CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of May 1, 2022

The struggle for truth

As the Culture of War, now led by Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, continues to use the control of information and outright lies as a major weapon in their arsenal, the struggle for truth becomes ever more important for the culture of peace. As Gandhi said, “‘Non-violence and truth are inseparable and presuppose one another.’ He called it Satyagraha.”

This is not safe or easy, as we see in the following recent exampes of those who engage in this struggle.

Julian Assange has been imprisoned for many years now and threatened for extradition to the United States where he could be imprisoned for the rest of his life. In a letter this month to President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, more than 30 progressive advocates, intellectuals, and former heads of state argued the charges against Assange should be dropped. The charges against Assange stem from his publication of classified material that exposed U.S. war crimes, including video footage of American forces gunning down civilians in Iraq.

According to a report by Yahoo News, the CIA and senior officials of the Trump administration discussed how to assassinate him.

Dmitry Muratov, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his independent journalism criticizing Russian policies, was attacked recently by someone shouting “Here’s to you for our boys” (i.e. Russian soldiers). Perhaps saved by his notariety as a result of the prize, he was not assassinated like several others of his journalist colleagues. Although his journal, Novaya Gazeta, has been shut down by Russian authorities, there are plans to re-open it abroad.

Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist who has been defending freedom of information for almost 20 years now, including defense of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, and publishing investigative reports on corruption in Brazil and elsewhere. In an article this month republished by CPNN, he reviews the extreme censorship now being orchestrated from Washington has greatly limited the possibility to know what is truly happening in the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. He asks, “Why is there so much urgency about silencing the small pockets of dissenting voices about the war in Ukraine?” And he responds, “The answer seems clear,” and he documents the enormous contracts being given to the military-industrial complex to expand the war.

As an example of how censorship limits the possibility of knowing what is happening in Russia, the reader should recall the editor’s note on the CPNN article of January 19 this year, prior to the invasion of Ukraine: “: In recent weeks, Russian President Putin has proposed new peace treaties between Russia and the US and between Russia and NATO. Google lists perhaps a hundred news articles that mention Putin’s proposals but nowhere in any of the articles could I find a reference to the actual text of the proposals or to the historical context that includes American assurances at the end of the Cold War that NATO would not be expanded towards Russia. Instead, the articles listed by google support American and NATO claims that that Putin’s proposals mask a justification for Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Finally, after a rather long and detailed search, I found the following article (not listed by google) that links to the treaty proposals and to the historical context. Here it is.)

Sergey Aleksashenko, a former deputy governor of the Russian central bank, now writes a dissident blog from inside the Russian Federation. As republished in CPNN, he documents the censorship now being conducted by the Russian authorities which is so extreme as to become ridiculous at times. Somehow, despite the Russian censorship, he continues to publish daily blogs about the situation there.

Medea Benjamin and Nicholas Davies, from the American peace organization Codepink, condemn not only the war crimes committed by Russia in the Ukraine, but even more so the long list of war crimes committed by the United States military in recent years, such as those in Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq. ” The United States and its allies have waged war in country after country for decades, carving swathes of destruction through cities, towns and villages on a far greater scale than has so far disfigured Ukraine.”

Marina Ovsyannikova is the Russian journalist who dared to interrupt a live news bulletin on Russian state TV Channel One holding a sign reading ‘NO WAR. Stop the war’. CPNN carried a link to the video of the event in which she describes her motivation.  She was immediately arrested and according to a more recent article in Haaretz, “A court fined her the equivalent of about $270, but she still faces charges of violating a law against ‘false news,’ which makes it illegal to refer to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “war.” If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.”

Oliver Stone, the film-maker who dared to defy the American authorities with his film JFK about the asassination of President Kennedy, has now published a film about the coup d’etat in the Ukraine in 2014 orchestrated by the American government, including Vice-President at the time Joe Biden. This provides key evidence of why the Russians have invaded, including links to the conversation between the US ambassador to the Ukraine and a top State Department authority on how to form the new government in 2014, and a statement from Vladimir Putin, asking what can be done to stop the encroachmen of NATO against his country.

In CPNN in recent weeks we have published statements and petitions from hundreds of thousands of Russians opposed to the war as detailed in last month’s bulletin. And most recently we have published also a call from Ukrainian pacifists who dare to criticize their own country as well as the Russians.

The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement writes, “We condemn military actions on both sides, the hostilities which harm civilians. We insist that all shootings should be stopped, all sides should honor the memory of killed people and, after due grief, calmly and honestly commit to peace talks. . . . War is a crime against humanity. Therefore, we are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.”

Finally, we turn to the censorship of China.

As re-published in CPNN, “Chinese professors have been restricted from airing their views and are reluctant to contradict the official Communist Party line on international relations and political events. However, a group of five prominent history professors from top Chinese universities were willing to go against the official narrative in a rare joint letter condemning the invasion of Ukraine.”

“The letter, signed by Nanjing University’s Sun Jiang, Peking University’s Wang Lixin, Hong Kong University’s Xu Guoqi, Tsinghua University’s Zhong Weimin, and Fudan University’s Chen Yan, described the Russian invasion as a “war that began in the dark”, and for an immediate end to the fighting. . . . The letter was immediately removed by censors when it appeared on 26 February on the Chinese social media platform WeChat but not before it had been viewed and commented upon – including attacking the professors on China’s social media with some calling them spies or traitors.”

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