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.

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 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.

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

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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

Discussing Prospective US Relations with Yemen and Iran for the imminent Biden Administration



Hassan El-Tayyab, the lead lobbyist on Middle Eastern policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation will be joining us for a discussion on the prospects for U.S. relations with Iran and Yemen for the imminent Biden administration. The conversation will cover the following:

1. A brief history of U.S.-Iranian and U.S.-Yemeni relations
2. The current state of affairs
3. How these issues connect
4. Proposed policy recommendations
5. A discussion on how foreign policy relates to living in the state of RI

This event is intended to provide students with the tools needed to understand and influence foreign policy issues. To orient yourself on the topics we will be discussing, we recommend reading this op-ed written by Mr. El-Tayyab featured in Truthout.

Hassan El-Tayyab is FCNL’s (Friends Committee for National Legislation) lead lobbyist on Middle East policy. He is also responsible for representing FCNL with the various coalitions that work on these issues.

Prior to joining FCNL in August 2019, he was co-director of the national advocacy group Just Foreign Policy, where he led their lobbying work to advance a more progressive foreign policy in the Middle East and Latin America. He played a major role in the successful passage of the War Powers Resolution to end US military aid to the Saudi-UAE coalition’s war in Yemen.

His writings and commentaries have been featured in numerous news outlets, including BBC World News, The Hill, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, The Intercept, and more. Hassan holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island.

Please email us at brownwarwatch@brown.edu for a link to this virtual event on Tuesday January 19th at 7PM EST.

True Reform: Ending America’s Endless Wars & Investing in Our Communities.

Join us Tuesday January 12th from 7-8 pm


How do we transform US foreign policy so that it paves the way for less war abroad and greater social change and justice at home?

Brown War Watch, Brown’s peace/anti-war student group, invites you to join us for a discussion with Stephen Semler, Co-Founder of The Security Policy Reform Institute.

The SPRI is an independent, grassroots think tank that promotes a principled U.S. foreign policy that connects security practices abroad to Americans’ most pressing economic, social, and political needs at home: https://www.securityreform.org

After a short Q & A discussion with Brown War Watch, Stephen will answer your audience questions. We are looking forward to a rich and substantive discussion!

Please reach out to us at BrownWarWatch@brown.edu for a link to this virtual event.

Call to Action: Block the UAE Weapon Sale

This week the Senate will vote on four joint resolutions intended to block a $23 billion weapons sale to the UAE.

We urge you all to contact your senators in support of these resolutions.

The UAE, along with Saudi and US intervention was responsible for creating the worst humanitarian crises on the planet in Yemen, and furthermore this weapon deal is designed to increase pressure on Iran.

From Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement announcing his authorization of the sales:

“This is in recognition of our deepening relationship and the UAE’s need for advanced defense capabilities to deter and defend itself against heightened threats from Iran”.

#NoWarWithIran
#StopTheSale

BWW Discussion Meeting: Tuesday December 1st 2020

Brown War Watch will have our final meeting of the semester Tuesday at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, and pathways to peace.

As a graduate student group at Brown University, and in order to comply with university policy, our official meetings will resume in the second week of January. That being said, war and peace and the efforts surrounding them don’t stop for the holidays. If you are curious to learn more about what we’re doing or what we’re talking about always feel free to reach out to us at brownwarwatch@brown.edu or through our facebook or twitter.

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

On Cuba and the US:
One of our members has graciously offered to present a bit on US-Cuba relations and History. Is Cuba a hapless country taken over by communists or an example of revolutionary resistance to American Imperialism? Through the presentation and following discussion we hope to all expand our understanding.

What does the Biden Cabinet mean for war and peace?
While there has been some criticism (Business InsiderJacobinScoopIn These Times) the worries of a hawkish cabinet are conspicuously absent from some US media (CNN [1,2], CNBC [1,2], Baltimore Sun). Is the incoming cabinet truly a return to an age of diplomacy that will make the world safer, or a harbinger of war and regime change to come?

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

BWW rewind: The Nuns, the Priests, and the Bomb

In February of last year Brown War Watch hosted a film screening of The Nuns, the Priests and the Bombs. This powerful documentary highlights the plowshares movement, and the daring group of Catholic anti-nuclear weapon activists that broke into a nuclear weapons facility in protest against these devastating weapons.

A description of the film from the website:

Are they criminals or prophets sending a wake-up call to the world?  

Since 1980, activists in lay and religious life have undertaken dramatic Plowshares protests, derived from the biblical injunction, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares,” incurring long prison sentences in an ongoing campaign to deter nuclear disaster.

A poster that advertised the event


Following the film screening was a panel featuring the film’s director, Helen Young, investigative journalist Alex Nunes, and activist Frida Berrigan. Check out the panel below:

Panel Following the film screening of The Nuns, the Priests, and the Bomb at Brown University in Feb 2019


Today, as we await the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to enter into force (after receiving the required number of ratifications in October), this film remains as relevant as ever. While the United States frequently flouts international weapons bans (such as the ban on cluster bombs) and international law (such as the repeated use of torture by the US on detained prisoners of war) this treaty provides a reminder of the horrors of nuclear warfare and an opportunity to highlight the moral arguments against their use.