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Japanese Oppose Government Effort to Legalize War

In the midst of intensifying tension in East Asia, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 15 announced his clear intention to step forward for the exercise of the right to collective self-defense and making Japan a war-fighting country through the change of interpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. 

Masakazu Yasui, secretary general of Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) issued a statement on Abe's remarks on the same day. Protesting against this dangerous attempt, we also carried out a signature campaign in support of the "Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons" on May 22 in front of Ochanomizu station in Tokyo.  Passersby in front of the station showed interest in our campaign.  Many People agreed to sign the petition, expressing great concern on what the Abe government was trying to do.
 
Following is the statement of Gensuikyo:

Statement:

Stop Abe Cabinet’s Maneuvers to Allow the Exercise of the Right to Collective Self-Defense and Make Japan a War-Fighting Country
by Turning Article 9 of the Constitution to a Dead Letter

February 15, 2014
YASUI Masakazu, Secretary General
Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 15 announced his clear intention to step forward for enabling Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and engage in war-fighting by changing the official interpretation of the Constitution of Japan.  This announcement was made based on the report of his private advisory body “Advisory Pan l Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security”.

Exercising the right to collective self-defense means to use armed force for the sake of defending other countries even without military attacks on Japan.  As Mr. Abe himself admitted in the press conference, it is an extremely dangerous act, trying to respond by use of force to all kinds of cases, including nuclear/missile development in North Korea, heightening tension with China in South China Sea, and further, to the protection of Japanese nationals in as distant as Indian Ocean or Africa.  

Such international disputes should be resolved through peaceful means based on law and reason.  The Japanese government should make an all-out effort to settle them by diplomacy based on the Constitution.  The principle of the UN Charter also calls for peaceful settlement of disputes. 
 
Prime Minister Abe has used North Korea's nuclear and missile development to justify the interpretational change of the Constitution.  But the world is now significantly moving toward a total ban on nuclear weapons by focusing on humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.  Japan should play a role of promoting this global trend by making effort to resume the Six-Party Talks to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The Abe Cabinet’s maneuvers for the exercise of the right to collective self-defense and creating the war-fighting system will not only destroy the Constitutional pacifism,  which has ensured peace and safety of Japanese citizens, but lead to the escalation of the  vicious cycle of tension in East Asia.  We must stop this dangerous move in cooperation with all peace-loving people both in Japan and the rest of the world.

A Pivot on the Peace Island

By Kathy Kelly

Jeju Island, South Korea – For the past two weeks, I’ve been in the Republic of Korea (ROK), as a guest of peace activists living in Gangjeong Villageon ROK’s Jeju Island.  Gangjeong is one of the ROK’s smallest villages, yet activists here, in their struggle against the construction of a massive naval base, have inspired people around the world.  

Since 2007, activists have risked arrests, imprisonment, heavy fines and wildly excessive use of police force to resist the desecration caused as mega-corporations like Samsung and Daelim build a base to accommodate U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for their missions throughout Asia.  The base fits the regional needs of the U.S. for a maritime military outpost that would enable it to continue developing its Asia Pivot strategy, gradually building towards and in the process provoking superpower conflict with China.  

“We don’t need this base,” says Bishop Kang, a Catholic prelate who vigorously supports the opposition. He worries that if the base is completed, Jeju Island will become a focal point for Far Eastern military struggle, and that this would occur amid accelerating military tensions. “The strongest group in the whole world, the military, takes advantage of National Security ideology,” he continues.  “Many people make money.  Many governments are controlled by this militarism. The military generals, in their minds, may think they are doing this to protect their country, but in fact they’re controlled by the corporations.”

Jeju Islanders cannot ignore or forget that at least 30,000 of their grandparents and great grandparents were slaughtered by a U.S.-supported Korean government intent on crushing a tenacious democracy movement.  The height of the assault in 1948 is referred to as the April 3 massacre, although the persecution and murderous suppression lasted many years.  The national government now asking sacrifices of them has rarely been their friend.  

But for the construction, Gangjeong seems a truly idyllic place to live.  Lanes curving through the village are bordered by gardens and attractive small homes. Villagers prize hard work and honesty, in a town with apparently no need to lock up anything, where well-cultivated orange trees fill the eye with beauty and the air with inexpressible fragrance.  Peaks rise in the distance, it’s a quick walk to the shore, and residents seem eager to guide their guests to nearby spots designated as especially sacred in the local religion as indicated by the quiet beauty to be found there. 

One of these sacred sites, Gureombi Rock, is a single, massive 1.2 km lava rock which was home to a fresh water coastal wetland, pure fresh water springs and hundreds of plants and animal species.  Now, it can only be accessed through the memories of villagers because the Gureombi Rock is the exact site chosen for construction of the naval base.  My new friend, Tilcote, explained to me, through tears, that Gureombi has captured her heart and that now her heart aches for Gureombi. 

Last night we gathered to watch and discuss a film by our activist film-maker and friend Cho Sung-Bong.  Activists recalled living in a tent camp on Gureombi, successful for a time in blocking the construction companies.  “Gureombi was our bed, our dinner table, our stage, and our prayer site,” said Jonghwan, who now works every day as a chef at the community kitchen. “Every morning we would wake and hear the waves and the birds.”

The film, set for release later this year, is called “Gureombi, the Wind is Blowing  Cho, who had arrived in Gangjeong for a 2011 visit at the height of vigorous blockades aimed at halting construction, decided to stay and film what he saw.  We see villagers use their bodies to defend Gureombi.  They lie down beneath construction vehicles, challenge barges with kayaks, organize human chains, occupy cranes, and, bearing no arms, surround heavily armed riot police.  The police use extreme force, the protesters regroup and repeat.  Since 2007, over 700 arrests have been made with more than 26 people imprisoned, and hundreds of thousands in fines imposed on ordinary villagers.  Gangjeong village now has the highest “crime” rate in South Korea!

Opposing the real crime of the base against such odds, the people here have managed to create all the “props” for a thriving community.  The community kitchen serves food free of charge, 24 hours a day.  The local peace center is also open most of the day and evening, as well as the Peaceful Café.  Books abound, for lending, many of them donated by Korean authors who admire the villagers’ determination to resist the base construction.  Food, and much wisdom, are available but so much more is needed.

After seven years of struggle many of the villagers simply can’t afford to incur additional fines, neglecting farms, and languishing, as too many have done, in prison.  A creative holding pattern of resistance has developed which relies on community members from abroad and throughout the ROK to block the gate every morning in the context of a lengthy Catholic liturgy.

Priests and nuns, whose right to pray and celebrate the liturgy is protected by the Korean constitution, form a line in front of the gate.  They sit in plastic chairs, for morning mass followed by recitation of the rosary.  Police dutifully remove the priests, nuns and other activists about ten times over the course of the liturgy, allowing trucks to go through. The action slows down the construction process and sends a symbolic, daily message of resistance. 

Returning to the U.S., I’ll carry memories not only of tenacious, creative, selfless struggle but also of the earnest questions posed by young Jeju Island students who themselves now face prospects of compulsory military service.  Should they experiment with conscientious objection and face the harsh punishments imposed on those who oppose militarization by refusing military service? 

Their questions help me pivot towards a clearer focus on how peace activists, worldwide, can oppose the U.S. pivot toward increasing militarization in Asia, increasing conflict with its global rivals, and a spread of weapons that it is everyone’s task to hinder as best they can.

Certainly one step is to consider the strength of Gangjeong Village, and to draw seriousness of purpose from their brave commitment and from the knowledge of what is at stake for them and for their region.  It’s crucial to learn about their determination to be an island of peace.  As we find ways to demand constructive cooperation between societies rather than relentless bullying and competition, their struggle should become ours.

Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)

War and Peace in Korea and Vietnam – a Journey of Peace

By David Hartsough

I have recently returned from three weeks in Korea and Vietnam, countries which have in the past suffered and are still suffering from the ravages of war.

Korea -- North and South are caught in the tragic cold war mentality with a divided country imposed on them by the United States (and not opposed by the  Soviet Union) back in 1945 and solidified in 1948. Ten million families were separated by the division of North and South.  People in South Korea cannot phone, write or visit relatives or friends in North Korea and vice versa. One Catholic Priest from South Korea I met spent three and a half years in prison in South Korea for visiting North Korea on a peace mission. The border between North and South Korea is a battle zone where hot war could break out at any moment. The US and South Korean military regularly do full scale live fire war games invoking up to 300,000 troops simulating both defensive and offensive war including armed war planes right up to the border of North Korea. North Korea regularly makes threats of war as well. The Soviet Union is no more and it is time for the United States to ask forgiveness of the people of South and North Korea for imposing this state of war on the two countries, sign a peace agreement with North Korea to officially end the Korean war, recognize the government of North Korea and agree to negotiate all differences at the conference table, not on the battlefield.

I spent most of my time in Korea on Jeju Island, a beautiful island 50 miles south of the South Korean mainland where between 30,000 and 80,000 people were assassinated back in 1948 under orders from US military command. The people of Jeju island had strongly resisted the Japanese occupation during World War II and along with most people in Korea, were looking forward to a free and independent nation. However, instead of a unified country, the US imposed a strongly anti-communist government on South Korea and especially on Jeju Island. All who resisted a militarized and anti-communist South Korea were assassinated (more than 1/3 of the population at that time). Because of the anti-communist dictatorships for decades after 1948, the people of Jeju Island were not allowed to even talk about this past or they would be suspected of being communist sympathizers and severely punished. Only in 2003  President Roh Moo-hyun  apologized on behalf of the Korean government for the massacre of the people on Jeju island in 1948. Jeju Island was then declared an “Island of Peace” and was also declared a “World Heritage Site” because of its coral reefs and natural beauty.

But now the US government has decided on the “pivot to Asia” and plans to move the focus of US military operations to Asia – presumably to encircle China with military bases and prepare for the next war. The village of Gangjeong has been chosen as the port for a massive military base which officially will be a Korean military base, but in reality is seen as a place for US military ships to help “contain” China. Thus, the fear is that Jeju Island could become a focal point for a new war – even a nuclear war between the US and China.

Since plans for the base were first announced seven years ago, the people of Gangjeong have been resisting the construction of the base and for the past four years have been nonviolently blocking bulldozers and cement trucks coming onto the base. Activists from South Korea (many in the Catholic church) have joined in this nonviolent resistance. Every day there is a Catholic Mass in which priests and nuns block the main entrance to the base and each day are carried off by the police when many cement trucks are lined up trying to get onto the base. When the police step aside after the trucks have entered the base, the priests and nuns carry their chairs back to continue blocking the entrance to the base – all the time in deep prayer. I joined them for the last two days I was on Jeju Island. After the mass each day which lasts about two hours, the activists come and do a dance blocking the main gate for another hour or so. Some of the people acting on their conscience blocking the entrance have spent over one year in prison. Others have had heavy fines imposed on them for their acts of conscience. But still the nonviolent resistance continues. 

Some Koreans are working hard for reconciliation and peace between North and South Korea. But the governments of the US, South Korea and North Korea continue their military confrontation and now if this base is built, there will be another very large military base in South Korea. Concerned Americans need to support the nonviolent movement of the people on Jeju Island to stop the construction of the military base there.

I believe that the American people need to demand that our government stop the Pax Americana way of relating to the rest of the world. We need to settle our differences with China, North Korea and all nations by negotiations at the conference table, not through projecting our military power through threats and the building of more military bases.

And now on to Vietnam.

Vietnam

In April I spent two weeks in Vietnam as part of a Veterans for Peace delegation hosted by a group of American Vietnam Veterans living in Vietnam. The focus of our visit was to learn about how the people of Vietnam continue to suffer from the American war in Vietnam which ended 39 years ago.

Some of the impressions/highlights of my visit to Vietnam included:

·      The friendliness of the Vietnamese people who welcomed us, invited us into their homes and have forgiven us for all the suffering, pain and death our country inflicted on them in the American war in Vietnam, with a hope that they and we can live in peace with one another.

·      The horrendous suffering, pain and death caused by the war in Vietnam. If the United States had abided by the Geneva accords which ended the French war with Vietnam in 1954 and had allowed free elections in all of Vietnam in 1956, three million Vietnamese (two million of them, Vietnamese civilians) would not have had to die in the American war in Vietnam.  The US military dropped over eight million tons of bombs (more bombs than were dropped by all sides in World War II) killing, maiming and forcing people to flee their homes and many of them to live in tunnels. In Quang Tri province four tons of bombs were dropped for every person in that province (the equivalent of eight Hiroshima –sized Atomic bombs).

·      The people of Vietnam are still suffering and dying from the unexploded ordinance and Agent Orange dropped on Vietnam by the US during the war. Ten percent of the bombs dropped on Vietnam did not explode on impact and are still exploding in people’s back yards, in their fields and in their communities, causing people of all ages including many children to lose their limbs, eyesight or be killed or otherwise maimed. Eight hundred thousand tons of unexploded ordinance is still in the ground in Vietnam. Since the end of the war, at least 42,000 people have lost their lives and another 62,000 have been injured or permanently disabled due to unexploded ordinance. We witnessed one unexploded anti-personnel bomb found being safely detonated after being found about ten feet behind a home in a village when they were cutting weeds the day before we got there.

·      Over 20 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed on the people and country of Vietnam, including fifteen million gallons of Agent Orange to defoliate the trees and crops. There are three million Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange with deformed bodies and minds three generations later who are still suffering from this very toxic chemical which gets into the genes and is passed from generation to generation so children are still being born deformed in mind and body. We visited orphanages of children tragically affected by Agent Orange who will never be able to live a normal life. We visited homes where children were lying on the bed or floor not able to control their bodies or even recognize there were people nearby. A Mother or Grandmother spends 24 hours a day with the child loving and comforting them. It was almost more than our hearts could bear.  

·      The (American) Veterans for Peace Chapter 160 in Vietnam is helping support projects like Project Renew in which Vietnamese are trained to safely remove or detonate bombs or ordinance which are found in the communities. They are also supporting the orphanages and families where one or more family members cannot work by buying them a cow or putting a roof on their home or helping start enterprises like growing mushrooms which can be sold on the market for income for the family. Or projects where blind people can make incense and toothpicks which can be sold and help support their families. Our delegation contributed $21,000 toward the orphanages and in support of families suffering from Agent Orange and unexploded ordinance- a drop in the bucket compared with the need, but it was deeply appreciated.

·      The US government should take responsibility for alleviating the suffering and pain our war is still causing the people of Vietnam and contribute the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to clean up both the Agent Orange and unexploded ordinance and support the families and victims still suffering from the war. The Vietnamese are ready to do the work, but need financial assistance. We Americans have caused this tragedy. We have the moral responsibility to clean it up.

·      It was powerful to experience Vietnam with US veterans, who had been part of the killing and destruction in Vietnam and who were now finding healing from the pain of their war experience 40 or more years ago, through reaching out to the people of Vietnam who are still suffering from the war.  One US veteran told us that after the war he could not live with himself or with anyone else and lived as far away as he could from other people – about a hundred miles north of Anchorage, Alaska working on an oil pipeline by day and was drunk or high on drugs the rest of the time to escape from the pain of his war experience. He said there were hundreds of other Veterans also in the back woods of Alaska who were going through the same experience. Only after thirty years of hell did he finally decide to go back to Vietnam where he has gotten to know the people of Vietnam and has found profound healing from his experience in the war – trying to bring healing for the people of Vietnam as well as for himself. He said the worst decision of his life was to go to Vietnam as a soldier and the best decision was to come back to Vietnam as a friend of the people of Vietnam.

·      There is a bill which has passed Congress allocating 66 million dollars for commemorating the war in Vietnam in 2015, the fortieth anniversary of the end of the war. Many in Washington hope to clean up the image of the war in Vietnam – that it was a “good war” and something for which Americans should be proud. After my recent trip to Vietnam I feel very strongly that we must NOT allow our government to clean up the image of the Vietnam war. The Vietnam war was a horrible war as are all wars. Hopefully we will learn from history as well as from our religious teachings that War is Not the Answer, that war does not solve conflicts, but instead sows the seeds of future wars. War is a moral disaster for everyone including those who do the killing. (There is a very high number of suicides by both active duty soldiers and veterans, and the souls of all the rest of us are also wounded.) 

·      The United States could be the most loved nation in the world if we moved from our Pax Americana way of relating to the world to a worldview of a global human family.  We need to work for “Shared Security” for all people on earth and act on that belief by spending the hundreds of billions we currently spend on wars and preparations of wars for human and environmental needs in the United States and worldwide. We could help end world hunger, help build schools and medical clinics in communities around the world – help build a decent life for every person on the planet. That would be a much more effective means of fighting terrorism than our present effort to find security through ever more armaments, nuclear weapons and military bases circling our planet.

I invite you to join many of us who are building a Global Movement to End All War – www.worldbeyondwar.org , to sign the Declaration of Peace, look at the ten minute video – The Two Trillion dollar question - and become active in this movement to end the insanity and addiction to violence and war which is so endemic in this country and around the world. I believe that 99% of the world’s people could benefit and feel much safer and have a much better quality of life if we were to end our addiction to war as a means of resolving conflict and devote those funds to promoting a better life for all people on the planet.

 My experiences in Korea and Vietnam have only strengthened my belief that this is the path we must take if we are to survive as a species and build a world of peace and justice for our children and grandchildren and for all generations to come.

For more information about the struggle on Jeju Island, Korea, see the www.savejejunow.org website and the film, Ghosts of Jeju.

For more information about the situation in Vietnam and what the Veterans for Peace are doing to help support those suffering from Agent Orange and unexploded ordinance, see http://vfp-vn.ning.com

To find out more about the Movement to End All War, see www.worldbeyondwar.org.

David Hartsough is a Quaker, Executive Director of PEACEWORKERS in San Francisco, a Co-Founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and a veteran of peacemaking work in the US and many other parts of the world. David’s book, WAGING PEACE: GLOBAL ADVENTURES OF A LIFELONG ACTIVIST will be published by PM Press in October 2014.

Look who’s calling voting ‘divisive’ and ‘illegal’: The Blood-soaked US Has No Business Opposing Sovereignty Plebiscites

By Dave Lindorff



The rot at the core of US international relations, domestic politics and the corporate media is evident in the American approach to the Ukraine crisis.


Mayor From Okinawa Coming to Washington to Try to Stop the Base He Was Elected to Stop

U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa and Japan-U.S. Relationship: A Discussion with Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine, Member of the Japanese House of Representatives (Okinawa) Denny Tamaki and other experts, facilitated by journalist David Swanson. 
When: May 20, 6pm - 8pm
Where: Busboys and Poets, (14th & V) 2021 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440683952839158

Seventy years after WWII, Okinawa, one of the fiercest battlegrounds of the Pacific War (1941-45), continues to be occupied by U.S. military bases, mostly marine bases, posing threats to the safety, health, and life of people and the environment. Despite firm opposition by the majority of the people of Okinawa, U.S. and Japanese governments are forcing through their plan to build yet another marine airbase with a military port, with massive reclamation that is likely to cause damage to the endangered bio-diverse environment of the Northeastern shore of Okinawa. Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City, where the planned military base construction site is, was first elected in 2010 and re-elected this January, both on the platform of opposing the new base. Please join Mayor Inamine and a panel of experts think together about the U.S. citizens’ responsibility to bring justice and democracy back to Okinawa.

Sponsored by Busboys and Poets and the New Diplomacy Initiative.

Inquiry: Busboys and Poets, phone: 202-387-7638

New Diplomacy Initiative, info@nd-initiative.org

Mayor From Okinawa to Bring Surprising Message to Washington

Imagine if China were stationing large numbers of troops in the United States.  Imagine that most of them were based in a small rural county in Mississippi.  Imagine -- this shouldn't be hard -- that their presence was problematic, that nations they threatened in Latin America resented the United States' hospitality, and that the communities around the bases resented the noise and pollution and drinking and raping of local girls.

Now imagine a proposal by the Chinese government, with support from the federal government in Washington, to build another big new base in that same corner of Mississippi.  Imagine the governor of Mississippi supported the base, but just before his reelection pretended to oppose it, and after being reelected went back to supporting it.  Imagine that the mayor of the town where the base would be built made opposition to it the entire focus of his reelection campaign and won, with exit polls showing that voters overwhelmingly agreed with him.  And imagine that the mayor meant it.

Where would your sympathies lie? Would you want anyone in China to hear what that mayor had to say?

Sometimes in the United States we forget that there are heavily armed employees of our government permanently stationed in most nations on earth.  Sometimes when we remember, we imagine that the other nations must appreciate it.  We turn away from the public uproar in the Philippines as the U.S. military tries to return troops to those islands from which they were driven by public pressure.  We avoid knowing what anti-U.S. terrorists say motivates them, as if by merely knowing what they say we would be approving of their violence.  We manage not to know of the heroic nonviolent struggle underway on Jeju Island, South Korea, as residents try to stop the construction of a new base for the U.S. Navy. We live on oblivious to the massive nonviolent resistance of the people of Vicenza, Italy, who for years voted and demonstrated and lobbied and protested a huge new U.S. Army base that has gone right ahead regardless.

Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City, Okinawa, (population 61,000) is headed to the United States, where he may have to do a bit of afflicting the comfortable as he tries to comfort the afflicted back home.  Okinawa Prefecture has hosted major U.S. military bases for 68 years.  Over 73% of the U.S. troop presence in Japan is concentrated in Okinawa, which makes up a mere 0.6% of the Japanese land area.  As a result of public protest, one base is being closed -- the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.  The U.S. government wants a new Marine base in Nago City.  The people of Nago City do not.

Inamine was first elected as mayor of Nago City in January 2010 promising to block the new base.  He was reelected this past January 19th still promising to block the base.  The Japanese government had worked hard to defeat him, but exit polls showed 68% of voters opposing the base, and 27% in favor of it.  In February U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited Okinawa, where she met with the Governor but declined to meet with the mayor.

That's all right. The Mayor can meet with the State Department, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Congress.  He'll be in Washington, D.C. in mid-May, where he hopes to appeal directly to the U.S. government and the U.S. public.  He'll speak at an open, public event at Busboys and Poets restaurant at 14th and V Streets at 6:00 p.m. on May 20th.

A great summary of the situation in Okinawa can be found in this statement: "International Scholars, Peace Advocates and Artists Condemn Agreement To Build New U.S. Marine Base in Okinawa."  An excerpt:

"Not unlike the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights struggle, Okinawans have non-violently pressed for the end to their military colonization. They tried to stop live-fire military drills that threatened their lives by entering the exercise zone in protest; they formed human chains around military bases to express their opposition; and about a hundred thousand people, one tenth of the population have turned out periodically for massive demonstrations. Octogenarians initiated the campaign to prevent the construction of the Henoko base with a sit-in that has been continuing for years. The prefectural assembly passed resolutions to oppose the Henoko base plan. In January 2013, leaders of all the 41 municipalities of Okinawa signed the petition to the government to remove the newly deployed MV-22 Osprey from Futenma base and to give up the plan to build a replacement base in Okinawa."

Here's background on the Governor of Okinawa.

Here's an organization working to support the will of the public of Okinawa on this issue.

And here's a video worth watching:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzAw-jOQwME#t=0

U.S. Troops Not Welcome Back in Philippines

The following is the statement issued by former senators Guingona, Saguisag and Tañada plus several lawyers and concerned citizens regarding the military agreement to be signed between PH and US officials this morning.

We express our grave concern over news that a new military agreement called the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) will be signed between the Philippines and the United States during next week’s visit of US President Barack Obama.

The agreement apparently aims to increase and prolong the presence US troops in the country, and as government has already announced, allow the US access to Philippine bases, the prepositioning of US arms, military supplies and equipment as well as the construction and maintenance of US military facilities inside these Philippine bases.

Given these apparently new features, there is valid concern that the new pact may be going beyond the scope of previous military agreements. That contrary to the negotiators’ claims, this is not a mere implementing agreement of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement nor the periodic arrangements on mutual logistics and support. The AEDC as reported by media threatens to reverse the historic Senate vote that removed the US bases in 1991.

We are apprehensive that until now, no copy of the agreement has been provided to the public. Even Congress, particularly the Senate, has been kept in the dark. Only general statements and blanket assurances from Philippine and US officials that the AEDC will adhere to the Philippine Constitution have been issued. There is no official venue for public discussion and debate.

Just as we decry the lack of transparency in the crafting of the AEDC, so do we oppose the rush to have the deal signed in time for the Obama visit. We insist that such an agreement should undergo thorough and extensive deliberations by the Senate as well as wide-ranging public discussion

We call on our people to be vigilant, defend and uphold Philippine sovereignty, whether against China’s incursions or the United States of America’s increased military presence in Philippine territory.#

SIGNED:

Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr.
Senator Rene Saguisag (MABINI)
Senator WigbertoTañada
Mother Mary John Mananzan, OSB
Dean Pacifico Agabin
Atty. Ricardo N. Fernandez
Atty. Hesiquio Mallilin
Atty. Fulgencio Factoran
Atty. Nelson Loyola
Atty. EvalynUrsua
Atty. Harry Roque
Atty. Carlos Montemayor, Jr.
Prof. Roland Simbulan
Ms. Maria Socorro I. Diokno
Ms. BibethOrteza
Dr. Carol Araullo
Renato Constantino Jr.

"Russia with Love": Alaska Gas Scandal is Out-of-Country, Not Out-of-State

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

A legal controversy — critics would say scandal — has erupted in Alaska's statehouse over the future of its natural gas bounty.

It's not so much an issue of the gas itself, but who gets to decide how it gets to market and where he or she resides.

The question of who owns Alaska's natural gas and where they're from, at least for now, has been off the table. More on that later.

One Nation the U.S. Actually Should Liberate


"Secretary Kerry? It's Ukraine on the phone asking about liberation again. Have you been able to get them a reference letter yet from Libya or Iraq or Afghanistan? How about Vietnam? Panama? Grenada? Kosovo maybe? Ukraine says Syria says you have a reference letter in the works from Kosovo. No? Huh. They said they'd accept one from Korea or the Dominican Republic or Iran. No? Guatemala? The Philippines? Cuba? Congo? How about Haiti? They say you promised them a glowing reference from Haiti. Oh. They did? No, I am not laughing, Sir. What about East Timor? Oh? Oh! Sir, you're going to liberate the what out of them? Yes sir, I think you'd better tell them yourself."

Some nations the United States should probably not liberate -- except perhaps the 175 nations which could be liberated from the presence of U.S. soldiers.  But one nation I would make an exception for, and that is the nation of Hawai'i.

Jon Olsen's new book, Liberate Hawai'i: Renouncing and Defying the Continuing Fraudulent U.S. Claim to the sovereignty of Hawai'i, makes a compelling case -- a legal case as well as a moral one. 

Olsen's case, in very condensed summary, looks like this: Hawai'i was an independent nation, recognized as such by the United States and numerous other nations, with treaties in effect between Hawai'i and other nations, including the United States, that have never been terminated.  In 1893 U.S. profiteers and U.S. Marines, in a criminal act, overthrew Hawai'i's government and queen, setting up a new government that lacked any legal standing.  President Grover Cleveland investigated what had been done, admitted to the facts, and declared the new government illegitimate, insisting that the Queen retain the rule she had never abdicated.  But the fraudulent foreign government remained, and in 1898 once William McKinley was U.S. president, handed over Hawaii (thought it had no legal power to do so) to the United States, as the United States also picked up the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba in a bit of a global shopping spree.  By 1959, these events were growing lost in the mists of time, and the demographics of Hawai'i were radically altered, as Hawai'i was offered a vote between two bad choices: statehood or continued status as a colony or "territory" (liberation wasn't on the ballot). Thus did Hawai'i seem to become a state without legally becoming any such thing.  In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed and President Clinton signed U.S. Public Law 103-150, admitted to and apologizing for this history, without of course doing the one thing legally and morally required -- liberating Hawai'i.

The primary purpose of the U.S. grab for Hawai'i, even more than economic exploitation, was military expansion, as Olsen shows.  The U.S. military wanted, and took, Pearl Harbor.  Then it took a lot more land, occupied it, bombed it, poisoned it.  Now the U.S. military holds 22% of O'ahu, 68% of Kaula, and chunks of all the major islands, with more planned, archaeological sites threatened, species threatened, air quality for telescopes threatened, and heightened tensions around the Pacific not just threatened but those heightened tensions being the actual purpose of this massive and disastrous investment by the foreign occupying nation claiming Hawai'i by force and fraud.

What can be done? And of, by, and for whom exactly?  Who is a Hawaiian and who is not?  Olsen does not advocate a Hawaii for the ethnically native Hawaiians alone.  He recognizes that the term "Hawaiian" is used to refer to an ethnic group, and proposes the invention of the term "Hawaiian national" to refer to anyone who considers Hawaii home and supports its liberation.  I think Olsen is on the right path but slipping slightly off it.  Nationalism has not proved a wholly beneficial concept.  Hawaii needs to be liberated from U.S. nationalism, but Hawaiians and the rest of us need to begin thinking of ourselves as citizens of the world, not of one nation over others.  Nor do two wrongs, of whatever disparity, make a right (just ask Palestine).  I'd like to see "Hawaiian" evolve to encompass all who consider Hawaii their home, without the addition of "national."  Of course this unsolicited advice from me to Hawaiians may be unappreciated.  But then, they are free to ignore it; I'm not using the Marine Corps as a delivery service, and my advice to the Marine Corps (unsolicited as well) is to disband and liberate the world from its existence.

There's an important point that I think Olsen's argument supports, although he does not develop it in his book, and it is this: If in 1941 Hawaii was not yet even purporting to be a U.S. state, but was rather an illegally and illegitimately seized territory, Pearl Harbor having been stolen from the Hawaiian people, then whatever else you might think of the second major crime committed at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese did not attack the United States.  The Japanese attacked an imperial outpost in the middle of the Pacific that they viewed as a threat -- and what else was it if not that?

Were Hawaii to liberate itself from the United States (for the United States is not actually going to liberate it voluntarily), would the point be moot as the practices of the United States and China and other nations drive the world's islands underwater?  Actually, projections show Hawaii surviving the flood.  The question for Hawaiians may be this: Who do you want managing the influx of millions of Floridians looking for a new paradise to pave, your own manageable self-governed society or the tender mercies of the United States Congress?

Back to My Lai

UKRAINE : Dialogue and East-West cooperation are the key

By International Peace Bureau

March 11, 2014. The events of the last few days and weeks only serve to confirm what the IPB and others in the disarmament wing of the international peace movement have been asserting for years: that in times of political tension, military force solves nothing[1]. It provokes only more military force from the other side, and risks pushing both parties up and around an infernal spiral of violence. This is an especially dangerous course when there are nuclear weapons in the background.

But even if there were no nuclear weapons, this would be a thoroughly alarming situation, given the violation of international law perpetuated by Russia on the Crimean peninsula.

The dramatic events in Ukraine are playing out against the background of a harvest of resentment within the Russian Federation as a result of repeated Western unilateralism and lack of restraint, including:

-          the expansion of NATO up to Russia's borders; and
-          the encouragement and funding of the 'colour revolutions', which has been perceived as interference in its neighbourhood. This makes Russia doubt whether the agreement they have had with Ukraine over the military bases in Crimea will be kept to in the future.

Let us be quite clear: to criticise the West for reckless and domineering behaviour is not to condone or defend Russia; conversely, to criticise Russia for its own reckless and domineering behaviour is not to let the West off the hook. Both sides bear responsibility for the deep-rooted tragedy that is unfolding and that promises to both ruin and split Ukraine and plunge Europe, and indeed the wider world, back into some new form of East-West conflict. The talk on the Western news channels is all of how fast to climb the ladder of anti-Russian economic sanctions, while Russian mass demonstrations of post-Sochi pride risk tempting Putin to overreach in his zeal to build a counterweight to the arrogant West via his Eurasian Union.

The task of a peace movement is not only to analyse causes and denounce oppression, imperialism and militarism wherever they manifest. It is also to propose ways forward, paths out of the mess. It should be obvious to all but the most hawkish politicians that the number one priority in the coming days and weeks must not be point-scoring and lecturing one's opponents but dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. While we recognise that the UNSC has recently passed resolutions calling for "an inclusive dialogue recognizing the diversity of the Ukrainian society", the best bet right now for a real resolution of this difficult conflict would seem to be the Swiss-led OSCE (of which Russia a member state). Indeed, it is clear that some discussion between the leaders of East and West is occurring, but it is obvious that their views of the whole situation are far apart. Yet there is no alternative; Russia and the West have to learn to live and talk with each other and indeed work together for mutual benefit, as well as resolving the fate of Ukraine.

Meanwhile there is much to be done at the citizen level. IPB supports the recent call made by Pax Christi International <http://www.paxchristi.net/>  to religious leaders and all the faithful in Ukraine, as well as in the Russian Federation and in other countries involved in the political tensions, "to act as mediators and bridge-builders, bringing people together instead of dividing them, and to support nonviolent ways to find peaceful and just solutions to the crisis." Women should be given a much more prominent voice.

Among the top priorities for action in both short and long term must be to overcome the poverty in the country and the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities. We recall reports showing that unequal societies produce much more violence than equal societies[2]. Ukraine - like many other conflict-ridden countries - must be helped to provide education and jobs, and not least for the angry young men who let themselves be recruited into diverse forms of fundamentalism. A minimum of security is necessary in order to encourage investment and job creation; hence the importance of political interventions to bring the sides together and to demilitarize the region.

There are several additional steps that should be promoted:

*       withdrawal of Russian troops to their bases in Crimea or to Russia, and of Ukrainian troops to their barracks;
*       an investigation by UN / OSCE observers of complaints of human rights violations among all communities in Ukraine;
*       no military intervention by any outside forces;
*       convening of high level talks under the auspices of the OSCE and international peace organisations with participation from all parties, including Russia, US and EU as well as Ukrainians from all sides, men and women. The OSCE should be given an expanded mandate and responsibility, and its representatives allowed access to all sites. The Council of Europe can also be a useful forum for dialogue between the different sides.
______________________________

[1] See for instance the IPB's Stockholm Conference declaration, Sept 2013: "Military intervention and the culture of war serve vested interests. They are extremely expensive, escalate violence, and can lead to chaos. They also reinforce the idea that war is a viable solution to human problems."
[2] Summarised in the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

Kucinich on Ukraine

Agent Orange Awareness Campaign

 A Catherine Karnow Project
 
The importance of this project: 

As a National Geographic photographer, I have covered many humanitarian injustices, but my heart is in Vietnam.

Through my photography work with the Ford Foundation I became aware of current humanitarian issues associated with Agent Orange.  We all remember the harmful effects of Agent Orange during the time of the Vietnam War.  Most people are not aware, though, of the ongoing devastation visited on the offspring of those exposed to the chemicals.  

There are two reasons why children born today are afflicted with life-altering deformity and disease.  First: despite the end of the war and the years of friendly relations between the US and Vietnam, there has never been a systematic cleanup of the affected regions.  Neither the chemical companies involved, nor the US government nor the Vietnamese government have remediated the areas so devastated by the US Army.  The chemicals still in place continue to impact individual lives.  Second: though few people are aware of this, Agent Orange, horrifyingly, carries a genetic legacy.  Those affected by Agent Orange pass their genetic injury to their children.  Those children and their grandchildren are born with physical deformity, are born barren and/or are born with devastating cancers.  

Imagine if this were occurring in the U.S.  There would be a call for justice, for compensation, for remediation. 

That the US government is responsible for this devastation, and that US companies are directly involved, creates an imperative for action.  That the victims are far away and out of sight should not translate into inaction on the part of the US government.


 
How you can help:

We would like to ask you to join us in an Agent Orange Awareness Campaign to get the word out about this tragic problem.  We propose to use powerful, emotional and sensitive photography and video content to tell this story in a devastatingly immediate way.  We plan to tell this story to policy makers and thought leaders in the U.S., Europe and at the UN. 

We are calling upon my father's former friends to lend their names and stature to the campaign, and are honored that journalist Peter Arnett is a partner.  We are establishing collaborations with media organizations and influential exhibition spaces in order to get our content to as many people as possible.

The Urgency:

April 2015 will mark the 40 year anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.  This anniversary will provide an ideal moment to call the world's attention to the lingering effects of the war and of Agent Orange on the families, communities, and the economy of Vietnam.

We have until March 4th to reach our goal of $27K. If we do not raise $27K, all donations are returned, and we get no funding at all.
 
Every contribution helps.  Please donate today at:
May we count on you to visit this link and give what you can spare? More importantly, will you please share this letter with your friends, colleagues, and influential people, so that we can meet our fund raising goals and begin to tackle this devastating legacy of the Vietnam War?
 
Thank you so very much.
 
Warmly,
Catherine
 
Like us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn View our videos on YouTube

Asia-Pacific Working Group - Weekly Articles

Friends,

            Here are this week’s articles. We are nearing our goal of 10,000 petition signatures in support of Okinawans opposing the construction of the Henoko base and calling for the closure of the Futenma base. If you have not already signed the statement and shared it with friends, please do so. We need to give them support.

            For peace and justice,

            Joseph

www.asiapacificinitiative.org

 

UNITED STATES

Obama ignores Beijing, hosts Dalai Lama at White House

US urges pragmatic rapprochement

Kerry says Asia-Pacific stability depends on success of ASEAN code of conduct

Top US envoy John Kerry fails to make headway over sea disputes in Beijing

Upbeat Kerry says China willing to press North Korea on nuclear program

Obama’s Asia trip itinerary Released

 

JAPAN

Abe aide pillories U.S. on YouTube

Abe’s associates proving to be a political liability

Japan stages rally over disputed islands with South Korea

Filmmaker says Japan needs reminders of war’s horrors

 

CHINA

Southern air defense zone ‘crucial for China in long term’ PLA experts say

Beijing will fight proposed UN court action over North Korean abuses

Chinese navy holds Indian Ocean drills

China accuses US of meddling after Obama-Dalai Lama meeting

 

KOREA

Separated Korean families hold tearful final farewells as reunions come to an end

INDIA

India’s Modi targets China’s ‘expansionist mindset’ in election speech

 

AUSTRALIA

Australia endorses ‘code of conduct’ for South China Sea

Misremembering America’s Wars, 2003-2053

The Pentagon’s Latest “Mission Accomplished” Moment 
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch

It’s 2053 -- 20 years since you needed a computer, tablet, or smart phone to go online.  At least, that’s true in the developed world: you know, China, India, Brazil, and even some parts of the United States.  Cybernetic eye implants allow you to see everything with a digital overlay.  And once facial recognition software was linked to high-speed records searches, you had the lowdown on every person standing around you.  Of course, in polite society you still introduce yourself as if you don’t instantly know another person’s net worth, arrest record, and Amazooglebook search history.  (Yes, the fading old-tech firms Amazon, Google, and Facebook merged in 2033.) You also get a tax break these days if you log into one of the government’s immersive propaganda portals.  (Nope, “propaganda” doesn’t have negative connotations anymore.)  So you choose the Iraq War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Experience and take a stroll through the virtual interactive timeline. 

Look to your right, and you see happy Iraqis pulling down Saddam’s statue and showering U.S. Marines with flowers and candy.  Was that exactly how it happened?  Who really remembers?  Now, you’re walking on the flight deck of what they used to call an aircraft carrier behind a flight-suit-clad President George W. Bush.  He turns and shoots you a thumbs-up under a “mission accomplished” banner.  A voice beamed into your head says that Bush proclaimed victory that day, but that for years afterward, valiant U.S. troops would have to re-win the war again and again.  Sounds a little strange, but okay. 

A few more paces down the digital road and you encounter a sullen looking woman holding a dog leash, the collar attached to a man lying nude on the floor of a prison.  Your digital tour guide explains: “An unfortunate picture was taken.  Luckily, the bad apple was punished and military honor was restored.”  Fair enough.  Soon, a digital General David Petraeus strides forward and shoots you another thumbs-up.  (It looks as if they just put a new cyber-skin over the President Bush avatar to save money.)  “He surged his way to victory and the mission was accomplished again,” you hear over strains of the National Anthem and a chorus of “hooahs.”

Asia Pacific Working Group: Weekly Posting of Articles

 
 

Friends,

            If we needed any incentives to focus more of our efforts to preventing a catastrophic great power war growing out of tensions in East Asia, this week’s reflections by Joseph Nye and Shinzo Abe (see below) – each of whom has made more than his share of contributions to the dangers we face – should more than suffice.  Take a look at the first two articles in this week’s posting.

With this year being the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, an increasing number of analysts are raising alarms about the parallels between the current situation across Asia and the Pacific and the years immediately preceding the gunshot in Sarajevo that triggered the First World War.  They include the inevitable tensions between rising and declining powers, with the dominant powers (then Britain and France, now U.S. and Japan) committed to enforcing the status quo while the rising power (then Germany, now China) presses to modify the prevailing to expand and protect its perceived interests and to exercise the influence it believes is its due. There are territorial disputes, intense arms races, interlocking alliance systems, and nations dependent on naval power being challenged by a continental power asserting itself on the high seas.  As in the early 1900s, international trade and economic globalization surging. There are new technologies increasing communication and new and cataclysmically destructive weapons. Again there is widespread belief that great power war is unimaginable. And, as in Europe in 1914, there are numerous wild cards including potentially failing states and rising nationalism.

Of course, as in 1914 war is not inevitable. Much depends on what we do.

And, meanwhile, voters in Nago voted overwhelmingly to block the construction of a new U.S. Marine air base, and the Abe and U.S. governments are hypocritically assaulting this exercise of democracy doing their best to crush Okinawan resistance. Look for a petition next week to communicate your support for peace, democracy and human dignity.

So, read, work for peace, and share these articles as you think best.

Joseph Gerson

 

Dangers of Sino-Japanse War:

 

1914 Revisited – Joseph Nye

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3636

 

Will Japan and China Go to War? – Time Magazine

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3655> (1/22)

 

United States

 

US Pacific fleet chief says North Korea is top security concern in Asia

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3661

 

China

 

 

 Chinese patrol ship to be based at disputed islands in South China Sea

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3651

 

Regional security tops Sino-US talks in Beijing

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3657

 

China's nuclear missile drill seen as warning to US not to meddle in region

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3659

 

Work under way on China's second aircraft carrier at Dalian yard

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3624

 

China stands for 5 principles in a political settlement of the Syrian issue

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3634

 

 

Japan

 

Nago mayor wins re-election in blow to Abe, U.S.

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/nago-mayor-wins-re-election-in-blow-to-abe-u-s

 

Base setback denied after Nago poll

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3641

 

Bidding starts on Futenma base relocation work

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3647

 

Kadena (Okinawa) moms demand truth

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3645

 

Shinzo Abe seeks 'frank discussion' with China and South Korea

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3627

 

Abe’s Version of History Doesn’t Sit Well With Chinese

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3639

 

Ex-teacher sues over ‘Kimigayo’ rule

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3643

 

 

Foreign Minister Kishida criticized for remark on nuclear weapons while speaking in Nagasaki

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3663

 

Korea

ADIZ: a four letter word

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3631

 

S. Korean ruling party exec calls Japan ‘terrorist state’ after hero criticized<http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3649

 

South East Asia

Vietnam marks 40th anniversary of China's invasion of Paracel Islands

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3629

 

This resource is a service of the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific.

Nago mayor wins re-election in blow to Abe, U.S.

Asia-Pacific Working Group - Weekly Articles
 

Friends,

            The exciting news today is that despite the political pressure and attempt at vote buying by Japan’s LDP government, the people of Nago in Okinawa, voters returned anti-base mayor Inamine to office in a landslide victory.  Australian Japan scholar Gavan McCormack described it this way:

          "It is an absolutely astonishing victory, with implications far beyond Nago and far beyond Henoko (though that of course has been the obvious          central issue). I did not dare to believe it could be possible.

          "The Japanese nation state threw everything at this election. So did the LDP,  and so did the Governor.
So did large national organizations such as Nihon kaigi and Sankei shimbun. Yet Nago was not to be conquered.

        "No local government has ever resisted the will of the centre in anything like such an issue of high priority to government (and to the "alliance"). Henoko, I think we can now say, is dead in the water."

            Work for Peace,
Joseph Gerson

Japan

Nago mayor wins re-election in blow to Abe, U.S.

U.S. base at center of Nago poll

Peter Kuznick on RT: Okinawa's Military Dictatorship

Okinawa’s Revolt: Decades of Rape, Environmental Harm by U.S. Military Spur Residents to Rise Up – Democracy Now  

Former prime ministers Koizumi and Hosokawa gang up on Abe over nuclear power

Japan's Naval Ambitions in the Indian Ocean

Izumo to serve as command ship

Japan’s Shinzo Abe woos Africa with funds for peace and security

Teacher manuals next front in islet disputes

 

China     

'Cultural threats' among five focuses of new national security panel, colonel says

China hails first test of hypersonic nuclear missile carrier

Bowed and Remorseful, Former Red Guard Recalls Teacher’s Death

In shift, China, U.S. space cooperation picks up steam

Enforcement of fishing rules in South China Sea thrown in doubt

Blueprint called for on China's ambitions in Arctic and Antarctic

China slams 'troublemaker' Japan after Africa visit

 

United States

Army’s ‘Pacific Pathways’ initiative sets up turf battle with Marines

The Navy’s 2014: Subs, Cyber, & Cheap Support Ships

State expanding outreach – Hawai’i

Open Fire and Open Markets: The Asia-Pacific Pivot and Trans-Pacific Partnership

USS Reagan to replace George Washington at Yokosuka

U.S. lawmakers urge tough stance on China sea claims

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/u-s-senate-passes-spending-bill-containing-comfort-women-issue/

 

Korea    

North Korea dismisses South Korean family reunion proposal

U.S. air force to deploy 12 F-16s to S. Korea

(2nd LD) Seoul, Washington reach 'de facto' agreement on defense cost accord

Problems with Abe’s team outweigh mere handshake: Park

South Korea needs multi-layered missile defense against N. Korea: lawmaker

South Korea refuses to call off military drills with US at North's request

"The Spirit of Gangjeong" Video Series

 

Southeast Asia

Converging Interests: Hanoi and Manila Confront Leviathan - Walden Bello

Philippines, Vietnam condemn China's fishing law

Countdown begins for Thailand protesters' shutdown amid worries it will lead to coup

Philippines seeks more US navy ships for protection amid China threat

Vietnam delays first nuclear plant

 

Audiovisual Resources

China-Japan compete for influence in Africa - Podcast   

Working Group for Peace & Demilitarization in Asia & the Pacific
www.asiapacificinitiative.org

International Scholars, Peace Advocates and Artists Condemn Agreement to Build New U.S. Marine Base in Okinawa

Leading scholars, peace advocatesand artists from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia today released the attached statement opposing the construction of the new U.S. Marine base at Henoko, Okinawa, planned by the US and Japanese governments as a replacement facility of Futenma airbase located in the middle of Ginowan City. Their statement urges “support for the people of Okinawa in their struggle for peace, dignity, human rights, and protection of the environment.”

Initial signers of the statement include linguist Noam Chomsky, academy award winning film maker Oliver Stone,Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, historian John Dower, former U.S. military officer and diplomat Ann Wright, and United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk. (See complete list of initial signers on statement. Additional names are being added.)

Speaking for the signers, Joseph Gerson of the American Friends Service Committee, who has worked with Okinawan base opponents and initiated the 1996  “Statement of Outrage and Remorse” following the kidnapping and rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl by U.S. servicemen, said the statement  is intended to “ rally international support for Okinawans in their inspiring and essential nonviolent campaign to end seventy years of military colonization, to defend their dignity and human rights, and to ensure peace and protect their environment.”

Professor Peter Kuznick of American University, who co-authored TheUntold History of the United States with Oliver Stone, decried Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s betrayal of Okinawan voters.   “During the campaign, Nakaima promised to work for the relocation of Futenma base outside Okinawa. According to the polls, 72.4 percent of Okinawans see the governor’s decision as a ‘breach of his election pledge,’” Kuznick said, “The deal was made at the behest of the United States and of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It tramples the rights of the Okinawan people to advance Obama’s Asian ‘pivot.’”

The statement reviews theoppression andexploitation of Okinawa-- first by Japanese rulers with invasion and annexation,and then by the United States to support its hegemonic interests in the Pacific. It points to the unjust concentration of 73.8% of exclusively U.S. military bases in Japan on less than 1% of the country’s land mass. Signers also point to the painful irony that for seven decades Okinawans “have suffered what the signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence denounced as ‘abuses and usurpations,’ including the presence of foreign ‘standing armies without consent of our legislature.’”

Professor Gavan McCormack of the Australian National University, and co-author with Satoko Norimatsu of Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, described the intrusions of militarism that threaten Okinawans’ lives and health, " from military accidents, crimes including sexual violence for which U.S. forces are not held fully accountable, to intolerable military aircraft noise and chemical pollution.” He said that “Okinawans’ courageous and unrelenting struggle to finally end the military occupation and to enjoy real security deserves the support of people around the world.”

(Statement Follows.)

STATEMENT

We oppose construction of a new US military base within Okinawa, and support the people of Okinawa in their struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment

We the undersigned oppose the deal made at the end of 2013 between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Governor of Okinawa Hirokazu Nakaima to deepen and extend the military colonization of Okinawa at the expense of the people and the environment. Using the lure of economic development, Mr. Abe has extracted approval from Governor Nakaima to reclaim the water off Henoko, on the northeastern shore of Okinawa, to build a massive new U.S. Marine air base with a military port.

Plans to build the base at Henoko have been on the drawing board since the 1960s.  They were revitalized in 1996, when the sentiments against US military bases peaked following the rape of a twelve year-old Okinawan child by three U.S. servicemen. In order to pacify such sentiments, the US and Japanese governments planned to close Futenma Marine Air Base in the middle of Ginowan City and  move its functions to a new base to be constructed at Henoko, a site of extraordinary bio-diversity and home to the endangered marine mammal dugong.

Governor Nakaima’s reclamation approval does not reflect the popular will of the people of Okinawa.  Immediately before the gubernatorial election of 2010, Mr. Nakaima, who had previously accepted the new base construction plan, changed his position and called for relocation of the Futenma base outside the prefecture. He won the election by defeating a candidate who had consistently opposed the new base. Polls in recent years have shown that 70 to 90 percent of the people of Okinawa opposed the Henoko base plan. The poll conducted immediately after Nakaima’s recent reclamation approval showed that 72.4 percent of the people of Okinawa saw the governor’s decision as a “breach of his election pledge.” The reclamation approval was a betrayal of the people of Okinawa.

73.8 percent of the US military bases (those for exclusive US use) in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa, which is only .6 percent of the total land mass of Japan. 18.3 percent of the Okinawa Island is occupied by the US military. Futenma Air Base originally was built during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa by US forces in order to prepare for battles on the mainland of Japan. They simply usurped the land from local residents. The base should have been returned to its owners after the war, but the US military has retained it even though now almost seven decades have passed. Therefore, any conditional return of the base is fundamentally unjustifiable.

The new agreement would also perpetuate the long suffering of the people of Okinawa. Invaded in the beginning of the 17th century by Japan and annexed forcefully into the Japanese nation at the end of 19th century, Okinawa was in 1944 transformed into a fortress to resist advancing US forces and thus to buy time to protect the Emperor System.  The Battle of Okinawa killed more than 100,000 local residents, about a quarter of the island’s population. After the war, more bases were built under the US military occupation. Okinawa “reverted” to Japan in 1972, but the Okinawans’ hope for the removal of the military bases was shattered. Today, people of Okinawa continue to suffer from crimes and accidents, high decibel aircraft noise and environmental pollution caused by the bases. Throughout these decades, they have suffered what the U.S. Declaration of Independence denounces as “abuses and usurpations,” including the presence of foreign “standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.”

Not unlike the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights struggle, Okinawans have non-violently pressed for the end to their military colonization. They tried to stop live-fire military drills that threatened their lives by entering the exercise zone in protest; they formed human chains around military bases to express their opposition; and about a hundred thousand people, one tenth of the population have turned out periodically for massive demonstrations. Octogenarians initiated the campaign to prevent the construction of the Henoko base with a sit-in that has been continuing for years. The prefectural assembly passed resolutions to oppose the Henoko base plan. In January 2013, leaders of all the 41 municipalities of Okinawa signed the petition to the government to remove the newly deployed MV-22 Osprey from Futenma base and to give up the plan to build a replacement base in Okinawa.

We support the people of Okinawa in their non-violent struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment. The Henoko marine base project must be canceled and Futenma returned forthwith to the people of Okinawa.

January 2014

Norman Birnbaum, Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University

Herbert Bix, Emeritus Professor of History and Sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton

Reiner Braun, Co-presidentInternational Peace Bureau and Executive Director of International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John W. Dower, Professor Emeritus of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Alexis Dudden, Professor of History, University of Connecticut

Daniel Ellsberg, Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, former Defense and State Department official

John Feffer, Co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) at the Institute for Policy Studies

Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Joseph Gerson(PhD), Director, Peace & Economic Security Program, American Friends Service Committee

Richard Falk, Milbank Professor of International law Emeritus, Princeton University

Norma Field, Professor Emerita, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Kate Hudson(PhD), General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Catherine Lutz, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, Brown University

Naomi Klein, Author and journalist

Joy Kogawa, Author of Obasan

Peter Kuznick, Professor of History, American University

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace laureate

Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action

Gavan McCormack, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University

Kyo Maclear, Writer and Children’s author

Michael Moore, Filmmaker

Steve Rabson, Professor Emeritus, Brown University/ Veteran, United States Army, Henoko, Okinawa, 1967-68

Mark Selden, a Senior Research Associate in the East Asia Program at Cornell University

Oliver Stone, Filmmaker

David Vine, Associate Professor of Anthropology, American University

The Very Rev. the Hon. Lois Wilson, Former President, World Council of Churches

Lawrence Wittner, Professor Emeritus of History, State University of New York/Albany

Ann Wright, Retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat

(In the alphabetical order of family names, as of January 7, 2014)

Call for Local Spring Asia-Pacific Events Around the World

After twelve years of war in the Middle East and Central Asia, the Obama Administration is “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific.  Sixty percent of the U.S. military forces are being deployed in the region to “contain” China.  The popular phrase in Washington to describe this process is a “re-balancing” of US forces.

The increased militarization of the US’s Asia-Pacific policies is anything but benign. It is fueling region-wide arms races, increasing the dangers of war, as we have seen in the territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, reinforces Japan’s transformation into a national security state, and has devastating impacts on the people of Jeju Island, Okinawa, Guam and Hawaii where new bases are being built.

The House Armed Services Committee will begin a series of hearings in February to further demonize China and to create the support for additional Congressional funding for the military “pivot”.  

The Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization invites peace groups, faith communities, and API solidarity groups to join us to counter-organize around those hearings this coming spring. We invite you to organize local or regional educational forums or other public events to create greater public awareness about the pivot. . 

Our plan is to follow up after the spring events by organizing a national conference on the Asia-Pacific in the fall of 2014. 

We will soon provide a list of Asia-Pacific resources including speakers, films, books, websites, and articles that could help further grow the issue in our communities.

The pivot is an issue that will touch every community.  The military industrial complex fully knows that in order to pay for the massively expensive “re-balancing” the remaining slim thread of social spending must be cut in order to pay for corporate imperial ambitions. The military also creates a large carbon footprint that will only exacerbate climate change.

We hope that with your collaboration, we can connect the dots between cancerous militarism, environmental degradation, a new costly arms race, and human rights abuses.

Please let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions or would like to offer to become a local or regional sparkplug for these events.

Contact us at: JGerson@afsc.org or globalnet@mindspring.com

In peace, 

Christine Ahn – Women De-Militarize the Zone (DMZ)

Liberato Bautista - United Nations Ministry of the General Board of Church and Society

Jackie Cabasso – Western States Legal Foundation

John Feffer – Foreign Policy in Focus

Bruce K. Gagnon – Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

Joseph Gerson – American Friends Service Committee

Subrata Ghoshroy – Massachusetts Institute of Technololgy

Mark Harrison – United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

Christine Hong – Korea Policy Institute

Kyle Kajihiro - Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice

Peter Kuznick - American University

Judith LeBlanc – Peace Action

Hyun Lee – Nodutdol

Andrew Lichterman – Western States Legal Foundation

Ramsay Liem – Boston College

Kevin Martin – Peace Action

Stephen McNeil – American Friends Service Committee

Satoko Norimatsu - Peace Philosophy Centre (Vancouver)

Mike Prokosch – Working Group for Peace & Demilitarization in Asia & the Pacific

Arnie Saiki – Moana Nui Action Network

Chloe Schwabe - Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Tim Shorrock - Journalist

“Operation Enduring America”: The US in Central Asia After Afghanistan

[This is a re-posting -- with slight alterations, images and links added -- of a piece that appeared in Z Magazine, January, 2014.]

 

“As we reassure our partners that our relationships and engagement in Afghanistan will continue after the military transition in 2014, we should underscore that we have long-term strategic interests in the broader region... As the United States enters a new phase of engagement in Afghanistan, we must lay the foundation for a long-term strategy that sustains our security gains and protects U.S. interests...” --US Senator John Kerry, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, December, 2011.

 

…A fuller reflection on the last eleven years should include the perverse twist about how in its almost single-minded effort to promote state-building, political tolerance and good governance in Afghanistan, just next door the West [sic] has left a trail of repression, graft and unfulfilled commitments to Central Asia’s fledgling civil society. — Central Asia analyst Alexander Cooley, “Afghanistan’s Other Regional Casualty”

 



Despite the projected 2014 “drawdown” of most of its troops from Afghanistan, the US is not about to exit strategically vital and resource-rich Central Asia.

Japan Is Catching War Fever

Asia-Pacific Working Group - Weekly Articles
 

Friends,

 

            Dramatic changes this week in Japan, as the Abe government  took major steps – against the wishes of the majority of Japanese people – to transform Japan into a national security state with echoes of pre-war militarism. And, once again, Okinawans are to be sacrificed on the altar of the U.S.-Japan military alliance.

 

            Joseph Gerson

 

          

Japan & Okinawa


 


Outlays to Okinawa to rise by 15%

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3431


Nakaima cuts deal with Abe

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3429


Base time frame uncertain

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3460


Okinawa approves relocation of controversial US military base

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3464

Beijing and Seoul furious at Shinzo Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3440


Japan – Abe’s Militarist Nationalism

 

Japanese Premier Visits Contentious War Shrine

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3442

 

With Shrine Visit, Leader Asserts Japan’s Track From Pacifism

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3446

 

In Textbook Fight, Japan Leaders Seek to Recast History

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3466


Risky Nationalism in Japan

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3448

 

Most oppose using force to aid ally: poll

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3435

 

 

Korea
Japanese PM's war shrine visit clouds military ties with Seoul

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3453

 

China, Koreas fight over dynasty

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3444



China

 

China must retaliate for Japanese prime minister’s war shrine visit: official media

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3457

Mao Zedong was no god, says Xi Jinping, in delicate balancing act

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3438


Southeast Asia


Thai army chief calls for end to violence but fails to rule out coup

http://www.asiapacificinitiative.org/?p=3462

Fukushima Backs Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons

From Japan Council against A & H Bombs (GENSUIKYO) http://www.antiatom.org/

Fukushima Prefectural Assembly unanimously adopted a "Recommendation Calling for Decision and Action for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons" to the government of Japan.  This petition was made by Fukushima Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo).   It was discussed and adopted on December 17, 2013.  Fukushima people and the Japanese peace movements are much encouraged by this result.

The recommendation is as follows:

December 17, 2013

To:
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Speaker of the House of Councilors
Prime Minister
Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Recommendation Calling for Decision and Action for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons

The NPT Review Conference of May 2010 agreed to “achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” and declared, “all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.”

 
With the 2015 NPT Review Conference approaching, all the governments and civil society across the world must take actions in unison to bring this goal to a reality.  So far, although three years have elapsed since then, the path to reach this goal is not yet in sight.

True, a certain number of nuclear weapons, including those dealt between the U.S. and Russia, were cut down, but still some 19,000 nuclear warheads are stockpiled or deployed.  Even such moves as developing nuclear weapons are continuing, as seen in the current tension on the Korean Peninsula.  Whether intentional or accidental, the danger of nuclear weapons actually being used remains real.
 
The only way to get out of the current situation and to eliminate nuclear weapons is to totally prohibit them through the united agreement by the international community. The  International Court of Justice declared that the use of nuclear weapons is “contrary to the rule of international law …, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law”.  As the only country to have suffered the nuclear devastation in the world, Japan has moral grounds and heavy responsibility to appeal the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and call for banning them.
 
If the nuclear weapon states make a decision, the U.N. Security Council or the General Assembly can confirm in consensus the need to totally ban nuclear weapons.  Based on that, negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention can be launched.
 
In the midst of increasing military tension over North Korea’s nuclear development, it will   be a great contribution to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the promotion of peace and security of Japan and East Asia if Japan takes action for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons, standing on its Constitution that renounces the use and threat of force as means to resolve international disputes.  We must point out that any further delay in this decision and actions is tantamount to neglecting the danger of causing a second or third Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
 
We sincerely call on the government of Japan to take initiatives to achieve an agreement for a total ban on nuclear weapons in the sessions of international organizations such as the NPT and the UN, so that the 2015 NPT Review Conference will become a place to launch actions for definitely attaining the “peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
 
We hereby submit this recommendation in accordance with Article 99 of the Local Autonomy Act.
 
Hiraide Takao
Speaker
Fukushima Prefectural Assembly
 

New "Frackademia" Report Co-Written by "Converted Climate Skeptic" Richard Muller

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The conservative UK-based Centre for Policy Studies recently published a study on the climate change impacts of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for shale gas. The skinny: it's yet another case study of "frackademia," and the co-authors have a financial stake in the upstart Chinese fracking industry.

Titled "Why Every Serious Environmentalist Should Favour Fracking" and co-authored by Richard Muller and his daughter Elizabeth "Liz" Muller, it concludes that fracking's climate change impacts are benign, dismissing many scientific studies coming to contrary conclusions.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In an interview with DeSmogBlog, Richard Muller — a self-proclaimed "converted skeptic" on climate change — said he and Liz had originally thought of putting together this study "about two years ago."

"We quickly realized that natural gas could be a very big player," he said. "The reasons had to do with China and the goal of the paper is to get the environmentalists to recognize that they need to support responsible fracking."

The ongoing debate over fracking in the UK served as the impetus behind the Centre for Policy Studies — a non-profit co-founded by former right-wing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1974 — hosting this report on its website, according to Richard Muller.

"They asked for it because some environmentalists are currently opposing fracking in the UK, and they wanted us to share our perspective that fracking is not only essential for human health but its support can be justified for humanitarian purposes," he said. 

This isn't the first time Liz Muller has unapologetically sung the praises of fracking and promoted bringing the practice to China. In April, she penned an op-ed in The New York Times titled, "China Must Exploit Its Shale Gas." 

Berkeley City Council Supports South Koreans Resisting Navy Base for U.S. Ships on Jeju Island

    On Jeju Island, an environmental jewel sixty miles south of the Korean Peninsula, a massive naval base is being built to house US warships, submarines and aircraft carriers, serving as a key forward base for the " US Pacific Pivot", and turning the region into a hair trigger for global confrontation. Seven years of principled non-violent struggle by the affected villagers have resulted mostly in endless beatings, arrests, fines, imprisonment; a growing international solidarity movement; but little tangible in the way of political support from any national or local government.
     
    On December 3rd, 2013, the City Council of Berkeley, voted to support the Peace and Justice Commission's Resolution in support of the residents of Jeju Island and to End US support for construction of the Jeju Naval Base.  This makes it the first city in the world to formally declare its support of the Jeju Islanders and its opposition to the base.
     
    Despite being stripped out of the consent calendar and placed almost at the bottom of the council agenda--procedural maneuvers designed to kill off the item--the resolution ultimately passed (with 5 votes in favor) and 4 abstentions in the Berkeley City Council.  Council member Kriss Worthington, who had fast-tracked the resolution, tabled the two items preceding the resolution, allowing it to be put to discussion and a vote, minutes before the clock ran out.
     
    Huge popular support, an unusually vibrant and vocal group of speakers who stayed late into the night--waiting for over 4 hours for the opportunity to address the council for a single brief minute--and a massive flurry of emails from concerned individuals all over the country may have influenced the final vote.
     
    Motivated activists from local seminaries, from the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, the Peace and Justice Commission, the Ecumenical Peace Institute, and others made passionate, informed pleas for support of the resolution.  An activist in a wheel chair broke down in tears as she implored the council to support the cause of peace.
     
    Also significant was a letter from Christine Ahn, a scholar at the Korea Policy Institute and peace activist, who wrote in a heartfelt and moving letter that she had named her daughter Jeju because of her passion for the cause of the peace activists on the island.

    An earlier version of the resolution had previously been shot down in February by the Council.  Even as it was drafted by the commission, Thyme Siegel of the Peace and Justice Commission had stated, with a straight face, "It is not our business of the US to tell the South Korean government and military how to defend itself against North Korea and China."

    Council Member Linda Maio attempted to water down the resolution by stripping out references to the Pacific Pivot (despite corroborating statements from the Secretary of State and Defense); references to toxic dumping in bases in the Phillipines, and rapes and violence in Okinawa, (as well as missile tests in the Marshall Islands and drone bases in Australia).   In particular, Council Member Maio stated, "Condemning the U.S Military for rapes--I can't put it in there", apparently oblivious to the fact that 22,000 rapes and sexual assaults occur within the military annually, a number that itself pales in comparison with the abuse that is dealt out to the general population by an occupying military immunized from local prosecution by Status of Forces Agreements.
     
    She also removed information regarding the hardware being deployed (the US Navy's Aegis Combat System).
     
    Council Member Max Anderson, however, put paid to her statement, stating that he had been in Okinawa, and had witnessed first hand the abuses, the rapes, the violence, and ugliness of the military occupation.
     
    Council Member Gordon Wozniak mentioned the recent escalation of hostilities in the pacific with Air Defense Zones, stating that "it was not just about Korea, that it was Japan, China", and that the supporters of the resolution were "missing the point" [in focusing on Korea].  He did not seem understand that he had just proven the argument of the supporters, that the Jeju base was part of the general escalation of hostilities and projection of force in the pacific, and that its presence would exacerbate regional conflict.
     
    Ultimately, what may have swung the vote may have been a missive from Gloria Steinem, legendary feminist icon and supporter of Jeju, addressing the city council:
     
    "As you cast your votes about Jeju's future, I hope you will consider the attached", referring to her article in the New York times where she had written, "There are some actions for which those of us alive today will be judged in centuries to come. The only question will be: What did we know and when did we know it?  I think one judgment-worthy action may be what you and I do about the militarization of Jeju Island, South Korea, in service of the arms race."

 

___________________

 

Let's Take Advantage of Suffering Filipinos!

The same week in which a Washington Post columnist claimed that interracial marriage makes people gag, a USA Today columnist has proposed using the U.S. military to aid those suffering in the Philippines -- as a backdoor means of getting the U.S. military back into a larger occupation of the Philippines.

While the Philippines' representative at the climate talks in Warsaw is fasting in protest of international inaction on the destruction of the earth's climate, and the U.S. negotiator has effectively told him to go jump in a typhoon, the discussion in the U.S. media is of the supposed military benefits of using Filipinos' suffering as an excuse to militarize their country.

The author of the USA Today column makes no mention of the U.S. military's history in the Philippines.  This was, after all, the site of the first major modern U.S. war of foreign occupation, marked by long duration, and high and one-sided casualties.  As in Iraq, some 4,000 U.S. troops died in the effort, but most of them from disease. The Philippines lost some 1.5 million men, women, and children out of a population of 6 to 7 million. 

The USA Today columnist makes no mention of Filipinos' resistance to the U.S. military up through recent decades, or of President Obama's ongoing efforts to put more troops back into the Philippines, disaster or no disaster.

Instead, our benevolent militarist claims that budgets are tight in Washington -- which is of course always going to be the case for a government spending upwards of $1 trillion a year on militarism. 

He claims that the United States "stations troops throughout the world in the hope of shaping the political environment so as to avoid sending them into combat" -- a perspective that ignores the alternative of neither sending them into combat nor stationing them abroad. 

The terrorist attacks that the U.S. uses to justify its foreign wars are, according to U.S. officials, provoked by the over a million troops stationed in 177 countries, the drone strikes, and other such "preventive" measures.

"[D]eploying military resources for disaster relief is a remarkably effective -- and inexpensive -- investment in the future. One of the largest such deployments in history, the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and other assets following the Asian tsunami of 2004, is estimated to have cost $857 million. That's roughly the price of three days' operations in Afghanistan last year."

Or of 15,500 teachers in U.S. schools, or of enormous supplies of far more edible food than an aircraft carrier full of troops and weapons.

Much of the world has long-since learned to fear U.S. Trojan horses.  As I noted in War Is A Lie:

"By 1961, the cops of the world were in Vietnam, but President Kennedy's representatives there thought a lot more cops were needed and knew the public and the president would be resistant to sending them. For one thing, you couldn't keep up your image as the cops of the world if you sent in a big force to prop up an unpopular regime. What to do? What to do? Ralph Stavins, coauthor of an extensive account of Vietnam War planning, recounts that General Maxwell Taylor and Walt W. Rostow, '. . . wondered how the United States could go to war while appearing to preserve the peace. While they were pondering this question, Vietnam was suddenly struck by a deluge. It was as if God had wrought a miracle. American soldiers, acting on humanitarian impulses, could be dispatched to save Vietnam not from the Viet Cong, but from the floods.'"

What a blessing! And how well it helped to prevent warfare!

Of course, today's enlightened punditry means well.  The thought of Southeast Asians marrying their daughters might make some of them gag, but philanthropy is philanthropy after all, even if we'd never stand for some other country stationing its military here on the excuse that it brought some food and medicine along.  Here's the USA Today:

"The goodwill the tsunami relief brought the U.S. is incalculable. Nearly a decade later, the effort may rank as one of the most concrete reasons Southeast Asian nations trust the long-term U.S. commitment to a strategy of 'Asian rebalancing' The Obama administration recognizes the value of disaster relief. As the Pentagon attempts to shift more of its weight to the Asian Pacific region while balancing a shrinking budget, this could turn out to be one of the best decisions it could make."

But good will is dependent on not dominating people militarily and economically -- yet that seems to be exactly the goal. 

What's wrong with that, some might ask.  The sneaky abuse of disaster relief might be thought to give aggressive war "prevention" an undeserved bad name were it not for the fact that nobody is threatening war on the United States and nobody is about to do so.  Don't take my word for it. Listen to one of our top veteran warmongers, via PopularResistance:

"During a recent speech in Poland, former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski warned fellow elitists that a worldwide 'resistance' movement to 'external control' driven by 'populist activism' is threatening to derail the move towards a new world order. Calling the notion that the 21st century is the American century a 'shared delusion,' Brzezinski stated that American domination was no longer possible because of an accelerating social change driven by 'instant mass communications such as radio, television and the Internet,' which have been cumulatively stimulating 'a universal awakening of mass political consciousness.' The former U.S. National Security Advisor added that this 'rise in worldwide populist activism is proving inimical to external domination of the kind that prevailed in the age of colonialism and imperialism.'"

If this master warmonger recognizes that the age of colonialism and imperialism is gone, how do millions of Americans still manage to bark out the Pavlovian response "What about the next Hitler?" whenever someone proposes ending war?

The fact is that no governments are plotting to take over the United States.  Old-fashioned imperialism and colonialism are as gone as 1940s clothing and music, not to mention Jim Crow, respectability for eugenics, established second-class status for women, the absence of environmentalism, children hiding under desks to protect themselves from nuclear bombs, teachers hitting children, cigarettes being good for you. The fact is that 75 years is a long, long time.  In many ways we've moved on and never looked back.

When it comes to war, however, just propose to end it, and 4 out of 5 dentists, or doctors, or teachers, or gardeners, or anybody else in the United States will say "What about the next Hitler?"  Well, what about the dozens of misidentified next-Hitlers of the past 70 years?  What about the possibility that within our own minds we're dressing up war as disaster relief?  Isn't it just possible that after generations of clearly aggressive, destructive, and criminal wars we describe militarism as a response to the second-coming of Hitler because the truth wouldn't sound as nice?

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