Archive | May 28th, 2016

BREXIT:­ Divorcing Britain from EU Trade with ‘I$rael’ Would Help Ensure Future Security of UK

NOVANEWS
By Anthony Bellchambers 

The ability of Israel to continue its illegal settlement on Palestinian land is wholly dependent on profits from its bilateral trade with the EU which is the single most important factor that fuels the illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights by the Right-­wing Likud government.

Without the extraordinary agreement that allows a non-European state (in the Middle East) to freely exploit the European Single Market, the policy of expropriating Palestinian land would not be possible and the Israeli government would be forced to sue for peace.

It has been long established that the Israel lobby exerts considerable influence over the European Parliament’s decisions to not only offer Israel free access to the single market but also to make research grants of billions of euros to the Israeli defence industries that currently export arms to regimes worldwide.

There are many factors that will influence Britain’s decision to leave the EU but the ability to break away from the hold of the Israel lobby on EU trade is of prime importance to both the safety of Europe and to world peace.

The United Kingdom should no longer be associated with a European Union that has already seen the delivery by Germany of a fleet of high­-powered, Dolphin 2-­class AIP submarines to the Israeli navy that were designed for and subsequently retro­fitted with, undeclared cruise missiles (SLCMs) with a minimum range of 1500km and carrying 200kg nuclear warheads.

This astonishing fact has provided Israel with an offshore nuclear second strike capability that has now made it the 3rd most powerful nuclear­-armed entity in the world after the US and Russia. It is not known what Chancellor Merkel was thinking when she made Germany itself, and the entire European community with its 750 million inhabitants, vulnerable to an offshore nuclear threat from the Mediterranean or what pressures were applied to the German government that enabled this extraordinary act of apparent negligence that has irrevocably changed the balance of military power in the region.

BREXIT cannot rectify the failure of the EU to have ensured the safety of the 500m citizens in its 28 member states ­ but it is beyond time that Britain now extricates itself from such a dangerously infiltrated, political union.

Britain needs to make urgent plans for the future defence and security of its own people, which is the primary duty of any government and one that supersedes even that of trade and jobs, for without security there is no future.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on BREXIT:­ Divorcing Britain from EU Trade with ‘I$rael’ Would Help Ensure Future Security of UK

8-10 million Iranians died over Great Famine caused by the British in late 1910s

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

A document in the American Archives, reporting the widespread famine and spread of epidemic disease in Iran, estimates the number of the deceased due to the WWI famine to be about 8-10 million.

By Sadegh Abbasi 

One of the little-known chapters of history was the widespread famine in Iran during World War I, caused by the British presence in Iran. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Britain became the main foreign power in Iran and this famine or–more accurately–‘genocide’ was committed by the British. The document in the American Archives, reporting the widespread famine and spread of epidemic disease in Iran, estimates the number of the deceased due to the famine to be about 8-10 million during 1917-19 (1), making this the greatest genocide of the 20th century and Iran the biggest victim of World War I (2).

It should be noted that Iran had been one of the main suppliers of food grains to the British forces stationed in the empire’s South Asian colonies. Although bad harvests during these two years made the situation worse, it was by no means the main reason why the Great Famine occurred. Prof. Gholi Majd of Princeton University writes in his book, The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia, that American documents show that the British prevented imports of wheat and other food grains into Iran from Mesopotamia, Asia, and also the USA, and that ships loaded with wheat were not allowed to unload at the port of Bushehr in the Persian Gulf. Professor Majd argues that Great Britain intentionally created genocide conditions to destroy Iran, and to effectively control the country for its own purposes. Major Donohoe describes Iran of that time as a “land of desolation and death” (3). But this event soon became the subject of a British cover up.

Britain has a long record of its several attempts to conceal history and rewrite it in their own favor. The pages are filled with conspiracies that were covered up by the British government to hide its involvement in different episodes that would tarnish the country’s image. One of the clear examples is the “Jameson Raid”; a failed coup against Paul Kruger’s government in South Africa. This raid was planned and executed directly by the British government of Joseph Chamberlain under the orders of Queen Victoria (4) (5). In 2002, Sir Graham Bower’s memoirs were published in South Africa, revealing these involvements that had been covered up for more than a century, focusing attention on Bower as a scapegoat for the incident (6).

The records that were destroyed to cover up British crimes around the globe, or were kept in secret Foreign Office archives, so as to, not only protect the United Kingdom’s reputation, but also to shield the government from litigation, are indicative of the attempts made by the British to evade the consequences of their crimes. The papers at Hanslope Park also include the reports on the “elimination” of the colonial authority’s enemies in 1950s Malaya; records that show ministers in London knew of the torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya and roasting them alive (7). These records may include those related to Iran’s Great Famine. Why were these records that cover the darkest secrets of the British Empire destroyed or kept secret? Simply because they might ‘embarrass’ Her Majesty’s government (8).

A famine occurred in Ireland from 1845 until 1852 which killed one fourth of the Irish population. This famine was caused by British policies and faced a large cover up attempt by the British government and crown to blame it on ‘potatoes’ (9). The famine, even today, is famous in the world as the “potato famine” when, in reality, it was a result of a planned food shortage and thus a deliberate genocide by the British government (10).

The true face of this famine as a genocide has been proven by historian Tim Pat Coogan in his book The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy published by Palgrave MacMillan (11). A ceremony was planned to take place in the US to unveil Coogan’s book in America, but he was denied a visa by the American embassy in Dublin (12).

Therefore it becomes obvious that Britain’s role in Iran’s Great famine, which killed nearly half of Iran’s population, was not unprecedented. The documents published by the British government overlook the genocide, and consequently, the tragedy underwent an attempted cover-up by the British government. The Foreign Office “handbook on Iran” of 1919 mentioned nothing related to the Great Famine.

Julian Bharier, a scholar who studied Iran’s population, built his “backward projection” estimation of Iran’s population (13) based on reports from this “handbook” and, as a result, ignored the effect of the Great Famine on Iran’s population in 1917. Bharier’s estimations were used by some authors to deny the occurrence of the Great Famine or to underestimate its impacts.

By ignoring Iran’s Great Famine in his estimations, Bharier’s work faces four scientific deficiencies. Bharier does not consider the loss of population caused by the famine in his calculations; he needs to ‘adjust’ the figure of the official census in 1956 from 18.97 million to 20.37 million, and this is despite the fact that he uses the 1956 census as his primary building block for his “backward projection” model. He also ignores the official growth rates and uses his personal assumptions in this regard, which is far lower than other estimates. Finally, although Bharier frequently cites Amani’s estimates (14), in the end Bharier’s findings contradict those of Amani; notably Bharier’s population estimate for 1911 is 12.19 million while Amani put this figure at 10.94 million.

Despite deficiencies in the population estimates offered by Bharier for the period of the Famine and its earlier period, his article offers useful data for the post-Famine period; this is because these figures are generated from 1956 backward. That is to say, numbers generated from 1956 to 1919 are thus credible because they do not include the period of famine. Moreover, this portion of Bharier’s data is also true to that of the American Legation. For example, Caldwell and Sykes estimate the 1919 population at 10 million, which is comparative to Bharier’s figure of 11 million.

Gholi Majd was not the first author to refute Bharier’s figures for this period. Gad G. Gilbar, in his 1976 article on demographic developments during the second half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, also considers Bharier’s estimates inaccurate for the period.

In an apparently biased review of Majd’s work, Willem Floor confirms Bharier’s model (15), despite its apparent deficiencies, and takes a mocking tone toward the well- documented work of Gholi Majd to undermine the devastation caused by the British-instigated famine in Iran, to the point of total denial of the existence of such a genocide. Floor also offers inaccurate or untrue information to oppose the fact that the British deprived Iranians from honey and caviar in the north, as he argues caviar was haram (religiously prohibited), while no such fatwa has ever existed in Shia jurisprudence and all available decrees assert that caviar is halal or permissible under the Islamic law. There was a rumor made up by Russians at the time, saying that Caviar was haram and Britain made full use of this rumor.

Another criticism made by Floor was to question why Majd’s work does not use British archival sources. A more important question is why Majd should have used these sources when they totally ignore the occurrence of the famine in Iran. The fact that Majd used mainly US sources seems to be reasonable on the grounds that the US was neutral toward the state of affairs in Iran at the time, and made efforts to help by feeding them (16).

*Sadegh Abbasi is a Junior M.A. student at Tehran University. As a student in history he has also worked as a contributor to different Iranian news agencies.


References

1. Majd, Mohammad Gholi. The Great Famine & Genocide in Iran: 1917-1919. Lanham : University Press of America, 2013. p.71: https://books.google.com/books?id=5WgSAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA71&lpg.

2. Sniegoski, Stephen J. Iran as a Twentieth Century Victim: 1900 Through the Aftermath of World War II. mycatbirdseat.com. [Online] 11 10, 2013. [Cited: 10 12, 2015.] http://mycatbirdseat.com/2013/11/iran-twentieth-century-victim-1900-aftermath-world-war-ii/.

3. Donohoe, Major M. H. With The Persian Expedition. London : Edward Arnold, 1919. p. 76.

4. Nelson, Michael and Briggs, Asa. Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera. London : Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2007. p. 97:https://books.google.com/books?id=6ISE-ZEBfy4C&pg=PA97&lpg.
5. Bower, Graham. Sir Graham Bower’s Secret History of the Jameson Raid and the South African Crisis, 1895-1902. Cape Town : Van Riebeeck Society, 2002. p. xii: https://books.google.fr/books?id=VFYFZKRBXz0C&pg=PR23&lpg.

6. Ibid. p. xvii.

7. Cobain, Ian, Bowcott, Owen and Norton-Taylor, Richard. Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes . The Guardian. [Online] 03 17, 2012. [Cited: 10 10, 2015.] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/18/britain-destroyed-records-colonial-crimes.

8. Walton, Calder. Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War, and the Twilight of Empire. New York : The Overlook Press, 2013. p. 15: https://books.google.fr/books?id=f2cjCQAAQBAJ&pg=PT15&lpg.

9. Warfield, Brian. History Corner: The Great Irish Famine. wolfetonesofficialsite.com. [Online] [Cited: 10 12, 2015.] http://www.wolfetonesofficialsite.com/famine.htm.

10. Britain’s Cover Up. irishholocaust.org. [Online] [Cited: 10 12, 2015.] http://www.irishholocaust.org/britain’scoverup.

11. Coogan, Tim Pat. The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

12. O’Dowd, Niall. Proving the Irish Famine was genocide by the British. Irish Central. [Online] 08 06, 2015. [Cited: 10 12, 2015.]http://www.irishcentral.com/news/proving-the-irish-famine-was-genocide-by-the-british-tim-pat-coogan-moves-famine-history-unto-a-new-plane-181984471-238161151.html.

13. Bharier, Julien. A Note on the Population of Iran, 1900-1966 . Population Studies. 1968, Vol. 22, 2.

14. Amani, Mehdi. La population de l’Iran. Population (French Edition). 1972, Vol. 27, 3:http://www.jstor.org/stable/1529398.

15. Floor, Willem. Reviewed Work: The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia, 1917-1919 by Mohammad Gholi Majd . Iranian Studies. Iran Facing the New Century, 2005, Vol. 38, 1.

16. Fecitt, Harry. Other Theatres of War. westernfrontassociation.com. [Online] 09 29, 2013. [Cited: 10 12, 2015.] http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/the-great-war/great-war-on-land/other-war-theatres/3305-dunsterforce-part-1.html.

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Assessing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s Departure from Government

NOVANEWS

by  Dr: Richard Falk

Image result for Ahmet Davutoglu CARTOON

[This post was published in modified form a week ago in Al Jazeera Turka. Since then Binali Yildirim has been selected as the new prime minister of Turkey, reflective of a choice made by President Erdogan. Mr. Yildirim had served for many years in the AKP Government as Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications. He was successful in this post, given credit for the great improvement in the public transport systems in Turkish cities and for modernizing Turkey’s network of inter-city roads and highways.

Yildirim is widely regarded as an Erdogan loyalist with a pragmatic approach to politics. Of course, only the future will allow us to discern whether this shift in governmental leadership exerts a discernible influence on the domestic policy agenda and on the regional and global role of Turkey. Issues to watch closely include the approach taken to Syria and ISIS, and whether possibilities for reconciliation with the Kurdish political movement are explored, or are abruptly rejected.

There are two disturbing developments. The first is the parliamentary move to deprive members of their legislative immunity from criminal prosecution, which was explicitly aimed at Kurdish parliamentarians who are members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and accused of lending support to PKK terrorism.

The other initiative is a call for a constitutional amendment that would end the nonpartisan character of the presidency by allowing the president to be the head of the governing political party, in effect, making Erdogan head of the AKP as well as President of the country. Of course, Erdogan has been indirectly playing this kind of partisan role on a de facto basis, thus the authorization would merely be regularizing a practice that currently violates the spirit, and probably the letter, of the current constitution]   

The resignation of Davutoglu seems to be enveloping Turkey in mists of partisan speculation, which opposition forces contend has taken the nation a big step closer to the abyss of autocratic rule. The move does seem clearly dictated by President Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s determined effort to replace the Turkish parliamentary system with a presidential system as legalized through a process constitutional reform.

To some extent the confusion surrounding the departure of Davutoglu’s departure from the heights of governmental rule is a reflection of the public posture adopted by the two leaders. On Erdogan’s side we encounter the assertion that “Prime Minister Davutoglu’s decision will be for the better of Turkey and the nation.” This seems at variance with the spirit, if not letter, of Davutoglu’s stark declaration that his resignation “..is not my wish, but it is a necessity.”

Possibly, the common ground here is the recognition that the AKP (Justice and Development Party) and the governing process need one clear and undisputed leader for policy purposes, and that explains the apparent downgrading of the prime ministerial post as connected to the overt assertion of the univocal primacy of Erdogan’s presidency.

Of course, there are more elaborate speculations and partisan spins, mostly difficult to evaluate, about whether the true explanation of these unsettling events has been friction between these two towering figures who have dominated Turkish politics in the 21stcentury is a matter of substantive disagreement on any number of issues.

Or is this event better explained by reference to the tensions that had developed between Davutoglu and the AKP Parliamentary leadership on more prosaic questions of procedures and appointments. In this latter interpretation, the resignation of Davutoglu, and his replacement by a political figure lacking his international prominence, are enabling Erdogan and the AKP to coordinate their common effort to put the Turkish ship of state in efficient running order from the point of view of the presidency.

While Erdogan portrays this dramatic move as ‘Davutoglu’s decision,’ the opposition, always relentless in their often exaggerated criticisms of AKP governance ever since 2002, describes what has happened as a ‘palace coup.’ Reflecting on such an extreme presentation of Davutoglu’s departure suggests its opportunism. The opposition has long decried Erdogan’s takeover of government, portraying Davutoglu during his 20 months of service as head of government as nothing more than being ‘a shadow prime minister,’ sometimes even portraying him unflatteringly as ‘a puppet.’

And yet, if Erdogan was actually in full control all along, the resignation, whether voluntary or forced, is merely an outward acknowledgement of the de facto hierarchy that had already made the president the supreme leader of the country. Under these circumstances to treat what happened as a coup is deeply misleading as the resignation creates no alteration in the previously operative structure of political power in Ankara. Additionally, Davutoglu with seeming spontaneity indicated that he would never give voice to criticisms of the president, insisting that he leaves office continuing to have a ‘brotherly’ feeling toward Erdogan. This is hardly the language of someone who has been ousted from power as a result of a coup!

What may be really at stake in the course of this reshuffling is streamlining the constitutional restructuring process that seems so high on Erdogan’s agenda. It is to be expected that next prime minister, presumably reflecting Erdogan’s choice, will be a person that possesses sufficient clout with Parliament to push the process through quickly and in accordance with the sort of presidential system that Erdogan favors.

There is some reason to suppose that Davutoglu preferred what might be called ‘a republican presidency’ that sacrifices a measure of executive control for the sake of ‘checks and balances’ and ‘separation of powers[ while Erdogan is insistent upon ‘an imperial presidency’ that allows the president to run the show with minimum interference from other branches of government. Assuming that constitutional reform will bring some variant of the presidential system into being, this choice of model is crucial to the sort of political future that awaits the Turkish people.

It is hard to imagine an imperial presidency, especially with Erdogan at its head, that manifests sensitivity to human rights, including freedom of expression and the human rights of dissenting individuals. The arrest and prosecution of journalists and academicians in recent months even prior to the adoption of a presidential system does seem to vindicate the worst fears about the fate of Turkish democracy.

At the same time maybe the issue is being inflated beyond its true importance. Many informed observers have observed that Erdogan had long since transformed the presidency as set forth in the 1982 Constitution into a vehicle for his unchecked authority. If this is a correct interpretation of the way the Turkish government has been operating in recent years, at least since Erdogan became the first popularly elected president in 2014, then the issue of institutionalization of this style of leadership has mostly to do with the future, and especially with the structure of governance in a post-Erdogan Turkey.

However, if the opposition is exaggerating Erdogan’s curent power and governing style, then it is possible that a new constitution, which requires a two-thirds supermajority in Parliament, will enhance the actual, as well as the legal role of the office of president in Turkey. By placing such stress on this move from a parliamentary to a presidential system Erdogan appears to believe that his role would be solidified as well as legitimated if the sort of constitution that he seeks is properly adopted as a reality. This may be the most consequential question bound up with Davutoglu’s resignation, and yet it is sometimes downplayed because of public fascination with the dramatic interaction of these two Turkish political figures, which pushes to one side the question of restructuring the constitutional architecture of the Turkish government.

Finally, there is the question of foreign relations. The US State Department has formally avowed that Davutoglu’s resignation is an internal Turkish issue lacking any significance for U.S.-Turkish relations. Of greater concern is Turkey’s far more complex relationship with Europe, and particularly the possible impact on Syrian refugee containment, Turkish visa-free travel rights in Schengen Europe, European promises of a fast track approach to Turkish accession negotiations, and European demands that the Turkish anti-terrorism law be amended so that it cannot be used to pursue journalists and professors.

There are also many indications that European leaders were comfortable dealing with Davutoglu on such matters, and are far less willing to cooperate with Erdogan. It also seems that Erdogan on his part is disinclined to satisfy European preconditions for an effective working relationship or speeded up accession talks. At the same time, Turkey and the EU are tied together by the presence of strong interests. 40% of Turkish international trade is with EU countries, and European tourism is a vital source of foreign exchange earnings and sustains the tourist sector in Turkey that was already hurting due to the upsurge of tensions with Russia. Besides, the large Turkish minorities in Germany and elsewhere makes these diplomatic tensions have unsettling domestic ramifications in Europe, including an upsurge in Islamophobia.

It should be realized that these questions arise in an historical context where a series of security concerns pose dangerous challenges to Turkish stability and development. These issues of leadership and constitutional structure, although serious are clearly secondary to the great challenges facing the Turkish nation at this point, above all the renewal of Kurdish civil strife and horrific urban warfare, but also the spillovers from the Syrian civil war in the form of ISIS and refugee flows, as well as tensions with Russia and Iran.

It is to be hoped that people of good will throughout Turkey can find common ground on the urgency of these matters, and not remain distracted by trying to solve the puzzle of the leadership shakeup that has followed Davutoglu’s forced resignation.

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Nazi forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

NOVANEWS

(19– 25 May 2016)

Jerusalem – Nazi Forces Establish Checkpoints at Entrances to Hezma Village. Photo taken by Mahmoud Elayan
  • Nazi forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt

–         A Palestinian girl child was killed at Nazi military checkpoint, northwest of occupied Jerusalem.

–         5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Nazi forces conducted 56incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 7 others in occupied Jerusalem.

–         54civilians, including 16 children, were arrested.

–         13 of them, including 8 children,were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

  • Nazi forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.

–         Nazi forces arrested 10 fishermenafter wounding 3 of them, including a child, and confiscated 5 fishing boats.

  • Nazi forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

–         An Islamic oratory was demolished in al-Mesrarah area, east of the city.

–         Nazi court issued a ruling to confiscate a property in al-ShaikhJarrah neighbourhood.

  • Nazi forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 9th year.

–         Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.

–         5Palestinian civilians, including a woman, were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

Summary

Nazi violations of international law and international humanitarian law in theoPt continued during the reporting period (19 – 25 May 2016).

Shooting:

Nazi forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties. They have also continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were youngsters. During the reporting period, Nazi forces killed a Palestinian girl child, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, and wounded 8 others, including 2 children, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Three of them were wounded in the West Bank and the 5 others were in the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, in excessive use of force, on 23 May 2016, Nazi forces stationed at Beit Eksa checkpoint, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, killed Sawsan Ali Dawood Mansour (17), from the nearby Beddou village. Nazi forces claimed that the aforementioned child approached the checkpoint and attempted to stab an Nazi soldier. Nazi forces opened fire at her in response, due to which she sustained serious wounds. Nazi forces arrested her, but she died later. Eyewitnesses said that Nazi forces denied medical crews access to the scene and left her bleeding for about an hour.

In the context of Nazi forces using force against peaceful protests, a Palestinian civilian was hit during Kufor Qaddoum weekly protests, north east of Qalqilya, with a tear gas canister to the neck, while a 17-year-old male sustained a bullet wound to the right knee while participating in a peaceful protests at the southern entrance to al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah.

On 23 May 2016, a Palestinian civilian was hit with a bullet to the thigh when Nazi ofrces moved into Ein al-Louza neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem’s Old City. In the meantime, a number of youngsters gathered and threw stones at Nazi soldiers that fired sound bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets in response.

The full report is available online at:

http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=8148

 

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Gaza: Nazi forces Continue Collective Punishment Policy

NOVANEWS
Nazi forces Continue Collective Punishment Policy against fishermen, Arrest 10 Fishermen and Confiscate 5 Boats

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Nazi escalation of attacks against fishermen in the Gaza Sea; the last of which was against a group of fishing boats in the northern Gaza Sea.  During this attack, Nazi naval forces arrested 10 fishermen and confiscated 5 fishing boats.  PCHR considers these attacks as part of the collective punishment forms Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and target fishermen’s livelihoods.  PCHR calls upon the International community to intervene to protect Palestinian fishermen and violations against them and direct attacks against them and their property.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 05:40 on Sunday, 22 May 2016, Nazi gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats.  Two gunboats then surrounded two fishing boats sailing within 1 nautical mile.  One of these boats belongs to Ishaq Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (54) who was on its board at that time along with his two sons, Rasem (29) and Mohammed (19).  Meanwhile, the other fishing boat belongs to Younis Diab Mousa Zayed (53), who was on its board at that time along with his two sons, Saqer (20) and Ayman (18).  The Nazi soldiers ordered all of fishermen on both boats to take off their clothes, jumped into the water and swim towards the two gunboats.  The Nazi soldiers roped the two boats with the gunboats and took them to an unknown destination.

At approximately 06:30 on the same day, two Nazi gunboats surrounded two fishing boats sailing only 300 meters off the shore.  The gunboats then heavily opened fire at the boats; one of which belongs to As’ad Mohammed Mohammed al-Sultan (52) and manned by the owner and Khaled Mahmoud Ahmed al-Sultan while the other belongs to Mahmoud Ahmed ‘Abdullah al-Sultan (47) and was manned by his two sons, Mohammed (23) and Ayman (15).  The Israeli soldiers ordered all of fishermen on both boats to take off their clothes, jumped into the water and swim towards the two gunboats.  The Nazi soldiers roped the two boats with the gunboats and took them to an unknown destination.

At approximately 08:10 on the same day, two Nazi gunboats surrounded a fishing boat sailing within 1 nautical mile after opening fire at it.  This boat belongs to Kamel Adib Mahmoud al-Anqah (64) and was manned at that time with Ahmed Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (32) and his brother Ibrahim (21).  Nazi soldiers ordered all of fishermen on both boats to take off their clothes, jumped into the water and swim towards the two gunboats.  Nazi soldiers roped the two boats with the gunboats and took them to an unknown destination.

It should be mentioned that during these attacks, the fishermen lost dozens of their fishing equipment and tools.

PCHR strongly condemns the new Nazi attack against Palestinian fishermen and their property. PCHR also considers that attack as a grave violation of the fishermen’s right to sail and fish freely and to protect their property in the Gaza waters.  Moreover, PCHR believes that such attacks against Palestinian fishermen constitute a form of collective punishment against them which aims to target fishermen and their livelihood.

Furthermore, PCHR calls upon the international community to provide protection for Palestinian fishermen and their right to sail and fish freely, and to stop all forms of collective punishment against fishermen and their property which violate the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law.

 

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Saudi Arabia: US blew up World Trade Center to create ‘War on Terror’

The Saudi press is still furious over the U.S. Senate’s unanimous vote approving a bill that allows the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. This time, the London-based Al-Hayat daily has claimed that the U.S. planned the attacks on the World Trade Center in order to create a global war on terror. The article, written by Saudi legal expert Katib al-Shammari and translated by MEMRI, claims that American threats to expose documents that prove Saudi involvement in the attacks are part of a long-standing U.S. policy that he calls “victory by means of archives.”

Al-Shammari claims that the U.S. chooses to keep some cards close to its chest in order to use them at a later date. One example is choosing not to invade Iraq in the 1990s and keeping its leader, Saddam Hussein, alive to use as “a bargaining chip” against other Gulf States. Only once Shi’ism threatened to sweep the region did America act to get rid of Hussein “since they no longer saw him as an ace up their sleeve.”

World Trade Center Saudi Arabia

He claims that the 9/11 attacks were another such card, enabling the U.S. to blame whoever suited its needs at a particular time; first it blamed Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, then Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, and now Saudi Arabia.

September 11 is one of winning cards in the American archives, because all the wise people in the world who are experts on American policy and who analyze the images and the videos [of 9/11] agree unanimously that what happened in the [Twin] Towers was a purely American action, planned and carried out within the U.S. Proof of this is the sequence of continuous explosions that dramatically ripped through both buildings. … Expert structural engineers demolished them with explosives, while the planes crashing [into them] only gave the green light for the detonation – they were not the reason for the collapse. But the U.S. still spreads blame in all directions.

The intention of the attacks, writes al-Shammari in his conspiracy article, was to create “an obscure enemy – terrorism – which became what American presidents blamed for all their mistakes” and that would provide justification for any “dirty operation” in other countries.

The terror label was applied to Muslims even though it was Muslims who helped America defeat the Soviets and bring an end to the Cold War, he writes. The problem, asserts al-Shammari, is that the U.S. must always find a new impetus to have an adversary, for “the nature of the U.S. is that it cannot exist without an enemy.”

Al-Shammari’s article comes amid a torrent of vociferous articles in the Saudi press that range from accusing the U.S. of being “schizophrenic” and in cahoots with Iran to publishing warnings that if passed, the “Satanic” bill would “open the gates of hell.”

 

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Pro-EU Propaganda in Britain Goes into Overdrive

european union

In recent months, the British establishment has engaged in the most blatant and concerted propaganda campaign since the Scottish independence referendum or the Iraq war. Every day, the establishment spreads more fear in an attempt to keep Britain in the European Union (EU); with this propaganda campaign completely undermining the democratic process. 

In April, the British government spent nearly £10 million on a pro-EU propaganda leaflet which they sent to every household in the UK. Even though every-minute of every-day taxpayers’ money is wasted on killing innocent people in imperial wars abroad, openly spending approximately £10m on a propaganda leaflet is surely one of the biggest wastes of taxpayers’ money in recent years; especially in a country where Greek-style austerity is trying to be forced upon the people, and public service cuts have been a key feature of the current Tory government.

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It also raises an important question: can a referendum that is called by a government be classified as fair, free and democratic, when the very same government is running a concerted propaganda campaign to coerce the citizens to vote in a particular way? In a free and democratic society, the citizenry should be allowed to vote and not be bullied and terrified into voting in a certain way. In a free and democratic society, the government should stay largely neutral and allow the people to decide for themselves. In a free and democratic society, the government serves the citizens; the citizens are not at the behest of the government.

The EU referendum is just another example that democracy in Britain is merely an illusion; it has no basis in reality. Even if the government does not rig the referendum directly – there was some speculation that the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 was rigged – they have engaged in information warfare to the point that the referendum is already rigged in the favour of Britain remaining in the EU. At this point, it is highly unlikely that Britain will vote to leave the EU on the 23rd of June. Whatever your opinion is on the matter, everyone should recognise that a government engaging in a blatant propaganda campaign over an issue of this magnitude is antithetical to the democratic process.

It should also be noted that the British people were not allowed to vote on whether they wanted to join the EU in the 1970s. In 1973, Britain joined the European Economic Community (EEC), the precursor to the EU. It was not until two years later that the British people were allowed to vote, after they had adjusted to the status quo of EEC membership. With a 65% turnout, 67% voted in favour of remaining in the EEC. But the central point – which is often misleadingly presented – is that the British people voted to remain in the EEC, they were never asked whether they wanted to join in the first place. A referendum in 1973 on whether Britain wanted to join the EEC may have produced a different result, yet the political elite had no interest in the wishes of the people.

It is clear that the establishment wants Britain to stay in the EU, and is merely holding a referendum in order to appease anti-EU voices and maintain the façade of democracy in Royal Britannia. The list of individuals who are part of the Western establishment and want Britain to stay in the EU continues to expand by the day. Starting with David Cameron and the current government, pro-EU voices include: Barack ObamaTony BlairPeter MandelsonAngela MerkelGordon Brown; and numerous former North Atlantic Terrorist Organization (NATO) chiefs.

The European project is part of a much grander agenda by the global elite, and it is improbable that the British people will be allowed to vote to leave in June.

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First Deposition Released on Clinton Email Case

NOVANEWS
 
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U.S. Ambassador Lewis Lukens’s sworn testimony in the case of Hillary Clinton’s privatization of the U.S. Secretary of State’s email is the first evidence to be released in the Clinton email cases, and it was published on May 26th at the website of Judicial Watch, the organization that originally brought the suit. Headlining “First Deposition Testimony from Clinton Email Discovery Released”, it reported that:

Judicial Watch today released the deposition transcript of Ambassador Lewis Lukens, former deputy assistant secretary of state and executive director of the State Department’s executive secretariat.  The transcript is available here.  Amb. Lukens was deposed last week as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsecured, non-government email system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).

Lukens is the first of seven depositions of former Clinton top aides and State Department officials that Judicial Watch has scheduled over the next four weeks.  Also to be deposed are Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, as well as top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, and former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano.

In his testimony, Lukens described his State Department role:

I’ve been a Foreign Service officer for 27 years. I’ve served in Southern China; in the Ivory Coast; in Sydney, Australia; in Dublin, Ireland; in Baghdad; Vancouver, British Columbia; Dakar, Senegal; and three tours in Washington, D.C., as well as my current position in San Francisco.

While Clinton was Secretary of State, his role was heading “logistics and management support” and he had “roughly 110 employees working for me” including the “IRM” or Information Resource Management team. Also, during his questioning, he was asked “You traveled with Mrs. Clinton on all of her foreign travel?” while he was employed there, and he answered: “Yes.”

Representative excerpts from his testimony will be presented here:

While Clinton’s office was being prepared for her:

Q: Do you know if Mrs. Clinton — if the IRM office set up an e-mail address for Mrs. Clinton?

A: I don’t believe they did.

Q: Do you know why they didn’t?

A: I don’t think it was asked for.

Q: Would Mrs. Clinton have — was it required for Mrs. Clinton to ask for an e-mail address for one to be assigned to her?

A: Yes.

Q: Was it unusual — at the time did you think it was unusual that Mrs. Clinton didn’t want an e-mail address assigned to her?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: I’m not aware of former Secretaries of State having e-mail addresses on our system.

In other words: her having an e-mail address assigned to her was “required,” but the custom at the U.S. Department of State was to ignore this ‘requirement’.

Regardless of whether violating the regulations or even the law has been ignored in the past, violations are supposed to be punished or prosecuted. Prior refusal to prosecute does not constitute legal excuse for continuing refusal to prosecute: it instead constitutes a government in which some persons who are supposedly in the service of, and who are definitely being paid by, the public, are, in practice, above the regulations or even the laws — in other words, a dictatorship. However, this aspect of the questioning was not pursued.

Lukens then said that her violation on that matter was ignored and that a “BB” or Blackberry account was instead requested by “HRC’ Hillary Rodham Clinton. Lukens’s notes indicated that he had asked HRC’s agent, “On the BB for HRC, can we chat this morning?” and “I may have thought of a workaround [to evade the State Department’s regulations] but need more info on her BB use.” He explained during this questioning of him: “So the crux of the issue was that BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the Secretary’s office suite, so the question was, how is the Secretary going to be able to check her e-mails if she’s not able to have the Blackberry at her desk with her.”

Q: And so what did you — did you propose a solution at that point?

A: So my proposal was to set up a computer on her desk, a standalone computer [not part of the State Department’s system], for her to be able to access the Internet to check her e-mails [privatized — and therefore not subject to FOIA requests or historians’ investigations].

However, Clinton’s agent insisted on a private computer also being set up “across the hall” “for her to check her BlackBerry” even though no private BlackBerry was allowed on the premises. This was to be the “workaround.”

In an email, Lukens had written, and the questioner referenced it:

Also think we should go ahead, but will await your green light, and set up a standalone PC in the Secretary’s office connected to the Internet, but not go through our system, to enable her to check her e-mails from her desk.

That proposal was accepted and was done. Then:

Q: Do you know if this setup would have been any different from the setup of other employees?

A: Yes, this would have been different.

Q: How would it have been different?

A: My understanding is that most of the employees’ computers in the State Department are connected through the State Department’s OpenNet e-mail system …

Q: So this would have been separate from the OpenNet system?

A: Correct.

He was asked why he had proposed this solution, and he said it was “For ease of access” and, “as far as I knew, there was no requirement for her to be connected to our system” (even though he had earlier said that her having an email address assigned to her in the State Department’s system, the OpenNet system, was “required”). He said that the “ease of access” would be because of there being “fewer passwords.”

He was asked whether doing things this way was necessary in order for her to be able to access the Internet from the State Department, and he said, ”the Internet is available” to employees at the office, just as anywhere.

He was asked about the inconvenience of the State Department’s passwords system, and he said that he eliminated her need for any passwords:

A: She wouldn’t have had a password.

Q: So the computer would have just been open and be able to use without going through any security features?

A: Correct.

Though he was paid by U.S. taxpayers, apparently his only concern was to please his superiors, whom he trusted unquestioningly despite their evident unconcern about “security” etc.

In further questioning of Mr. Lukens, it became clear that he never gave any thought to what the purpose behind the State Department’s regulations was: he didn’t even notice that Hillary Clinton’s buddy and top aide Huma Abedin at the Department was also using only a private email account — even though he regularly had been communicating via email with her.

There were many instances in the questioning, in which the U.S. Department of ‘Justice’s attorney there, Caroline Lewis Wolverton, was trying to hamper the attorney for Judicial Watch from asking questions of Mr. Lukens, such as this:

Q: At any point during these conversations or during these e-mails or others did you find it unusual that Ms. Abedin was using a non-state.gov e-mail account?

MS. WOLVERTON: Objection. Vague.

Q: When sending these e-mails to Ms. Abedin, did you think about the fact that they were not — you were sending e-mails to her non-state.gov e-mail account?

A: Not that I recall.

Q: Thinking about it now, do you think it’s — was it rare to send emails to State Department employees on another e-mail account but the one that was assigned by the State Department?

MS. WOLVERTON: Objection. Vague.

Q: Was this unusual, sending e-mail — was it unusual for you to send emails to Ms. Abedin on a non-state.gov account?

MS. WOLVERTON: Objection. Lack of foundation.

Q: During your four years, did you communicate with — sorry, during the two years of overlap, did you communicate with Ms. Abedin by e-mail?

A: Yes.

Q: Was it frequent?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you recall — during that time, did you recall sending e-mails to her state.gov e-mail account?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you recall — before receiving these exhibits, did you recall sending e-mails to a non-state.gov account?

A: No.

Q: Do you recall thinking at any point about where you were sending e-mails to Ms. Abedin?

A: No.

Q: Do you recall if Ms. Abedin ever told you what e-mail accounts to use for her?

A: No.

Q: Do you recall how you — do you know how you would have received the e-mail account that was used to send these e-mails?

MS. WOLVERTON: Objection. Lack of foundation.

Q: Do you recall — I’ll ask the question again. Do you recall how you learned where to send these e-mails, or how you learned of the e-mail address that you used to send these e-mails?

A: I must have received an e-mail from her at some point from that address.

Q: So this may have been an auto fill on your BlackBerry or Outlook when you were sending these?

MS. WOLVERTON: Objection. Objection, calls for speculation.

Q: Would this — to ask the question again, was it most likely an auto fill feature or do you think you would have manually entered in her e-mail account to send her these e-mails?

MS. WOLVERTON: Same objection.

MR. BEKESHA [representing the Questioner, but now addressing the lawyer for the ‘Justice’ Department]: Are you instructing the witness not to answer?

MS. WOLVERTON: No.

Q: Would you like me to repeat the question?

A: Yes, please.

Q: Would this — would you have sent these e-mails using this e-mail address because of an auto fill feature on a piece of computer equipment or because you would have manually typed in her e-mail address?

MS. WOLVERTON: Same objection.

A: I would say because of the auto fill feature.

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Greek Debt Negotiations –Troika and IMF Outmaneuver Syriza Again

NOVANEWS
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This past week the Greek Parliament voted by a narrow margin of 153 to 145 to impose even more austerity on its people — thus implementing the latest austerity demands by the Eurozone Troika required for the Troika’s release of loans earmarked for Greece last August 2015.

Earlier this year the Troika signaled to Greece, if it wanted to receive its next tranche of loans needed to make a scheduled payment of 3.5 billion euros to the ECB this July, Greece would have to toughen its austerity program still further. The Syriza government complied, and cut pensions and raised income taxes beyond what it had even originally agreed to last August.

Greek Government’s Latest Austerity Measures

In its May 22, 2016 decision last week, the Greek government then added still more austerity. That vote raised the sales (VAT) tax to 24 percent, imposed higher taxes on coffee, alcohol and gas, revised the privatization program to accelerate the sale of publicly owned transport, electricity, water and port systems, added finances to cover Greek banks’ growing backlog of non-performing business loans, and added contingency measures to cut government spending even further over the next three years should Greece miss the austerity targets imposed by the Troika last August 2015.

Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras’ public response in the wake of still further austerity was “Greece is keeping its promises, now it’s their (Troika) turn to do the same”. But what promises? And to whom?

The past six years of Troika debt deals and austerity demands shows clearly that whenever the Troika has agreed to terms of lending to Greece in exchange for more austerity from it, the deal is never really closed. The Troika keeps demanding even more austerity, with nearly every quarterly review of Greece’s austerity compliance, before releasing just enough of the loans for Greece to repay the Troika for prior loans. The Troika dribbles out the loans and then squeezes Greece for still more austerity. That has been the Troika’s practice ever since the three major Troika Greek debt restructuring deals of May 2010, March 2012, and August 2015.

Greece’s Unsustainable Debt Load

By latest estimates total Greek debt is 384 billion euros, or US$440 billion. That’s approaching nearly twice the size of Greece’s annual GDP. A decade ago, in 2007-08 before the global crash, Greek debt was roughly half of what it is today, in terms of both total debt and as a percent of GDP. Greek debt was actually less than a number of Eurozone economies. So Greece’s debt has been primarily caused by the 2008-09 crash, Greece’s six year long economic depression followed, the extreme austerity measures imposed on it by the Troika during this period which has been the primary cause of its long depression, and the Troika’s piling of debt on Greece to repay previously owed debt.

Contrary to European media spin, it’s not been rising Greek wages or excessive government spending that has caused the US$440 billion in Greek debt. Since 2009 Greek annual wages have fallen from 23,580 to less than 18,000 euros. Government spending has fallen from 118 billion euros to 82 billion.

Bankers and Investors Get 95 percent of all Debt Payments

Who then has benefited from the escalation of Greek debt? To whom are the payments on the debt ultimately going? To Euro bankers and to the Troika, which then passes it on to the bankers and investors, the ultimate beneficiaries.

As a recent in depth study by the European School of Management and Technology, ‘Where Did the Greek Bailout Money Go?, revealed in impeccably researched detail, Greek debt payments ultimately go to Euro bankers. For example, of the 216 billion euros, or US$248 billion, in loans provided to Greece by the Troika in just the first two debt deals of May 2010 and March 2012, 64 percent (139 billion euros) was interest paid to banks on existing debt; 17 percent (37 billion euros) to Greek banks (to replace money being taken out by wealthy Greeks and businesses and sent to northern Europe banks), and 14 percent (29 billion euros) to pay off hedge funds and private bankers in the 2012 deal. Per the study, less than 5 percent of the 216 billion euros went to Greece to spend on its own economy. As the study’s authors concluded, “ the vast majority (more than 95 percent) went to existing creditors in the form of debt repayments and interest payments”. And that’s just the 2010 and 2012 Troika deals. Last August’s third deal is no doubt adding more to the totals.

The IMF: Pro-Greece or Pro-IMF?

Recognizing the impossibility of Greece ever being able to repay the debt, the IMF — a member of the Troika — has recently broken ranks with its Troika partners and has recommended the Troika provide debt relief to Greece. The Syriza government is no doubt betting on the IMF being able to convince the rest of the Troika to agree to debt relief. But in so doing, it is making the same error it made in last year’s 2015 debt negotiations: it is depending on the assistance of one wing of the Troika to convince the others to give Greece a break. Last year it was Syriza’s strategy to leverage certain liberal members of the EC and the Eurozone’s finance ministers group on its behalf. That failed. German ministers and bankers demanding more austerity prevailed last August 2015 over the “soft” or liberal elements in the EC and among the Eurozone’s finance ministers group. Syriza is now betting on the IMF, and proving its willingness to continue with austerity in the interim, to show it is “keeping its promises” to enforce austerity. But that similar strategy will fail as well.

The IMF’s proposal for debt relief for Greece, in its just released “Country Report 16/130,” proposes to extend the current Greek loans by 14-30 years more beyond current 2040 expiration dates; to introduce “grace periods” during which payments may be suspended; and reduce interest rates on the loans to a fixed 1.5 percent instead of variable rates much higher. However, data show that results in no debt relief in real terms at all.

Instead of forcing Greece to generate a budget surplus of 3.5 percent a year, out of which to repay the loans and achieved by means of severe austerity, the IMF also proposes to reduce the annual budget surplus to 1.5 percent. That would reduce Greece’s debt from 200 percent of GDP to “only” 127 percent… by 2040. Even that nominal debt reduction would fail, per the IMF, if Greece’s GDP grew at only 1 percent. It’s been declining at -5 percent and more for the past six years, so even 1 percent is highly unlikely. If Greece’s growth is 1 percent or less, then the IMF admits the other European states will have to add still more debt piled on Greece in order for it to repay the old debt. In short, the IMF version of ‘debt relief’ for Greece has little chance of economic relief for Greece. Nor does it mean any reasonable change in austerity for Greece. Things will get worse, just perhaps worse not as fast as in recent years.

What’s behind the IMF’s Shift?

The IMF is no friend of Greece. What are its possible motives for breaking ranks with the ultra-conservative elements in the Troika — led by Germany and its northern Europe banker allies in the Netherlands and elsewhere?

First, the IMF sees rising demands for its bailout funding on the horizon, not only in the Ukraine but in emerging market economies in the near future. Second, the IMF is feeling the heat from other IMF members in those economies demanding no more special debt considerations for Greece. Looming large on the horizon is also the possibility of the UK exiting the European Union, and elections in June as well in Spain. As secret discussions within the IMF in March exposed by “WikiLeaks” revealed, the IMF is concerned a re-emergence of Greek resistance to the Troika, concurrent with a possible Brexit vote and Spain elections, might converge into an economic ‘perfect storm’ this summer. The IMF wants the Troika to get in front of the curve with Greece before it escalates. Dampen the resistance before it begins by making concessions to Greece now, that won’t take effect for years to come, could be behind the IMF’s move.

Most likely, however, is that the IMF is maneuvering with the rest of the Troika to work a compromise whereby the Troika will buy the IMF out of the Greek debt negotiations. That would mean restructure the Greek debt, to pay off the IMF’s 14.6 billion euros share of the 384 billion euro Greek debt.

That has some appeal to the hardliners in the Troika. However, Germany is demanding that there be no debt relief for Greece before 2018. It is looking at German elections in 2017. So what is most likely is a compromise, resulting in a phasing out of IMF commitment and a phasing in of Greek debt relief that starts only in 2018 after German elections. It appears that’s exactly what the Troika may have decided in its May 24 most recent meeting in Brussels.

What all that means for Greece, however, is not only likely more of the same austerity, but perhaps even an intensification of austerity between now and 2018 —as the German-led conservatives within the Troika demand even more austerity now in exchange for the possibility of debt relief after 2018.

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Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Attack: “A Hole in American History”

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Hiroshima Series, Part 1
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President Barack Obama will finish up his current Asia trip by becoming the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, Japan — site of the fateful atomic bombing attack on Aug. 6, 1945, that killed tens of thousands of Japanese citizens.

The people of Hiroshima and (three days later) Nagasaki suffered unspeakable horrors. Some in the US government didn’t want Americans to see what really happened. Today, WhoWhatWhy revisits our past coverage of that painful final chapter of World War II, whose long shadow still haunts the world today

What follows is the first in a three-part series that first ran on March 16, 2014:

“A Hole in American History”

Dozens of hours of film footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the fall and winter of 1945-1946 by an elite US military unit was hidden for decades and almost no one could see it. The raw footage, in striking color, languished in obscurity. As the writer Mary McCarthy observed, the atomic bombing of Japan nearly fell into “a hole in human history.”

US Navy photographer captures Hiroshima atomic bomb victim.  Photo credit: NARA / Wikimedia

As our nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union escalated, all that most Americans saw of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the same black-and-white images: a mushroom cloud, a panorama of emptiness, a battered building topped with the skeleton of a dome — mainly devoid of people.

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Once top secret, the shocking images now carry an “unrestricted” label. You have, quite possibly, seen a few seconds of clips on television or in film documentaries. If so, those images may be burned into your mind. Yet no one was allowed to view them when the horror they captured might have prevented more horror by slowing down or even halting the nuclear arms race.

Compounding the cover-up, the American military seized all of the black-and-white footage of the cities shot by the Japanese in the immediate aftermath of the bombings. They hid the film away for many years. It was known in Japan as the maboroshi, or “phantom,” film. It, too, rests in the National Archives today.

“Never again.” At least not with outmoded bombs

To find out how and why all of this historic footage was suppressed for so long, I tracked down the man who oversaw the handling of both the Japanese and American film. His name is Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel A. McGovern. He told me that high officials in the Pentagon didn’t want those images out because,

“…they showed effects on man, woman and child. … They didn’t want the general public to know what their weapons had done — at a time they were planning on more bomb tests.”

Not incidentally, those planned tests were designed to help the US military build bigger and better nuclear bombs.

McGovern also said, “We didn’t want the material out because … we were sorry for our sins.”

* * *

The secret color footage was finally shown to the public, however limited, on June 2, 1982. The New York City screening coincided with the high point of the antinuclear movement.

In response to an escalating arms race stoked by a new president, Ronald Reagan, who said a nuclear war with the Soviets was “winnable” — a “nuclear freeze” campaign had been organized in hundreds of cities and towns. It captured the imagination of the media and a massive anti-nuclear march in Manhattan was set for June 12.

Despite this campaign, few in America challenged the view that dropping the bomb had been necessary. When Hiroshima and Nagasaki were invoked, even within the antinuclear movement, it was usually not to condemn, but merely to make the declaration: never again.

No matter what one thought of Truman’s decision in 1945, this much was clear: Endorsing the bombings and saying “never again” did not fit together comfortably. Washington, after all, maintained its “first-use” nuclear option, and still embraces it today.

According to this policy, under certain circumstances the United States can strike first with nuclear weapons — and ask questions later. In other words, there is no real taboo against using the bomb.

Ten days before the June 12 march, a few dozen Americans first saw some of the historic color footage shot by the American military — but not in an American film.

It was the Japanese who put together the film, and only because of a chance meeting in New York between Herbert Sussan — who, as a young soldier, helped shoot some of the 1946 footage — and a Japanese activist. When the activist learned of the secret film from Sussan, he lead a mass movement in Japan to raise enough money to copy 90,000 feet of it. (They also purchased a copy of the suppressed, black-and-white film shot by the Japanese newsreel team.) The film was shown at the Japan Society in Manhattan.  It was called “Prophecy.”

Herbert Sussan

Photo caption: Herbert Sussan

At the Japan Society, the now-elderly Sussan, who had become a pioneering TV director at CBS, told the audience,

“I have waited so long for this moment. For years, all of my own efforts to obtain this unique footage to show the American people have been frustrated. This film has been locked in vaults, declared classified and held away from the public. I am pleased that the world will finally see a small bit of what the true reality of the nuclear age really is…

“I felt that if we did not capture this horror on film, no one would ever really understand the dimensions of what had happened.”

Then they rolled the film. The footage revealed miles of devastation dotted by rubble and twisted girders, close-ups of artifacts — blackened statues, a collapsed church or school — and victims displaying their inflamed scars. Doctors in shattered hospitals bandaged gruesome wounds.

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The distinctive, rubbery keloid scars left by burns on faces and arms looked all the more painful in blazing color.

Patients, most of them women and children, exposed to the camera their scarred faces and seared trunks. They acted stoic, dignified, yet their intense gaze suggested deep wells of bitterness at the US for dropping the bomb — or perhaps at Sussan for subjecting them to this further humiliation. Or was it both?

A Film That Flopped?

Despite a good turnout that day, there was very little, if any, coverage about “Prophecy” or Herbert Sussan in the days that followed, despite its announcement inThe New York Times’ “Going Out Guide” the day it was to be shown, along with other Japanese films on the bombing.

Weeks passed. The nuclear freeze campaign continued to grow, and that October, I was named editor of the leading antinuclear magazine in the country, Nuclear Times. When I took over, the first major story I assigned was a profile of Herbert Sussan.

When I reached Sussan by telephone, he sounded edgy, maybe a little scared. He had recently retired and was ill, he said, with a form of lymphoma “they are finding in soldiers exposed to radiation.”

 

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