Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

THE KIRUNA CONFERENCE STATEMENT



PROTECTING THE HIGH NORTH, DEMILITARISING OUTER SPACE AND REMOVING THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION

The International Conference on the High North and International Security was held in the city of Kiruna, Sweden, on 28-30th June 2013. Representatives from a wide spectrum of civil societies and public movements from a number of Scandinavian, European, Asian and Latin American countries, Russia and the United States of America attended and agreed the following:

Conference members recognize:

that we are facing major threats to our survival through the continued pretence that security can be obtained through aggressive foreign policies and military action;

that the ultimate consequences of these policies is the continued development and threatened use of nuclear weapons and the exploitation and militarization of environments that should be protected for the benefit of all humankind - such as the Arctic and outer space;

that the High North is being used by an expanding NATO as a military practice ground in which to rehearse future war fighting strategies and to test and develop new killing technologies;

that the US has established a satellite ground station in the Svalbard islands in Norway which is used by the military and therefore violates the Svalbard or Spitzbergen Treaty that requires that the archipelago is not used for military purposes;

the rapidly increasing deployment of space based military systems and the global network of ground based stations (including radars, downlink and surveillance facilities) that support and supplement them;

that the uncontrolled and irresponsible use of outer space has resulted in that environment being littered with debris that could eventually render it impenetrable;

the destabilizing effects that the deployment of space based, ground based and sea based missile defense systems have on undermining international stability and that they are risking the possibility of reaching further agreements on nuclear disarmament;

that all states who have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should honour its Article VI and “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”;

the negative consequences stemming from the stationing of US tactical nuclear weapons in a number of European nations;

that US President Obama’s focus on his “pivot to Asia”, the sending of missiles and warships to the region and the encouragement of the construction of support bases in the region (such as the one threatening the lives of the Gangjeong villagers on Jeju Island, South Korea), is aimed at containing China and is increasing international tension.

We therefore call on all governments, political parties, members of civil societies and public movements all over the world to share these concerns and urgently request them to call upon:

the leaders of the Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to arrange an urgent meeting on the revival of stalled arms control processes and to embrace all key areas, including nuclear weapons, missile defense and conventional weapons stationed on the ground, at sea, in the air and in outer space;

the members of the United Nations to firmly work towards the adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention, leading to nuclear disarmament,  and we call upon the nuclear weapon states not to obstruct the discussion of the Nuclear Weapons Convention in the General Assembly of the UN;

all nations possessing or about to possess missile defense components should recognize their destabilizing nature and seek instead, through diplomatic processes, to reduce international tensions and work towards a situation where cooperation, mutual trust and understanding;

all space-faring nations should engage immediately in high level talks on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space and the adoption of outer space as a de-militarized zone;

all states to respect and renew their commitment to protect the unique and vitally important regions of the Earth, such as the Arctic and Antarctic, and reconfirm that they are not the property of any one nation, and never should be, but are to be protected as a common heritage for all humankind and never used for military purposes.

The money and material assets that will be gained from the above steps and other arms control and disarmament measures should not then be redirected to other military projects but used instead to help convert our militarized societies to peaceful ones that work for the betterment of the social and economic well being of all people – for human rather than state security – and for dealing with our common problem of climate change.

As declared at the conference in Kiruna, Sweden, 29th June 2013.

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