BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday December 2nd

This Thursday December the 2nd at 7pm (via zoom) Brown War Watch welcomes to our discussion of the coup in Sudan Marine Alneel, Mental Health Professional, and social and political activist, founder and President of Afia Institute for Community and Psychological Wellness Services and Studies. If you have any questions or would like the Zoom address please write to us at brownwarwatch@brown.edu

Marine is a Sudanese national living in New York who has been part of the protests in Sudan to establish civilian rule for years. In 2019, she was interviewed by Hassan Minhaj as part of the Netflix show Patriot Act, discussing her experiences and predictions for the future of the movement.

Since then, much progress was made until a recent coup undermined the transition to civilian rule and cast the future of Sudan into uncertainty once more. With internet and media blackout engulfing the country, it is difficult to find reliable information about the current state of affairs. Therefore, we are excited to receive up-to-date information from Marine and learn more about how we may aid the revolutionaries in Sudan by amplifying the voices of Neighborhood Resistance Committees.

The video linked above provides helpful information about the background of the protests until 2019. For more in depth overviews of the history as well as the more recent events, please see the following articles: 

https://africanarguments.org/2021/11/creatures-of-the-deposed-connecting-sudans-rural-and-urban-struggles/

https://longreads.tni.org/why-it-hasnt-fallen-yet-lessons-from-the-sudanese-revolution



BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday October 7th



Brown War Watch will meet online this Thursday evening 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.

Also please note the time change! Our discussion meetings will be 7PM this semester!

THIS WEEK’S DISCUSSION: US military industrial complex

We will be joined this week by special guest Christian Sorenson.

Christian will be speaking about his new work on how US military corporations foster and encourage the development of myriad fascisms, fascistic structures and processes in American society. As always – there will be lots of time for Q & A. 

Christian is a preeminent expert and reporter on the Military Industrial Complex, Brown & BWW alum, and military veteran. He is the author of the recently published “Understanding the War Industry,” by Clarity Press.

His work can be found at https://warindustrymuster.com .You’ll recall the robust and enlightening discussion that ensued the last time Christian joined us – we hope you can make it to the discussion Thursday night for his return!:crossed_fingers:

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday September 23rd



Brown War Watch will meet online this Thursday evening at 8pm 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: Nuclear

So much to talk about, here is some of the stuff we’ve been looking

Nuclear Modernization:

On the costs of nuclear modernization (a bit sanitized but has some useful info):
https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/USNuclearModernization

https://thebulletin.org/2021/02/why-is-america-getting-a-new-100-billion-nuclear-weapon/

The nuclear club – who’s in it and who is not:

The world’s nuclear arsenal:
https://www.icanw.org/nuclear_arsenals

On Iran: Iran nuclear program timeline (similarly sanitized but has useful info):
https://kesq.com/news/2021/09/22/irans-nuclear-capabilities-fast-facts-2/

Why doesn’t the US want Iran to have nukes?
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/02/iran-nukes-deterrence (the real reasons)
https://www.adl.org/resources/fact-sheets/the-iranian-nuclear-threat-why-it-matters (the mainstream narrative if you can stomach an ADL piece)

Israel/Iran tensions (related to what I think is the real reason the US won’t let Iran have nukes, they don’t want Iran to be protected from attack by the US or Israel):
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/20/world/middleeast/iran-israeli-attacks.html
https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-business-iran-middle-east-united-nations-16666e8d97ed6e4571ae6d01785c00fc



US recklessness/Broken Arrows:

US “Broken arrow” incidents:
https://www.atomicarchive.com/almanac/broken-arrows/index.html

Historic and Ongoing Environmental and Human Destruction:
https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-07-01/us-says-nuclear-waste-safe-marshall-islands-runit-dome
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QcFRHk8ZOU&t=1s

The UN ban of nuclear weapons:
https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/

Online Resources on the Nuclear Issue:
https://isis-online.org
https://www.ctbto.org/nuclear-testing/history-of-nuclear-testing/world-overview
https://www.icanw.org
https://www.wjperryproject.org

Nuclear Arms Race – China & Russia (especially the quest for “small” or “low-yield” nuclear warheads:
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/26/us/politics/china-nuclear-weapons.html?referringSource=articleShare
https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/561786-why-nuclear-arms-control-is-dead?rl=1
https://www.npr.org/2019/01/28/689510716/trump-administration-begins-production-of-a-new-nuclear-weapon
A bit more historical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLCF7vPanrY
Russia: https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/01/29/russia-is-updating-their-nuclear-weapons-what-does-that-mean-for-rest-of-us-pub-80895

BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday August 19th

Brown War Watch will meet online this Thursday evening at 8pm 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: Afghanistan

Much has been going on, and we’ve been reading a fair bit ourselves. Here is what we’ve been looking at. For a more manageable list of reading check out the pieces preceded by an “*”.

The collapse of the US backed government and the US withdrawal:

*Taliban enter Afghan capital as US diplomats evacuate by chopper (Reuters)


US failures and what went “wrong”:

Afghanistan Proves The US Military Needs Its Budget Slashed To Ribbons (Caitlin Johnstone)

Biden Must Stop Bombing Afghan Cities (LA Progressive)


The capital angle – how the IMF can keep money flowing, and how war profiteers lined their pockets:

Analysis: Taliban gains give investors cause for concern beyond Afghanistan (Reuters)

$10,000 INVESTED IN DEFENSE STOCKS WHEN AFGHANISTAN WAR BEGAN NOW WORTH ALMOST $100,000 (Intercept)


Implications:

Afghanistan is now part of the post-American world ($ Financial Times)

*America leaves Afghanistan, and the regional geopolitics take over (Responsible Statecraft)

The Taliban leaders in line to become de facto rulers of Afghanistan (Guardian)

U.S. Military Left behind Biometric Tracking Technology. The Taliban Is Already Using It to Track Afghans (Leftvoice)

*Who are the Taliban and how will they govern Afghanistan this time?
 (Guardian)


For some extra reading here are some US media narratives shunting blame from the US  (guilty of 20 years of fomenting support for the Taliban through violent occupation and shameless war profiteering) onto Afghanistan itself and the beating of the drums of war:


The Afghan Military Was Built Over 20 Years. How Did It Collapse So Quickly? ($ NYT)

4 Reasons A Taliban Takeover In Afghanistan Matters To The World (NPR)

Disaster in Afghanistan Will Follow Us Home ($ NYT)

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

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

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.