2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

International Meeting
2004 World Conference against A and H Bombs

Paola Manduca
Italian Anti-War Coalition


I am glad and sad at once to be here in Hiroshima. I am glad and grateful because of the privilege of meeting with all the people that are working to free the world from wars and nuclear weapons. I am sad because our meeting occurs on the anniversary of one of the greatest crimes within one of the cruelest war.

Sad and angry because even 60 years later we meet not only in memory of and respect for the people that were victims of that war, but with the greatest concern for ongoing wars and occupations and with the urgent need to plan and work against dangerous plans for wars to come.

The war on Iraq and its present occupation were presented to the world and still are preached as one of the steps in the path of preemptive wars to an undefined terror and that will be waged whenever necessary by the US government.

Even if much has already been said about the definitions, gpreemptiveh and gnecessary,h of the wars on Afghanistan and then Iraq I believe that it is still important to once again reconsider again that these were not just empty words but rather that they contain and illustrate the extent of the project of the future development that the USA administration has planned, both in case Bush remains in charge or is substituted by Kerry.

If one looks back, it is possible to see that the last 15 years of structural and economic development thatfs leading the project of global domination of the US administration through use of military intervention.

Next year, 2005 many treaties including those negotiated by the WTO will be implemented. These include agricultural agreements, privatization of primary resources and the implementation of property rights on biological material, drugs and intellectual procedures. Their finalization put the whole of the economies and the natural, productive and reproductive resources of many countries in the world under the control (both for exploitation and for regulation of their use) of US. It will also put the social organization, the lives of hundred of millions working people under rules primarily defined according to the stronger WTO partner, the US. There is a growing resistance against the ALCA, the Mediterranean plan, the pharmaceutical and crops monopolies, against their appropriation of water sources, not to mention against US military aggression.

War is part and parcel of the means through which the US will put on the ground for the realization of the project for global hegemony and control petrol, water, minerals, innovative technologies, health and food, the primary resources of the globe. Internally and outwardly, the empowerment of the military complex, as both the source of economic activity and of implementation of power, is the basis for this plan. The US military complex is a state-concerned multinational and private enterprise the final achievement of the economic model of private interest within the state structure, and of state interference in the economic enterprise, a mammoth undertaking.

The US military complex controls production of weapons but also of research and development in many fields, energy, technologies, food, water, health and recently even more federal resources for research in all these fields have been put under direct the control of the Army and NATO with growing participation by them as partners.

Cooperation with the military to further the interests of multinationals in health, food and energy and biotechnology is extensive. Beside the fields of high technology, physics, mathematics, information and chemistry, a number of research projects in general health, on viral, bacteriological and nutritional research can also be found. Large new grants have been given to fund specific programs on protection against biological and chemical aggression and anti terrorist attacks. Military funding has been offered to previously independent scientific societies in all fields of science. This military involvement in research centralizes the control of the USA government on the development and the resources of the planet by economic means, as it was developed since the nineties through the World Trade Organization agreements and with the control of the global financial economy via the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Regional restructuring of military organizations controlled by the USA is also underway. In Europe NATO since the 2000 (Praga meeting) was transformed to a military body for aggression, ready to act for intervention when required. The recent extension of participation of other members of the European community within NATO and for state gmembers to beh has extended its presence in the wider European area, granted the establishment of new bases and gained allies for the Iraqi g coalition of the willing.h In gOld Europeh the NATO is relocating its command and operative basis towards the south facing the Mediterranean area: in Italy we will see the expansion of NATOfs command forces in Naples, the enlargement of the naval basis in Taranto, including other enlargements, beside the maintenance of its other bases, Aviano, Sigonella, Ghedi, for example. All these changes are justified by the need to be ready for interventions in the area. This empowerment of NATO bases involves very invasive actions on the territory where they are located, causing great danger to the local populations due to DU weapons in Sardinia, nuclear armaments stored in Ghedi and nuclear powered submarines floating by the island of Maddalena. As a consequence, they are generally not welcomed locally.

As the armies of the US and NATO continue to grow in readiness and extend their range of action also to the development of new weapons, nuclear depleted weapons, and small impact nuclear weapons among them goes on.

The waging of war in Afghanistan and Iraq has represented the beginning of the implementation of military force as a tool for control of the world. Both these countries were militarily weak enemies, both economically subdued by more than a decade of sanctions and regional unrest and have become the weakest link needed to penetrate this most important region. A region rich in petrol where the USA had only greliableh ally, the Israeli government, and has had to confront the potential resistance of the Arabic states, with their varied alliances and potential solidarity against the economic penetration and political colonization of the USA. Waging war in Iraq has been a show of power towards the states of the entire Middle East region.

It has also represented a further step in the global empowerment of the US through the explicit challenge to each and all previous international rules and agreements. As the country that enforces and imposes all sorts of rules on the entire globe, the US stood as the only country that can do without respecting any kind of international rule. The UN was mocked, ignored and declared unreliable by the US in all its actions, starting from the dismissal of the results of inspections of mass destruction weapons before the war, continuing throughout the war and ending with the mock passage of political powers while retaining as undefined the future of military and the economic controls of the country and with the last UN declaration.

Also the laws of countries that had written a veto on aggressive wars in their constitution, had been broken. Italy and Japan sent troops disguising their armies as a peace corps while Germany allowed servicing of the US army permitting the use of air and land passages to dislocate the Iraqi army.

In brief the war waged was preemptive not because it is waged to prevent terrorism, but because it is preemptively constituted as a plan to employ military aggression at any time and repeatedly as tool for control of resources in the whole world, to occupy territories of interest. The choice of military aggression entails the upset without negotiation of the whole body of international agreements that stood up for the last half of the century.

This is a kind of preemptive action that dooms our future world. The word preemptive embodies a meaning completely different than that which media and analysts attributed to it, of defining an action to prevent the evil, terrorism from hitting home. The evil was made into a ghost system and used for justifying the military option.

In these days we have proofs from the commissions set up in the US and UK governments themselves that show that neither possession of weapons of mass destruction nor terrorism were reasons for the war to Afghanistan or Iraq that were ggrounded in facts.h They were information derived from mistaken interpretations by intelligence agencies of the leading countries of the world. The intelligence agencies were declared guilty for the mistakes and were promised funds to improve themselves, the governments that adopted the decision of waging war were found responsible of misbehaving by the commissions. Although they continued to claim that they waging war for the common good and democratization of Afghanistan and Iraq, never mentioned was the fact that they would be ready to do it again, elsewhere, if necessary.
So here comes again and shameless, second adjective that was attached to the war to Afghanistan and Iraq, ga necessary war.h

If you consider how gnecessityh was justified, though use falsified information and manipulation of reality along with the misbehavior of intelligence agencies, reiteration of the use of this adjective by Bush and its Allies clarifies even more the real situation.

Its then easy to understand the word gnecessityh by putting it into the context of the practice of the building false perceptions and making people believe them via false alarms, creation of insecurity, spreading of paranoid perspectives, and other kinds of manipulation This was done successfully about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and could be repeated again. Necessity has been claimed in order to conjure the menace of war with other grogueh countries and for conducting aggression at any time or place. In summary, declaring the necessity of war amounts to leaving it as an undefined and uncontrollable decision of the stronger party to interpret it according to its interests.

The same arbitrary procedure of defining necessity has been applied to the decision of using any kind of weapons in these wars. DU weapons where considered necessary to destroy Yugoslavian, Somalia, Afghan and Iraqi homes, market places and villages, without considerations that the use of gadequate forceh was once agreed on as the condition for post-nuclear age conflicts.

Presently, the armed occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, unlawful US policies and armies in South America and Africa, all fall under the category of gnecessity.h It is out of this gnecessityh that the US menaces the grogueh states of Iran, North Korea, Syria while maintaining gsmallh armed force for its occupations in Haiti and sustaining paramilitary forces and military bases all over the globe.

Necessity is equally used with the aim to justify the gmodel occupationh and the subduing of civil populations. The Israeli governments with the full and continuing support of the US, has represented an experimental model for actions to enslave a population through depriving it of such fundamental resources as water, land including the restriction of work and freedom of movement. This experiment has been ongoing, preceding the Intifadas, and is now sustained though claiming the construction of a wall necessary for self-protection.

In looking at the picture of the world that is presented to us each day in news reports, we know the war has changed the lives of all people in our present and near future. The victims of aggression are affected in deadly ways while others in subtler yet equally substantial ways.

As a woman, I realize that we have always been the first targets of rape in any war. I canft help sympathizing with the Iraqi prisoners of both sexes who endured humiliation and violation in Abu Grab. I denounce the worst of the aggressive US counter-culture of aggression that has been promoting and exercising with such success and ease. So much so that US soldiers violating the human rights of Iraqi prisoners always did so with a smile.

Since I am not a citizen in the occupied territories I have often felt my limits of judgment on what goes on in others countries, including its suffering from fear of danger, from the inability to communicate, or suffering from lack of primary items essential to life such as work, food water electricity, social trust.

It goes without saying that the resistance to such suffering under occupation is legitimate. Though defining what differences there are in vision and projects within the resistance in Iraq, one thing is certain. We know that within the acting forces of the resistance there are those that are performing a destabilization role for the country and those who have more difficulties emerging. It is clear that the longer the occupation will continues, the more people will suffer and the more autonomous decision making and resources will diminish. It also jeopardizes reconstruction efforts and opportunities for political engagement.

In speaking with Iraqis I have often hear that among the most offensive consequences of the occupation for them are; insecurity, street violence, lack of work or of respect for peoplefs abilities, and the loss of daily access to primary items, including healthcare. These difficulties didnft previously exist before and Iraqis donft see a light at the end of the tunnel. I also often hear Iraqi people speaking of the aim for political action towards a nonreligious state respectful of all religions. A society multicultural and based on the labor they are experience at and are competent in doing. Iraq was not and is not a country without experience in building, making, thinking, creating, as it has been often been suggested by the propaganda, nor is it a country of fanatics.

The continuation of military occupation can only produce degeneration of the Iraqi social context. The enforcement by the US of their reconstruction agencies and of multinational projects can only produce a waste of the capabilities of the people of Iraq.

The global antiwar movement has worked to solidify this position by marching all over in the world on March 20, 2004. The request was that the troops leave Iraq and the Iraqi people decide on their future organization and alliances.
But this is not what has happened, and since then there has been an increasingly complex antagonism amongst different groups resisting the occupation on the ground in Iraq and inevitably conflicting alliances between them. In addition to such tension there are visible differences such as the introduction of the kamikaze assaults, kidnappings contrasting it with the US and its industrial and services partners. Since then a new puppet government has been recognized internationally and new laws were passed to among other things protect the impunity of US occupants in Iraq.

The Iraqi conference that is in preparation is a battleground for different forces and it is still unknown if there will emerge a consensus for a democratic call to vote. In addition, there are non-religious forces in civil society and religious groups who promote different models for the founding principles of a state. In this uncertain compromise, the material situation further degenerates and it is not easy to foresee an outcome to this complex situation is possible under occupation.

Can an antiwar worldwide movement help the Iraqi people return to autonomy and support them in developing a new form of social consensus? Can a movement successfully oppose the continuation of the enslavement of Iraq along with other occupied countries? What are the means and actions to tackle this issue?

These are the difficult questions that we are presently confronting. Each of our meetings is a passage towards elaborating a collective understanding and some answers.

Since last years meeting in Jakarta some actions have been decided and were reinforced in the Antiwar Assembly at the Mumbay social forum. Campaigns were endorsed to promote

- coordinated opposition to US plans for war in each country against military bases and military forces of USA and NATO.
- the reduction of military expenses and disarmament
- the creation of bridges of reciprocal support and solidarity with Iraqi
- education on and condemnation of the crimes of war in Iraq (World Tribunal on Iraq)
Thus one of the tasks for all of us in the movement of opposition to war is to support the emergence of the large majority of the people of Iraq who are seeking autonomy and freedom from the occupation on the terms of their own cultural basis. We have already been witness to the procedures applied by the Israeli government in alliance with the US government, which has consistently voted against any procedure presented at the UN for sanctions on Israel, and even recently voted against the resolution condemning the building of the wall, to subdue Palestinians. They include taking from them land, jobs, schools, freedom of movement, and other basic necessities of life in a systematic and escalating fashion, since before the Intifadas started.

We are witnessing now a similar procedure applied by the occupying forces in Afghanistan and at work in Iraq.

From Iraq alarm comes for the disappearance or killing of professionals in the universities and in the health services. Alarms come from women who are intimidated from continuing a working life with daily violence. Alarms come because any attempt made by Iraqi to rebuild essential services like telephones or electricity, as they had already done in 1992 after the first aggression by the US, is met with obstacles set up by the occupying forces.

One other action taken to oppose the continuation of the war plan was to give voice to the victims of war in the occupied countries by offering channels for communication and for helping establish relationships to establish peace projects at home.@@We can help by the collection and analysis of data on Iraqi grievances. We can also assist them by support for their requests for justice whether in the form of compensation or other political and cultural forms of public recognition of occupation offenses. Many people and groups are enacting such strategies of support.

We can oppose the growth of the US Empire in our own countries by struggling against the rearrangement of the NATO and US bases and against the privatization plans imposed by IMF. We can also protest against military expenditures that are soaring higher than ever and the production or sale of weapons by our government. In Europe, we can oppose the building of an European army.

But our strength against war in perspective is to find a way to link in strategies and actions to all the people all over the world that have experienced the gcollateral effectsh of this articulated war plan. Our strength also lies in building strategies to oppose economic and low-impact military aggression as well as war.

With 2005 there comes a list of deadlines for the enactment of major economic agreements such as the agricultural trade agreement in Latin America and the enforcement of the Intellectual Property Rights bill in partnership with countries of the WTO, the Mediterranean Trade Agreement for North Africa. The path of each of these agreements has already been seeded by violence and deaths.

As the global Anti-War Movement, we have become more visible, organized, and coordinated since the war on Iraq than any other moment in history. Though it has become increasingly easier to be against war, it is still more difficult to agree on strategies and shared visions for a on building new world.

The step of endorsing campaigns allows a tool to the antiwar movement to expand its activities in all the countries by taking up campaigns and regional actions that will produce growth, strengthen, and make permanent in each society the ethics and policies for peace against the wars and occupations of the present and future.

I am convinced that we now have to learn how not to waste this convergence despite initial differences obviously present in the original formation of the anti-war coalition. We have the desire and the potential to go through the process of building strategies. To move forward we now have to create for ourselves the possibility of moments for discussion and find at least partial agreement and time to debate about differences. We made fruit of the experiences and relationships that we have gained in the process of building the antiwar movement. Now we must utilize these gains to link and debate with the other resistance movements on strategies to counter the plans for control of the planet by one state and its temporary allies.
I would like to work, am committed to work, toward what I imagine as the next great event of our resistance to war; organizing in the streets of the whole world like the antiwar movement in February 15, 2003. It is time we oppose war and colonization, both sides of the same coin, together with the movements and populations of indigenous people also opposed to the economic hegemony of the US,.

I imagine this needs to be consciously decided by the antiwar coalition very soon and should be one of the issues on the antiwar movement agenda.

I am aware, as many of you are, that there are many reasons for furthering our alliances and working together on these movements of the future. A good example of the needed preparation for linking our struggles can be found in the report of the World Uranium Weapon Conference in Hamburg of last year. Despite a diverse chain of concerned parties involved in the reformation of uranium mining which included nuclear plans workers, both medical and scientific monitors, consultants, as well as the and victims of the indiscriminate abuse of DU, they all came together to formulate common strategies and actions. I hope my presence here at this meeting with all of you performs a similar role. I thank you for having organized it.

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