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The Real Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan. It Was Not To End the War Or Save Lives

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This article was first published on GR in October 2012

Atomic Weapons Were Not Needed to End the War or Save Lives

Like all Americans, I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives.

But most of the top American military officials at the time said otherwise.

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded (52-56):

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion 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.

General (and later president) Dwight Eisenhower – then Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces, and the officer who created most of America’s WWII military plans for Europe and Japan – said:

The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.

Newsweek, 11/11/63, Ike on Ike

Eisenhower also noted (pg. 380):

In [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude….

Admiral William Leahy – the highest ranking member of the U.S. military from 1942 until retiring in 1949, who was the first de facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who was at the center of all major American military decisions in World War II – wrote (pg. 441):

It is my opinion that 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 because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

General Douglas MacArthur agreed (pg. 65, 70-71):

MacArthur’s views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed …. When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.

Moreover (pg. 512):

The Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.

Similarly, Assistant Secretary of War John McLoy noted (pg. 500):

I have always felt that if, in our ultimatum to the Japanese government issued from Potsdam [in July 1945], we had referred to the retention of the emperor as a constitutional monarch and had made some reference to the reasonable accessibility of raw materials to the future Japanese government, it would have been accepted. Indeed, I believe that even in the form it was delivered, there was some disposition on the part of the Japanese to give it favorable consideration. When the war was over I arrived at this conclusion after talking with a number of Japanese officials who had been closely associated with the decision of the then Japanese government, to reject the ultimatum, as it was presented. I believe we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs.

Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bird said:

I think that the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had approached the Russians and, I think, the Swiss. And that suggestion of [giving] a warning [of the atomic bomb] was a face-saving proposition for them, and one that they could have readily accepted.

***

In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb.

War Was Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb, U.S. News and World Report, 8/15/60, pg. 73-75.

He also noted (pg. 144-145, 324):

It definitely seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker and weaker. They were surrounded by the Navy. They couldn’t get any imports and they couldn’t export anything. Naturally, as time went on and the war developed in our favor it was quite logical to hope and expect that with the proper kind of a warning the Japanese would then be in a position to make peace, which would have made it unnecessary for us to drop the bomb and have had to bring Russia in.

General Curtis LeMay, the tough cigar-smoking Army Air Force “hawk,” stated publicly shortly before the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan:

The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.

The Vice Chairman of the U.S. Bombing Survey Paul Nitze wrote (pg. 36-37, 44-45):

[I] concluded that even without the atomic bomb, Japan was likely to surrender in a matter of months. My own view was that Japan would capitulate by November 1945.

***

Even without the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed highly unlikely, given what we found to have been the mood of the Japanese government, that a U.S. invasion of the islands [scheduled for November 1, 1945] would have been necessary.

Deputy Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence Ellis Zacharias wrote:

Just when the Japanese were ready to capitulate, we went ahead and introduced to the world the most devastating weapon it had ever seen and, in effect, gave the go-ahead to Russia to swarm over Eastern Asia.

Washington decided that Japan had been given its chance and now it was time to use the A-bomb.

I submit that it was the wrong decision. It was wrong on strategic grounds. And it was wrong on humanitarian grounds.

Ellis Zacharias, How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender, Look, 6/6/50, pg. 19-21.

Brigadier General Carter Clarke – the military intelligence officer in charge of preparing summaries of intercepted Japanese cables for President Truman and his advisors – said (pg. 359):

When we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.

Many other high-level military officers concurred. For example:

The commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945, had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb was both unnecessary and immoral. Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was reported to have said in a press conference on September 22, 1945, that “The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the atomic bombing and Russia’s entry into the war.” In a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945, Admiral Nimitz stated “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war.” It was learned also that on or about July 20, 1945, General Eisenhower had urged Truman, in a personal visit, not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower’s assessment was “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.” Eisenhower also stated that it wasn’t necessary for Truman to “succumb” to [the tiny handful of people putting pressure on the president to drop atom bombs on Japan.]

British officers were of the same mind. For example, General Sir Hastings Ismay, Chief of Staff to the British Minister of Defence, said to Prime Minister Churchill that “when Russia came into the war against Japan, the Japanese would probably wish to get out on almost any terms short of the dethronement of the Emperor.”

On hearing that the atomic test was successful, Ismay’s private reaction was one of “revulsion.”

Why Were Bombs Dropped on Populated Cities Without Military Value?

Even military officers who favored use of nuclear weapons mainly favored using them on unpopulated areas or Japanese military targets … not cities.

For example, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy Lewis Strauss proposed to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal that a non-lethal demonstration of atomic weapons would be enough to convince the Japanese to surrender … and the Navy Secretary agreed (pg. 145, 325):

I proposed to Secretary Forrestal that the weapon should be demonstrated before it was used. Primarily it was because it was clear to a number of people, myself among them, that the war was very nearly over. The Japanese were nearly ready to capitulate… My proposal to the Secretary was that the weapon should be demonstrated over some area accessible to Japanese observers and where its effects would be dramatic. I remember suggesting that a satisfactory place for such a demonstration would be a large forest of cryptomeria trees not far from Tokyo. The cryptomeria tree is the Japanese version of our redwood… I anticipated that a bomb detonated at a suitable height above such a forest… would lay the trees out in windrows from the center of the explosion in all directions as though they were matchsticks, and, of course, set them afire in the center. It seemed to me that a demonstration of this sort would prove to the Japanese that we could destroy any of their cities at will… Secretary Forrestal agreed wholeheartedly with the recommendation

It seemed to me that such a weapon was not necessary to bring the war to a successful conclusion, that once used it would find its way into the armaments of the world…

General George Marshall agreed:

Contemporary documents show that Marshall felt “these weapons might first be used against straight military objectives such as a large naval installation and then if no complete result was derived from the effect of that, he thought we ought to designate a number of large manufacturing areas from which the people would be warned to leave–telling the Japanese that we intend to destroy such centers….”

As the document concerning Marshall’s views suggests, the question of whether the use of the atomic bomb was justified turns … on whether the bombs had to be used against a largely civilian target rather than a strictly military target—which, in fact, was the explicit choice since although there were Japanese troops in the cities, neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki was deemed militarily vital by U.S. planners. (This is one of the reasons neither had been heavily bombed up to this point in the war.) Moreover, targeting [at Hiroshima and Nagasaki] was aimed explicitly on non-military facilities surrounded by workers’ homes.

Historians Agree that the Bomb Wasn’t Needed

Historians agree that nuclear weapons did not need to be used to stop the war or save lives.

As historian Doug Long notes:

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission historian J. Samuel Walker has studied the history of research on the decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan. In his conclusion he writes, “The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisors knew it.” (J. Samuel Walker, The Decision to Use the Bomb: A Historiographical Update, Diplomatic History, Winter 1990, pg. 110).

Politicians Agreed

Many high-level politicians agreed. For example, Herbert Hoover said (pg. 142):

The Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945…up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; …if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs.

Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew noted (pg. 29-32):

In the light of available evidence I myself and others felt that if such a categorical statement about the [retention of the] dynasty had been issued in May, 1945, the surrender-minded elements in the [Japanese] Government might well have been afforded by such a statement a valid reason and the necessary strength to come to an early clearcut decision.

If surrender could have been brought about in May, 1945, or even in June or July, before the entrance of Soviet Russia into the [Pacific] war and the use of the atomic bomb, the world would have been the gainer.

Why Then Were Atom Bombs Dropped on Japan?

If dropping nuclear bombs was unnecessary to end the war or to save lives, why was the decision to drop them made? Especially over the objections of so many top military and political figures?

One theory is that scientists like to play with their toys:

On September 9, 1945, Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet, was publicly quoted extensively as stating that the atomic bomb was used because the scientists had a “toy and they wanted to try it out . . . .” He further stated, “The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it.”

However, most of the Manhattan Project scientists who developed the atom bomb were opposed to using it on Japan.

Albert Einstein – an important catalyst for the development of the atom bomb (but not directly connected with the Manhattan Project) – said differently:

“A great majority of scientists were opposed to the sudden employment of the atom bomb.” In Einstein’s judgment, the dropping of the bomb was a political – diplomatic decision rather than a military or scientific decision.

Indeed, some of the Manhattan Project scientists wrote directly to the secretary of defense in 1945 to try to dissuade him from dropping the bomb:

We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for an early, unannounced attack against Japan inadvisable. If the United States would be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race of armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons.

Political and Social Problems, Manhattan Engineer District Records, Harrison-Bundy files, folder # 76, National Archives (also contained in: Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed, 1987 edition, pg. 323-333).

The scientists questioned the ability of destroying Japanese cities with atomic bombs to bring surrender when destroying Japanese cities with conventional bombs had not done so, and – like some of the military officers quoted above – recommended a demonstration of the atomic bomb for Japan in an unpopulated area.

The Real Explanation?

History.com notes:

In the years since the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, a number of historians have suggested that the weapons had a two-pronged objective …. It has been suggested that the second objective was to demonstrate the new weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union. By August 1945, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had deteriorated badly. The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before the bombing of Hiroshima. The meeting was marked by recriminations and suspicion between the Americans and Soviets. Russian armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.

New Scientist reported in 2005:

The US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was meant to kick-start the Cold War rather than end the Second World War, according to two nuclear historians who say they have new evidence backing the controversial theory.

Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago was done more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say. And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add.

“He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species,” says Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC, US. “It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity.”

***

[The conventional explanation of using the bombs to end the war and save lives] is disputed by Kuznick and Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US.

***

New studies of the US, Japanese and Soviet diplomatic archives suggest that Truman’s main motive was to limit Soviet expansion in Asia, Kuznick claims. Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union began an invasion a few days after the Hiroshima bombing, not because of the atomic bombs themselves, he says.

According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace”. Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb.

“Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan,” says Selden.

John Pilger points out:

The US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US air force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. He later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”. His foreign policy colleagues were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.” The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

We’ll give the last word to University of Maryland professor of political economy – and former Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and Special Assistant in the Department of State – Gar Alperovitz:

Though most Americans are unaware of the fact, increasing numbers of historians now recognize the United States did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945. Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force. Nor was this the judgment of “liberals,” as is sometimes thought today. In fact, leading conservatives were far more outspoken in challenging the decision as unjustified and immoral than American liberals in the years following World War II.

***

Instead [of allowing other options to end the war, such as letting the Soviets attack Japan with ground forces], the United States rushed to use two atomic bombs at almost exactly the time that an August 8 Soviet attack had originally been scheduled: Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9. The timing itself has obviously raised questions among many historians. The available evidence, though not conclusive, strongly suggests that the atomic bombs may well have been used in part because American leaders “preferred”—as Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Martin Sherwin has put it—to end the war with the bombs rather than the Soviet attack. Impressing the Soviets during the early diplomatic sparring that ultimately became the Cold War also appears likely to have been a significant factor.

***

The most illuminating perspective, however, comes from top World War II American military leaders. The conventional wisdom that the atomic bomb saved a million lives is so widespread that … most Americans haven’t paused to ponder something rather striking to anyone seriously concerned with the issue: Not only did most top U.S. military leaders think the bombings were unnecessary and unjustified, many were morally offended by what they regarded as the unnecessary destruction of Japanese cities and what were essentially noncombat populations. Moreover, they spoke about it quite openly and publicly.

***

Shortly before his death General George C. Marshall quietly defended the decision, but for the most part he is on record as repeatedly saying that it was not a military decision, but rather a political one.

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Japan’s Vote for Abe Could Worsen Prospects for Peace With North Korea, China

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Image result for Shinzo Abe CARTOON

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gambled by calling a snap election — and he has won big.

Voters handed Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party a sweeping victory in the Oct. 22 balloting for Japan’s House of Representatives.

The call for the election came in late September after North Korea had just fired another test missile, with its longest delivery system yet. Over the past months, North Korea has tested six missiles, with each test either falling into the Japan Sea or passing over Japan to land in the Pacific. This latest missile flew over Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido before falling into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung Un, used strong threats after this missile test, saying that he hoped to see Japan sink into the sea. Abe and his hawkish, conservative coalition have been attempting to rebuild Japan’s military capabilities and to scrap its WWII-era constitution that prohibits aggression.

Based on my research in Japanese politics, I believe the party’s electoral victory spells trouble for peace in Asia.

Re-Arming the Military

Abe’s agenda has taken shape in a number of ways. In August, his minister of defense submitted a historic budget request that violates a decades-old unwritten principle. The principle is for Japan’s defense budget to never be larger than 1 percent of GDP. This principle was part of the commitment made after WWII to forever renounce military aggression.

The new budget request is a whopping 5,255 billion yen in military spending (US$48.1 billion) or 2.5 percent of Japan’s GDP for fiscal year 2018. The request includes new land-based missile defense systems to monitor space and provide auto-warnings for missile launches. This technology would assist in detecting potential missile launches from North Korea, and could theoretically intercept them.

In September, the Japanese Navy launched the ship “Myoko” that will patrol the Japan Sea between Japan and Korea. It will guard against potential missile fires by North Korea with anti-missile defense capabilities, identical to those of the US Navy. At the launch, Abe said that the “increasingly severe security environment” posed by North Korea and China must be “squarely faced” by Japan. He referred to the environment awaiting the Myoko’s crew as a “raging sea.”

Many in Japan anticipate the role of Japan’s military will soon change to respond to North Korea. Increasing military spending in the budget now may lead to future increases and spending on more offensive weapons. For example, two years ago, Japan and the US renegotiated their security alliance. Japan agreed to come to the aid of its most important ally if the US or one of its allies were to come under attack. A discussion on changing the Japanese Constitution’s WWII prohibition of aggression is likely to be revived.

Destabilizing the Region

The requested increase in military spending in August had an immediate effect on the region and possibilities for peaceful relations.

A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted China’s concern over the new plan and accused Japan of inflating the threatposed by China in order to take a more offensive stance in Asia.

The relationship between China and Japan is already tense. The two nations are engaged in a dispute over the Senkaku Diaoyutai islands in the East China Sea. This disagreement flared up last summer when China stepped up military activity near the islands. Then in February, President Trump reaffirmed the US commitment to come to Japan’s aid with conventional and nuclear weapons in a statement signed by both leaders.

Abe’s victory confirms that Japanese people take these threats seriously. Their fears may play into a developing brinksmanship between Japan and North Korea that could, in my opinion, implicate the United States.

Trump will visit Asia in November, and his stay in Japan includes a visit with Japanese who were abducted by North Korea during the 1970s and ’80s. Doing so may open old wounds with North Korea — the stories of abduction provoke strong feelings for the Japanese people who will be reminded of North Korea’s past offenses. Prospects for peaceful resolution with North Korea are becoming more slim, strengthening Abe’s case for building out Japan’s offensive capabilities.

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Remember Hiroshima: No Danger of Nuclear War? The Pentagon’s Plan to Blow up the Planet

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This article was first published by GR in January 2016

More than 2000 nuclear explosions have occurred since 1945 as part of nuclear weapons’ testing.

Officially only two nuclear bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 6 and 9, August 1945) have been used in an act of war.

The media consensus is that a nuclear holocaust is an impossibility. 

Should we be concerned? 

Publicly available military documents confirm that nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon. It is also part of the US presidential election campaign.

Compared to the 1950s, however, today’s nuclear weapons are far more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack.

Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books.

War is Good for Business: Spearheaded by the “defense contractors” (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, British Aerospace  et al), the Obama administration has proposed a one trillion dollar plan over a 30 year period to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, bombers, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) largely directed at Russia and China.

A new arms race is unfolding. Russia has in turn responded to US threats through a major modernization of its strategic nuclear weapons arsenal.

Political Insanity

The use of nuclear weapons is casually endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons are instruments of peace-making. Her election campaign is financed by the US military industrial complex which produces the WMDs.

Meanwhile, scientists on contract to the Pentagon have endorsed the use of tactical nuclear weapons, which are said to be “harmless to the surrounding  civilian population because the explosion is underground.” The tactical nukes are bona fide thermonuclear weapons, with an explosive capacity between one third and six times a Hiroshima bomb. They have been cleared for battlefield use (in the conventional war theater) by the US Senate and their use does not require the approval by the Commander in Chief.

The people at the highest levels of government who make decisions regarding the use of nuclear weapons haven’t  the foggiest idea as to the implications of their actions.

Cold War versus Post Cold War Nuclear Doctrine 

A recently released classified Pentagon document (1959) confirms that during the Cold War, 1200 cities extending from Eastern Europe to the Far East were targeted for systemic destruction.

Source: National Security Archive

According to 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe.

Major Cities in Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive

Today’s List of Targeted Cities 

This policy of nuclear bombing of targeted cities is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon. While today’s list of targets remains classified, cities in Russia, China, the Middle East, North Korea are on the target list. An Associated Press report quoting Pentagon sources (June 4, 2015) confirms that:

The Pentagon has been actively considering the use of nuclear missiles against military targets inside Russia, …  Three options being considered by the Pentagon are the placement of anti-missile defenses in Europe aimed at shooting Russian missiles out of the sky; a “counterforce” option that would involve pre-emptive non-nuclear strikes on Russia military sites; and finally, “countervailing strike capabilities,” involving the pre-emptive deployment of nuclear missiles against targets inside Russia.

The AP states: “The options go so far as one implied—but not stated explicitly—that would improve the ability of US nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory.” In other words, the US is actively preparing nuclear war against Russia.

Robert Scher, one of Carter’s nuclear policy aides, told Congress in April that the deployment of “counterforce” measures would mean “we could go about and actually attack that missile where it is in Russia.” According to other Pentagon officials, this option would entail the deployment of ground-launched cruise missiles throughout Europe.

The criminality and recklessness of the foreign policy of Washington and its NATO allies is staggering. A pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russian forces, many of them near populated areas, could claim millions of lives in seconds and lead to a nuclear war that would obliterate humanity.

Even assuming that the US officials threatening Russia do not actually want such an outcome, however, and that they are only trying to intimidate Moscow, there is a sinister objective logic to such threats.” (Niles Williamson, Military Madness: US Officials Consider Nuclear Strikes against Russia, World Socialist Website, June 5, 2015, emphasis added)

Nuclear Tests Worldwide

Over 2000 Nuclear Tests have been conducted since 1945. Scroll down for video

Source: Wikipedia, click to enlarge

Undeclared Nuclear States under NNPT: India, Pakistan, Israel, DPRK

 

Source Wikipedia

The Deployment of Nuclear Weapons by Nine Nuclear States

Source: www.Sipri.org

Nuclear Sites in the US 

“Map of major U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure sites during the Cold War and into the present. Places with grayed-out names are no longer functioning and are in various stages of environmental remediation.” (Wikipedia). Scroll down for Google Map.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Google Maps and Daily Mail 

‘The map was produced from data suppled by the Defense Department and nuclear watchdog groups.

It shows where the warheads are (in red on the map), where the civilian nuclear power plants can be found (in green) and the location of labs and nuclear weapons plants (in blue). Daily Mail 

Five “Non-Nuclear States” (Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Turkey)
Possess and Deploy Nuclear Weapons

Five non-nuclear states (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey) have deployed the B61 tactical (thermonuclear) against targets in the Middle East and the Russian Federation.. The latest and more advanced version is the B61-12, which is contemplated to replace the older B61 version.

Source: National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005

 Video: Simulation of More than 2000 Nuclear Detonations Since 1945

Today’s Potential Targets for US Nuclear Attacks

Are countries in the Middle East potential targets for a nuclear attack? (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky,  Dangerous Crossroads: Is America Considering the Use of Nuclear Weapons against Libya? Global Research, April 2011).

originalThe tactical nuclear weapons were specifically developed for use in post Cold War “conventional conflicts with third world nations”.  In October 2001, in the immediate wake of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld envisaged the use of the B61-11 tactical nuclear bomb in Afghanistan.The targets were Al Qaeda cave bunkers in the Tora Bora mountains.

Rumsfeld stated at the time that while the “conventional” bunker buster bombs “‘are going to be able to do the job’, … he did not rule out the eventual use of nuclear weapons.” (Quoted in the Houston Chronicle, 20 October 2001, emphasis added.)

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The use of the B61-11 was also contemplated during the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq as well as in the 2011 NATO bombings of Libya.

In this regard, the B61-11 was described as “a precise, earth-penetrating low-yield nuclear weapon against high-value underground targets”, which included Saddam Hussein’s underground bunkers:

 ”If Saddam was arguably the highest value target in Iraq, then a good case could be made for using a nuclear weapon like the B61-11 to assure killing him and decapitating the regime” (Defense News, December 8, 2003).

The 1996 Plan to Nuke Libya 

The B61-11 tactical nuclear weapon was slated by the Pentagon to be used in 1996 against Libya: “Five months after [Assistant Defense Secretary] Harold Smith called for an acceleration of the B61-11 production schedule, he went public with an assertion that the Air Force would use the B61-11 [nuclear weapon] against Libya… “(http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/B61-11.htm,)

“Senior Pentagon officials ignited controversy last April [1996] by suggesting that the earth-penetrating [nuclear] weapon would soon be available for possible use against a suspected underground chemical factory being built by Libya at Tarhunah.  (David Muller, Penetrator N-Bombs, International Action Center, 1997)

Tarbunah has a population of more than 200,000 people, men, women and children. It is about 60 km East of Tripoli. Had this “humanitarian bomb” (with a ”yield” or explosive capacity of two-thirds of a Hiroshima bomb) been launched on this “suspected” WMD facility, it would have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, not to mention the nuclear fallout…  The man behind this diabolical project to nuke Libya was Assistant Secretary of Defense Harold Palmer Smith Junior. “Even before the B61 came on line, Libya was identified as a potential target”. (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – September/ October 1997, p. 27 )

Concluding Remarks

Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

Nuclear war –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.

What we are dealing with is the criminalization of the State, whereby officials in high office are complicit in fostering the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons. The media has camouflaged the implications of America’s post Cold war nuclear doctrine, which was formulated in a secret meeting at US Strategic Command Headquarters on Hiroshima Day, August 6, 2003.

On August 6, 2003, on Hiroshima Day, commemorating when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (August 6 1945), a secret meeting was held behind closed doors at Strategic Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Senior executives from the nuclear industry and the military industrial complex were in attendance. This mingling of defense contractors, scientists and policy-makers was not intended to commemorate Hiroshima. The meeting was intended to set the stage for the development of a new generation of “smaller”, “safer” and “more usable” nuclear weapons, to be used in the “in-theater nuclear wars” of the 21st Century.

In a cruel irony, the participants to this secret meeting, which excluded members of Congress, arrived on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing (August 6) and departed on the anniversary of the attack on Nagasaki (August 9). (Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research, Montreal, 2012)

The Hiroshima Day 2003 meetings had set the stage for the “privatization of nuclear war”. Corporations not only reap multibillion-dollar profits from the production of nuclear bombs, they also have a direct voice in setting the agenda regarding the use and deployment of nuclear weapons.

All the safeguards of the Cold War era, which categorized the nuclear bomb as “a weapon of last resort”, have been scrapped. “Offensive” military actions using nuclear warheads are now described as acts of “self-defense”. During the Cold War, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) prevailed, namely that the use of nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union would result in “the destruction of both the attacker and the defender”.

In the post Cold war era, US nuclear doctrine was redefined. There is no sanity in what is euphemistically called US foreign policy. At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable…

Stay informed, spread the word far and wide. To reverse the tide of war, the broader public must be informed. Post on Facebook/Twitter.

Confront the war criminals in high office.

What we really need is real “Regime Change in America”.

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NGOs Demand Olympic Authorities End Rainforest Destruction and Human Rights Abuses

NOVANEWS

NGOs Demand Olympic Authorities End Rainforest Destruction and Human Rights Abuses Connected to Tokyo 2020 Olympics Construction

 

TOKYO/LIMA – Today, 47 civil society organizations delivered an open letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Olympic authorities, at the start of the IOC Executive Board Meeting in Lima, Peru. The letter reiterated grave and mounting concerns about the legitimacy and accountability of IOC sustainability commitments and the reputation and credibility of the iconic Olympic games. The letter criticizes the Olympics for knowingly exploiting tropical forests and potentially fueling human rights abuses in the construction and implementation of the games. The groups are calling for full transparency and an end to the use of rainforest wood to construct the Tokyo Olympic facilities, including the new National Olympic Stadium.

The signatory organizations, which include a broad cross section of NGOs with expertise in supply chain risks associated with environmental and human rights, are critical of the continued lack of transparency by Tokyo Olympic authorities.

“The Tokyo Olympic authorities are hiding the fact that they are using massive volumes of tropical wood to construct the new National Olympic Stadium. Without full transparency of the timber supply chain, claims to hosting a sustainable Olympics are completely baseless,” said Hana Heineken with Rainforest Action Network.

NGOs claim that the IOC’s failure to address the obvious risk of unsustainability is a clear breach of its own commitment to “include sustainability in all aspects of the Olympic Games.” In particular, they point to a major loophole in the Tokyo 2020 procurement policy that allows wood used for concrete formwork to be exempted from the policy’s environmental, labor and human rights requirements, despite the majority of this type of wood in Japan coming from the rainforests of Malaysia and Indonesia where problems of illegal logging, rainforest destruction, and land rights violations persist.

On December 6 2016, 44 NGOs sent a letter to the IOC warning them of the high risk that illegal and unsustainable rainforest wood would be used to construct Tokyo’s new Olympic National Stadium and other related facilities. The groups warned that failure to adopt additional safeguards and due diligence measures at the outset of the construction could result in complicity with human rights abuses, illegal logging, and rainforest destruction. The letter offered evidence of high risk timber from Malaysia being used in Tokyo construction projects and argued that the Tokyo 2020 Timber Sourcing Code is ill-equipped to prevent the use of risky timber. Yet, not a single demand put forward in the letter has been met.

Today’s letter states that the new National Olympic Stadium is using significant volumes of rainforest wood as concrete formwork plywood. They point to evidence that tropical plywood supplied by a notorious Malaysian timber company called Shin Yang is being used, despite the company’s history of illegal logging, rainforest destruction, and human rights violations. While Tokyo Olympic authorities have defended their use of Shin Yang wood by claiming it is certified, the letter refutes claims to sustainability with evidence that Shin Yang’s certified wood is linked to human rights violations in Sarawak, Malaysia. The letter also states that the majority of wood being used for the Stadium as concrete formwork is in fact uncertified and very likely to have originated from the rainforests of Malaysia or Indonesia, which supplies most concrete formwork plywood used in Japan.

“Shin Yang’s certification is meaningless in the face of evidence from Indigenous representatives themselves that its logging practices are destroying Indigenous peoples’ traditional lands and livelihoods,” said Peg Putt, CEO of Markets For Change.

Tokyo 2020 authorities are in the midst of developing procurement standards for palm oil and pulp & paper, commodities that are major drivers of tropical deforestation. Given Japan’s significant consumption of rainforest-derived paper and growing consumption of palm oil, NGOs warn Olympic authorities to adopt robust social and environmental safeguards or face further criticism for fueling rainforest destruction, illegal logging and human rights violations.

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Resistance at Tule Lake (trailer)

NOVANEWS

Resistance at Tule Lake (trailer) from Konrad Aderer on Vimeo.

RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to resist the U.S. government’s program of mass incarceration during World War II. Branded as “disloyals” and re-imprisoned at Tule Lake Segregation Center, they continued to protest in the face of militarized violence, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship.

The documentary premiered in February 2017, is continuing to screen at film festivals and other venues, and will be presented for national public television broadcast in May 2018.

For more information, visit resistanceattulelake.com

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Hiroshima – A Criminal Enterprise From Which Nothing Has Been Learned

NOVANEWS
By Felicity Arbuthnot 

When Paul Tibbets was thirteen years old he flew a bi-plane over Florida’s Miami Beach dropping a promotional cargo of Babe Ruth Candy Bars directly on to the promotional target area, in an advertising stunt. It was his first solo flight and: “From that moment he became hooked on flying.”

He became a test pilot and: “one of the first Americans to fly in world War Two.” Seventeen years later he had graduated from dropping Candy Bars to dropping the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Thirty years later, the now retired Brigadier-General Paul Warfield Tibbets Junior (image right) told authors Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, for their minutely detailed and definitive book (1) on one of the world’s greatest crimes, of the background to the venture.  Most would surely conclude it was a criminal project from the start, on every level.

Tibbets told the authors:

“I got called on this bomb job … I was told I was going to destroy one city with one bomb. That was quite a thought … We had, working in my organization, a murderer, three men guilty of manslaughter and several felons; all of them had escaped from prison.

“The murderer was serving life; the manslaughter guys were doing ten to fifteen years; the felons three to five. After escaping they had enlisted under false names. They were all skilled technicians … They were all good, real good at their jobs and we needed ‘em. We told them that if they gave us no trouble, they would have no trouble from us.

“After it was over, we called each of them in and handed them their dossiers and a box of matches and said ‘Go burn ‘em.’ You see, I was not running a police department, I was running an outfit that was unique.”

The crime which the “oufit” committed was also unique, making the odd murder, manslaughter or felony on home soil pale in to insignificance in comparison.

In Hiroshima, a millisecond after 8.16 a.m., on 6th August 1945, the temperature at the core of the hundreds of feet wide fireball reached 50,000,000 degrees. Flesh burned two miles distant from it’s outer parameters.

80,000 people were killed or mortally injured instantly. The main area targeted was “the city’s principal residential, commercial and military quarters.”

The entrance to the Shima Clinic was flanked by great stone columns – “They were rammed straight down in to the ground.” The building was destroyed: “The occupants were vapourised.”

Just three of the city’s fifty five hospitals remained usable, one hundred and eighty of Hiroshima’s two hundred doctors were dead or injured and 1,654 of 1,780 nurses.

Sixty two thousand buildings were destroyed as all utilities and transportation systems. Just sixteen fire fighting vehicles remained workable.

People standing, walking, the schoolgirls manning the communications centre in Hiroshima Castle and ninety percent of the castle’s occupants, including American prisoners of war, were also vapourised. Gives a whole new meaning to the US military’s much vaunted “No soldier left behind.”

“The radiant heat set alight Radio Hiroshima, burnt out the tramcars, trucks, railway rolling stock.

“Stone walls, steel doors and asphalt pavement glowed red hot.” Clothing fused to skin. “More than a mile from the epicenter” mens’ caps fused to their scalps, womens’ kimonos to their bodies and childrens’ socks to their legs. All the above decimations happened in the time a crew member of the US bomber, “Enola Gay”, took to blink from the flash behind his goggles. What he saw when he opened them and looked down was, he said : “a peep in to hell.”

At home base, as Hiroshima was incinerated, a party was being prepared to welcome the arsonists. ”The biggest blow out” with free beer, all star soft ball game, a jitter bug contest, prizes, star attractions, a movie and the cooks working overtime to prepare a sumptuous fare.

Hiroshima’s destruction had a uranium-based detonation. Three days later on 9th August, Nagasaki was destroyed by a plutonium-based detonation to ascertain which would be the most “effective” in the new nuclear age warfare.

Not even a nod or thought had been given to the Hague Convention which had very specific legal guidelines to protection of civilians in war. One might speculate that Hiroshima also vapourised any pretention of such considerations for all time, in spite the subsequent Geneva Convention and it’s additional protocols.

In May this year, President Obama visited Hiroshima, he said (2): “Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.

“Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.

“Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.”

Obama ended his Hiroshima address with: “Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders, reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.”

For a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and a constitutional law expert, his words are especially cheap. The man who began his Presidency with a public commitment to build a nuclear weapons free world (speech in Czech Republic, 5th April 2009) has, mind bendingly, committed to a thirty year, one Trillion $ nuclear arsenal upgrade. (3)

The epitaph at Hiroshima was written by Tadayoshi Saika, Professor of English Literature at Hiroshima University. He also provided the English translation, “Let all the souls here rest in peace for we shall not repeat the evil.”

On November 3, 1983, an explanation plaque in English was added in order to convey Professor Saika’s intent that “we” refers to “all humanity”, not specifically the Japanese or Americans, and that the “error” is the “evil of war”:

“The inscription on the front panel offers a prayer for the peaceful repose of the victims and a pledge on behalf of all humanity never to repeat the evil of war. It expresses the spirit of Hiroshima – enduring grief, transcending hatred, pursuing harmony … and yearning for genuine, lasting world peace.” (Wikipedia.)

Did President Obama have a twinge of conscience as he read it? Or did he even bother? He is surely amongst the most unworthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. And will the rest of the world heed the words, the pledge and the spirit, before it is too late?

Notes

  1. Ruin From The Air, The Atomic Mission to Hiroshima: ISBN 0-586-06705-1
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/28/world/asia/text-of-president-obamas-speech-in-hiroshima-japan.html?_r=0
  3. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/162279

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Hiroshima – A Criminal Enterprise From Which Nothing Has Been Learned

NOVANEWS
 

When Paul Tibbets was thirteen years old he flew a bi-plane over Florida’s Miami Beach dropping a promotional cargo of Babe Ruth Candy Bars directly on to the promotional target area, in an advertising stunt. It was his first solo flight and: “From that moment he became hooked on flying.”

He became a test pilot and: “one of the first Americans to fly in world War Two.” Seventeen years later he had graduated from dropping Candy Bars to dropping the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Thirty years later, the now retired Brigadier-General Paul Warfield Tibbets Junior (image right) told authors Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, for their minutely detailed and definitive book (1) on one of the world’s greatest crimes, of the background to the venture.  Most would surely conclude it was a criminal project from the start, on every level.

Tibbets told the authors:

“I got called on this bomb job … I was told I was going to destroy one city with one bomb. That was quite a thought … We had, working in my organization, a murderer, three men guilty of manslaughter and several felons; all of them had escaped from prison.

“The murderer was serving life; the manslaughter guys were doing ten to fifteen years; the felons three to five. After escaping they had enlisted under false names. They were all skilled technicians … They were all good, real good at their jobs and we needed ‘em. We told them that if they gave us no trouble, they would have no trouble from us.

“After it was over, we called each of them in and handed them their dossiers and a box of matches and said ‘Go burn ‘em.’ You see, I was not running a police department, I was running an outfit that was unique.”

The crime which the “oufit” committed was also unique, making the odd murder, manslaughter or felony on home soil pale in to insignificance in comparison.

In Hiroshima, a millisecond after 8.16 a.m., on 6th August 1945, the temperature at the core of the hundreds of feet wide fireball reached 50,000,000 degrees. Flesh burned two miles distant from it’s outer parameters.

80,000 people were killed or mortally injured instantly. The main area targeted was “the city’s principal residential, commercial and military quarters.”

The entrance to the Shima Clinic was flanked by great stone columns – “They were rammed straight down in to the ground.” The building was destroyed: “The occupants were vapourised.”

Just three of the city’s fifty five hospitals remained usable, one hundred and eighty of Hiroshima’s two hundred doctors were dead or injured and 1,654 of 1,780 nurses.

Sixty two thousand buildings were destroyed as all utilities and transportation systems. Just sixteen fire fighting vehicles remained workable.

People standing, walking, the schoolgirls manning the communications centre in Hiroshima Castle and ninety percent of the castle’s occupants, including American prisoners of war, were also vapourised. Gives a whole new meaning to the US military’s much vaunted “No soldier left behind.”

“The radiant heat set alight Radio Hiroshima, burnt out the tramcars, trucks, railway rolling stock.

“Stone walls, steel doors and asphalt pavement glowed red hot.” Clothing fused to skin. “More than a mile from the epicenter” mens’ caps fused to their scalps, womens’ kimonos to their bodies and childrens’ socks to their legs. All the above decimations happened in the time a crew member of the US bomber, “Enola Gay”, took to blink from the flash behind his goggles. What he saw when he opened them and looked down was, he said : “a peep in to hell.”

At home base, as Hiroshima was incinerated, a party was being prepared to welcome the arsonists. ”The biggest blow out” with free beer, all star soft ball game, a jitter bug contest, prizes, star attractions, a movie and the cooks working overtime to prepare a sumptuous fare.

Hiroshima’s destruction had a uranium-based detonation. Three days later on 9th August, Nagasaki was destroyed by a plutonium-based detonation to ascertain which would be the most “effective” in the new nuclear age warfare.

Not even a nod or thought had been given to the Hague Convention which had very specific legal guidelines to protection of civilians in war. One might speculate that Hiroshima also vapourised any pretention of such considerations for all time, in spite the subsequent Geneva Convention and it’s additional protocols.

In May this year, President Obama visited Hiroshima, he said (2): “Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.

“Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.

“Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.”

Obama ended his Hiroshima address with: “Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders, reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.”

For a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and a constitutional law expert, his words are especially cheap. The man who began his Presidency with a public commitment to build a nuclear weapons free world (speech in Czech Republic, 5th April 2009) has, mind bendingly, committed to a thirty year, one Trillion $ nuclear arsenal upgrade. (3)

The epitaph at Hiroshima was written by Tadayoshi Saika, Professor of English Literature at Hiroshima University. He also provided the English translation, “Let all the souls here rest in peace for we shall not repeat the evil.”

On November 3, 1983, an explanation plaque in English was added in order to convey Professor Saika’s intent that “we” refers to “all humanity”, not specifically the Japanese or Americans, and that the “error” is the “evil of war”:

“The inscription on the front panel offers a prayer for the peaceful repose of the victims and a pledge on behalf of all humanity never to repeat the evil of war. It expresses the spirit of Hiroshima – enduring grief, transcending hatred, pursuing harmony … and yearning for genuine, lasting world peace.” (Wikipedia.)

Did President Obama have a twinge of conscience as he read it? Or did he even bother? He is surely amongst the most unworthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. And will the rest of the world heed the words, the pledge and the spirit, before it is too late?

Notes

  1. Ruin From The Air, The Atomic Mission to Hiroshima: ISBN 0-586-06705-1
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/28/world/asia/text-of-president-obamas-speech-in-hiroshima-japan.html?_r=0
  3. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/162279

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Japan’s Conspiracy bill signals new threats to the anti-U.S. base movement

NOVANEWS

Japan’s Conspiracy bill signals new threats to the anti-U.S. base movement

The day after Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, successfully rammed through a controversial law, the Conspiracy bill, on June 15, the author arrived in Kyoto to represent the ANSWER Coalition on a weeklong speaking tour against U.S.-Japanese imperialism hosted by the Asia-Wide Campaign (AWC-Japan).

The speaking tour included a rally and a march in Kyoto, and public forums in Kyoto, Fukuyama, Nagoya, and Kobe. In every forum activists were deeply concerned and outraged by the Conspiracy bill. Despite the bill becoming law, people were determined to continue to resist it.

Conspiracy bill

The Conspiracy bill became law by using the rare tactic of bypassing committee-level approval. That is, skipping a vote in an upper house committee and moving directly to a vote in the full upper house. Critics fear the bill’s vague definition of terrorism poses a threat to citizens’ rights. The Abe government argues the Conspiracy bill is a necessary safeguard against terrorist attacks at the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.

Many activists in Japan believe that the bill is a new offensive specifically aimed at peoples’ movements, such as the anti-U.S. base movement. For example, the bill criminalizes plans and preparations to commit 277 “serious crimes.” Such “crimes” include acts commonly used in the anti-base movement, like sit-ins to stop base-related construction projects. The bill therefore seems less about combating terrorism and more about legalizing the state’s use of terrorism against its own citizens.

In discussions with the author, activists in Japan were struck by the similarity between Abe’s Conspiracy bill and the way Republican-controlled states began taking steps to widen the legal definition of criminality after the election of Trump. In North Dakota, for example, under emergency provisions, laws were immediately enacted without debate to further criminalize peaceful, indigenous-led water protectors blocking the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

U.S.-Japanese Military Alliance

Abe’s Conspiracy bill comes at a time when the United States and Japan are ramping up their military alliance based largely on the lie that the DPRK and China pose an aggressive, offensive threat to the U.S. military bases in Japan, 75 percent of which are located about 400 miles south of Japan proper on Okinawa island.

The United States controlled Okinawa from 1945 until it was returned in 1972, not to the indigenous Okinawans, but to the Japanese government, as part of a non-nuclear proliferation treaty. Even though the United States no longer occupies the whole of Okinawa, the Security Treaty, signed in 1951 and revised in 1960, continues to give the United States access to Japan’s air and land space for military purposes in exchange for “protection.”

The U.S. government’s stated intention of maintaining a large and growing military presence in Japan beginning in 1952 was to serve as a “bulwark against communism.” Even after the Cold War, the U.S. military presence in Japan and the Asian Pacific has grown. Once the Soviet Union and much of the socialist bloc were eliminated, the last holdouts of anti-colonial, pan-Arab, independent, nationalism were targeted for regime change.

Through racism, sanctions and lies about weapons of mass destruction, the United States has brought massive destabilization to the region, including genocide, widespread terrorism, and open-air slave markets. The U.S. bases and military alliance with Japan made these war crimes possible.

Japan, after enacting a new series of war laws, sent war ships to the Gulf region in 2001 and 2003 to provide refueling support for U.S. aircraft during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution states, “the Japanese people forever renounce war” and that all means of “war potential, will never be maintained.”

In 2005-2006, the U.S.-Japanese military alliance was reinforced through a “realignment” plan that would more centrally integrate U.S. and Japanese military alliances. The goal is to transform the Japanese Self-Defense Forces into a ready-for-war army to be deployed, along with U.S. forces, anywhere in the world. The people’s movements in Japan have been resisting this plan for many years.

In 2012, Obama’s “rebalancing” strategy made dangerous strides toward realignment, leading to more cooperation between the United States and Japan in conducting joint military exercises or “war games” right outside of North Korea’s waters.

Most recently, the United States, Japan and the U.S.-controlled South Korean military coordinated a nuclear bomb-dropping drill right off of North Korea’s shores. When the author joined a rally in Kyoto on June 16, demonstrators expressed outrage that the UN Security Council would not consider this an act of provocation, but rather imposed further sanctions on the DPRK for their testing of an intermediate-range missile as a response to being threatened with nuclear annihilation.

The Abe government is currently moving aggressively to completely deregulate and unleash the Japanese Self-Defense Forces by amending the constitution. This process is likely to begin in the fall. Abe has boldly stated that Japan’s military forces need a legitimate position within Article 9.

Based on the energy and perseverance of the people’s movements in Japan steps taken to amend Article 9 will likely result in Abe’s approval rating to continue to fall. An indication of this was the Tokyo assembly election on Sunday, July 2, where Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party suffered a humiliating defeat. While this election does not necessarily mean the undoing of the Abe government, it does call into question Abe’s proposed timeline for reforming Japan’s pacifist Constitution by 2020.

As state policy moves further away from the peoples’ will, protests and demonstrations can be expected to rise. A seasoned politician, Abe surely knows this opposition is coming, and the Conspiracy bill must be understood within this context.

The anti-base movement

The United States has over 40,000 military personnel deployed at 83 permanent bases in Japan. In addition, the U.S.’s 7th Navy Fleet, with its homeport at the Yokosuka base, houses more than 13,000 troops afloat. With perhaps around 60,000 U.S. troops, Japan has been the number one host country for U.S. forces abroad since 2010.

While the anti-base movement in Japan is informed by the peoples’ demand for self-determination and the desire to regain control of their national territory, a number of related issues have also been central.

First, many people, especially in Okinawa where the bases are most heavily concentrated, consuming more than 20 percent of the land base, the bases themselves have disrupted and even devastated their social life. For example, many are outraged and disgusted by the sexual crimes U.S. soldiers commit against women and young girls near U.S. bases with near impunity.

The military activity and widespread use of dangerous chemicals on the bases have resulted in major environmental devastation. The construction of bases through expanding out into the ocean or in forested areas is another source of ecosystem devastation. One of the consequences of these and other activities has been high rates of cancer among communities in close proximity to bases and the military’s dumping grounds. The environmental destruction has also made life difficult for farmers and fisherman in places like Okinawa. Finally, the unimaginably debilitating noise pollution the bases mercilessly subject the people living around them to has led to decades of fierce resistance.

Okinawans have resisted U.S. military presence since the end of WWII and more recently, have blocked the construction of the Henoko base for 20 years. So organized and widespread is the Okinawan resistance that they successfully elected an anti-base governor in 2014, Takeshi Onaga.

In 2015, Onaga revoked the land reclamation permit needed to build the base on top of a fragile coral reef ecosystem. However, the Onaga-led Okinawans lost the case in the Supreme Court, and the central government quickly began building the seawalls for the Henoko base in late April amid massive protests and civil disobedience. The local activists have not given up on stopping the base from being built, noting that the sea walls have not destroyed the reef. The Conspiracy bill will surely be used against Okinawans in the coming realignment of the U.S.-Japanese military alliance.

Indigenous Okinawans, whose language and culture has been devastated by Japanese colonialism and current curricular genocide, and who have been terrorized by U.S. soldiers for nearly seven decades, will surely respond with indignation as the Abe government moves to further militarize the Self-Defense Forces.

Again, the Conspiracy bill will allow the Japanese government to more easily eliminate the anti-base movement by jailing its leadership and peaceful activists as terrorists.

People’s Resistance and Solidarity

As wealth is increasingly redistributed upward in both Japan and the United States through the slashing of social spending, cutting corporate taxes, and increasing military spending, only with international solidarity and the understanding of the power people already have can a new society of the people be realized.

Click here to read the full report from the ANSWER Coalition’s participation in a speaking tour against U.S.-Japanese imperialism hosted by the Asia-Wide Campaign (AWC-Japan)

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Free trade agreements and military deregulation in Japan

NOVANEWS

Free trade agreements and military deregulation in Japan

The author represented the ANSWER Coalition on a weeklong speaking tour against U.S.-Japanese imperialism hosted by the Asia-Wide Campaign (AWC-Japan) from June 16-21, 2017. The speaking tour included a rally and a march in Kyoto, and public forums in Kyoto, Fukuyama, Nagoya, and Kobe.

Japan’s progressive movements tend to oppose the Japanese-U.S. military alliance codified within the 1951 Security Treaty. Revised in 1960, the treaty grants the U.S. open access to Japan’s air, land and sea territory for military purposes.

A dominant tendency within this movement acknowledges the role of U.S. imperialism within Japan’s armed forces, but argues the country has its own military and economic interests aside from the United States.

Because modern, late-stage capitalism is the product of European powers’ pivot to Africa for the slave trade and the pivot to Asian markets in the 1880s, the liberation of Asia and Africa from capitalism is central to the liberation of the whole planet from capitalism and imperialism.

While understanding Japan’s role as a junior imperialist power with the United States is significant for resisting U.S. imperialism, comprehending Japan’s independent economic and military interests are also important for anti-imperialist struggle. For example, the way Japan has responded to the Trump presidency withdrawing the United States from Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an important development.

The TPP Puzzle

Many activists in Japan have expressed confusion regarding Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the TPP. That is, if the TPP was to be the U.S. capitalist class’s way of exploiting, tax-free, super oppressed labor in Asia Pacific created by decades of U.S. military intervention, then why would Trump back out? That is, why would the U.S. capitalist state decline another free trade agreement that would result in higher rates of profit for many multinational corporations? Many U.S. capitalists were in fact angry at Trump for ruining their projected TPP earnings.

While the answer includes a growing split within the U.S. capitalist class, and Trump’s uninformed turn to some type of racist economic protectionism, what is significant is the way the Japanese capitalist state apparatus has stepped in to assert its own independent interests. That is, with the United States out of the TPP picture, how is Japan moving forward? That is, the absence of the U.S. might mean more investment opportunities in the Asia Pacific, but perhaps less automobile exports that would have gone to the United States due to deregulated tariffs.

Japan’s FTAs

An FTA that had been in the works for years between Japan and the EU was just settled days before the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. It has been argued that the timing of this deal with the G20 sent an intentional message to Trump. That is, it was a direct response to Trump’s protectionism and solution to lost automobile exports.

Again, the TPP was going to help Japan with falling exports. In 2016, for example, exports in Japan fell more than 11 percent. Rather than exporting more automobiles to the United States, Japan has successfully turned to the EU with the signing of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement signed July 6.

In exchange for lowering tariffs on Japanese automobiles, Tokyo has agreed to dramatically lower tariffs on meat and dairy products for EU producers. The National Pork Producers Council sees the writing on the wall since Japan has been the biggest export market for their products.

Despite its downturn in exports overall, Japan remains the leading supplier of commodities produced by advanced technology to East Asian countries. Japan’s 14 FTAs (with Australia, Brunei, Chile, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam) have played an important role. Japan is also currently negotiating FTAs with Canada, Colombia, South Korea, and one between Japan, South Korea and China.

Japan’s highly developed capitalist economy tends to suffer from falling profit rates. One counter-acting measure to counter the falling rate of profit is to increase the rate of exploitation (i.e., lower wages).

For example, in 2015, the primary labor law regulating the employment of part-time workers, the Worker Dispatch Act, was revised in the employers benefit. The length of time an employer can maintain an employee’s status as “temporary” is now unlimited.

As a result, the number of dispatch workers in Japan is growing. Around 40 percent of Japan’s workforce is temporary, with high rates of extreme exploitation. By laying out less in the form of wages, production costs are reduced and a little more flexibility exporting commodities is achieved on the backs of workers.

One outcome of this trend is that the number of families on public welfare assistance more than doubled in the last 20 years. More than 16 percent of children in Japan are living in poverty.

Another factor commonly used by the most developed capitalist economies to counter falling profit rates is to export not only goods or use values, but capital itself. For example, between 2015 and 2016, Japan’s investment in Indonesia doubled from roughly $400 million to $900 million.

Japan is also the worlds’ leading exporter of capital goods and the most advanced robotics, labor-saving technology. Such machines are exported from Japan and imported into Indonesia, South Korea and China, for example, to manufacture consumer goods for export.

The FTA between Japan and Indonesia, originally signed in 2008, has tended to favor the more powerful Japan. Throughout renegotiations of the FTA over the years, Indonesia has reduced obstacles for Japanese investment in Indonesia.

Deregulating Japan’s Military

Looking expansively beyond its borders, Japanese capitalists see China, the second-largest economy in the world, as a regional, economic competitor. For example, in 2013, after Beijing declared an Air Defense Identification Zone over the Senkaku islands and surrounding waters of the East China Sea, the Abe government intensified its anti-China position.

Whereas China claims “undisputed sovereignty” in the East China Sea, the United States and Japan side with the Philippines and Vietnam, who both assert sovereignty over the military use of the rocks and shoals as strategic positions in future struggles over economic regional control.

However, such militarist ambitions are difficult to realize with a pacifist Constitution. In 2005-2006, the U.S.-Japanese military alliance was reinforced through a “realignment” plan that would more centrally integrate U.S. and Japanese military alliances. The goal is to transform the Japanese Self-Defense Forces into a ready-for-war army to be deployed, along with U.S. forces, anywhere in the world.

Growing Opposition

The Japanese capitalist class interests in deregulating the military stands in direct opposition to the people of Japan who tend to support the pacifist Constitution and avoiding the horrors of war (especially those that the U.S. military brought to Japan with the use of the worlds’ first and only major nuclear attack). Many people in Japan see their pacifist Constitution as a great advance for humankind and democracy.

Attempting to counter the strong public opposition to the remilitarization of Japan, the Abe government has employed an intense nationalistic propaganda campaign, including patriotic education and using racism to justify the current aggression toward the DPRK and to glorify Japan’s past colonialist occupation of Korea. However, despite these efforts, steps taken to amend Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution will likely result in the continuing fall of Abe’s approval rating.

An indication of this was the Tokyo assembly election on Sunday, July 2, 2017, where Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party suffered a humiliating defeat. While this election does not necessarily mean the undoing of the Abe government, it does call into question Abe’s proposed timeline for reforming Japan’s pacifist Constitution by 2020.

For the faction of Japan’s capitalist class that Prime Minister Abe and his conservative Liberal Democratic Party represent, Article 9 is a barrier to its militaristic ambitions.

Click here to read the full report from the ANSWER Coalition’s participation in a speaking tour against U.S.-Japanese imperialism hosted by the Asia-Wide Campaign (AWC-Japan)

Posted in JapanComments Off on Free trade agreements and military deregulation in Japan

Struggling against imperialism, refusing to forget “comfort women”

NOVANEWS

Struggling against imperialism, refusing to forget “comfort women”

A former “comfort woman” from South Korea joins a protest outside of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., in July 2015, demanding justice for Japan’s war crimes during World War II. Photo: Sarah Sloan.

The author represented the ANSWER Coalition on a weeklong speaking tour against U.S.-Japanese imperialism hosted by the Asia-Wide Campaign (AWC-Japan) from June 16-21, 2017. The speaking tour included a rally and a march in Kyoto, and public forums in Kyoto, Fukuyama, Nagoya, and Kobe.

The government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a highly unpopular imperialist agenda that has been coupled with an ideological turn to nationalist chauvinism in a feeble attempt to popularize its bigoted, militarizing, capitalist pursuits. For many activists in Japan, the election of Trump reflects the same ruling-class trend of reactionary scapegoating to maintain the stability of the system as living standards decline.

Demonizing North Korea

Mobilizing support for Abe’s desire to transform Japan’s military into a completely deregulated ready-for-war army has been a major focus of his administration. The Japanese capitalist class’s move to revise its pacifist Constitution is justified in part by the supposed threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). However, North Korea has done nothing but pursued a military deterrent against external threats since the United States and Japan have rejected its requests for a peace treaty to finally end the Korean War.

Since the DPRK does not really pose an offensive threat to Japan, South Korea or the United States, a more plausible explanation for Japan’s re-militarization is its desire to secure economic interests against such rivals as China in the Asia Pacific region and elsewhere. Working to secure popular support for Japan’s shift toward militarization, Abe has glorified Japan’s pre-WWII imperialist government.

Abe has therefore moved to suppress statements in Japanese history books that reflect the extremely high human costs of imperialism. This way Japanese youth, just like in the United States, are socialized with a form of romanticized blind patriotism.

Forgetting about “comfort women”

A serious issue that really shows the barbarity of imperialism is the enslavement of girls and women during WWII who were forced into prostitution. Abe has moved to erase this grave injustice from the history books. Hundreds of thousands of women in 11 countries, including Korea and the Philippines, were forced into a form of state-sponsored slavery by the Japanese military. This horrible consequence of colonialist domination constitutes a war crime.

Revealing how important the Abe government believes it is to hide the horrors of imperialism, in 2014 Japan’s Foreign Ministry told the Japanese Consulate in New York to ask a major textbook publisher, McGraw-Hill, to alter passages on “comfort women” in one of their textbooks. Even though Japan’s Foreign Ministry was not successful, it demonstrates their dedication to portraying its imperial past in a positive light.

Outrageously, the official position of the Abe government is that there is no concrete evidence that women were forced against their will by the Imperial Japanese Army into brothels.

The struggle for justice for “comfort women”

As the movement for justice for enslaved “comfort women” has demanded that Japan offer, at the very least, a formal apology, Abe has repeatedly refused to offer one that takes responsibility of the role of the Japanese state. While Abe offered an apology in the 2015 agreement between Japan and South Korea that acknowledges that an injustice occurred, it does not place blame on the Imperial Japanese Army.

At a news conference in 2016 in Tokyo, former comfort women from East Timor, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Korean Peninsula spoke of the horrors they faced at the hands of the Imperial Japanese soldiers. They argued that the 2015 agreement between Japan and South Korea was not sufficient for many reasons, including the fact that it does not represent women from all 11 countries where Japan enslaved women and young girls during World War II.

Activists throughout the Asia Pacific and the United States, including remaining survivors, continue to agitate for justice for women forced into enslavement as so-called comfort women. Their demands include having the Japanese government offer a public apology and financial compensation to all victims in all countries, and making sure history textbooks in Japan include the true history of this injustice.

Click here to read the full report from the ANSWER Coalition’s participation in a speaking tour against U.S.-Japanese imperialism hosted by the Asia-Wide Campaign (AWC-Japan)

Posted in JapanComments Off on Struggling against imperialism, refusing to forget “comfort women”

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