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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.

Mayor Kang from Jeju speaks about the struggle against the US naval base

From CNDUK.org

Written by Dong-Kyun Kang (guest post)

Mayor Kang from Jeju addresses CND Conference 2013"I am Dong-Kyun Kang, the Mayor of a small village called Gangjeong in Jeju. I am so grateful for this opportunity to speak to you. It’s very meaningful. So far, I’ve heard many stories from around the world which make me very scared and worried for our descendants.

Given that fresh spring water is such a precious and scarce resource on Jeju island, the 450 year old village of Gangjeong situated in the southern part of the island was always the envy of other villages as its possession of an abundant spring water supply which always flowed freely ensured it was always ranked first among Jeju’s villages.

During the construction of the naval base, many international activists have visited Gangjeong and others in the process have been denied entry and deported. Other peace activists have been prevented from leaving the country. I’m keenly aware and saddened that many have suffered from many forms of repression and for their sacrifice I feel so grateful and promise to stand with you in solidarity.

You’ve now seen that in recent history there have been two major events in Korea – in 1948 and 1950. As you are aware there was the major upheaval of the 1950 Korean War which broke out in June 25 – a tumultuous national tragedy. One could be forgiven for thinking that this was a family feud that led to the country being divided but the reality was that the war was the result of an ideological battle between the major powers at the time and Korea was its victim. This continues until the present time.

The April 3, 1948 Jeju uprising led to the brutal suppression of the population by state security forces which resulted in the massacre of the islanders of Jeju and behind the slaughter was the US government, the self-proclaimed keeper of the peace! A conservative estimate puts the number who died from the mass killings at over 30,000 out of a population of 280,000 people at that time.

Fortunately, in 2005 President Roh apologized on behalf of the state to the people of Jeju and acknowledged for the very first time the states brutal suppression and massacre of the people of Jeju. He went on to declare Jeju as an ‘island of world peace’.

Peace can only be sustained through peaceful means. Peace obtained through force and violent means is not sustainable and in time will be forced to surrender to a larger force or power. However, I believe that dialogue and mutual understanding between people who work together in mutual respect to build a sustainable future is the key to a sustainable peace.

The location of Korea positioned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and particularly the strategic location of Jeju Island is key to understanding its strategic importance to the world’s major powers. However, behind the construction of the naval base in Jeju is the US government. Will Jeju genuinely remain an island of peace or an island of military bases heightening tensions between the world’s major powers? This is a central question that needs addressing.

The naval base project is a national security project. I think one defines genuine national policy as seeking to put the interests of its citizens and their happiness and genuine well-being first and foremost. Likewise national security is not only about the state’s administration and its military but should seek to ensure genuine human security for all its citizens. Genuine national policy and national security should seek to secure the confidence and trust of all its citizens which in turn forms the true pillar and foundation for its policies. Working together hand in hand with the people should be the central tenet of its policies.

Aside from the naval base construction creating the strong possibility of a situation of crisis for Korea and Jeju into the future, the village community of Gangjeong is being destroyed with its people being evicted. With the construction of the naval base the navy claims that the national security of the state is its primary objective followed by the economic development of the region and its third objective – the navy and residents coexisting in mutual cooperation and to the benefit of all. However, the construction of the naval base rather than enhancing and bolstering national security will have the opposite effect of increasing already existing tensions between global powers in the region resulting in Jeju being caught in the crosshairs of conflict in the future. How therefore can the building of a naval base bolster regional economic development in such a tense and dangerous environment?

The state in implementing its policies should first consult the people who will likely be impacted the most and endeavour to seek the consent of its citizens through due process which is the most important consideration and an important building block of any democratic society. Even with the project underway listening courteously to and reflecting on the opinions of the other is surely important in trying to achieve real cooperation. The need for transparency in implementing state projects is paramount. However, the naval base has been enforced from the beginning without any consultation on the decision making process and devoid of any semblance of transparency leaving the Gangjeong villagers in the dark about what was going on. Those villagers opposed to the base are in the process of having their lands expropriated without any dialogue or due process of consultation. The villagers are completely perplexed and dismayed by the conflict that has arisen in their village with the naval base decision having separated families and divided parents with siblings becoming enemies and yesterday’s friends becoming today’s enemies resulting in the collapse of the community.

Fully aware of the stark implications of proceeding with plans to build the base the central government and navy planned and designed the base together with the backing of the US government. As a means of promoting the base and quashing any form of dissent, protestors have been treated with great hostility and denounced as leftists and North Korean sympathizers by the military. The brutal enforcement of the base with complete disrespect and arrogance has resulted in the military losing whatever respect it may once have had.

Together with the mobilization of the police and state power is the major issue of the lack of due legal process and the arrests of over 700 activists, charges having been filed against 400 activists with 25 cases of activists having been imprisoned to date. There has to be a fair way to resolve such conflicts but the legal system and court process has failed to provide this.

With the full power of the police state brought to bear on villagers and activists alike it is undeniable that people will get hurt as they are literally being dragged away like animals battered and bruised. However the courageous and brave efforts of so many over the course of a 7 year long struggle are not in vain but are the source of a precious groundwork that is the basis for a bright future for Gangjeong and Korea alike. These continuing efforts will continue to bear fruit long into the future.

The majestic natural environment of Jeju is commonly referred to as beauty inherited from the gods and is home to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and three UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites. In 2012 The New Wonders Foundation voted Jeju Island as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. In September 2012 the World Conservation Congress opened in Jeju where it was hoped that it would promote the international consensus of Jeju as a ‘World Environmental Capital City’. However, this ideal is being undermined by the destruction of the environment caused by the building of the naval base which is a grave threat to genuine national security.

Some concluding remarks.

The 7 year long struggle has left many exhausted and bruised after enduring much pain and suffering along the way. There have been moments of despair but the determination to struggle and defend our village and home and pass it on to future generations has been the enduring legacy and mainstay of the struggle and has been a sacred calling. A new hope springs from the end of despair. This new hope comes from people seeking their true human fulfilment as beings living in harmony with nature, living together in peace.

Instead of Jeju being designated an island of military installations we will work to ensure that it will be known as an island of peace, an island of natural beauty and conservation. Also, together with all the villagers of Gangjeong and the people of Jeju we truly desire that global citizens and true lovers of nature and world peace will have the freedom to gather in this beautiful place without the impediment of a ghastly and ugly military base which aggravates existing tensions between global powers. Therefore, what I truly wish is for everyone around the world to sing the peace song of Gangjeong and to keep it in their hearts. Ladies and Gentlemen, Please join together in solidarity and help us.

Please help us!

No Naval Base!

Thanks so much for your attention."

Jeju Island-Tragic Destruction of Pristine Marine Area for Another Naval Base for the US Missile Defense System

America’s Destructive Pivot to Asia

By Ann Wright

Two years ago when I visited Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea, the one-half mile ancient, solid volcanic slab of a spiritual and cultural rock known as Gureombi was still intact.  The marine environment that had made Jeju Island one of the World Heritage Sites was still thriving with sea life. The government of South Korea had moved some equipment to be used for construction of a controversial naval base for Aegis missile destroyers and the US missile defense system.  This would be a new military port in a country filled with US and South Korean military installations, but one that would be just a little bit closer to China--a new naval base that would symbolize the US pivot toward Asia and the Pacific.

Plane loads of protesters from the mainland of South Korea were flying to Jeju to join villagers to prevent the construction of the naval base. Hundreds of internationals came to add their words of solidarity and to take back the story of a tiny village challenging the might of the governments of the United States and South Korea in their quest for greater militarization of both societies.

Two years ago, trucks carrying materials for the new naval base to be built on the rocks were delayed or stopped by protesters. NO BASE supporters climbed on top of high cranes and chained themselves to heavy pieces of equipment to stop construction of the base.
I returned this week to Jeju Island  in solidarity with the people of the village of Gangjeong who did not want their home turned into a military encampment that would destroy their way of life.  Yet, despite seven years of opposition and struggle, the naval base and its harbor have been substantially constructed.  Hundreds of thousands of tons of stone have been dumped on corals to make the breakwaters for the harbor.  Thousands of  massive concrete structures are on the shore.  Two giant structures have been erected in the water that produce cassions for the massive breakwater that might protect the military harbor from typhoons.   The beautiful rocks of Gureombi have been broken apart and the area filled with concrete. It is an environmental disaster.
 
This week, the edge of a typhoon hit Jeju Island.  Many here in the village of Gangjeong were praying for a strong storm that would severely damage the naval base as happened last year that caused over $35 million in damage to the project.  Perhaps Mother Nature would intervene to stop the construction when humans were unable to do so.

Many activists who opposed the base have gone to jail in the past two years.  5 are currently in jail. Earlier this week, two more were sentenced to lengthy terms in prison- a young 22 year old woman received a sentence of 8 months and a 72 year old  was sentenced to 6 months. A filmmaker has been in prison for 253 days and two others for 103 days each. A trial for two more is scheduled for this week.  The South Korean government crackdown on protest of the naval base has been strong. 

Yet every day, a group of activists continue their challenges to the base--some challenges are spiritual and others are physical. On the spiritual side, at 7am they gather outside the gate of the base and do 100 deep bows, each with a phrase set to music to remind participants of the importance of their mission.  At 11am, Catholic priests, nuns and lay persons lead a Mass at the gates.  Masses have been conducted thee each day for over 740 days.

Following the Mass, for the next hour the group blockades the main gate of the naval base stopping trucks filled with concrete and other materials from entering the base and preventing empty trucks from leaving the base.  The activists believe a disruption of an hour’s  work in the building of the base is useful and important.

Special events are marked with larger mobilizations. In August, 2013, many walked for six days around Jeju Island and one thousand people participated in the Grand March for Life and Peace and the Human Chain to encircle the base. Noted film maker Oliver Stone joined in the march.  When asked about his opposition to the base Stone said, “This base will host US Aegis missile destroyers, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines. It’s part of Obama’s Pacific pivot...put in place to threaten China...We have to stop this. All this is leading up to a war, and I’ve seen war in Asia. I do not want another war.” http://savejejunow.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Gangjeong-Village-Story_Aug-2013.pdf
 
Tension in Gangjeong village is high.  Families have split on support or opposition to the base.  Those in the village and in the provincial government who were paid off by the South Korean Navy not to oppose the base, as two other communities on Jeju Island had done, are in disfavor with many in the village.  Having been defeated twice, the Navy decided to have a major campaign to influence the decision makers in the province and Gangjeong village.  Decision makers succumbed to the temptations of fully paid trips to Hawaii, Australia and Singapore and other special benefits.  Farmers in the village were pressured into selling their lands with the threat that if they didn’t accept the price offered by the Navy, the lands would be taken anyway and much lower compensation given in that case.

The lessons of Jeju Island are stark.  The US military pivot to Asia and the Pacific will be disastrous for many areas—bases in Okinawa where the US wants to build a runway into the South China Sea over pristine corals,  home to the dugong manatee; in Pagan, an island in the Northern Marianas where the US wants to use as a bombing range as it did for decades on the Hawaiian island of Kahoolawe and the Puerto Rican Island of Viequez;  and in Guam where the Marines want to have an artillery range in an environmentally protected area. 
With the pivot, the United States has increased its military exercises in the area. Current American military exercises with South Korea and Japan have triggered the North Korean government to put its military on alert and warned that these exercises could have “disastrous consequences.”

China is upset about US-Philippines military exercises in the South China Sea.

 The Japanese people are angry that the US is urging the government of Japan to renounce the “No War” article of their constitution so the US will have another financial ally in wars of choice.

So far, just as the US pivot to the Middle East twelve years ago destabilized the region, the US pivot to Asia seems to already be having the same dangerous effect.
 
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.

Talk Nation Radio: Taking Kent State to the United Nations

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-taking-kent

Laurel Krause is the cofounder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Her sister Allison Krause was killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, along with three other peacefully demonstrating students. Laurel and her colleagues are taking new evidence of state-ordered and orchestrated killing to the High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Committee on October 17 & 18 in Geneva, Switzerland.  See http://TruthTribunal.org

"What's the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets." -- Allison Krause on May 3, 1970.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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The Crisis at Fukushima 4 Demands a Global Take-Over

By Harvey Wasserman

We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focussed on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4. 

Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own. 

Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima. 

The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster. 

Why is this so serious? 

We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse. 

Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool.Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are. 

Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific. Fresh reports show that Tepco has just dumped another thousand tons of contaminated liquids into the sea ( http://www.alternet.org/environment/ ).  

The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four. 

More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more. 

Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl

Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children. 

The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible. 

Just prior to the 3/11/11 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air

Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame. 

Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable. 

According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged. 

The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection. 

Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us. 

Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries

Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.” 

Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers. 

We have two months or less to act

For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety
 
 
If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now. 

The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight

---------------------------------------------------------------- 

Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor of the Columbus Free Press and www.frepress.org, where this was originally published. He edits www.nukefree.org. where the petition for global intervention at Fukushima is linked.

'Video: James Marriott presents Platform's new book: The Oil Road'

Tuesday, Sept. 10, Charlottesville, VA: In a unique journey from the oil fields of the Caspian to the refineries and financial centres of Northern Europe, Platform tracks the concealed routes along which the lifeblood of our economy is pumped. The stupendous wealth of Azerbaijani crude has long inspired dreams of a world remade. From the revolutionary Futurism of Baku in the 1920s to the unblinking Capitalism of modern London, the drive to control oil reserves -- and hence people and events -- has shattered environments and shaped societies. Sponsored by Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, Charlottesville Sierra Club, WarIsACrime.org, and Charlottesville Amnesty International.

BAN THE BASES! US Troops Out of the Philippines & Asia-Pacific Region!

UNAC Statement of Opposition to Military Base Access Talks Between US and Philippine Governments

A new “Framework Agreement for Increased Rotational Presence and Enhanced Defense Cooperation” is being negotiated between the US and Philippines this week, a major step in the US military’s “pivot to the Asia Pacific” wherein 60% of the US’s troops will be moved into the region.  While the agreement is being called new, we can expect the same old results: more troops, more warships, more spy planes, more drones, more weapons and more bases will be heading to the Philippines, and the Filipino people will suffer more displacement, more civilian casualties, more environmental destruction, and more violence against women and children. The United National Anti-War Coalition is in full support and solidarity with the Filipino people who are fighting against this military agreement.

The US military pivot to Asia Pacific runs counter to the interests of the people in the region. Under the guise of fighting the “war on terror” and “war on drugs,” the real objective of the US pivot is to further expand and consolidate its hegemony in order to maintain its global economic, geopolitical and military supremacy in the midst of persistent financial crisis and economic decline.  US imperialism aims to ensure and perpetuate US control over markets, strategic resources and communications and transport lines in the Asia Pacific region, at the expense of the vast majority—the 99%--who will only experience a deterioration of their livelihoods.  Americans, too, bear the cost of US militarism in the Philippines and the entire region, as billions of dollars continue to be poured into the military industrial complex and siphoned away from fundamental public services.

The US is opportunistically exploiting territorial disputes between the Philippines and China to justify its expansion and subdue its critics. Contrary to its claim of safeguarding and promoting regional stability as well as assisting the Philippine military with modernizing and enhancing its defense capability, the US pivot will feed further instability and conflict within the Philippines as well as between and among the Philippines and other countries as US imperialism employs the divide-and-rule strategy.

US aggression and intervention in the Philippines is made possible by the willing collaboration of the government of President Benigno Aquino III and members of the ruling elite who have vested political and economic interests tied to US economic, geopolitical and corporate interests.  When pressed by members of the concerned public to be transparent about the basic details of the agreement, Aquino’s chief negotiators remained silent or gave vague descriptions at best.  Already-existing military agreements between the US and the Philippines such as the Visiting Forces Agreement are considered unconstitutional, portending a similar shredding of Philippine sovereignty by the new agreement with the full acquiescence of the Aquino administration.

The US has used the Philippines as its launching pad for war and exploitation for too long.  The US has no right to trample on the sovereignty of the Philippines or any other nation.

We demand:

·         US Out of the Philippines!

·         Self-Determination of the Filipino People!

·         Stop the US Pivot to the Asia Pacific!

·         No to US Militarism, Intervention and War!

·         Defend National Sovereignty and Promote Global Peace!

·         Fight US Imperialism!

U.S. Expands Presence in S. Korea

By Regis Tremblay, The Ghosts of Jeju

New Hdqtrs in Busan

 

South Korean and U.S. military top brass, including Vice Adm. Robert Thomas Jr. (4th from L), the commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, attend a ceremony to break ground for a new headquarters for the U.S. Naval Forces Korea in Busan, 450 km southeast of Seoul, on Aug. 29, 2013. U.S. naval forces are currently based at the U.S. Army Garrison in Seoul. The new facility is expected to be completed in 2015. Some 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. (Yonhap)

Will the advance of the empire never end? It doesn’t say who is paying for this multimillion dollar headquarters for the U.S. Naval Forces in S. Korea, but there is little doubt this goes hand in hand with the construction of that massive naval base in Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island.

Busan just happens to be S. Korea’s naval base only a few short miles from Jeju Island. But, with Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” shifting 60% of America’s naval might to the region, the Navy needs their own headquarters to accommodate hundreds or maybe thousands of top brass who will command these hostile actions against China and Russia.

The U.S. will also need housing for 8,000 marines and sailors in Gangjeong Village where Aegis destroyers, nuclear submarines, and massive aircraft carriers will port for supplies and repairs in America’s ever expanding attempts to impose a Pax Americana on the planet.

Oliver Stone Visits Jeju Island

By K. J. Noh

In 1986, a young American director, burst out on the screens with a raw, charged, kinetic film.  Depicting a country on the verge of popular revolution, it documents the rightwing terror and massacres that are instigated, aided and abetted by the US government. Beginning as the chronicle of a gonzo journalist on his last moral legs, the film starts out disjointed, chaotic, hyper-kinetic; the unmoored, fragmented consciousness of a hedonic drifter. As the events unfurl towards greater and greater violence, the clarity and steadiness of the camera increase, its moral vision clearer and fiercer, carrying the viewer through a journey of political awakening even as the story hurtles inexorably towards heartbreak, tragedy, and loss.

Talk Nation Radio: Tim Shorrock on Peace and Its Opponents in Korea

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-tim-shorrock

Tim Shorrock, who writes for The Nation and blogs at TimShorrock.com, is recently returned from Korea where he participated in marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice and in the movement for demilitarization and peace.  He disagrees with President Obama's assessment of the Korean War, and also with the approach that many activists in the United States have taken toward Korea.  Shorrock is a Washington-based investigative journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea. He is the author of SPIES FOR HIRE: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence.  His work has appeared in The Nation, Salon, Daily Beast, Mother Jones, The Progressive, Foreign Policy in Focus and Asia Times.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Obama's Campaign to Glorify the War on Vietnam

Wars exist because lies are told about past wars.

When President Obama escalated the war on Afghanistan, he revived virtually every known lie about the war on Iraq, from the initial WMD BS to the "surge."  While Americans remain unfathomably ignorant about the destruction of Iraq, a majority says the war shouldn't have been fought.  A majority says the same about the war on Afghanistan.  This is, pretty wonderfully, impeding efforts toward a U.S. war on Syria or Iran.

The new wars were supposed to cure the Vietnam Syndrome -- that public reluctance to support mass murder for no good reason.  The Pentagon is now turning to the source of the disease.  The war in most need of beautification for Americans, the military has decided, is the war the Vietnamese call the American War. 

Harry Truman and Memory of Mass Murder

Harry Truman spoke in the U.S. Senate on June 23, 1941: "If we see that Germany is winning," he said, "we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible."

Did Truman value Japanese lives above Russian and German?  There is nothing anywhere to suggest that he did.  Yet we debate, every August 6th or so, whether Truman was willing to unnecessarily sacrifice Japanese lives in order to scare Russians with his nuclear bombs.  He was willing; he was not willing; he was willing.  Left out of this debate is the obvious possibility that killing as many Japanese as possible was among Truman's goals.

A U.S. Army poll in 1943 found that roughly half of all GIs believed it would be necessary to kill every Japanese person on earth. William Halsey, who commanded the United States' naval forces in the South Pacific during World War II, thought of his mission as "Kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs," and had vowed that when the war was over, the Japanese language would be spoken only in hell. War correspondent Edgar L. Jones wrote in the February 1946 Atlantic Monthly, "What kind of war do civilians suppose we fought anyway? We shot prisoners in cold blood, wiped out hospitals, strafed lifeboats, killed or mistreated enemy civilians, finished off  the enemy wounded, tossed the dying into a hole with the dead, and in the Pacific boiled flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts, or carved their bones into letter openers."

On August 6, 1945, President Truman announced: "Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T.  It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British 'Grand Slam' which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare."Hiroshima was, of course, a city full of people, not an Army base. But those people were merely Japanese. Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey had told the New York Times: "Fighting Japs is not like fighting normal human beings. The Jap is a little barbarian…. We are not dealing with humans as we know them. We are dealing with something primitive. Our troops have the right view of the Japs. They regard them as vermin."

Some try to imagine that the bombs shortened the war and saved more lives than the some 200,000 they took away. And yet, weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan's codes and read the telegram. Truman referred in his diary to "the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace." Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor.

Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to "dictate the terms of ending the war." Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was "most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in." Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and "Fini Japs when that comes about." Truman ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6thand another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th. Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons. Then the Japanese surrendered.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that,"… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."  One dissenter who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy agreed: "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."

Whatever dropping the bombs might possibly have contributed to ending the war, it is curious that the approach of threatening to drop them, the approach used during a half-century of Cold War to follow, was never tried.  An explanation may perhaps be found in Truman's comments suggesting the motive of revenge:

"Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, and against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international law of warfare."

Truman doesn't say he used the bomb to shorten the war or save lives.  He says he used the bomb because he could. "Having found the bomb we have used it."  And he provides as reasons for having used it three characteristics of the people murdered: they (or their government) attacked U.S. troops, they (or their government) brutalized U.S. prisoners, and they (or their government) -- and this is without any irony intended -- oppose international law.

Truman could not, incidentally, have chosen Tokyo as a target -- not because it was a city, but because we (or our government) had already reduced it to rubble. 

The nuclear catastrophes may have been, not the ending of a World War, but the theatrical opening of the Cold War, aimed at sending a message to the Soviets. Many low and high ranking officials in the U.S. military, including commanders in chief, have been tempted to nuke more cities ever since, beginning with Truman threatening to nuke China in 1950. The myth developed, in fact, that Eisenhower's enthusiasm for nuking China led to the rapid conclusion of the Korean War. Belief in that myth led President Richard Nixon, decades later, to imagine he could end the Vietnam War by pretending to be crazy enough to use nuclear bombs. Even more disturbingly, he actually was crazy enough. "The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes," Nixon said to Henry Kissinger in discussing options for Vietnam.

I just want you to think, instead, about this poem:

Hiroshima
by Sherwood Ross

I am the Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
A graduate of Emory College, Atlanta,
Pastor of the Methodist Church of Hiroshima
I was in a western suburb when the bomb struck
Like a sheet of sunlight.
Fearing for my wife and family
I ran back into the city
Where I saw hundreds and hundreds fleeing
Every one of them hurt in some way.
The eyebrows of some were burned off
Skin hung from their faces and hands
Some were vomiting as they walked
On some naked bodies the burns had made patterns
Of the shapes of flowers transferred
From their kimonos to human skin.
Almost all had their heads bowed
Looked straight ahead, were silent
And showed no expression whatever.
Under many houses I heard trapped people screaming
Crying for help but there were none to help
And the fire was coming.
I came to a young woman holding her dead baby
Who pleaded with me to find her husband
So he could see the baby one last time.
There was nothing I could do but humor her.
By accident I ran into my own wife
Both she and our child were alive and well.
For days I carried water and food to the wounded and the dying.
I apologized to them: "Forgive me," I said, "for not sharing your burden."
I am the Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
Pastor of the Methodist Church of Hiroshima
I was in a western suburb when the bomb struck
Like a sheet of sunlight.

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