If you would like to receive our action alerts in your email inbox, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scroll down for a directory of contacts.
Rein in Nuclear Weapons
In January, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved their iconic Doomsday Clock ahead to 90 seconds before midnight, the closest it’s ever come to symbolic global apocalypse. Vladimir Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Tensions are rising with China. Last August, the UN Secretary-General said “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”
In short, the threat of nuclear war is all too real and frightening, perhaps greater than it has been since the Cuban Missile Crisis over 60 years ago, and threatening all of humanity, all we hold dear.
In January 2021, 50-plus nations (all non-nuclear weapons states) signed and entered into force the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). This past January 31, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) re-introduced H. Res 77, “(E)mbracing the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” The resolution urges the President and Congress to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by supporting common sense policies, including:
- Actively pursuing and concluding negotiations on a new, bilateral nuclear arms control and disarmament framework agreement with Russia before 2026, as well as negotiations with China and other nuclear-armed states on agreements for the verifiable, enforceable, and timebound elimination of global nuclear arsenals;
- Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first;
- Ending the President’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack;
- Taking nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert;
- Canceling plans to replace the U.S. nuclear arsenal with modernized, enhanced weapons.
Action: Contact Reps. Kevin Mullin or Anna Eshoo, or whomever represents you, and tell them to co-sponsor H Res 77. Suggest they need to show leadership and take this step toward preventing nuclear war and advancing policies that will make the world a safer place, before the unthinkable happens.
Hold Padilla and Feinstein Accountable
This is an alert for our members here in California:
It’s surely the case that we have always been proud that our state has blazed a progressive trail, from climate change to anti-war sentiment (Barbara Lee literally was speaking for us when she took her lonely stand against the reckless War on Terror in 2001).
That’s why we are reaching out to our fellow Californians. Both of our Senators have really screwed over anti-war progressives and the cause of peace! (Forgive the language, but this was a real betrayal of pro-peace values.) In December, they helped block Sen. Bernie Sanders’ efforts to end U.S. complicity in the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Thus U.S. arms and maintenance support are still used to enforce an air and sea blockade that is starving thousands and causing a massive health crisis.
Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein were two of the only Democrats to come out as publicly opposed to Sanders’ legislation that would have ended U.S. support for the war.
After their actions, alongside a couple other key Democrats, Sen. Sanders had to take a step back in his (and our) campaign to end a brutal war that is over 8 years old. Sanders pulled his bill and said he would negotiate with the administration to craft a compromise. He also said that if negotiation didn’t work, he would bring his bill back to the Senate.
Accountability is one of the most powerful forces in social change activism. As activists we can let these Senators, and their staff, know that we are watching.
Your messages will also force them to explain themselves about this embarrassing and unpopular stance – a critical step to turning them around. Peace Action will follow that up with raising the grassroots pressure in a campaign to explain why the Senators should support Sanders’ efforts to end U.S. complicity. Their support is critical and their opposition is a hurdle we have to get over.
The more support we have in Congress for ending the war, the stronger Sen. Sanders’ hand is in negotiations with the administration. And he has made clear that if he can’t and the administration doesn’t come up with a compromise that draws U.S. support to a close, he’ll bring his bill back to the floor. If and when he does so, we need Sens. Padilla and Feinstein to support it this time.
Our Senators work for us. Peace Action has more supporters in California than anywhere else in the country, and we need them to hear your pro-peace voice loud and clear. This campaign to end the war in Yemen is challenging. Peace Action, our members, and a few partner organizations are the voices at the forefront of it.
Action: Contact Sens. Padilla and Feinstein to tell them you know what they did to block Senator Sanders’ efforts to end the war in Yemen, and you are none too happy about it. Demand their support for any similar war powers legislation in the new Congress.
Keep Talking About Nuclear Weapons Reduction
Thanks to the Arms Control Association for the basis of this alert.
For five decades (since the beginning of the first cold war), U.S. and Russian leaders have understood very well that verifiable cuts in their respective nuclear arsenals are in their national security interests, as well as those of the global community. But as 2023 begins, talks on nuclear arms control matters remain on hold as Vladimir Putin’s illegal and disastrous war on Ukraine rages on.
The last remaining treaty regulating the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, New START, is set to expire in February 2026. Unless Washington and Moscow begin serious negotiations on a new nuclear arms control framework, Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals will at that point be left unconstrained for the first time since 1972. The dangers of an all-out nuclear arms race with Russia (and China) will grow that much more.
On August 1, President Biden announced that he was “ready to expeditiously negotiate a new arms control framework to replace New START when it expires in 2026. But negotiation requires a willing partner operating in good faith.” At that time, Putin said, “Russia is open to dialogue on ensuring strategic stability…and improving the situation in arms control.” But a week later Russia announced that it would not allow the resumption of U.S. inspections in Russia under New START due to the impact of U.S. travel and visa restrictions on Russian inspections. The U.S. has said talks on a follow-on agreement cannot begin until New START inspections resume.
The two sides had agreed to meet Nov. 28 to resolve the issues, but at the 11th hour, Russia announced it would not attend, claiming that it is “impossible to discuss strategic stability” against the background of the situation in Ukraine. Facing criticism, Russian officials later claimed that Russia had not “canceled” but “postponed” the New START meeting until sometime in 2023, and that Russia is interested in negotiating a new nuclear arms control agreement before 2026, but Washington must take the first step.
When talks resume, the two sides will need to pursue practical solutions to resolve the substantive issues on the bilateral nuclear arms control agenda. At a minimum, the two presidents could issue unilateral reciprocal commitments to respect the central limits of New START until such time as new agreements are concluded.
Russia's war on Ukraine notwithstanding, it will be important to keep pressure on Washington and Moscow to start serious negotiations on a new arms control framework to supersede New START. For us, this will include building Congressional support for maintaining commonsense nuclear arms control limits with Russia – as well as engaging in risk reduction talks with China. We will also want to raise public awareness of what is at stake and collaborate with other organizations to amplify a call for real disarmament results.
Action: Contact President Biden to insist he make every effort to resume the dialogue with Russia on disarmament. Also contact Rep. Kevin Mullin or Anna Eshoo, or whomever represents you – as well as Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla – and ask for their support for Biden’s call for negotiations to further reduce deadly U.S. and Russian arsenals.
Weapons in Yemen – Let Congress Have a Say
Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution in the Senate that corresponds with the House version (cosponsored by both Rep. Speier and Eshoo): “Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” Due to unfortunate pushback from the White House, Sen. Sanders pulle the bill...at this moment it looks destined for a re-introduction this year, and may include some copromise language. With the Biden administration considering resuming sales of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia, we need to get Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla on board. They both indicated they would vote 'no' on the Sanders resolution.
With over 400,000 dead and millions still at risk of famine and disease, Yemen can’t wait for peace. The recent truce ended but we hope for perhaps a renewal that includes expanded comprehensive peace talks. The U.S. should support a peace initiative wholeheartedly, not hedge its bets by considering selling more weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Congress needs to assert its authority over matters of war and peace. It never approved U.S. participation in the Yemen Civil War, which has continued through three administrations. The War Powers Resolutions to end all U.S. support for the Saudi/UAE-led war on Yemen need to pass in both chambers, as they did when Trump was president, and Congress failed to override his veto.
Action: Contact Sens. Feinstein and Padilla and ask them to explain their opposition to Sanders' war powers resolution. Tell them to suport a new version when Congress convenes next year. This War Powers Resolution is meant to end the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe. We can also thank both Speier and Eshoo for supporting the House version.
Pardon a Whistleblower
In mid-2021, former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison under the Espionage Act, for divulging classified documents about the military’s secretive and highly controversial drone assassination program. Serving as an analyst between 2009 and 2013, He was involved in identifying, tracking, and targeting “high-value” terrorism suspects in 2012 in Afghanistan while working with the DOD’s Joint Special Operations Task Force.
In exposing the drone program, Hale gave the public access to critical information regarding a taxpayer-funded, internationally targeted killings program. The documents he provided, which were in a report by The Intercept entitled “The Drone Papers,” showed that during a five-month period in Afghanistan, nearly 90% of people killed by the drone program were not the intended targets.
Hale explained his belief to the presiding judge “that to stop the cycle of violence, (he) ought to sacrifice (his) own life and not that of another person.” The bigger issue here isn’t Hale’s decision to come forward, but the actual program itself (which government and military officials have continuously downplayed and lied about.) Clearly he felt more allegiance to humanity than he did to waging war. As for the government’s case, while prosecutors claimed Hale’s actions put “national security” at risk, no evidence emerged that what Hale revealed had resulted in any direct harm.
Hale is serving his sentence in a “communication management unit” (CMU) at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. CMUs have been condemned by human rights experts for severely restricting inmates’ communications with their families and the outside world and have earned the nickname “Little Guantanamo.” Without intervention from the Biden administration, he will remain in prison until July of 2024.
Action: Contact President Biden and tell him to pardon whistleblower Daniel Hale. Suggest that Americans have a fundamental right to know about gross and immoral misuse of power within our government, especially at the expense of innocent lives.
Biden’s Saudi and UAE weapons sales
Sadly, President Biden recently gave the green light to continue selling Saudi Arabia and the UAE billions of dollars worth of fighter jets, armed drones, bombs, and missiles. This is a follow-up to a policy endorsed and pursued by his predecessor and by no means becoming of a new President whose policy seemed to be to stop such arms sales.
The Biden administration, in response to the horrors of the Saudi war in Yemen, had in its first days stated its intention to halt “offensive” weapons to these countries. But, as the New York Times reported earlier in April, “it will allow the sale of other matériel that can be construed to have a defensive purpose…”. In a region considered the site of perhaps the world’s worst human rights crisis, giving such nuance to the idea of weapons sales to countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE looks like throwing human rights to the winds.
On the campaign trail, Biden called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” and promised to end U.S. complicity in the moral and strategic catastrophe in Yemen. It now appears he and his administration team may not hold Saudi Arabia and the UAE accountable without some extra pressure. That is where we need to come in.
Action: Contact President Biden and tell him to cancel any weapons sales – defensive or otherwise – to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Perhaps suggest anything less would amount to a broken promise, as well as demonstrate acquiescence in a deadly military intention – with war crimes and mass famine of Yemeni civilians.
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
Senator Dianne Feinstein
One Post St., Ste 2450 San Francisco, CA 94104
(202) 224-3841 fax: (202) 228-3954
(415) 393-0707 fax (415)393-0710
Senator Alex Padilla
333 Bush Street, Ste. 3225 San Francisco, CA 94104
(202) 224-3553 fax: (202) 224-2200
Representative Kevin Mullin
1528 S. Camino Real, Ste. 307 San Mateo, CA 94402
(202) 225-3531 (650) 342-0300
Representative Anna Eshoo
698 Emerson Street Palo Alto, CA 94301
(202) 225-8104 (650) 323-2984
President Joe Biden
The White House
(202)456-1111 (The comment line is open Tuesday-Thursday from 8 AM - Noon PST.)
Find out who your Representative is: www.house.gov
If you are not in California, identify your senators here: www.senate.gov