During a January, 2018 conference in Baltimore hosted by the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, organizations from all over the world gathered to discuss and criticize the United States’ 800 foreign military bases, which are located around the world in around 80 countries. These operations cost the US over $156 billion annually. The Coalition’s conference opened with a peaceful protest on the streets, showing the local community that the antiwar movement is still alive.
Beyond their economic cost, these bases also endanger civilians living in the areas surrounding them. As Michael Byrne reported for Antiwar.com, “The most tragic incident was the 1959 crash of a US military jet into an elementary school in Okinawa that killed 18 people, including small children. The people of Okinawa have been sick of these bases. There is even an ongoing protest against the relocation of a base in Futenma that has recently reached 5,000 consecutive days!” The Okinawa Peace Appeal was one of the many groups present at the conference and they have made it clear: As much as 80% of Okinawa’s population opposed US military bases there. As Byrne wrote, from Okinawa to the Korean peninsula, across Africa, to Cuba (where Guantanamo is located), citizens of nations around the world are opposed to US military presence. are afraid of being involved in war crimes and exposure to unnecessary violence.
Another organizations present at the conference was BAYAN USA, which works “to mobilize Filipinos in the US against imperialism” and to make the case for ending the US military’s presence in the Philippines. A previously unused military base had recently become active again and they were there to figure out how to get this reversed.
This story was under-reported in the US establishment press. The only platforms with information about the Baltimore conference were SoundCloud, YouTube, Byrne’s article, and a newspaper article from Okinawa. As Byrne observed in his report, “It is still highly taboo to criticize US foreign policy and the violent war machine that is behind it.”
Source: Michael Byrne, “No US Foreign Bases – A Call for Peace from a New Coalition,” AntiWar.com, January 16, 2018, https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2018/01/16/no-us-foreign-bases-a-call-for-peace-from-a-new-coalition/.
Student Researcher: Anthony Vattimo (North Central College)
Faculty Evaluator: Steve Macek (North Central College)
Editor’s Note: For prior Project Censored coverage of the US military presence around the world, see “US Military Forces Deployed in Seventy Percent of World’s Nations,” story #1 from Censored 2017: https://www.projectcensored.org/1-us-military-forces-deployed-seventy-percent-worlds-nations/.