WRI activists

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Paul Magno

In July of 2012 three disarmament activists in the United States - Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice and Michael Walli - engaged in a nonviolent direct action they dubbed "Transform Now Plowshares" at Oak Ridge, TN's Y12 National Security Complex. Oak Ridge is a site dating back to the beginning of the Manhattan project during World War II and remains an essential link in the nuclear weapons production capability of the US. The three were able to traverse the terrain of the Federal reservation during the night, overcome four security fences, and confront the Highly Enriched Uranium Maintenance Facility (HEUMF) - a repository for 400 metric tons of bomb-grade uranium, enough for 10,000 nuclear weapons. Once there they marked the area with crime scene tape, unfurled peace banners and marked the walls of the building with human blood and spray-painted biblical peace messages.

Atalia Ben-Abba is an imprisoned Israeli conscientious objector

After 115 days of imprisonment, Israeli conscientious objector Tamar Ze'evi has had her objection to military service recognised, and has been granted CO status as a political refuser. However, conscientious objectors Atalia Ben-Abba and Tamar Alon have been imprisoned again for their refusal to take part in the occupation and serve in the IDF. This is Atalia's second, and Tamar's sixth imprisonment, and each will spend 30 days more behind bars. Click here send a protest email to the Israeli authorities.

Along with our email alert, you can also send your solidarity messages to Atalia and Tamar. Use this link to write them and your messages will be passed on.

This year's WRI Council meeting will take place in London in September, coinciding with DSEI - Defence & Security Equipment International - the biggest arms fair in the world. We will take part in actions before and after Council to disrupt the fair.

UK activists: see how you can help international activists to stop DSEI!

The schedule for our events is as follows:

WRI in 2016

Placheolder image

As we approach the end of 2016, we're looking back on what WRI has been up to this year - we thought we would share some of the highlights,as we look towards a 2017 of radical action against war and it's causes!

Bram, Luis and Javier, outside court Early in the year, we were excited to hear the news that several members of WRI affiliates in Europe were found "not guilty!" in a trial that exposed the criminality of the DSEi arms fair. Javier, Bram and Luis travelled from Belgium to London in September 2015 to help blockade the entrances of the huge weapons fair alongside activists from the UK. At the end of the year, we were also relieved to hear that members of Spanish group AA-MOC had their charges dropped, following an action to disrupt a NATO training event in 2015.

In April, members of the WRI network travelled to Turkey to take part in a delegation, visiting Diyarbakir and towns effected by the curfews and armed conflict that has gripped the region. The delegation inspired a petition to the EU, and a speakers tour of European cities.

At our eCouncil meeting this month, we were really glad to welcome four new organisations as Associate Organisations of War Resisters' International. They are:

Campaign Against Arms Trade (Britain), working to end the international arms trade and to promote progressive demilitarisation in arms-producing countries.

NESEHNUTÍ (Czech Republic): a social and ecological non-governmental organization, that works principally on the basis that ecological and social problems have shared causes and consequences which must be resolved. All our activities aim to show that social change based on respect for people, animals and nature is possible, and, most importantly must be led from below. Therefore, we support people who are interested and engaged in what is happening around them and who consider responsibility for life on our planet as an integral part of their own freedom. We work independently of party and economic interests, using strictly non-violent means.

Şiddetsizlik egitim ve arastirma dernegi (Nonviolence Education and Research Centre, Turkey): 'To achieve our dream of a nonviolent world we organize trainings, produce knowledge and share our resources. In doing so, our methods are non-hierarchical, participatory and based on solidarity and consensus. In this context, we aim to develop creative nonviolent campaigning tools and policy-making instruments, to share these instruments and to empower everyone struggling for a nonviolent world. Because we believe that a world without discrimination and oppression, where social justice exists and conflicts are solved in nonviolent ways, is possible.

VD AMOK (the Netherlands) -  a Dutch anti-militarist and conscientious objectors organization, non-governmental and non-profit, that works closely together with peace movements and peace organizations to create a peaceful, fair and stable world.

Three organisations already affiliated to WRI as Associate Organisations were also admitted as Sections of WRI. They are Alternatives to Violence Project, Nigeria; the Organization for Nonviolence and Development (South Sudan) and Žene u crnom (Women in Black Serbia).

We look forward to working more with all of these organisations towards a world without war!

This week the Eurosatory arms fair is taking place in Paris. The 'Defence and Security' fair, one of the largest in the world, takes place every two years. For many years, opposition to Eurosatory took the form of one woman, Yvonna Kressman, faithfully standing outside on her own, over decades.

Alongside other peace activists, WRI members from around Europe are in court in London from next Monday on trial for their disruption of the DSEI arms fair in September last year.   Anyone available to join us in solidarity in the Court next week, check out Stop The Arms Fair Facebook event for info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1716179711938981/   Use #stopDSEI to share you solidarity with Javier, Bram, Luis and others in the run up to their court appearance next week.

REPRESSIVE RESPONSE AGAINST ANTI-MILITARIST MOC ACTIVISTS FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCEUP TO 12.000 EUROS  FINE AND THE POSSIBILITY OF SEVERAL YEARS JAIL SENTENCE FOR  BLOCKADE IN THE PORT OF SAGUNTO AGAINST NATO MANEUVERS. 

The group of antimilitarists that paralyzed the transport of armoured vehicles to the NATO “Trident Juncture“ manoeuvres last October face accusations of “serious disobedience”, “breach of the peace”, and fines for “intrusion". 

Ukrainian journalist and CO Ruslan Kotsaba is on trial in Ivano-Frankivsk. Ruslan has been in detention for almost a year, charged with treason and obstructing the military.  In a video addressed to the Ukrainian President, he declared his refusal to be drafted, saying he would rather go to prison for five years than turn a weapon on his "compatriots in the east".

At the end of the Stopping the War Business international seminar, three participants shared their reflections from the meeting. Here they are below.

Tuuli Vuori

It's good to be in South Korea. I'm from a country which still maintains conscription and I've used half of my life working with issues related to conscientious objection. That is one reason why it feels so special to be in Seoul, as I've heard so much about the campaings that our South Korean friends have been doing here.

Anyway, war profiteering is not the strongest area of my knowledge so I've learned a lot during this seminar. Thanks for the really interesting keynote speakers as well as workshops!

In this seminar we discussed about the consecuenses of war profiteering for the individual people. We also discussed about the vast and dark structures of the war profiteering. Sometimes these structures make me feel very small.

Summary

The Stopping the War Business seminar was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 16 and 17 October, 2015. It was co­hosted by World Without War and War Resisters' International. The seminar provided space for learning about effective tactics used to challenge war profiteers around the world, and forged relationships between campaigners that will inform and enable new campaigns from here onwards. Activists from 21 different countries took part, with 70 participants in total (30 internationals, and 40 Koreans).

Quote from the evaluation: 'I came back with a big bag of knowledge and experiences from different regions that I would very much like to spread the information in my country'

After the seminar, a nonviolence training and then action against the ADEX arms fair took place. The seminar and the actions were deliberately linked, in order to support local activists in their struggle against a local example of war profiteering, and to put the learnings and relationships built up during the seminar into action.

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