many of us who were in Strasbourg 18 months ago, this is the continuation of the same process of mobilization and co-operation with our friends and comrades the world over against militarism and war.

The main points of the new NATO strategy are:

1. NATO insists on nuclear weapons as an absolute necessity for what it frames as its  politics of deterrence. Nuclear weapons are to be continuously deployed and modernized, including  the British Trident Fleet Ballistic Missiles as well as the American strategic nuclear weapons. All plans concerning the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Europe are cancelled.

2. The essence of the new NATO doctrine is the development of US plans re: the American missile defense as a central NATO project. Europe is to be protected by an antiballistic missile defense shield.

3. The war in Afghanistan is seen as the main local  challenge of NATO and shall be continued with reinforced efforts of civil-military cross-linkages until the war is won.

4. All member states are asked to intensify their defense mechanisms and to render them more effective while refraining from any process of defence based cuts.

5. Although NATO does not perceive itself as a world policeman, it does understand itself as an interventionist force if its member states’ “interests” (worldwide, but particularly within the European-Asian area) are endangered. These interests explicitly include the protection of the member states’ natural resources and trade routes.

6. Another aim is the expansion of NATO eastwards.  The Eastern expansion shall include new partnership alliances with the former Southern Soviet republics as well as Indonesia and Malaysia, while  Australia, New Zealand.and Japan are to be integrated in an innovative partnership.

7. According to the new strategy paper, EU-Europe is seen as a military partner and second pillar of NATO in the context of a military alliance with “burden sharing” and a division of tasks and duties. This involves a significant re-evaluation of the EU military and defense policy as laid down in the Lisbon Treaty.

8.  The need to reinforce electronic warfare is emphasized, regarding both NATO’s own action and recruitment realm and the scope of response to attacks directed at computers, communications and power networks. The so-called “cyber war” usually includes the depletion of democratic civil rights and a further militarisation of research.

9. Furthermore, the strategy paper highlights the “new” role of NATO, which shall manifest itself in the fight against global warming and other global challenges. Security against the consequences of climate change (migration flows) is to be ensured militarily.

Anti-war activities during the NATO summit

The international network “No to War – No to NATO”, which comprises more than 650 organizations since the protest actions against the NATO summit in Strasbourg 2009, and of which both the IAWM and PANA are members, has agreed to re-enforce its endeavors of using NATO summits as platforms of protest against war and militarism.

In Portugal, a coalition named “PAGAN” has been organized as a national  Portuguese alliance against NATO.  It comprises individuals from various organizations engaged in the promotion of peace such as Pax Christi, but also environmentalist and human rights organizations, student and youth organizations, as well as former officers of the Portuguese Revolution from 1974 and individuals from leftist parties such as “Blocco” (comparable with the Left Party in Germany). It is a truly broad, pluralist network, which is unified in its refusal of NATO and its politics of war.  PAGAN will be the main local organizers of the anti-NATO Summit.

The action conference on the 16th / 17th October 2010 in Lisbon, to which we participated,  has amended and finalized the course of action for the NATO counter summit in November 2010 as follows:

1. Regional and local activitiesd from 15th to 21st November 2010. As a central meeting point for activists and interested individuals, we will install a “Square of Peace” in the proximity of the NATO counter summit, including information desks, creative actions and musical/artistic/cultural contributions for a world without war and violence.

2. A counter summit on Friday, 19th Nov., and on the morning of 20th November with a public event in the city and an  “International anti-war Assembly”  as a concluding event on Sunday, 21st November The centerpiece of the congress is opposition to NATO and its politico-military  strategy, including a detailed analysis of the new strategy paper. We would like to discuss peaceful alternatives. There will be presentations of peace initiative actions and arrangements for further intensive international co-operation on the subject. Furthermore, considerable time for discussion is envisaged concentrating on differing positions: so that we strive to learn from each other in order to act more effective in the future.

3. Participation and support of a big peaceful international demonstration on the early afternoon of  Saturday, 20th Nov. in central Lisbon.

4. Actions of civil disobedience which will be intensely prepared.

5. There will be a web live-stream from the 19th until the 21st Nov. 2010 with live coverage from both conference days (for further information please consult the attachment). Our actions will be broadcasted worldwide so that every individual has the opportunity to participate, at least indirectly, in the events in Lisbon. This is how the protest can be carried into every corner of the world.

The best protest against this strategy is to participate in the anti-NATO activities in Lisbon. Please promote the greatest possible circulation of the Lisbon activities within your respective organizations. The more participating countries, the more activists on the ground, the bigger will be the public influence of our protests.

Please get registered nowfor the counter summit. This protest has to be organized in advance, therefore it is important to get registered on time.

We can achieve good publicity and strive emphatically for peace and disarmament now in Lisbon – particularly due to the great work of our colleagues on site. What we will make of it is now in our hands and in the hands of each individual in his or her organization.

Please mobilize against war! Follow us to Lisbon! It is in your hands to work against NATO and for peace.

Hoping to personally meet many of you soon, we remain

With peaceful greetings,

Arielle Denis

Lucas Wirl

Reiner Braun

Michael Youlton

PS        There are still places in an Aer Lingus flight to Lisbon on Thursday Nov. 18th with a return scheduled on Monday 22nd. The return fare, at the time of writing, is €115.00 incl. taxes. We have provisionally booked beds in a very friendly hostel close to the city centre – cost is €20 per person per night.

Please contact me at myoulton@yahoo.com or 086 8159487 if you want more information or interested in coming with us.

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3 Responses

  1. Michael Youlton

    October 25, 2010 10:50 am

    Russia-NATO relationship is one-way traffic
    Nadezhda Kevorkova

    [Exceprts]

    What does NATO offer Russia, and what does Russia get in reality? Would Russia be willing to help NATO stay afloat by participating in its projects? What is the price of improving relations with its Western partners?

    Dmitry Medvedev has expressed his preliminary agreement to visit the NATO summit in November. He announced this to Merkel and Sarkozy at the meeting in Deauville. However the president of Russia expressed a wish to clear up the issue of how exactly NATO is planning to change its concept of missile defense in Europe.

    Military expert Aleksandr Khramchikhin thinks that the threat that Iran and North Korea allegedly pose, which is often discussed by supporters of Russia-NATO relations becoming closer, is a myth. He estimates the combat and political state of the alliance as low and does not see Russia in this bloc.

    RT: Why did NATO voice its idea to have a joint missile shield with Russia only now?

    Aleksandr Khramchikhin: Obviously, it did so because of the upcoming NATO summit. I don´t see any other reasons.

    RT: But NATO summits happen regularly. Yet there were no such suggestions before. Dmitry Rogozin, Russia´s envoy to NATO, says that the idea of involving Russia in NATO projects has never been popular; on the contrary, there was a tendency to exclude Russia. Why does NATO involve Russia in its projects now?

    AK: NATO is clearly looking for a raison d’etre. The organization has been looking for it since 1991, when the enemy it was created to fight against ceased to exist. Until recently, eastward expansion was deemed as the only purpose for NATO’s existence. It was sort of a goal in itself. But now the project is obviously no longer relevant. It brings more problems than benefits. So the next and the only existing option is to involve Russia. Unless this project gets underway in the nearest future, they will have to dissolve NATO.
    ….
    RT: Those who are trying to pull Russia into a joint missile defense project claim there will be a shield to protect both Russia and Europe from Iran and North Korea. But do these countries pose any threat to Russia and Europe?

    AK: As for North Korea, the idea is so absurd that there is nothing to comment on. I don´t even know who would buy it. How can NATO protect Russia from North Korea? North Korea is in the Far East, and NATO is in Europe.

    I don´t see how Iran can be a threat either. Firstly, Iran can´t mass-produce even conventional intermediate-range missiles, let alone missiles with nuclear warheads. And secondly, even if Iran gets such missiles, I have no clue as to why Iran should suddenly attack Russia or Europe.

    The Iranian threat is nothing but an artificial geopolitical invention. And the threat coming from North Korea is sheer nonsense.

    RT: Do you think that perhaps NATO is talking about cooperation and joint projects in order to ruin Russian-Iranian relations and get Russia involved in a war with Iran?

    AK: That is true to some extent. But that is not the main thing. The main thing is that Russia is being involved in a NATO project on NATO´s terms. In other words, we start doing something we are not interested in, while NATO gets a new raison d´etre. NATO gets more funds and a lot more, and NATO bureaucrats roll in money again.

    RT: What does Russia expect to receive from the deal? Russia is still only considering the offer and expects certain compromises. What are they?

    AK: As far as I understand, we won´t get anything in return. All we get is a more confident relationship with the West, which is not bad, but that´s not enough.

    RT: But there is some bargaining going on. For example, Russia hopes the United States will reconsider its plan to deploy a missile defense system in Europe.

    AK: I don´t know what is there to change. So far, there is no missile shield in Europe. So, there is nothing to change. There is a project which has already been completely changed. Bush had one project, and now Obama has an altogether different project. However, in reality nothing has been done, and now the project is under discussion again. So, if Russia joins it, that will be a different project again.

    RT: What is the purpose of the military reform which is currently conducted in Russia? Closer cooperation with NATO?

    AK: No, the purpose of the military reform, if there is one, has nothing to do with cooperation. In fact, we never expected to have military cooperation with anybody. We don´t cooperate with anybody. We don´´t have any real allies. We should clearly realize that.

    Military reforms are always launched in connection with some events outside the country, because armed forces exist to counter external threats. The purpose of the current reform is not cooperation, especially with NATO, because it started after the war with Georgia when Russia-NATO relations were at their worst.

    RT: What about the upcoming reform of NATO? Can Russia benefit from it?

    AK: It is not clear yet what kind of reform it will be, because NATO hasn´t yet adopted its new concept.

  2. Roger Cole

    October 25, 2010 3:34 pm

    I would like to fully endorse Mike Youlton’s call for Irish activists to attend the NATO Counter Summit in Lisbon Nov 19-21.
    The economic crisis and the US/NATO/EU wars in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, plus their collaboration with Israel are opposite sides of the same coin. It is just not possible to advocate social justice and refuse oppose these wars and Ireland’s participation in them.
    It is crucial that this perspective be continually advocated at various forums such a the Irish Left Review and the Claiming Our Future Conference. The dominate ideology is not just a neo-liberal ideology, it is a neo-liberal militarist ideology. A willingness to include opposition to these wars will define who is realy in favour and who is not in favour of social justice