Speaking Truth to Empire

Speaking Truth to Empire on KFCF 88.1 FM independently owned and locally operated since 1975 in Fresno, Dan Yaseen interviews Jeff J. Brown; he is a geopolitical analyst, journalist, lecturer and the author of The China Trilogy. It consists of 44 Days Backpacking in China, China Rising – Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations and China Is Communist, Dammit! – Dawn of the Red Dynasty. They will discuss U. S. – China trade war, ongoing protests read more

Hell No! We can’t go!: Why on Earth Would the US Go to War with Iran over an Attack on Saudi Oil Refineries?

 By Dave Lindorff

President Bone Spur, backed by his war-mongering Secretary of State Mike “Armageddon” Pompeo, tweeted yesterday that the US military is “locked and loaded,” ready to attack (bomb) Iran if it can be proven that Iran was behind a drone bomb attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries.

There are plenty of news media in the US that are seconding that notion of reflexively starting a hot war with Iran if it can be shown that Iran and not Houti forces in Yemen attacked Saudi oil read more

A Morning in Afghanistan

Amidst political posturing, aerial terrorism and street bombings, Afghan citizens pursue their daily work toward peace.

Sept 11, 2019

On a very warm September morning in Kabul, several dozen men, women, and children sit on the carpeted floor of a room at the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ Borderfree Center. The women cluster together. All wear burqas, but because of the heat they push the steel blue veils back, revealing their faces. Most of the men wear traditional tunics and pakol hats.

Parents and read more

Really remembering 9-11: Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’

By Dave Lindorff

Now that the flags are back waving from the tops of flagpoles across the country, and the maudlin paeans to the close to 3000 lives lost in the airplane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, it’s time we gave a thought to the dead who were ignored.

According to very conservative estimates, as reported by the “Costs of War” project of Brown University’s Watson Institute on International and Public Affairs, nearly 250,000 civilians have been killed during the a8 years since September 2001 in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in wars or attacks that were instigated by the United States.

Those are very conservative figures carefully compiled by organizations like Iraq Body Count, the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. These numbers are people known to have died in the violence of war, mostly as so-called “collateral damage,” but often deliberately, as when the US bombs a hospital, a wedding or a private housing compound in order to kill some targeted individual considered an “enemy combatant,” unconcerned about the others in the area, often women and children, who are almost certain to die or suffer serious injury as the result of a strike.

The numbers do not include the deaths that also stem from America’s post 9-11 wars — things like starvation, deaths from lack of medical care, and especially deaths from diseases like typhus or dysentery caused by lack of access to clean water or adequate sanitation facilities.

It is scandalous that the US government does not publish accurate information about the mayhem and slaughter that its wars have caused, especially because it is precisely because of the US extensive use of airpower, including remotely piloted drones as a means of keeping politically dangerous US military casualties in the so-called “War on Terror” at a minimum that produce so many civilian casualties.

Reporters who want to learn about civilian casualties from these US wars must either take the dangerous step of going to the battle zones without US official backing (what is called embedding with American forces — a set-up that keeps the military in control of access and message), or rely on reports from NGOs that monitor such things.

According to some accounts, civilian deaths caused by America’s permanent war in the Middle East since 2001 could exceed one million.

 

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening, the uncompromised, collectively run, seven-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/recalling-the-hundreds-of-thousands-of-civilian-victims-of-americas-endless-war-on-terror/

 

 

The media war-machine is kicking in: US Media Keep Saying Iran is ‘In Violation’ of a Nuclear Agreement the US Withdrew From

 By Dave Lindorff

Yes, Iran is increasing the number of centrifuges it is using to refine nuclear fuel, and yes, it is refining that fuel to a higher percentage of U-235, the isotope that allows the uranium to begin a chain reaction necessary for both fueling a nuclear reactor and for creating an atomic bomb.

But in taking these steps, Iran is not, and indeed cannot be “in violation” of the agreement on its nuclear program that read more

Growing harassment of Muslims, activists and journalists: Are Terrorist Watch Lists Expanding Under Trump?

By Dave Lindorff

My wife, Joyce, and I recently traveled to Vienna for a week, where she had been invited to perform on Austrian state radio. Passing through Heathrow on our way home, we were separated by an automated security gate. The gate, which required you to scan your boarding pass, allowed Joyce through, but when I ran my pass, it flashed “Invalid.”

A security attendant pointed me to a transit desk where read more

Hiroshima & Nagasaki Nukes More about Scaring Stalin than about Ending WWII

By Dave Lindorff
Almost three-quarters of a century ago on August 9, 1945, the United States dropped a 22-kiloton plutonium bomb called the “Fat Man” on Nagasaki.

The total destruction of that city, and the instant incineration of 40,000 mostly civilian people, occurred just three days after the destruction of Hiroshima by a 15-kiloton uranium bomb, which instantly killed 70,000. This criminal one-two punch by the US launched the atomic age.

The bombings have always been, and still are,  presented to young Americans in school history texts, and to Americans in general by government propaganda, as having been “necessary” to end the war quickly and to avoid American ground troops having to battle their way through the Japanese archipelago. But later evidence – such as the frantic  but vain efforts made as early as May by the Japanese government to surrender through the Swiss embassy, and later reports that Japan’s biggest concern was not the destruction of its cities, but rather fear that Soviet forces, victorious in Europe, would attack Japan from the north and into Japanese-occupied Korea – has undermined that US mythology.

In fact, it can be argued that President Truman and his war cabinet didn’t really want a Japanese surrender until the two bombs that the Manhattan Project had produced had been demonstrated on two Japanese cities. The target audience of those two mushroom clouds were not so much Japan’s leaders as Stalin and the Soviet governmentin Moscow.

At the war’s end, the US government was almost giddy, feeling that it had come out on top – its industry humming, its homeland unscathed, its military now built up and hardened by battle experience, and a super weapon that no other nation had in its arsenal. Germany and Japan were vanquished and it was felt that the Soviet Union, which had suffered heavy human and infrastructural damage during the war, was a good 10 years away from developing its own bomb. The Soviet spy network inside and around the Manhattan Project had not yet been discovered.

There was talk in the Pentagon and President Truman’s war room of taking advantage of America’s monopoly on nuclear weapons to attack the USSR and make sure it could never develop a bomb. In fact, there was talk of using atom bombs to destroy Russia as an industrial nation…

For the rest of this article by Dave Lindorff, which first ran as an oped on RT-TV’s website, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/us-bombings-on-hiroshima-nagasaki-were-not-to-end-wwii-but-to-frighten-soviet-union/

Remembering Ted Hall and Klaus Fuchs Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Spies Who Prevented a Criminal US with a Nuclear Monopoly from Making More of Them

By Dave Lindorff

Cambridge, UK, Aug. 6 — Seventy-four years ago today, the US dropped the first ever atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, a non-military target of several hundred thousand, instantly vaporizing some 70,000 people, mostly civilians, and causing the painful, slower death of another 70,000 who died of burns and radioactive damage to their bodies over the next four months. Another 60,000 died later over the years of cancers caused by the bomb’s radioactive pulse and subsequent fallout.

It was, of course, only the first of two such bombs. The first, nicknamed “Little Boy” was made with Uranium 235. The second, nicknamed “Fat Man,” was based on the man-made element Plutonium. Both were developed by the Manhattan Project based at Los Alamos, NM, along with the world’s first atom bomb, a Plutonium device exploded in the desert near Alamogordo and called “Trinity.”

It was the start of the nuclear age. Both bombs dropped on Japan were war crimes of the first order, particularly because we now know that the Japanese government, which at that time was having all its major cities destroyed by incendiary bombs that turned their mostly wooden structures into towering firestorms, was even before Aug. 6, desperately trying to surrender via entreaties through the Swiss government.

The Big Lie is that the bomb was dropped to save US troops from having to invade Japan. In fact, there was no need to invade. Japan was finished, surrounded, the Russians attacking finally from the north, its air force and navy destroyed, and its cities being systematically torched.

Actally, the US didn’t want Japan to surrender yet though. Washington and President Harry Truman wanted to test their two new super weapons on real urban targets, and even more importantly, wanted to send a stark message to the Soviet Union, the supposed World War II ally which US war strategists and national security staff actually viewed all through the conflict as America’s next existential enemy.

As authors Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod, two theoretical physicists, wrote in their frightening, disturbing and well researched book To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon’s Secret War Plans (South End Press, 1987), the US began treacherously planning to use its newly developed super weapon, the atom bomb, against the war-ravaged Soviet Union, even before the war had ended in Europe. Indeed a first plan, to drop 20-30 Hiroshima-sized bombs on 20 Russian Cities, code named JIC 329/1, was intended to be launched in December 1945. Fortunately that never happened because at that point the US only had two atomic bombs in its “stockpile.”

The describe how as the production of new bombs sped up, with 9 nuclear devices by June 1946, 35 by March 1948 and 150 by January 1949, new plans with such creepy names as Operations Pincher, Broiler, Bushwacker, Sizzle and Dropshot were developed, and the number of Soviet cities to be vaporized grew from 20 to 200.

 

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, seven-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/hiroshima-nagasaki-and-the-spies-who-prevented-a-criminal-us-from-obtaining-a-nuclear-monopoly/

Keeping this president busy’s a good idea: Let’s Just Let Trump Spend the Whole War Department Budget on Building Walls

By Dave Lindorff

Liberals are upset that the new Supreme Court, packed with conservatives, has decided President Trump can have $2.6 billion of the Pentagon’s new FY 2020 $738 billion budget to build some wall along the Mexican border.

But I think they’re thinking  all wrong about this. Instead of complaining and fighting a losing battle against Trump’s nutty idea of walling off the southern border (most immigrants come into the US by plane, or read more

Dear Moderators of the Presidential Debates: How About Raising the Issue of How to Avert Nuclear War?

You mass media folks lead busy lives, I’m sure.  But you must have heard something about nuclear weapons―those supremely destructive devices that, along with climate change, threaten the continued existence of the human race.

Yes, thanks to popular protest and carefully-crafted arms control and disarmament agreements, there has been some progress in limiting the number of these weapons and averting a nuclear holocaust.  Even so, that progress has been rapidly unraveling in recent months, leading to a new nuclear arms race and revived talk of nuclear war.

Do I exaggerate?  Consider the following.

In May 2018, the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the laboriously-constructed Iran nuclear agreement that had closed off the possibility of that nation developing nuclear weapons.  This U.S. treaty pullout was followed by the imposition of heavy U.S. economic sanctions on Iran, as well as by thinly-veiled threats by Trump to use nuclear weapons to destroy that country.  Irate at these moves, the Iranian government recently retaliated by exceeding the limits set by the shattered agreement on its uranium stockpile and uranium enrichment.

At the beginning of February 2019, the Trump administration announced that, in August, the U.S. government will withdraw from the Reagan era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty―the historic agreement that had banned U.S. and Russian ground-launched cruise missiles―and would proceed to develop such weapons.  On the following day, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that, in response, his government was suspending its observance of the treaty and would build the kinds of nuclear missiles that the INF treaty had outlawed.

The next nuclear disarmament agreement on the chopping block appears to be the 2010 New START Treaty, which reduces U.S. and Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 each, limits U.S. and Russian nuclear delivery vehicles, and provides for extensive inspection.  According to John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, this fundamentally flawed treaty, scheduled to expire in February 2021, is “unlikely” to be extended.  To preserve such an agreement, he argued, would amount to “malpractice.”  If the treaty is allowed to expire, it would be the first time since 1972 that there would be no nuclear arms control agreement between Russia and the United States.

One other key international agreement, which President Clinton signed―but, thanks to Republican opposition, the U.S. Senate has never ratified―is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).  Adopted with great fanfare in 1996 and backed by nearly all the world’s nations, the CTBT bans nuclear weapons testing, a practice which has long served as a prerequisite for developing or upgrading nuclear arsenals.  Today, Bolton is reportedly pressing for the treaty to be removed from Senate consideration and “unsigned,” as a possible prelude to U.S. resumption of nuclear testing.

Nor, dear moderators, does it seem likely that any new agreements will replace the old ones.  The U.S. State Department’s Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence Affairs, which handles U.S. arms control ventures, has been whittled down during the Trump years from 14 staff members to four.  As a result, a former staffer reported, the State Department is no longer “equipped” to pursue arms control negotiations.  Coincidentally, the U.S. and Russian governments, which possess approximately 93 percent of the world’s nearly 14,000 nuclear warheads, have abandoned negotiations over controlling or eliminating them for the first time since the 1950s.

Instead of honoring the commitment, under Article VI of the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to pursue negotiations for “cessation of the nuclear arms race” and for “nuclear disarmament,” all nine nuclear powers are today modernizing their nuclear weapons production facilities and adding new, improved types of nuclear weapons to their arsenals.  Over the next 30 years, this nuclear buildup will cost the United States alone an estimated $1,700,000,000,000―at least if it is not obliterated first in a nuclear holocaust.

Will the United States and other nations survive these escalating preparations for nuclear war?  That question might seem overwrought, dear moderators, but, in fact, the U.S. government and others are increasing the role that nuclear weapons play in their “national security” policies.  Trump’s glib threats of nuclear war against North Korea and Iran are paralleled by new administration plans to develop a low-yield ballistic missile, which arms control advocates fear will lower the threshold for nuclear war.

Confirming the new interest in nuclear warfare, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in June 2019, posted a planning document on the Pentagon’s website with a more upbeat appraisal of nuclear war-fighting than seen for many years.  Declaring that “using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the document approvingly quoted Herman Kahn, the Cold War nuclear theorist who had argued for “winnable” nuclear wars and had provided an inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s satirical film, Dr. Strangelove.

Of course, most Americans are not pining for this kind of approach to nuclear weapons.  Indeed, a May 2019 opinion poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland found that two-thirds of U.S. respondents favored remaining within the INF Treaty, 80 percent wanted to extend the New START Treaty, about 60 percent supported “phasing out” U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 75 percent backed legislation requiring congressional approval before the president could order a nuclear attack.

Therefore, when it comes to presidential debates, dear moderators, don’t you―as stand-ins for the American people―think it might be worthwhile to ask the candidates some questions about U.S. preparations for nuclear war and how best to avert a global catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude?

I think these issues are important.  Don’t you?

Lawrence Wittner (https://www.lawrenceswittner.com/ ) is Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY/Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).