Remarks of Al Marder, President, US Peace Council, to the World Peace Council SecretariatÂ meeting at Katmandu, Nepal.
Comrades and Friends:
I wish to thank the Nepal Peace and Solidarity Council for providing the opportunity to come together to exchange ideas and proposals at this critical period for united action against the continuing and accelerated drive of imperialism that threatens world peace. We must seize this occasion to fulfill our historic responsibility to seek to unite the global peace movement in common struggle for peace. We recognize that our brothers and sisters in countries throughout the world, in many forms and many organizations, are struggling for national independence, for sovereignty, for the right to determine their own destiny, for peace. The World Peace Council, founded in the cauldron of anti-imperialism and internationalism, must reach out as never before, to seek common ground with all those forces, to forge a Âsuperpower,Â a global peopleÂs movement for peace and justice.
In the last few days, further ominous steps have been taken by the Obama Administration intensifying the dangers to peace. The Polish Government announced the agreement to station a US Missile base 60 kilometers from the Russian border of Kaliningrad in the city of Modrag, Poland, stationing 100 US soldiers. The Polish Defense Minister boasted that this site would be combat-ready! The newspapers reported that a leading Russian General questioned the justification that the northern flank of NATO had to be strengthened. He said, ÂNATO has manifold superiority over Russian conventional arms, as it is.Â
That issue, dear friends, is stalling an agreement on the START talks between the US and Russia on the reduction of nuclear weapons. Putin and Medvedev have stated that the negotiations must include missile bases before Russia will seriously negotiate on the reduction of nuclear weapons, let alone on their abolition.
Further, Rumania has announced an agreement with the US to station a missile base. Together, with a base already in Bulgaria, new military bases will be erected, costing $110 million dollars. They will house 4, 000 US troops.
We celebrated the heroic actions of the Czech people against stationing bases in their country. The Obama Administration has now announced they will arm all US warships in the Mediterranean and Middle East waters with these missiles.
Washington has increased the drone attacks in Pakistan and now there are calls for drone attacks on Yemen against the so-called terrorists. The recent attack on a vehicle in Pakistan revealed American soldiers in Pakistan dress from head to toe. The press reported that they dress the American soldiers this way in order to hide the fact from the Pakistan people that American troops are actually in Pakistan. The wars of invasion for imperialist domination have expanded: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The US has moved into Haiti again, using the horrible natural catastrophe as the excuse. French, Cuban, Venezuelan planes, bringing humanitarian supplies and assistance, were forbidden to land in the Porto-Prince airport. The French Minister of Defense has said it bluntly; the aim is to assist not occupy.
The Obama administration signed an agreement with Colombia for ten years for seven new bases. Colombia receives billions in US aid, third, after Israel and Egypt. 1,400 US troops will be dispatched to Colombia to man the new bases in Colombia. Why the need for bases and soldiers in Colombia?
These steps are clearly a threat to the independence movement in Latin America. The overthrow of the Zeyala administration in Honduras is a clear warning that US Imperialism is not ignoring the historic struggle of the peoples of Latin and Central America to rid themselves of the US yoke that has been choking them for centuries. Activities, including killings, in opposition to the new peopleÂs governments, are taking place daily with the support of US embassies. The oligarchs and the murderous paramilitary mercenaries of Latin America are actively supported by the CIA and other US agencies.
The African Command has announced increased activities on the coast of Africa beyond the counterinsurgency operations in Somalia, Uganda, Mali, and Djibouti.Â Who is active in the Congo and other African countries for their rich resources? The US now gets 17% of its oil from Africa. By the year of 2015, the US will get 25% of its oil from Africa. There is now a Drone base in the Seychelles.
The World Peace Council is a member of the International Network Against Foreign Bases. The struggle against foreign bases is a struggle against imperialism at the national level, capable of mobilizing the people in the name of national sovereignty and independence. The WPC must play a leading role commensurate with its mission. It must encourage all of our members to become active in this movement.
While all of the above is very serious and dangerous, the most ominous of decisions is the decision to sell $6.5 billion dollars of weapons to Taiwan. In the mix will be 200 Patriot anti-ballistic missiles.Â China has rightfully denounced this dangerous situation, as direct intervention in their internal affairs. The US moves deliberately to surround China and Russia.
The Obama new missile-shield project will be extended to all of Europe integrated with NATO and will extend to the Middle East and the Caucuses. All the warships plying the oceans in Europe and the Middle East will be have Standard Missiles 3 and a new land-based version. Plans are afoot to deploy missile interceptors on the soil of European nations
The Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is to take place on May 4 again in New York at the United Nations. This is at a critical stage in the struggle against nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have been the excuse for the invasion of Iraq; the attacks against Iran and the maneuvers against North Korea. The issue of nuclear weapons has been with us since the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It sparked the founding of the World Peace Council itself.Â While it is important to recall that it was the WPC that initiated the historic Stockholm Peace Pledge, it is now 60 years later. The World Peace Council is regaining its strength. We must become deeply involved in the global movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons, in collecting signatures on the global petition , in mobilizing national movements and particularly, participating in the International Conference in New York and the Demonstration onÂ April 30, May 1, and May 2.
The duplicitous role of the former Secretaries of State and Defense, Kissinger, Schultz, Perry and Schlesinger in the United States right-wing hawks, pretending, by major articles in the world press, that they wereÂ calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, has been revealed. Honest anti-nuclear weapons proponents pointed to the apparent change in the thinking of the right-wing hawks in the United States calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. These imperialists have strong financial ties to the nuclear weapons industry. They were misleading the public, hoping, obviously, to lull the opposition to nuclear weapons. Today, prior to the NPT Review, they are calling for increased funding and manufacture of new and more deadly nuclear weapons. ObamaÂs budget obliges them.
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, made a forthright statement in Prague calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. He asserted that it was the moral duty of the United States, as the only nation to use nuclear weapons, to take the lead in their abolition. The global anti-nuclear weapons movement seized upon this statement to demand that the words are followed by concrete action. However, here again, an examination of the budget of the Obama administration shows that new money is being funneled into the major laboratories for new bombs, more deadly weapons,Â for a policy that will continue nuclear weapons as an essential party of military strategy. Manufacturers and laboratories devoted to these weapons of mass destruction are not going to give up their huge profits. President ObamaÂs words prove to be rhetoric not backed by deeds.
The Obama Administration is asking for almost $1 trillion dollars in military and war spending this year. This is double all the world together spends on killing machines.
All this is not a sign of strength of US imperialism. The US is a debtor nation, financed by China and Japan and other foreign investors; 28 million people are unemployed or under employed,Â African American and Hispanic workers are most affected: 17% to 10%; 50 million people have no healthÂ insurance; 8 million homes have been foreclosed by the banks; one out of 5 children go to bed hungry. Pensions have been either destroyed or seriously depleted. 38 million n people are now forced to get government stamps for food. Yet, the banks and corporations register huge profits as productivity per worker is up with fewer workers! The people had demanded a change. Obama talked of change. There is little change.
It was quite common to hear that war provides jobs; while it is true our sons and daughters die, the economy benefits. That is no longer the case. Our sons and daughters die and the people suffer. That is the reality.
The World Peace Council has a noble history, holding its anti-imperialist banner high during a very difficult period, resisting all attempts to change its anti-imperialist foundation. Yesterday, the world, seeking liberation from colonial rule and the horrors of fascism, looked to the World Peace Council for solidarity and internationalism.
Today 2 billion of our brothers and sisters are hungry; without clean drinking water; homeless or living in deplorable conditions. Disease is rampant. Internal conflict is encouraged by imperialism and their domestic agents so that the natural resources, their wealth, end up in foreign hands. Their countries are in deep debt,Â and their destiny is decided in foreign capitals.
We must find a way to reach out to these brothers and sisters, as we did before. Their struggle is our struggle. We need them in our ranks.
The world is in crisis with dark clouds ahead. The WPC is no stranger to crisis. There is a historic global peace movement today. We must assume our role in that movement. We must respond today as we have in the past.Â This meeting should propel us forward to meet our responsibilities.
February 18, 2010