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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?

When I was In Vietnam, I was No Hero

By Arnold Oliver, City Watch

REDEFINING HEROISM
-- More than a few veterans, myself included, are troubled by the way Americans observe Veterans Day. Originally called Armistice Day, and intended by Congress in 1926 to “perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations,” the holiday has devolved into a hyper-nationalistic worship service of militarism. 

We’re directed to believe that the day’s purpose is to honor the heroes who have sacrificed to defend our peace and freedom. Criticism, or even discussion, of the merits of the embedded assumption of veteran heroism is dismissed as being beyond the pale. 

 

Well, I have to tell you that when I was in Vietnam, I was no hero and I didn’t witness any heroism during the year I spent there, first as a U.S. Army private and then as a sergeant. 

Yes, there was heroism in the Vietnam War. On both sides of the conflict there were notable acts of self-sacrifice and bravery. Troops in my unit wondered how the North Vietnamese troops could persevere for years in the face of daunting U.S. firepower. U.S. medical corpsmen performed incredible acts of valor rescuing the wounded under fire. 

But I also witnessed a considerable amount of bad behavior, some of it my own. There were widespread incidents of disrespect and abuse of Vietnamese civilians including more than a few war crimes. Further, all units had, and still have, their share of criminals, sexual predators and thugs. Most unheroic of all were the U.S. military and civilian leaders who planned and orchestrated this avoidable war. 

The cold truth is that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Vietnam had next to nothing to do with our own peace and freedom. On the contrary, the Vietnam War bitterly divided the United States. We fought it to forestall Vietnamese independence, not defend it. 

Unfortunately, Vietnam wasn’t an isolated example. Many American wars — including the 1846 Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War in 1898, and the Iraq War (this list is by no means exhaustive) — were waged under false pretexts against countries that didn’t threaten the United States. It’s hard to see how, if a war is unjust, it can be heroic to wage it. So it’s flat-out preposterous to claim that everyone who has ever been in the U.S. military is a hero. 

But if the vast majority were anything but heroic, have there been any actual heroes out there defending peace and freedom? And if so, who are they? 

Well, there are many, from Jesus down to the present. I’d put Gandhi, Tolstoy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the list along with many Quakers and Mennonites. And don’t forget General Smedley Butler, and even Robert McNamara who came around in the end. 

In Vietnam, Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson stopped the My Lai massacre from being even worse. The real heroes are those who resist war and militarism, often at great personal cost. 

Another candidate is former U.S. Army specialist Josh Stieber who sent this message for the people of Iraq: “Our heavy hearts still hold hope that we can restore inside our country the acknowledgment of your humanity, that we were taught to deny.” Ponder a million Iraqi deaths. 

Because militarism has been around for such a long time, at least since Gilgamesh came up with his protection racket in Sumeria going on 5,000 years ago, people argue that it will always be with us.

But many also thought that slavery and the subjugation of women would last forever, and they’re being proven wrong. We understand that while militarism will not disappear overnight, disappear it must if we are to avoid economic as well as moral bankruptcy. 

As Civil War General W.T. Sherman said at West Point, “I confess without shame that I am tired and sick of war.” I’m with you, bro.

 

(Arnold “Skip” Oliver is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. A Vietnam veteran, he belongs to Veterans For Peace, and can be reached at soliver@heidelberg.edu.  This piece was provided CityWatch by OtherWords.org.) 

Photo credits: SchuminWeb/Flickr

-cw        

Japanese Prime Minister Abe and President Obama Want Japan to be able to Wage War

Editor's note: For what happened the last time the United States encouraged Japan toward militarism and imperialism, read The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley in combination with virtually every piece of propaganda depicting the U.S. Dept of Defense as defensive since the day it changed its name from the Dept of War. --DCNS


Japan’s Remarkable “No War” Constitutional Article under Strong Attack

By Ann Wright

After the end of World War II, the Japanese constitution, written in part by the United States for the defeated Japanese nation, rejected war as a solution for conflict. The Preamble to the Japanese constitution recognized the Japanese government’s brutal actions in Asia during World War II,  “…we  resolve that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government,” and continues “We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world.  We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth.  We recognize that all people of the world have the right to live in peace, fee from fear and want.”

Article 9 states: "Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

Two weeks ago I was in Osaka, Japan as an international speaker at the Article 9 “No War” conference. I was also in Japan five years ago in 2008 at a similar conference, when George Bush was President of the United States and was undermining the spirit and intent of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution by urging the Japanese government to allow the Japanese Self-Defense forces to provide air and sea logistics assistance to Bush's war on Iraq.

One of President Bush’s chief advisors, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage had complained that “ Japan’s Article 9 is an impediment to the US-Japanese alliance," an alliance the Bush administration wanted to use to spread the financial and military operational burden of the war on Iraq.

Over the objections of many Japanese citizens, the Japanese government did provide ships for resupplying American warships and logistic transport aircraft to fly supplies into Baghdad. A 2008 decision by the High Court of Nagoya found that Japanese Air Self-Defense Force missions into Iraq were unconstitutional as they violated Article 9.

Obama Administration Wants Japan to “Re-examine” legal basis for Article Nine

Five years later it is Barack Obama that is President of the United States, but the demand from the United States government has not changed—that Japan “modify” Article 9 and end its renunciation of war.

 On October 3, 2013, the United States and Japan issued a “Joint Statement of the Security Consultative Committee: Toward a More Robust alliance and Greater Shared Responsibilities.” http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/10/215070.htm

In the document, the United States “welcomes” the Abe government’s “re-examining the legal basis for its security including the matter of exercising its right of collective self-defense…”  In other words, find a way to eliminate Article 9 that will then allow Japan to have a military policy that does not preclude its participation in wars of aggression.

The document puts countries in the region on edge, China, North Korea and even South Korea by touting the U.S. commitment for Japan’s security through nuclear, as well as conventional, military capabilities, by welcoming the Abe government’s “determination to contribute more proactively to regional and global peace,” and by announcing that the United States will strengthen its military involvement in the region.  Japan and the United States state that their alliance must be ready to deal with “persistent and emerging threats to peace and security” including “coercive and destabilizing behaviors in the maritime domain, disruptive activities in space and cyberspace; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), man-made and natural disasters and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.”

The statement also calls for “encouragement of China to play a responsible and constructive role in regional stability and prosperity, to adhere to international norms of behavior, as well as to improve openness and transparency in its military modernization with its rapid expanding military investments.”

America’s Military Pivot toward Asia and the Pacific

With President Obama’s military “pivot” of the United States toward Asia, the government of the United States is putting a heavy hand on the Japanese government to pay even more for the United States defending its security. Japan currently pays the U.S. over $2 billion for the U.S. bases and military personnel stationed in Japan.  In effect, the Japanese government is subsidizing the U.S. military.

American military exercises and deployment of strategic military equipment in Asia and the Pacific has increased substantially as the war on Iraq ended and the war on Afghanistan winds down.

For example, the United States will begin flying long-range Global Hawk spy drones from a base in Japan. Surveillance flights will begin in the Spring, 2014 and reportedly will primarily target North Korea. Additionally, the U.S. will construct a new radar system in Japan for its missile defense system.

 A new generation of U.S. military equipment is being deployed to Japan, including the new P-8 anti-submarine planes, reportedly marking the first use of the aircraft outside the United States. The US has already sent the Osprey aircraft to Japan and its presence is causing Japanese citizen protests.

In the summer of 2012, the largest “war games” of military exercises ever held in the Pacific off Hawaii was conducted with 42 ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel from 22 nations.  The exercise involved surface combatants from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Chile. China was excluded from observer status of the exercises, which it had had in the previous “war games.”

In 2012, the U.S. and Japan agreed to cut by half the controversial Marine Corps presence on Okinawa and redeploy about 9,000 Marines across the Pacific region, including a military buildup of about 5,000 Marines on Guam, the redeployment of thousands of Marines to Hawaii, and the rotation of forces through Australia.  Between 4,700 and 5,000 Marines will relocate from Okinawa to Guam. The total cost includes an unspecified amount for possible construction of new training ranges in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territorial possession, that could be used jointly by U.S. and Japanese forces.

Conservations groups are already protesting the possible use of the islands of Pagan and Tinian in the Marianas Islands as an aerial bombing target.  In the past twenty years, activists have forced the US Department of Defense to close down US bombing ranges on the Hawaiian Island of Kahoolawe and the Puerto Rican Island of Viequez.  

On the mainland of Japan, citizen activism has forced the relocation of the Futenma airbase in a densely populated area on Okinawa.  However, the  U.S. plan to place the new airbase at a Marine base further north on the island, has generated fierce opposition from local residents, who do not want the habitat of unique marine mammals in the area destroyed by a runway that would be on a land fill into the pristine waters off Okinawa.

In Australia, Robertson Barracks is reported to be a future site of a United States Pacific Command Marine Air-Ground-Task Force rotational deployment. Military facilities in Darwin will become a base for a US Marine task force, airfields and training ranges in northern Australia will be used by American long-range bombers.  The port in Perth will be visited by US warships and nuclear-armed submarines. The Australian armed forces are being structured at every level to function as an integral part of US operations in the region.

B-52 bombers will be deployed twice to Darwin this year and an American drone base is being constructed in the Cocos Islands, an Australian possession. A second rotation of more than 200 US marines deployed to Darwin in September, 2013, with plans to increase this force to about 2500 annually.

The Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap was established in central Australia near the town of Alice Springs in 1970. Pine Gap is one of three major satellite tracking stations operated by US intelligence agencies and the U.S. military.

Every day, agents of the US National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the intelligence branches of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corp, as well as Australia’s intelligence agencies, process vast amounts of data that is transmitted to Pine Gap by US spy satellites as they pass over the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian Ocean, China and South East Asia and the Pacific Ocean.

In New Zealand in May, 2012, U.S. Marines conducted the first large-scale combat exercise involving New Zealand in 27 years.  The combat training was the first conducted since the U.S. suspended ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, U.S.) Treaty obligations with New Zealand in 1986 after the country’s government passed anti-nuclear legislation that banned nuclear-powered U.S. Navy ships from New Zealand’s waters.

Besides U.S. threats of building a military airport into the pristine marine environment in Okinawa, the United States missile defense system and its Aegis missile ships have already destroyed one of the most pristine marine environments in South Korea with the building of a huge, unnecessary military naval port on Jeju Island to homeport the Aegis missile destroyer fleet.  The building of the new military base on an island closer to China is seen as a provocation by the Chinese government.

I visited Jeju Island in 2010 and was there in again in October, 2013. http://www.opednews.com/articles/America-s-Destructive-Pivo-by-Ann-Wright-American-Facism_American-International-Group_Asia_Disaster-131017-130.html

It was heartbreaking to see an unnecessary military naval base constructed in such a beautiful area.  The activists on Jeju Island have used non-violent tactics to oppose the construction of the base, while the South Korean government has flown thousands of police and military forces from the mainland of South Korea to arrest and imprison many of the activists.

In the Philippines, the United States is in the midst of negotiations for broader access to military bases. A new security accord, called the Increased Rotational Presence (IRP) Agreement, would permit American forces to regularly rotate through the Philippines for joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises.  This agreement would allow the United States to preposition the combat equipment used by its forces at Philippine military bases. The frequency of U.S.-Philippine exercises could increase to the point where there would be a near-continuous American military presence in the Philippines. U.S. military forces were removed from the Philippines in 1992 after citizen protests. Chinese claims over islands traditionally held by the Philippines has fueled the new U.S.-Philippines relationship.

President Obama's postponed visit was to solidify plans for the Philippines to sign on to the  proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would establish an 11-nation free-trade zone in the Asia-Pacific regions that would give unprecedented authority to international corporations to undercut domestic industries in those countries.

Does China Pose a Threat?

The United States has substantially increased its military involvement in Asia to counter China’s increasing economic and military power in the region.  Yet, China’s military spending of $129 billion is dwarfed by the $628 billion spent by the United States.  A comparison of military equipment demonstrates the dominance of US military power:  the US has 10 floating military bases (aircraft carriers) to one for China; the US has 15, 293 military aircraft to 5,048 for China; 6,665 military helicopters to 901 for China.  The disparity between the US and China in numbers of military personnel is striking.  With a population 1, 344, 130, 000, China has 2,285,000 on active military duty and 800,000 in the active military reserves.  The United States has less than one-fourth of the population of China, 313,847,500, but has 1,478,000 on active military duty and 1,458,500 in the active military reserves. http://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-comparison-detail.asp?form=form&country1=United-States-of-America&country2=China&Submit=Compare+Countries

According to Chinese media, the Chinese navy includes 70 submarines, 10 of which are nuclear powered. At least four of those are capable of launching the JL-2 missiles with nuclear warheads which gives China for the first time strategic deterrence and second strike capability against the United States.'
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2484334/China-boasts-new-submarine-fleet-capable-launching-nuclear-warheads-cities-United-States.html#ixzz2jVzjmJmQ

The United States has 73 nuclear submarines with 3 more under construction and 4 on order: 14 Ohio class ballistic missile submarines, 4 Ohio class guided missile submarines, 7 Virginia class fast attack submarines with 3 more under construction and an additional 4 on order, 3 Seawolf class attack submarines and 43 Los Angeles class attack submarines with 2 in reserve.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarines_in_the_United_States_Navy

The United States has a current stockpile of 5,113 nuclear weapons and missiles with a range of 9,300 miles when fired from land and 7,500 miles when fired from nuclear submarines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_the_United_States

In 2011, Georgetown University estimated China had as many as 3,000 warheads while in 2009 the Federation of American Scientists estimated the Chinese may have as few as 240 warheads. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Republic_of_China_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

In 2011, China published a defense white paper, which repeated its nuclear policies of maintaining a minimum deterrent and became the first nuclear weapon state to adopt a nuclear “no-first use” policy and an official pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states. China’s deployment of four new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles has caused international concern.  http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/china/

The United States continues to have “all options” open, including nuclear, as spelled out in the October 3, 2013 “Joint Statement of the Security Consultative Committee.”

Caroline Kennedy-New U.S. Ambassador to Japan--Will She Challenge Obama Policies?

The United States will soon be sending a new Ambassador to Japan.

 Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, will be the new face of U.S. imperialism in Japan.   As a private citizen, Caroline Kennedy stated that she opposed the U.S. war on Iraq. 

An important question is whether she will recognize the desires of the people of Japan to retain its unique and important Article 9 “No War” section of its Constitution and convince the Obama administration not to undermine it.

 To do so would be an incredible act of political courage as an American Ambassador, one that would be worthy to be included in an updated version of r father’s book, “Profiles in Courage.”

About the Author:  Ann Wright is a 29 year veteran of the US Army/Army Reserves.  She retired as a Colonel.  She was also a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.   She resigned from the U.S. Department of State in 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.

ColdType Issue 79 On Line

Issue 79 of ColdType magazine is now on line at http://coldtype.net. 68 pages. Great stories. Outstanding photo journalism.

It's also posted at Issue - http://issuu.com/audsley/docs/1113.coldtype79

Japanese Citizen Delegation Makes Apology for Japan’s Imperial Army’s Massacre of 300,000 in Nanjing, China in 1937

By Ann Wright

In a memorable ceremony on October 25, 2013, a delegation of Japanese citizens made an emotional apology to the citizens of Nanjing, China for the massacre by the Japanese Imperial Army of 300,000 Chinese in the city of Nanjing in a six week period in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the rape of thousands of women before they were put to death.

The Japanese government has disputed the number of persons slaughtered by their Army and efforts by the Japanese government in rewriting the history of the “Rape of Nanjing” in educational materials have drawn sharp criticism.

One hundred Japanese and ten South Korean citizens travelled two hours by “bullet train” from the PEACE BOAT docked in Shanghai, China to the holocaust museum in Nanjing, China to learn the details of the 1937 massacre.  500 Japanese and 500 South Koreans were on the 8 day voyage of the PEACE BOAT Voyage for Understanding to Taiwan, Okinawa, Shanghai, South Korea and Japan.

As the only American citizen onboard the ship, I wanted to observe the reactions of the Japanese delegation as they toured the graphic displays of photographs and documents in the museum that reveal the horrific slaughter in Nanjing. As an American seeing several years ago at the Hiroshima Peace Museum, the displays of the deaths of 180,000 from the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, I know the impact of witnessing through photographs the destructive power of one’s military, no matter the rationale the government gives for the necessity of using such force.

88 year old Cui Ying Yang told the delegation that she was 12 years old when the Japanese Army killed her 2 year old brother, her father and her grandfather in one day.  She said that her 2 year old brother was killed in front of her.  Her mother cried so much that she lost her eyesight.  At age 12, Ms. Yang was forced to work in a Japanese military factory until the war ended in 1945.

Ms. Yang was joined by Ms. Yong-Soo Lee from our delegation.  Ms. Lee, a South Korean citizen and now 84 years old, had been forced to be a “comfort woman” for Japanese military forces.  Estimates range from 50,000 to 200,000 women from China, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Burma, Indonesia and Japan were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Army.  Less than 200 of the women are alive today. Ms. Lee testified before the U.S. Congress in 2007 after Japanese Prime Minister Abe had disputed whether the women were coerced into sexual slavery.  A U.S. Congressional resolution based on the testimony of three women prodded Abe government to issue a formal apology, which it did not do.  Abe is again the Prime Minister of Japan.
 
Upon meeting each other, the two elderly women broke into tears.  The weight of what each woman had endured at the hands of the Japanese military was quite evident on the faces those in the Japanese delegation.

A young Japanese researcher, Natsuki Hatae, one of the other guest speakers on the ship and co-founder of Bridge for Peace, made a tearful apology to the people of Nanjing.  She explained that she never learned in school about the atrocities committed by the Japanese Army.  She now conducts interviews with elderly Japanese who were former soldiers in the Japanese Army and who regret their roles in the military operations.  She shows the videos to Japanese schools.  She also goes to South Korea, the Philippines and China and records the reactions of families who had family members killed by the Japanese Army.

PEACE BOAT co-founder Yushioka Tatsuya said that one of the goals of the PEACE BOAT is to take people to areas of conflict to learn first-hand about the issues and to provide an opportunity for passengers to meet people from that place, understand their situation and form bonds of people-to-people friendship.

About the Author:  Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was a US diplomat for 16 years and resigned in 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.

Free Screening of Ghosts of Jeju -- in Charlottesville on December 8, 2013

Free public screening of The Ghosts of Jeju by Regis Tremblay with Regis Tremblay in town to discuss his film.

Sunday, December 8, 2013, at 7 p.m.

At the Friends Meeting at 1104 Forest Street, Charlottesville, Va.

The Ghosts of Jeju is a shocking documentary about the struggle of the people of Jeju Island, S. Korea. Set in the context of the American presence in Korea after World War II, the film reveals horrible atrocities at the hands of the U.S. Military Government of Korea.

Using previously secret and classified photos, film, and documents, this is the first English-language documentary about the struggle of the brave people of Gangjeong Village who are opposing the military advance of the United States, just as their parents and relatives did in 1947. As then, they are being arrested, jailed, fined, and hospitalized for resisting the construction of a massive naval base that will accommodate America’s “pivot to Asia,” and will destroy their 400 year old village and their UNESCO protected environment.

And yet, the indomitable spirit of the villagers and their supporters, who have not lost hope in spite of overwhelming odds, will inspire and motivate everyone who believes there is a better way to live together on this planet.

Flyer to print and distribute: PDF.

Please sign up and share on FaceBook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/187593698096399

Read a review here.

Visit the film's website here.

 

Our Peace Boat is Bigger Than Your War Ship-but None Can Compare to the Force of Pacific Typhoons!

By Ann Wright
 
The 1,000 passenger PEACE BOAT http://www.peaceboat.org/english/ with 500 citizens of Japan and 500 from South Korea sailed into Taiwan Tuesday, October 22, 2013 on its voyage to the hot spots of North East Asia-- Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Okinawa and China.  The PEACE BOAT docked at port of Keelung on the north coast of Taiwan. Also moored at the same dock were two warships from the Taiwan Navy.

 
Our 10 story PEACE Boat towered above the two war ships and for once we are able to say to this military, at this port, our ship of PEACE is bigger than your ships of WAR!
 
However, leaving from Taiwan to our next port of call-Okinawa, we found that Mother Nature was bigger than all our ships.
Typhoon 27 had picked up speed and had veered toward Okinawa.  During Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning, we could feel the seas getting rougher and rougher. As our ship approached Okinawa at 4am, the port authorities in Naha, Okinawa closed the port to all vessels.
 
Our Captain set a new course for our next port of call, Shanghai, China and for the next 40 hours we were bounced around the sea as we navigated on the outskirts of the typhoon.
 
Typhoon 27 was the third typhoon I have experienced in the two weeks I have been in North East Asia.  While on Jeju Island, South Korea, the edge of one typhoon hit and while on the mainland of  Japan, a second one hit.  Now on the high seas, a third one has arrived.
 
After 40 hours of very rough seas, as we headed out of the South China Sea into the mouth of the Yangtse River, the sea turned deep brown.  The Yangtze River is third longest river in the world and brings a huge amount of silt from the interior of China.  The river is filled with huge cargo ships carrying cargo made in China for all parts of the world and the shoreline has endless docking facilities and huge cranes for lifting the containers off trucks and rails and onto the ships.  The Shanghai port is one of the largest and one of busiest in the world.
 
This week, I have been a guest speaker on the Japanese operated PEACE BOAT’s 10 day North East Asia trip.  The PEACE BOAT has been sailing the world for the past 30 years taking persons from all nationalities to places of peace and social justice interest.  Our voyage began in Hakata/Fukuoka, Japan and we will visit Busan, South Korea, Taiwan, Okinawa and Shanghai, China.  At each port of call, passengers learn about issues affecting the local community.
 
Every day on board the PEACE BOAT is filled with lectures on the areas we are visiting and with activities to bring together the passengers from different countries.  This is the 30th year that PEACE BOAT has sailed. Most passengers on the PEACE BOAT are from Japan, as it is a Japanese initiative.  Passengers can book on the 3 month Around The World cruises or book for portions.  Students are regularly picked up in one country and dropped off it other countries for their flights home.
 
The PEACE BOAT has Non-Governmental Organization status with the United Nations and frequently hosts important international conferences on peace, disarmament and nuclear issues. It is a remarkable opportunity to interact with people from around the world on issues that affect us all.
 
About the Author: Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was a US diplomat for 16 years and served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.

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