Film Screening: Occupation of the American Mind (4/15 7:00 PM)


Join East Bay Citizens for Peace, Brown War Watch, and Brown Students for Justice in Palestine for a virtual film screening of a 45 minute cut of the powerful and informative documentary “Occupation of the American Mind” this Thursday at 7:00 – 8:30 PM.

Register here for free to receive a link to this virtual event.

The film explores the many narratives surrounding Israel and Palestine, focusing on those generated with the intention to foment support for violence, occupation and militarism by the Israeli government at the expense of the Palestinian people.

The screening will be followed by a discussion of the films contents.

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday April 8th 2021

Brown War Watch meets online every Thursday at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, tension amongst superpowers, and pathways to peace.

All political and spiritual beliefs welcome, united in the quest for a more peaceful planet. End the Endless Wars!

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

THIS WEEK’S DISCUSSION: Israel/Palestine

This week Brown War Watch welcomes to the discussion a guest from Brown University Students for Justice in Palestine, an undergraduate student group dedicated to standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

On the heels of pushes to silence those that fight for the rights of the Palestinians, and coming up on a film screening (April 15th) of “Occupation of the American Mind” about Israeli propaganda efforts we hope this discussion will provide some perspective on Palestine and Israel that may often be obfuscated or underreported in the United States. What is happening there and how did we get to where we are now?

Much of the media coverage in the United States surrounding Palestine and Israel focuses on Israeli narratives, often specifically the narratives put forward by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), a military that frequently commits war crimes against the Palestinian people. These crimes include but are not limited to the killing of unarmed medics and children. Check out the powerful and moving film “Gaza fights for Freedom” for some examples and info about the March of Return protests and the infamous Israeli response.

Join us this Thursday for a bit of a primer on Israel/Palestine and next Thursday for an event more focused on warped media narratives.

Register for our film screening next week here!  

Email Brownwarwatch@brown.edu for a link to our discussion meeting.

We are looking forward to another compelling and rich discussion on topics that go largely ignored in the media.

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday March 25th 2021

Brown War Watch meets online every Thursday at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, tension amongst superpowers, and pathways to peace.

All political and spiritual beliefs welcome, united in the quest for a more peaceful planet. End the Endless Wars!

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

THIS WEEK’S DISCUSSIONProfessor Catherine Lutz

This week – Thursday March 25th at 7pm –  we are honored to be joined in discussion by Professor Catherine Lutz  – the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at the Watson Institute for International Studies, here at Brown University. Professor Lutz is also the co-Director of the COSTS OF WAR program, and on the board of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

.:sparkles::sparkles::sparkles:We couldn’t be more excited!!:sparkles::sparkles::sparkles: 

Professor Lutz a national authority on war and society and a critical voice for the power in restraint. She is also an incredibly generous and supportive scholar within the Brown community.

The Costs of War Project has produced dozens of papers in the past decade from a diverse and expansive group of experts. These papers aim to provide authoritative empirical evidence on the true costs of American militarism – blood, treasure, and so much more. In recent years, they have broken through the propaganda wall, and are receiving widespread coverage in the US media –  making a considerable and vitally important difference, adding balance to the conversation in our War on Terror era.

In just this past year they have highlighted the true depth and breadth of American interventions through “counterterrorism” operations, the human suffering of our endless war in Afghanistan, the extent of the militarization of the US police force, and the opportunity costs of war in our age of climate crisis.  This is just a fraction of their critical, conversation-changing, and eye-opening work – we strongly encourage you to explore more of it –  here.

As well as speaking with Prof. Lutz about the current state of U.S militarism and its myriad costs, we will also be talking to her about developing career and research skills that challenge the war machine, how we might stay engaged with the CoW project, and where she sees possibilities for change in the current paradigm (and how we can get involved with it!).

It will surely be a rich and informative discussion, while ensuring plenty of time for your questions. BWW Discussion meetings are never to be missed – but this one should be extra special – we hope you’ll join us on Thursday night.

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

SUPPORTING H 5755 : RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION

Resolution 5755 will appear before the State Government and Elections Committee on Wednesday March 24 at 4pm and the Peace & Anti-war community of RI need your help! 

**READ THROUGH TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR ACTION ITEMS TO HELP PRIORITIZE CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIANCE OVER MILITARY EXCESS – let’s get our priorities straight!**

Peace activists across Rhode Island, working with inspired legislators – including Representatives Brandon Potter, David Morales, Brianna Henries, and Senator Tiara Mack  are currently urging Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to prioritize climate resilience for our communities over military spending.

RI House Resolution H5755 RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION – recognizes the egregious misallocation of our limited resources toward excess militarism at the dire expense of RI’s communities amid a global climate crisis.

Resolution 5755 will appear before the State Government and Elections Committee on Wednesday March 24 at 4pm and we need your help! 

FACTS

Please Consider the following: 

1) The military budget is off the charts:

  • The Department of Defense budget does not  include nuclear arsenal spending which is part of the Department of Energy budget. Nor does the Department of Defense include Veteran Affairs.  Add all such hidden costs to  the $741 billion 2021 Pentagon budget and the total military spending comes to $1.2 trillion;
  • That is more than $3,500 per year per person, young and old, about $275,000 over a lifetime; and
  • Rhode Island tax payers contributed $2.3 billion to the military in 2018.

2) Military spending crowds out spending on domestic needs:

  • 53% of federal discretionary spending goes to defense as opposed to 5% for education, 6% for health, 3% for transportation, 4% for energy and the environment and 1% for food and agriculture;
  • A 10% cut in the military budget could house a million homeless people or create a million good infrastructure jobs or a million well-paying green energy jobs or hire 900,000 new teachers or provide college education for two million students; and
  • In 2015, over 16,000 Rhode Island veterans, 23% of the state’s veteran population had  incomes below $35,000.

3) Funding the defense industry jobs is an inefficient way of creating jobs:

  • Compared to military spending, clean energy jobs provide 40% more bang for the buck; for health care it’s 70% more; for education it’s no less than 150%; and
  • The Pentagon has failed each of the three audits conducted since 2018. Weapons projects waste billions. It is predicted that it will take until the end of the decade before the Pentagon can pass an audit.
  • Weapons projects such as the F35,  waste trillions of dollars

4) The US global military presence is destabilizing:

  • We are on the verge of another nuclear arms race and the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange is greater than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis;
  • It has not made the world safer. Afghanistan is not closer to peace than it was in 2001. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Yemen and much of Africa are in chaos;
  • Surplus military equipment is given to local police forces, bringing the war military methods and training and military violence to our streets; and
  • From 2000 to 2014, RI law enforcement received at least $8.5 million in federal military equipment.

5) US military greenhouse gas pollution:

  • If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it—between Peru and Portugal—the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world; and
  • The United States insisted on an exemption for reporting military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This loophole was closed by the Paris Accord; current status: unknown.

6) Military spending has not made us safe:

7) Intergenerational justice demands that we redirect federal military spending toward a Green New Deal;

  • In 2019 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change repeated its 2018 warning that “We will only be able to keep global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels if we effect unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, land and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure as well as industry.”
  • There must be a just transition for those employed in the war economy with special attention to vulnerable and marginalized communities.

ACTION ITEMS

1. Send a thank you email to the hardworking legislators:

Representative Potter: rep-potter@rilegislature.gov 

Representative Morale: rep-morales@rilegislature.gov  

Representative Henries:rep-henries@rilegislature.gov  

– who have sponsored this peace legislation. We believe it is essential for legislators to know that when they carry legislation forward for the peace and anti-war community we have their back and appreciate their work. 

Here is a Script that you are welcome to use:

Dear Representative [Insert Name],

I write with heartfelt thanks for the hard work and support you have lent to the General Assembly Resolution H5755 – RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION. 

As a member of the Rhode Island community I strongly believe in the power of this statement for peace. We must reverse overspending on the military and underspending on climate resilience! This shift in priorities will deliver important benefits for the people of RI and beyond. I look forward to working with you to see this initiative meet with success. 

Yours in Gratitude,

[Insert Your Name]  

2. Contact your local General Assembly representative and let them know you’d like them to support this initiative. 

We need to generate both a groundswell of support in the community and in the legislature to meet with success. The more Assembly reps we can get to sign on, sponsor and support this bill – the greater the chances of success. 

An information sheet on how to find who your representative is: HERE

Dear Representative [Insert Name],

I am a constituent of your district and I write seeking your support for an important RI General Assembly Resolution: H5755 – RESPECTFULLY URGING RHODE ISLAND’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING AND PRIORITIZE CLIMATE ACTION.

This resolution makes a clear and important statement for peace. Rhode Islanders see clearly how the military budget is crowding out investments in our communities and our social priorities including education, infrastructure, transportation, food and housing security. Amid a rapidly unfolding climate crisis we desperately need to prioritize investments in climate resilience. We know the impacts of climate change affect most those who can least afford it, compounding extant racial and social inequalities. Studies show conclusively that investing in industries such as health and education lead to far better employment outcomes for our state than military investment. This resolution addresses these facts.

For more information on this resolution, please see these three published Resolution Fact Sheets  put together by a concerned group of Rhode Island citizens.

We hope you can sponsor, support, and vote for this important bill.

Yours Sincerely

[Insert Your Name]  

3. Sign up for written or spoken testimony. 

**TIME SENSITIVE: Sign up for Verbal Testimony before 4:00 PM on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Submit Written Testimony before 1pm on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

To be successful we need citizens concerned about the out-of-control war industry to speak up and speak out. Reining in the military-industrial complex begins on the local level. Instructions for the State Government and Elections Committee are : here and below on how to register for both written and spoken testimony, and the specifics of Tuesday’s deadlines.  

Feel free to write something short – any and all statements help enormously. Above all we want to show that we have widespread support.These information sheets will help you to prepare a statement – we recommend cutting and pasting the part that speaks to you:

Resolution :

Talking Points & Supporting Facts  – here

Detailed Information – here

W/ Graphs – here

FURTHER INFORMATION ON HOW TO CONTRIBUTE WRITTEN and/or VERBAL TESTIMONY

The State House remains closed to in-person testimony. 

The meeting will be televised on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox Channels 15, and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1061, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers.
It will also be live streamed at http://rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx

WRITTEN TESTIMONY 

Written testimony is strongly encouraged and may be submitted via 

HouseStateGovernmentandElections@rilegislature.gov 

Indicate your name, bill number, and viewpoint (for/against/neither) at top of message. Due to high volume, clerks are not screening this inbox for verbal testimony requests. This inbox is for written testimony only. 

DEADLINE: Written testimony should be submitted no later than three (3) hours prior to the posted meeting time. Every effort will be made to share written testimony submitted before the deadline with committee members prior to the hearing. Testimony received after deadline will be sent to committee members and posted to the website as soon as possible. 

For faster processing, it is recommended that testimony is submitted as a PDF file. Testimony will be posted on the General Assembly website, 

http://www.rilegislature.gov/Special/comdoc/Pages/HSGE.aspx . 

VERBAL TESTIMONY 

Due to the extremely high volume of requests, and in order to accommodate as many constituents as possible, please take note of the revised procedure for verbal testimony:
*DEADLINE: Requests for verbal testimony must be submitted via the link, by 4:00 PM
on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. 

For verbal testimony requests, CLICK HERE
Verbal testimony accepted on any bill scheduled for “Hearing and/or Consideration” only 

The committee is unable to designate a specific time that you will be called. In the event you are unavailable when called, witnesses are urged to submit written testimony. 

Jill Cataldi
Committee Clerk
222-4435 HouseStateGovernmentandElections@rilegislature.gov 

A huge thank you to all engaged in this struggle to set our priorities straight!! We’ll win locally on our way to Washington!

Standing in Solidarity with our AAPI community members

Brown War Watch condemns in the strongest terms the murderous attacks on the East Asian community in Atlanta, and stands in solidarity with the affected, especially AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) womxn. This violence has clear roots in xenophobia, racism,  sexism, classism and other intersecting domains of oppression. We see the fight against such violence and the ideologies that engender it as central to our group’s mission, and commit to re-doubling our efforts in fighting it on all fronts. The violence against minorities within the United States is deeply connected to imperialistic rhetoric and policies issued by the U.S. government during past and present administrations.This rhetoric casts pandemics, economic downturns, global mistrust and many other negative outcomes of U.S. foreign policy as the fault of Asian entities. It is meant to sow hatred and mistrust of foreign populations, especially rising powers in Asia, in order to encourage the spending of sorely needed resources on the war industry, and reassert American hegemony abroad. 

This hate crime sits atop a long history of American imperialist and colonialist violence against Asian peoples and especially Asian womxn, including horrific wars in the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, and Cambodia, as well as racist and violent policies towards Japanese Americans in World War II. 

We know that the difficult fight against racism and xenophobia in all of its forms can be won only through committed collaborations between forces targeting their various insidious manifestations. Therefore, we welcome all collaborations towards the dismantling of violence and violent ideology, within and without the United States. 

In Solidarity,

Brown War Watch

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday March 18th 2021

Brown War Watch meets online every Thursday at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, tension amongst superpowers, and pathways to peace.

All political and spiritual beliefs welcome, united in the quest for a more peaceful planet. End the Endless Wars!

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

THIS WEEK’S TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION: KURDISTAN, ROJAVA, THE YAZIDI.

This week Brown War Watch welcomes to the discussion Mairéad Smith, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, Brown University. Mairéad will discuss Middle Eastern conflict, giving special attention to the Kurdish and Yazidi peoples, the Rojava political project, and the role of women. This discussion will be of particular interest to those fascinated by the theory and practice of political projects unfolding in our time.

SOME RESOURCES TO AID AND ENRICH DISCUSSION:

Kurdish History : here

Basic Overview on scope of issues: here

Western Projections onto Kurdish Women: here

Kurdish Poetry: here

Rojava: here

We are looking forward to another compelling and rich discussion on topics that go largely ignored in the media.

We hope you’ll join us! Write to brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday March 11th

Brown War Watch will be meeting Thursday March 11th at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, and pathways to peace. All political and spiritual beliefs welcome, united in the quest for a more peaceful planet. End the Endless Wars!

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

THIS WEEK’S TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION

Military Industrial Complex

This week Brown War Watch welcomes Christian Sorensen to the discussion, the author of the new book “Understanding the War Industry,” by Clarity Press. Christian is a preeminent expert and reporter on the Military Industrial Complex, Brown alum, and military veteran.

His ongoing work can be found at https://warindustrymuster.com . We look forward to a discussion with Christian in which we question who profits from war, broach the behavior of War Corporations, how military contracts work, and the ways in which the industry corrupts our democracy – among other areas of interest.

For more info on what’s happening right now surrounding local efforts to move the RI economy away from the military industrial complex check out our previous post about legislative efforts to divest state pension funds from weapons manufacturers.

For a bit of local history surrounding the military industrial complex check out this article from 2018 highlighting one instance of many of funds from New England state coffers flowing into Electric Boat/General Dynamics.

RHODE ISLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEGISLATIVE BILL H6026 : DIVESTMENT OF STATE PENSION FUNDS FROM MILITARY CONTRACTORS

**PLEASE SEE THE ACTION ITEMS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR IMPORTANT & APPRECIATED WAYS THAT *YOU* CAN SUPPORT THIS CONCRETE, RARE, AND PROMISING LEGISLATIVE STEP TOWARD REINING IN THE WAR PROFITEERS**

Peace activists across Rhode Island, working with inspired legislators – including Representatives David Morales and Brianna Henries, and Senators Tiara Mack and Sam Bell – are currently moving to divest RI’s State Pension Funds from weapons corporations.

RI House Bill 6026  – for the DIVESTMENT OF STATE PENSION FUNDS FROM MILITARY CONTRACTORS – is a small but concrete step toward a more peaceful planet. 

Bill 6026 will appear before the Finance Committee on Thursday March 11 at 5.30pm and we need your help

FACTS

Every year the US spends approximately a third of its bloated $740 billion military budget on weapons systems, constantly adding to its world-ending arsenal (including 5,800 nuclear warheads). More spending only drives the global arms race, not improvements in national security.  

The weapons industry corrupts our democracy, leeches off our public purse, and sews misery across the globe – all financed by our tax dollars and retirement funds. 

The war profiteers constantly undermine our democracy. They pour their super-profits born from wasteful government contracts – back into the lobbying trough – chasing new contacts by influencing elected officials, academics, and the media. 

Lobbying for more weapons contracts re-enforces a continuing climate of insecurity, encourages wasted military capacity, and warps the economy away from productive activity. 

Our tax dollars enrich the war profiteers who specialize in the endless production of violence, death, destruction, and social chaos. The world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crisis, Yemen, is a prime example of American weapons companies (Raytheon in this case) at work.

Instead of footing the yearly bill for the multi-million dollar CEO bonuses at Death & Destruction Inc. – we can instead invest the retirement savings of RI’s hardworking people in social goods that build healthy, educated, climate resilient communities. 

 While Senator Jack Reed defends the bloated military budget – the people of RI are working tirelessly at the local level to end this waste and corruption. We’re fed up with being led around by the Weapons Trust.

What is more – Rhode Islanders do not have to sacrifice returns or take on more risk with their pension funds. Studies confirm that Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) investment vehicles match or outperform the market over the long-term. In short: PEACE PAYS.

Diverting investment funds toward companies with positive environmental, social, and governance ratings can improve societal investment in sustainable energy, modernizing crumbling infrastructure, and supporting public transit.

Further – we know it can be done because there are encouraging precedents for divestment right here in Rhode Island. The state has divested from civilian assault-style gun manufacturers and private for-profit prisons. 

The effort to rein in the military machine begins in our local communities – with people-powered campaigns from the bottom up. 

Local volunteer peace activists wrote this legislation themselves – guided by the incredible work of larger, more established groups like Mass Peace Action and Code Pink.

These information sheets will also prove helpful in understanding and supporting this legislation:

Divestment Fact Sheet – here

Divestment Considerations: here

Please find below a list of actions you can take now to begin reclaiming our democracy from the War Merchants.

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW IN SUPPORT OF H6026

1. SEND A THANK YOU EMAIL TO THE SPONSORS

Please email the hardworking Rhode Island legislators who have sponsored this peace legislation

Representative David Morales : rep-morales@rilegislature.gov

and

Representative Brianna Henries  : rep-henries@rilegislature.gov  

We believe it is essential for legislators to know that when they carry legislation forward for the peace and anti-war community we have their back and appreciate their work. 

Here is a Script You are welcome to use:

Dear Representative [Insert Name],

I write with heartfelt thanks for the hard work and support you have lent to the General Assembly legislative initiative H6026 – for the Divestment of State Pension Funds from Military Contractors.

As a member of the Rhode Island community I strongly believe in the power of this statement for peace, and the important benefits it will deliver for the people of RI and beyond. I look forward to working with you to see this initiative meet with success. 

Yours in Gratitude,

[Insert Your Name]  

2. RECRUIT YOUR LOCAL RI GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPRESENTATIVE TO SUPPORT H6026

Contact your local RI General Assembly representative and let them know you’d like them to support this initiative. We need to generate both a groundswell of support in the community and in the legislature to meet with success. The more RI Assembly reps we can get to sign on, sponsor and support this bill – the greater the chances of success. 

An information sheet on how to find *your* local representative is: HERE

Here is a Script You are welcome to use:

Dear Representative [Insert Name],

I am a constituent of your district and I write seeking your support for an important RI General Assembly legislative initiative: H6026 – for the Divestment of State Pension Funds from Military Contractors.

This bill makes a clear and important statement for peace. It shows that Rhode Islanders prioritize investments in the social good, and are willing to act to end support for military corporations who trouble our democracy with endless lobbying, and  produce violence, death, and destruction. Much research shows that investors, most importantly the hardworking people who contribute to RI State Pension Funds, need not forego returns or add risk, to invest their money with social outcomes in mind. In fact, RI legislators have a precedent for just such actions, divesting from civilian assault-style gun manufacturers and private for-profit prisons last year. This initiative continues that work.

For more information on this bill, please see this published Divestment Fact Sheet put together by a concerned group of Rhode Island citizens.

We hope you can sponsor, support, and vote for this important bill.

Yours Sincerely

[Insert Your Name]  

3. SIGN UP FOR WRITTEN AND/OR VERBAL TESTIMONY IN FAVOR OF H6026

Sign up for written or spoken testimony. To be successful we need citizens concerned about the out-of-control war industry to speak up and speak out. Reining in the military-industrial complex begins on the local level.

Instructions for the Finance Committee Statements are here and below. They include how to register for both written and spoken testimony, and the specifics of Thursday’s deadlines.  

Feel free to write something short – any and all statements help enormously. Above all we want to show that we have widespread support. These information sheets will help you to prepare a statement – we recommend simply cutting and pasting the part that speaks to you and for you.

Divestment: Fact Sheet – here

Considerations: here


FINANCE COMMITTEE HEARING DETAILS for H6026

The meeting will be televised live on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox Channels 15, and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1061, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers. It will also be live streamed at  http://rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx

WRITTEN TESTIMONY
Written testimony is strongly encouraged and may be submitted via HouseFinance@rilegislature.gov 
Indicate your name, bill number, and viewpoint (for/against/neither) at top of message.  Due to high volume, clerks are not screening this inbox for verbal testimony requests. This inbox is for written testimony only
DEADLINE: Written testimony should be submitted no later than three (3) hours prior to the posted meeting time. Every effort will be made to share written testimony submitted before the deadline with committee members prior to the hearing. Testimony received after deadline will be sent to committee members and posted to the website as soon as possible.  For faster processing, it is recommended that testimony is submitted as a PDF file.
Testimony will be posted on the General Assembly website, http://www.rilegislature.gov/Special/comdoc/Pages/HFIN.aspx .

VERBAL TESTIMONY For verbal testimony requests, CLICK HERE Verbal testimony accepted on any bill scheduled for “Hearing and/or Consideration” only
DEADLINE: Requests for verbal testimony must be submitted via the link, by 11:00 AM on Thursday, March 11, 2021. The committee is unable to designate a specific time that you will be called. In the event you are unavailable when called, witnesses are urged to submit written testimony.

4. PLEASE FILL OUT THIS QUICK GOOGLE FORM LETTING US KNOW WHAT ACTION YOU TOOK

So that we can measure and celebrate our collective impact!! Let’s do this!

Google Form : HERE

Please feel free to reach out to brownwarwatch@brown.edu if you need help with any of the actions above, especially in registering for testimony or crafting your response. 

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday March 4th 2021

Brown War Watch will be meeting Thursday March 4th at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, and pathways to peace. All political and spiritual beliefs welcome, united in the quest for a more peaceful planet. End the Endless Wars!

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

THIS WEEK’S TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

Syria

First we’ll talk about the ongoing conflict and regime change efforts in Syria. We recommend checking out this article from the security reform institute outlining some arguments as to why it’s time to stop those regime change efforts. If you’d like to know more about Syria also check out our timeline at the bottom of this post outlining some of what happened in Syria over the course of civil war there.

Iran

Secondly we’ll talk about Iran. Despite hopes that a new administration would bring a return to the Iran deal, US and Iran tensions are again on the rise. On this topic we recommend this article from Responsible Statecraft that outlines some predictable issues with building better ties between Iran and the US given where we currently stand. A small way you can help build a better relationship between Iran and the US is to fill out this demand from NIAC, imploring our current admin to work towards diplomacy rather than war.

An intersection

These topics are deeply intertwined, and in recent news a bombing in Syria by the US that targeted “Iran-backed” targets (in quotations because of the dubious nature of the use of such narratives in US media) occurred as a response to actions by an “Iran-backed” militia earlier last month. We will discuss this intersection, and our hopes for a peaceful path forward.

An incomplete timeline on the civil war in Syria

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is map-of-syria.gif


2006-2011: Intense drought in Syria

2010: “Arab spring” protests/civilian actions started in Tunisia (subsequently spread to many other countries including Syria as well as Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and many others)

2011: Violent suppression of protests by Syrian government (under the leadership of Assad) and the start of a civil war

2011: The start of the expansion of ISIS

2012: UN backed peace talks on Syrian civil war (no agreement reached, US preconditions of Assad stepping down is a nonstarter for the peace process)

2012: Kurds informally secede and form autonomous state in Northeastern Syria

2013: Known start of US covert (CIA) train and equip programs of anti-Assad forces in Syria

2014: Reports of collusion between ISIS and Turkey

2014: (January) UN backed peace talks on Syrian civil war (no agreement reached)

2014: (Feb) Iran purportedly expands intelligence gathering and training programs in Syria

2014: (June) ISIS claimed land from Aleppo in Syria to Diyala in Iraq

2014: (August) US-led coalition airstrikes in ISIS start in Iraq

2014: (September) Official start of US train and equip program of anti-Assad forces (purportedly for the sole purpose of fighting Isis though the veneer was thin)

2014: (September) US-led coalition airstrikes against ISIS start in Syria

2015: (June) Turkish President Erdogan denounces the formation of the Kurdish state in Northeastern Syria, infamously saying he would “never allow” the state to form no matter the cost

2015: (October) Reports of Iranian soldiers in Syria (difficult to peer through western media bias and get an understanding on Iran’s involvement)

2015: (September) Coalition forms including Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria against ISIS (US refused involvement)

2015 (September) Russia’s Federation Council authorized Putin to deploy armed forces in Syria

2016: (August) Turkey launches artillery bombardment and airstrikes followed by ground assault targeting both ISIS and Kurdish forces

2016 (January) UN backed peace talks on Syrian civil war (no agreement reached, US preconditions continue to be an issue)

2016: (October) Clinton pushes no fly zones (which would have functionally targeted Russian aircraft)

2017: (April) US officially bombs first Syrian military target (coverage truly bizarre)

2017: (December) ISIS had lost 95% of its territory

2018: (April) Israel starts officially bombing Iranian targets in Syria (this has never stopped)

2018: (August) US starts bombing Damascus (a purported response to a chemical weapons use by Assad, the details of which remain unclear)

2019: Turkish forces launch military offensive further into Kurdish controlled North-Easetern Syria

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday February 25th 2021

Brown War Watch will be meeting tonight at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, and pathways to peace. All political and spiritual beliefs welcome, united in the quest for a more peaceful planet. End the Endless Wars!

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

THIS WEEK’S TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

Compile a list of reliable sources on foreign affairs:

Firstly, we will attempt to crowdsource/ survey/share a list of reliable and authoritative sources for news and information on:  foreign policy, international relations, conflicts, defense programs, military industrial complex etc etc. We encourage you to bring along your list of favorites to share with the group.

Discussion on Media Bias:

Secondly, we will explore media bias in reporting of these issues. The key pillars and methods for distorting realities, propagandizing war and conflict, justifying war and imperialisms, and other-ing people across the globe.

Open floor – for any topic of discussion of concern or interest

READING MATERIAL FOR THIS WEEK

Coverage on Iran:

Coverage on Western Sahara Conflict: