Newsletter April 2015

Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign

NEWSLETTER APRIL 2015 

(if you can spare a moment, kindly forward this to interested colleagues)

This is the fifth Newsletter of our campaign. The newsletter comes out periodically. Because your time is valuable, the newsletter is brief. You don’t need to keep this – all editions are available on the website www.nonlethalsecurityforpeace.com

IF YOU DON’T KNOW ALREADY…

The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign aims to reduce death and injury in warfare (and other conflicts) by using non-damaging technology (more info on the website).

NEW GREEN TECHNOLOGY FOR THE NEW YEAR

The year 2015 is a very good year to move forward our campaign to replace the obsolete technology of lethal weapons. We’re calling it “The Year of Committing to Nonlethal Technology in War”.

It’s similar to the global campaign for sustainable energy. Lethal warfare has become unsustainable and lethal weapons, like fossil fuels, are becoming obsolete. We can compare our current guns and bombs to coal-fired power stations. They served a purpose but are now outdated and dangerous and must be replaced.

We can also compare today’s nonlethal security devices – for example stun guns – to the primitive solar panels and storage batteries of 30 years ago. Today, the world has made a commitment to sustainable energy. Germany generates some thirty per cent of its energy needs from sustainable technology. Electric cars were a major attraction at the 2015 Motor Show in Detroit, heartland of the internal combustion engine. Almost every week brings news of cheaper and better green energy technology.

See our January 2015 Media Release.

COMMENT

Moving from lethal to nonlethal security technology will be a major change in human behaviour. It will require what’s sometimes called a paradigm shift.

The better known paradigm shift is the move from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources. If we don’t make that move quite soon higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will cause increased melting of ice sheets, major rises in sea-levels and more acidic oceans, not to mention higher air temperatures. This process may already be underway, evidenced by changing rainfall patterns, more extreme weather and reduced biodiversity in the oceans. The reduction in food supplies in such areas as sub-Saharan Africa may be one of the factors that are increasing tribal tensions and the flow of refugees.

Trying to contain such global unrest with conventional lethal weapons will raise the level of violence and is likely to inflame the disadvantaged. Nuclear terrorism could well be an outcome. The shift to nonlethal security can help the other necessary transition – to a more sustainable, egalitarian and less extractive world.

8th EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM on NON-LETHAL WEAPONS

A symposium on non-lethal weapons is held in Europe every two years. The next European Symposium is scheduled for later this year – 18-20 May 2015 in Ettlingen (near Frankfurt) Germany. The theme for the symposium will be “to examine the obstacles still faced in fielding non-lethal technologies: assessment of effectiveness and safety, legal hurdles, public opinion objections (and) operators’ trust.” For more details, including the conference program, go to www.non-lethal-weapons.com .

KILL SWITCH FOR PEACE?

Better to have no lethal weapons at all – but we might at least reduce the damage if they fall into the wrong hands:

“When Islamic State militants overran northern Iraq late last year they captured enough weapons and equipment from fleeing Iraqi forces to supply three combat divisions. Could remotely operated kill switch technology on weapons stop the same thing happening in future?… Harvard University law professor Jonathan Zittrain (has an idea)…‘I was reflecting on the fact that companies like Apple have implemented kill switches for iPhones,’ …‘If somebody boosts the phone from you, all is not lost. You can remotely disable it using your own Apple credentials to make it a much less enticing target to steal…

‘My thought was that if this was good enough for iPhones, why wouldn’t [weapon] supplying nations and Iraq itself want to be able to turn stuff off from afar rather than have it used against them, as it was to capture the Mosul Dam.’

Thank you to Anthony Funnell, producer of ABC Radio’s Future Tense and Andrew Davies, ABC online producer, for this. For the full story go to: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-kill-switch/6279544 .

US Non-lethal Weapons Program

The US Defense Force’s Non-lethal Weapons Program is the largest organisation currently involved with nonlethal security technology. It  reports through the Commandant of the US Marine Corps (see http://jnlwp.defense.gov/About/Organization.aspx.) The program develops nonlethal technology and runs a variety of training courses for US forces and overseas partners. (There are a number of videos on the website showing NLWs in action).

Recommended reading

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein (Penguin, Melbourne 2014). Naomi Klein’s latest book includes a highly researched but to easy-to-read summary of the factors that are leading us to global warming. She argues that our current economic model cannot resolve the problems.  A different economic approach offers the opportunity to reverse global warming and also improve the quality of life for everyone across the world. Lethal conflict is barely mentioned, if at all, but its presence is implicit in the world which will result if we don’t change our ways.

In our backyard

Like many police forces around the world NSW police carry handguns while on duty. Unfortunately all too often they have shot dead disturbed but otherwise innocent citizens. Early in February a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome was noticed wandering the streets of Sydney carrying kitchen knife. She was surrounded by several police who tried to ‘subdue’ her with capsicum spray and a Taser. A police officer then shot her dead.

Only a few weeks later, at the beginning of March, police shot dead a man on the Central Coast of NSW, apparently involved in a ‘domestic dispute’. Circumstances of this incident are still unclear, but there have been no reports that the victim had a gun.

It seems that Tasers and capsicum spray sometimes don’t work – which is of course an issue – but there were certainly many other non-lethal options available to the police.

Questions and Comments

Questions and comments to info@tamingwar.com .

Contributions to the Newsletter Invited

We are inviting contributions to the next (and following) newsletter(s) on the topic of nonlethal security/nonlethal weapons. These might include reports of new research, field experiences, upcoming events and general comments. Please keep them brief (a few hundred words) with contact details for further information, if appropriate. Send to info@tamingwar.com .

That’s all for the moment.

The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign Newsletter – APRIL 2015

website: www.nonlethalsecurityforpeace.com

Editor – Andrew Greig 

(If you would prefer not to receive the newsletter, just reply to this email with the message ‘please remove’)

Newsletter August 2014

Nonlethal Security
for Peace Campaign

NEWSLETTER AUGUST
2014

This is the fourth Newsletter of our campaign. The newsletter comes out
periodically. Because your time is valuable, the newsletter is brief. You don’t
need to keep this – all editions are available on the website www.nonlethalsecurityforpeacecampaign.com

IF YOU DON’T KNOW ALREADY…

The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign (NLSPC) aims to reduce death and injury
in warfare (and other conflicts) by using non-damaging technology (more info on
the website).

CAMPAIGN PROGRESS

The NLSPC is making progress but recognition is slow. There’s agreement that
nonlethal methods seem logical. Military and security organisations associated
with the European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons (see below) continue their
research and development.

COMMENT

It’s lethal warfare as usual. As I write this the Syrian conflict continues, with
well over 100,000 people killed and over 2.8 million refugees.  ISIL/ISIS
jihadis are fighting in Northern Iraq with deaths already in the thousands. Nearly two thousand Palestinians have been killed as Israeli troops continue their invasion of Gaza. In Eastern Ukraine the bodies of nearly 300 civilians have been retrieved following the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner by a ground-to-air missile. The Russian backed
separatists who fired the missile had probably intended to down a military
transport plane, with the loss of a few crew. The tragic death of so many
innocent civilians illustrates the danger from accident and the stupidity of
lethal warfare.

We have four different scenarios sharing one common feature – the senseless
assault on human beings employing speeding pieces of metal, burning gases and
shock waves. In summary: tragic, primitive
and stupid technology.

8th EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM on NON-LETHAL WEAPONS

A symposium on non-lethal weapons is held in Europe every two years. The next
European Symposium is scheduled for 18-20 May 2015 in Ettlingen (near
Karlsruhe) Germany. The theme for the symposium will be “to examine the
obstacles still faced in fielding non-lethal technologies: assessment of
effectiveness and safety, legal hurdles, public opinion objections (and)
operators’ trust”. The closing date for abstracts is 6 October 2014. For more details go to www.non-lethal-weapons.com .

New Director at Non-lethal Weapons Program

The US Defense Force’s Non-lethal
Weapons Program
is the largest organisation currently involved with
nonlethal security technology. It has an active research, development and
training program. Col. Michael A. Coolican has recently taken up the role of
Director of the NLW Directorate (see http://jnlwp.defense.gov/About/Organization.aspx.)

Recommended reading

War – What’s it Good For? by Ian Morris. This book provides a
detailed but lively summary of the origins of war and its development through
the ages. It provides an excellent background to the technology of
warfare  – central issues to nonlethal security. You may not agree with
the author’s argument that war, despite its horrors, has been necessary to
progress – but it’s certainly an interesting and challenging assertion.

Recent Press

Iraq, Rwanda and Rosetta: The Case For A Kinder War

With modern technology, casualties of war can be drastically reduced. And yet the
numbers are climbing. Andrew Greig makes the case for a gentler approach. (New Matilda 15 July
2014)

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions or comments please contact us at info@tamingwar.com .

Contributions to the Newsletter Invited

We are inviting contributions to the next (and following) newsletter(s) on the
topic of nonlethal security/nonlethal weapons. These might include reports of
new research, field experiences, upcoming events and general comments. Please
keep them brief (a few hundred words) with contact details for further
information, if appropriate. Send to info@tamingwar.com .

That’s all for the moment.

The Nonlethal
Security for Peace Campaign Newsletter – August
2014

website: www.nonlethalsecurityforpeace.com

Editor – Andrew Greig

Newsletter August 2013

NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2013

This is the third Newsletter of our campaign – (now called) the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign (previously titled the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign – see below). The newsletter comes out periodically. Because your time is valuable, the newsletter is brief. You don’t need to keep this – all editions are available on the website www.nonlethalsecurityforpeacecampaign.com .

IF YOU DON’T KNOW ALREADY…

The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign aims to reduce death and injury in warfare (and other conflicts) by using non-damaging technology (more info on the website).

NEW TITLE FOR THE CAMPAIGN

On 17th May 2013 the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign became the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign.

There are two main reasons for the change. The word ‘weapon’ is associated so closely with harm and lethality that to many people the term ‘non-lethal weapon’ seems contradictory. The second reason is that non-lethal technology employed for security covers a far wider area than non-lethal weapons alone. So far, everyone seems to agree that the name change is a good idea.

COMMENT

On the world scene, sadly the conflict in Syria continues.  At one point it appeared that government forces were in retreat. However, in recent weeks they seemed to have made gains over the rebels. Both sides continue to receive lethal armaments from outside the country. No quick resolution looks to be apparent and combatants and civilians continue to be killed or injured. The UN Human Rights office has estimated almost 93,000 deaths in the civil war to the end of April 2013 and has also said that the toll had most likely exceeded 100,000 by mid June (Los Angeles Times 13 June 2013).

It is quite appalling that the rest of us on the planet cannot halt this senseless slaughter. The Great Powers – USA, Russia, China – are unwilling to intervene because lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan show that the cost is immense – and so the conflict continues. Intervention by an overwhelming UN force equipped with non-lethal security technology might be a different story. As yet, we don’t have one.

(For an excellent assessment of the current situation in Syria, see Paul Rogers’ July Global Security Briefing  and also his May Global Security Briefing for the Oxford Research Group.)

7th EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM on NON-LETHAL WEAPONS

A symposium on non-lethal weapons is held in Europe every two years. The most recent European Symposium, took place in June 3-5 2013 at the Stadthalle in Ettlingen (near Frankfurt) Germany. The theme for the symposium was ‘how fielded non-lethal technologies have performed in real operational environments’.

How did the conference go?

My overall assessment is that the sector is progressing steadily but still quite slowly. The participants were the usual mix – from the military, the police, the arms industry and academia. There were delegates from the Netherlands Defence Academy and the Royal Military Academy in Brussels – but no-one from Sandhurst, West Point – or for that matter from the Royal Military College Duntroon, Australia.

The majority of the papers were concerned with the safety aspects of non-lethal weapons, a very necessary topic. Some papers discussed operational issues (the conference theme). Most of the experience in this area comes from policing operations (as in Northern Ireland). To date there has been relatively little use of NLWs in a mainstream military environment. Some quite simple applications have been successful. For example the ‘Laser Dazzler’ appears to have reduced casualties when used to warn drivers of road blocks.

Conference details are at www.non-lethal-weapons.com .

Guns – still guns

At the time of writing, the arrival of the newest Windsor is being marked with a 41 gun and a 62 gun salute – welcoming a new young human being to the world with machines designed for killing…

Thank you for your time.

 Andrew Greig

Editor

Questions and comments to info@tamingwar.com .

The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign Newsletter – August 2013

website: www.nonlethalsecurityforpeace.com

 

(If you would prefer not to receive the newsletter, just reply to this email with the message ‘please remove’)

Newsletter February 2013

NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2013

 This is the second Newsletter of the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign. The newsletter comes out periodically. Because your time is valuable, it’s brief.

You don’t need to keep this – all editions are available on the website www.nonlethalweaponscampaign.com .

IF YOU DON’T KNOW ALREADY…

The Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign aims to reduce death and injury in warfare (and other conflicts) by using non-damaging technology (more info on the website).

COMMENT

Lethal warfare continued throughout 2012 in a more subdued fashion in Afghanistan and in Central Africa. Of course for those directly involved – who lost their limbs or their eyesight or their lives – the suffering was not subdued. Nor was it for their friends and families.

The most prominent lethal conflict took place in Syria. This mindless and tragic affair doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.

Let’s examine what’s going on here. A relatively well educated and prosperous people becomes dissatisfied with oppression and corruption. As in many places elsewhere, they resort to peaceful demonstration. The brutal suppression by the government, with troops firing upon the demonstrators, triggers a civil war. The army turns first its rifles and then its artillery and warplanes onto its own people. Most of the machinery of death has been supplied from outside. The rest of the world sits passively by while more than 60,000 people die and tens of thousands more are horribly maimed.

If the guns and tanks and rockets supplied by the arms dealers of the world had been non-lethal, there would probably still be strife and injustice in Syria today – but there would be sixty thousand Syrians – men, women and children – still alive.

In the USA in late 2012, a disturbed young man shoots twenty young children and six teachers. Members of the gun-lobby suggest that primary school teachers should be armed. It’s not beyond belief that the National Rifle Association will soon demand that all school children carry guns to class.

There’s no doubt that America’s staggering murder rate compared to other developed nations is because it’s awash with guns. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2012 estimate of intentional homicide/100,000 people: UK 1.2, Australia 1.0, Germany 0.8. USA 4.8).

Sad for Americans of course, but not good for rest of us either because we still tend to copy things American. Sad too is that this gun-happy culture is probably not shared by the majority of Americans but is the result of ruthless and unprincipled campaigning by weapons manufacturers. They have the blood of far too many innocent Americans on their hands – not to mention all those who have died around the world from American guns.

But we can’t blame just the US armaments industry. Weapons makers and dealers are active all around the world. Ultimately we’re all to blame for buying and using lethal weapons.

The solution is for us to make non-lethal weapons more profitable than the lethal ones.

CENTER FOR GLOBAL NONKILLING

The NLW for Peace Campaign strongly supports most organisations which are working in the cause of peace. A few, such as the European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons (see below), have a focus on NLWs as a useful initiative

One organisation which devotes some attention to NLWs is the Center for Global Nonkilling (www.nonkilling.org). Check it out.

7th EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM on NON-LETHAL WEAPONS

A symposium on non-lethal weapons is held in Europe every two years.

The next European Symposium, will take place June 3-5 2013 at the Stadthalle in Ettlingen (near Frankfurt) Germany. The theme for the symposium will be ‘how fielded non lethal technologies have performed in real operational environments’. For further details go to www.non-lethal-weapons.com .

A major reason for the NLW for Peace Campaign is to help halt the spread of nuclear weapons – and if we can eliminate those weapons and prevent an Armageddon, we’ll still need non-damaging technology to help us protect and maintain peace and justice into the future.

AND SOME GOOD NEWS FROM THE USA…
To finish on an optimistic note – here are some recent remarks by newly endorsed President Barack Obama:

“Missile by missile, warhead by warhead, shell by shell, we’re putting a bygone era behind us…we’re moving closer to the future we seek.  A future where these weapons never threaten our children again.  A future where we know the security and peace of a world without nuclear weapons.”

President Obama at The National War College
Washington, 3 December 2012

Thank you for your time.

Andrew Greig

Editor

Questions and comments to andrewgreig@bigpond.com .

The Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign Newsletter No 2

website: www.nonlethalweaponscampaign.com
blog: http://nonlethalweaponscampaign.typepad.com
 

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