Minneapolis, MN – Speaking to a standing room only crowd at May Day Book Store, April 7, leaders of the Twin Cities anti-war movement denounced NATO as an aggressive alliance of western imperialism and urged listeners to join them at the massive protest planned for the NATO Summit. The protest will coincide the Summit’s opening, May 20.
Presenters included April Knutson of Woman Against Military Madness (WAMM), who spoke on the history of NATO, including its imperialist beginnings; Sarah Martin, also of WAMM, who spoke on the role of NATO in the war on Yugoslavia; Jess Sundin, Anti-War Committee, who talked about NATO’s role in the war on Afghanistan; and Mary Beaudoin of WAMM, who spoke on the new stage of NATO in its war on Libya and its potential new targets, such as Syria.
Beaudoin said, “The two most powerful organizations in the world - one that divides up the wealth and the other the enforcer - roam the world stealing and killing with impunity. Growing ever larger, blazing new trails of death and destruction, they decide who eats and who doesn’t, who lives and who dies. The G8 holds the economic strings. NATO provides the military might to ensure the decisions of the G8 are enforced. Both are spearheaded by the U.S. The two sociopathic entities hide behind lies about humanitarian intervention and the ‘right to protect’ and are sustained by complicit institutional systems worldwide. Profit and power are their gods and anyone and anything, no matter how old or young, ancient or new, sacred or profane can be mowed down in their path.”
Sarah Martin analyzed NATO’s war on Yugoslavia stating, “This brutal bombing campaign aimed to destroy the economy of Yugoslavia by targeting its infrastructure - bridges, factories, power plants, the state TV station and the Chinese embassy. The bombing of Kosovo drove thousands from the country, making them refugees, and was strangely accepted by U.S. and European citizens as a humanitarian intervention. A precedent was set and we - or rather the people of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya - have been living and dying with the consequences ever since.”
Martin continued, “And so on its 50th birthday in 1999 NATO had successfully morphed from an anti-Soviet alliance to the hired guns of the 1% with the U.S. firmly in control. It had grown enormously and there were now bases in Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary and the enormous camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. And Yugoslavia is the gift that keeps on giving and is held up as the shining example of humanitarian intervention. In reality a country was torn apart, people that live in the areas where there was bombing, live with the effects of DU [depleted uranium]. In Kosovo, ethnic cleansing really happened and only a handful of Serbians who live with the threat of harassment from the majority.”
Jess Sundin, of the Anti-War Committee stated, “Afghanistan is a test for the NATO, and especially for the US. If they become the first successful foreign occupiers in the history of Afghanistan, it would be a huge blow not only to the people of Afghanistan, but to all the peace-loving peoples of the world.
“There are some barriers to that success. First and foremost, the people of Afghanistan, who have refused to accept the twin evils of a brutal military occupation and the corrupt puppet government of Hamid Karzai. The Afghan people, like any occupied people, have a right to resist. And resist they have. The incidents I described earlier - the killing of civilians, the dishonoring of the bodies of the dead, the desecration of the Koran - these were each answered with acts of resistance. Afghan people have protested and they have fought back. Their resistance is why U.S. troops are dying in greater numbers every year,” said Sundin.
Sundin also talked about FBI repression that is being directed at anti-war activists and urged support for Carlos Montes, who will soon go on trial in Los Angeles.
The event was organized by the Anti-War Committee, the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and Women Against Military Madness. For more info on the protest in Chicago go to cang8.org. For more info on the buses from Minneapolis visit antiwarcommittee.org.