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Press TV: China to take over strategic US military base in Djibouti

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Djibouti reportedly ordered US to vacate secondary Obock military base in bid to turn over to Chinese military

Camp Lemonnier in the tiny African state of Djibouti is the largest US military base in the entire African continent. (file photo)

Camp Lemonnier in the tiny African state of Djibouti is the largest US military base in the entire African continent. (file photo)

Editor’s note: Another story totally unreported in the US media, partially confirmed in the UK and elsewhere. This would be a crushing blow to the US, perhaps more symbolic than real. The US has 4 other covert bases in Africa but is also aware that participation in the broad shooting war going on would make what happened in Iraq look like child’s play. With very confirmed reports, especially from Cameroon, showing France as fully complicit in the terrorism in West Africa, one might wonder what role the US could have been playing in the first place.

The tiny African state of Djibouti has reportedly ordered the US to vacate its secondary Obock military base in the nation in a bid to turn over the installation to the Chinese military and its contingent of 10,000 troops, raising major concerns in Washington, which holds the largest military base in Djibouti, Camp Lemonnier.

“The announcement, made the day after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Djibouti last May, is deeply worrying for Pax Americana, for it comes on top of a major package of economic investments by China that has Djiboutian President [Ismaïl Omar] Guelleh openly talking about the importance of his new friends from Asia,” US-based magazineCounterPunch wrote in an article on Monday.

According to the report, the US is about to lose one of its military bases in Djibouti, home to America’s largest permanent military installation in Africa that includes 4,000 troops and a fleet of US assassination drones that run bombing missions in regional Muslim countries as part of Washington’s official targeted killing program.

The Horn of Africa nation, strategically located in the critical entrance from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea, lies at the gateway to the busy Suez Canal waterway and provides a port to neighboring landlocked Ethiopia.

The report further points out that the US Defense Department pays Djibouti nearly $63 million per year for the use of the Camp Lemonnier military base, which also serves as one of the world’s largest drone bases.


China, the report adds, has offered Djibouti a far more generous offer, namely the completion of a $3-billion railroad project from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti.

“[Beijing] is also investing $400 million in modernizing Djibouti’s notoriously undersized port,” the CounterPunch article added.

According to the article and recent Western press reports, the Chinese military presence in Djibouti has introduced – among other possibilities – the prospect of US schemes to organize a ‘regime-change’ effort in the African nation under the pretext of democratic change.

UK-based Daily Telegraph highlighted the concerns of Pentagon officials regarding China’s deepening commercial involvement in Djibouti in a report last May, saying the development may prompt Washington “to relocate sensitive intelligence-gathering operations to more secure locations outside Djibouti where they are better protected from interception by the Chinese.”

US military installation Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti is the key base of Washington’s assassination drones.The British daily further said that there are “fears” that President Guelleh may seek “to impose restrictions on the US military’s access to Camp Lemonnier, such as placing limits on the movement of military personnel and military operations conducted from the base.”

The daily also quoted a “senior US official” as saying that the “trade deal between Djibouti and China has raised serious security concerns with regard to Camp Lemonnier. There are fears that if President Guelleh gets too close to China then he may be tempted to impose restrictions on US access to the base, which would seriously affect the West’s attempts to collect intelligence on Islamic State (Daesh) and al-Qaeda.”

Pointing to a potential US scheme to plan a regime-change operation in Djibouti, the British daily added, “American diplomats are also resisting attempts by Mr Guelleh to stand for re-election next year, which they argue is unconstitutional. Mr Guelleh has been in power since 1999, and by law should stand down. If he does so then Washington hopes a more reasonable leader will be elected, one more aligned to the Pentagon’s interests.”

Moreover, in an April 23 article titled “China Comes to Djibouti,” US journalForeign Affairs wrote that “Washington would need to band together with other allies such as France, Germany and Japan to try and counter China’s growing influence in Djibouti.”

“If it doesn’t, Washington might find that the country hosting its only military base in sub-Saharan Africa owes more favors to China, its rising global rival, than to the United States itself,” the magazine emphasized.

Posted in China, USA0 Comments

The Nuclear Challenge: 70 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1)

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by: Prof Richard Falk

[Prefatory Note: I have been preoccupied for many years with the multiple challenges posed by nuclear weapons, initially from the perspective of international law and morality, later with regard to prudence diplomacy and political survival in international relations, and in all instances, with an eye favoring deep denuclearization associated in my mind with an abiding abhorrence over the use of atomic bombs against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II and with the avoidance of any future use of nuclear weaponry or even threatened use. The annual observance of these terrible events encourages reflection and commentary on this darkest of legacies. Zero nuclear weapons is the unconditional goal that I affirm, achieved in a manner that creates as much public confidence as possible that the eliminations of weaponry and enriched uranium stockpiles are being faithfully carried out.

In this spirit, I want to call attention to a notable volume on the continuing menace posed by nuclear weapons that has just been published under the editorship of Geoffrey Darnton, bearing the title Nuclear Weapons and International Law, and available via Amazon or the bookseller Ingrams. The book contains the entire text of the judgment issued by the London Nuclear Warfare Tribunal (1985), a civil society initiative presided over by four judges, three of whom were Nobel Prize winners, the great dissenting opinion of C.G. Weeramantry in the Advisory Opinion on The Legality of Nuclear Weapons issued in 1996 by the International Court of Justice, and other documents and texts discussing the continuing imperative of nuclear disarmament. I recommend the book highly to all those who seek a broad understanding of why the citizen pilgrims of the world should unite in an urgent effort to create a climate of public awareness that pushes governments to make a genuine effort to fulfill by way of a practical disarming process the often articulated and affirmed vision of a world without nuclear weaponry. What is crucial is to shift the discourse from affirming the elimination of nuclear weaponry as an ultimate goal to the adoption of nuclear disarmament as a programmatic goal of practical politics, especially in the nine nuclear weapons states. Whether this entails a simultaneous partial disarmament of conventional weaponry by some states, especially the United States, is a further issue to consider.

At the invitation of Geoffrey Darnton, David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Foundation (NAPF), and I contributed a jointly authored foreword to the volume as well as a dialogue on nuclear weapons and international law. Krieger, a lifelong advocate of a zero nuclear world, as well as a poet whose poems are often responsive to his humane concerns, has devoted his professional life to the attainment of this goal, traveling throughout around the globe to reach diverse audiences and take part in a variety of NGO anti-nuclear efforts. The NAPF heads a coalition of civil society support for the historic Marshall Islands legal initiative currently under consideration in the International Court of Justice and in American federal courts that demands fulfillment of the nuclear disarmament provisions of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. More information about the NAPF and the Marshall Islands litigation can be found at the NAPF website. A second post will contain our foreword together with David’s poem, “A Short History Lesson: 1945” that raises in the most pointed form the moral tensions and civilizational hypocrisies that related the atomic bombing to the Nuremberg Judgment that held surviving Nazi leaders accountable for their complicity in state crime.]

There are many reasons why nuclear weapons have been retained and acquired by sovereign states, and it is an instructive insight into the workings of the war system at the core of state-centric world order that the first five nuclear weapons states happened to be the five states given preeminent status in the United Nations by being made permanent members of the Security Council with a right of veto. Because of the devastating potentialities of nuclear weaponry to destroy the human future there was from the start of ‘the nuclear age’ a public outcry against their retention and widespread revulsion about dropping atomic bombs on densely populated Japanese cities. This dialectic between hard power maximization and public canons of sensitivity to state-sanctioned atrocity has been evident ever since 1945. The outcome has been the retention and development of the weaponry with related efforts to limit access to the extent possible (the ethos of nonproliferation) and vague affirmations of a commitment to seek nuclear disarmament as a matter of policy and even law. This asymmetry of goals has given us the situation pertaining to the weaponry that haunts the future of humanity. It is epitomized by the geopolitical energies devoted to implementing the nonproliferation provisions of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) (1970; 190 states), as evidenced by making the feared apprehension of future acquisition a casus belli in Iraq (2003) and with respect to Iran, hopefully a second nonproliferation war being averted by the Iranian willingness to limit their nuclear program in such a way as to minimize any prospect of acquiring ‘the bomb.’ In contrast, the nuclear disarmament provision, Article VI, of the NPT is treated by the nuclear weapons states as pure window dressing, having the outward appearance of being a bargain reached between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states, but in reality a commitment by the latter to forego the weaponry in exchange for an empty promise that has been discredited by the absence of credible efforts at implementation over a period of almost half a century. Part of this reality is the unwillingness of the non-nuclear states to raise their voices in concerted opposition to the one-sided implementation of the NPT, exhibiting their reality as states but without geopolitical leverage.

The liberal version of this deceptive Faustian Bargain is the claim that the NPT and nuclear disarmament are complementary to one another, and should be linked in thought and action. The statist reasoning that offers a rationale stresses the desirability of limiting the number of nuclear weapons states while efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament move forward. Among the world’s most astute commentators on nuclear weapons policy is Ramesh Thakur, who heads the Secretariat on the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. In a recent article in The Japan Times [“Link Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation Efforts,” Aug. 12, 2015] Thakur tells us that “there is an inalienable and symbiotic link between nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.” He regards “[t]he key challenge..is to how to protect the political gains and security benefits of the NPT, while also working around it to impart momentum into the disarmament process leading to the total abolition of all nuclear weapons.” From this perspective, Thakur laments the failures of the nuclear weapons states to embrace this linkage in a credible manner, and worries that non-nuclear states are threatening to disrupt the benevolent NPT regime that he credits with greatly restricted the number of states possessing the bomb and has helped avoid any recourse to the weaponry over the 70 years that have elapsed since Nagasaki: “Globally, more and more countries are coming around to the conclusion that the NPT is being used cynically by the nuclear powers not to advance but to frustrate disarmament.”

What is surprising is that it has taken so long for the non-nuclear governments to reach this conclusion, or at least to acknowledge their disaffection in a public space. The mind game played so well by the nuclear weapons states, above all, the United States, rests on the proposition that the main threat posed by the existence and possession of the weaponry is its spread to additional states, not the weaponry itself, and certainly not the nuclear weapons states themselves. This inversion of the real priorities has shifted the policy focus away from disarmament for decades and put the spotlight on proliferation dangers where it doesn’t belong, Iran being the current preoccupation resulting from this way of thinking. The geopolitical discriminatory nature of this mind game is further revealed by the treatment of Israel, what Thakur calls “The global double standards” that are “reinforced by regional hypocrisy, in which all sides stayed studiously silent on Israel’s bombs. ”Sanctions and war threats directed at Iran, silence and denial conferred on Israel.

My disagreement with Thakur rests on his central assertion of linkage. In my view, the NPT regime has been posited for its own sake (operationalizing the sensible global consensus that the fewer nuclear weapons states, the better) but even more robustly, and here is the unacknowledged rub, as a long-termalternative to nuclear disarmament. In other words, while it is theoretically possible that the NPT regime could have been established as a holding operation to give time for a nuclear disarmament process to be negotiated and acted upon, it has been obvious from an early stage that the government bureaucracies of the leading nuclear powers had no intention of accepting an arrangement that would deprive themselves of the bomb. What the Faustian Bargain imposed was the false pretension that nuclear disarmament was integral to the policy agenda of the nuclear weapons states. From time to time political leaders, usually with sincerity, express their commitment to nuclear disarmament. At various times, several American presidents, including even Ronald Reagan, have affirmed their dedication to such a nuclear free future, most recently Barack Obama at his Prague speech in 2009, but after a flourish of attention, nothing happens.

Understanding why nothing happens is the real challenge facing the global disarmament movement. It is here that attention should be given to the ideologies of realist geopolitics that shapes the worldview of the policy elites that control the formation government policies and the supportive self-interested bureaucracies deeply entrenched in the media, think tanks, weapons labs, and private sector (the phenomenon Eisenhower flagged as ‘the military-industrial-complex’ in his Jan. 17, 1961 Farewell Address). It is these ideological and structural factors that explain why nothing happens, and is never allowed to happen. In what should have been treated as a startling confirmation of this disheartening assessment occurred when four former top government officials with impeccable hard power realist credentials decided a couple of years ago that the only way to uphold U.S. security dominance in the future was to abolish nuclear weapons, even their eminence did not prevent their hard power arguments for nuclear disarmament being shunted to one side by the nuclear weapons establishment. [See George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2007; see also Shultz et al., “Deterrence in the Age of Nuclear Proliferation,”Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2011.]

Winning the mind game is a process that needs periodic diversions from the actuality of the global apartheid approach to nuclear weaponry that has never been seriously challenged, but is deeply antithetical to Western professed repudiation of genocidal tactics and ethos. When fears mounted of a breakdown in the bipolar standoff during the Cold War there did take place a popular mobilization of opposition to nuclearism. The anti-nuclear movement reached peaks in Europe after the scares of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and in response to some of the weapons deployment decisions by NATO. (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND). The main ground of anti-nuclear opposition was fear, although the most articulate leader of CND, E.P. Thompson expressed antipathy to nuclear weapons and doctrine on essentially ethical grounds. Thompson argued on the basis of an illuminating analysis that the culture that embraced the then prevailing policies of mutual deterrence was already an active accomplice of Satan by its announced willingness to annihilate tens of millions of innocent people should its will to survive as a state be tested by an unacceptable enemy provocation. [See “Notes on Exterminism: The Last Stage of Civilization,”New Left Review I/121 , May-June 1980] It is indicative that the governments of the nuclear weapons states, and here most notably again the United States was most adamant, never were unequivocally willing to commit themselves to ‘no first use policies’ even in relation to non-nuclear adversaries. In other words, nuclear weapons were treated as instrumental to foreign policy contingencies, and not tainted with illegitimacy based on the supposed ‘nuclear taboo.’

Nonproliferation was the most brilliant of all diversions from the transparent acknowledgement that, whatever rhetoric was used to the contrary, the lead states never accepted nuclear disarmament as a genuine goal of their foreign policy. Quite the contrary. All moves to manage the arms race, including reductions in the size of nuclear arsenals and arrangements about communications during times of crisis, were also designed to reduce public fears of nuclear war and thereby weaken anti-nuclear movements—first, through the message that steps were being taken to minimize risks of an unintended or accidental nuclear war, and secondly, that these steps were steps on a path leading to eventual nuclear disarmament.

This double coded message providing the policy rationale for arms control. Militarist contributors to this process, raising their doubts about whether risks were in fact being reduced if military options were being constrained by arms control measures. But it was the second element in the arms control approach that enjoyed tacit and sometimes explicit bipartisan support in the United States where this kind of debate mainly took place. The entire spectrum of policymaking elites agreed that the enactment of nuclear disarmament was both unrealistic and dangerous, and if a visionary president allowed his moral enthusiasm to get the better of him the backlash was swift and decisive as even Reagan found out after informally agreeing with Mikhail Gorbachev at their Reykjavik summit in 1986 on a treaty framework that was premised on getting to zero. In reaction, even liberal democrats in the political establishment chided Reagan for being naïve and insufficiently informed when he was blamed for mindlessly stepping across the invisible but rigorously enforced red line that separates managerial arms control from transformational nuclear disarmament. The lesson was learned, as the next presidential administration headed by George H.W. Bush, adopted as a cautionary internal slogan ‘no more Reykjaviks.’ The ‘No’ of the American establishment to nuclear disarmament could not be clearer, nor could the belligerent ‘Yes’ to upholding by war if necessary the NPT regime.

With such an understanding, my disagreement with Ramesh Thakur becomes clear and fundamental, and to make it unmistakable, I would conclude by saying the time is now ripe for the total de-linkage of nonproliferation from disarmament with respect to nuclear weapons policy. Without such a de-linkage false consciousness and confusion are unavoidable. It is time to generate populist impatience with the refusal of decades by government establishment to act on the basis of reason, ethics, and prudence: this requires the adoption of policies truly committed to the total abolition of nuclear weaponry in a period of not more than seven years.

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The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit

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I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

                                                                                                                                                                        -Winston Churchill

The British had a ruthless economic agenda when it came to operating in India and that did not include empathy for native citizens. Under the British Raj, India suffered countless famines. But the worst hit was Bengal. The first of these was in 1770, followed by severe ones in 1783, 1866, 1873, 1892, 1897 and lastly 1943-44. Previously, when famines had hit the country, indigenous rulers were quick with useful responses to avert major disasters. After the advent of the British, most of the famines were a consequence of monsoonal delays along with the exploitation of the country’s natural resources by the British for their own financial gain. Yet they did little to acknowledge the havoc these actions wrought. If anything, they were irritated at the inconveniences in taxing the famines brought about.

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The first of these famines was in 1770 and was ghastly brutal. The first signs indicating the coming of such a huge famine manifested in 1769 and the famine itself went on till 1773. It killed approximately 10 million people, millions more than the Jews incarcerated during the Second World War. It wiped out one third the population of Bengal. John Fiske, in his book “The Unseen World”, wrote that the famine of 1770 in Bengal was far deadlier than the Black Plague that terrorized Europe in the fourteenth century. Under the Mughal rule, peasants were required to pay a tribute of 10-15 per cent of their cash harvest. This ensured a comfortable treasury for the rulers and a wide net of safety for the peasants in case the weather did not hold for future harvests. In 1765 the Treaty of Allahabad was signed and East India Company took over the task of collecting the tributes from the then Mughal emperor Shah Alam II. Overnight the tributes, the British insisted on calling them tributes and not taxes for reasons of suppressing rebellion, increased to 50 percent. The peasants were not even aware that the money had changed hands. They paid, still believing that it went to the Emperor.

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Partial failure of crop was quite a regular occurrence in the Indian peasant’s life. That is why the surplus stock, which remained after paying the tributes, was so important to their livelihood. But with the increased taxation, this surplus deteriorated rapidly. When partial failure of crops came in 1768, this safety net was no longer in place. The rains of 1769 were dismal and herein the first signs of the terrible draught began to appear. The famine occurred mainly in the modern states of West Bengal and Bihar but also hit Orissa, Jharkhand and Bangladesh. Bengal was, of course, the worst hit. Among the worst affected areas were Birbum and Murshidabad in Bengal. Thousands depopulated the area in hopes of finding sustenance elsewhere, only to die of starvation later on. Those who stayed on perished nonetheless. Huge acres of farmland were abandoned. Wilderness started to thrive here, resulting in deep and inhabitable jungle areas. Tirhut, Champaran and Bettiah in Bihar were similarly affected in Bihar.

Abandoned

Prior to this, whenever the possibility of a famine had emerged, the Indian rulers would waive their taxes and see compensatory measures, such as irrigation, instituted to provide as much relief as possible to the stricken farmers. The colonial rulers continued to ignore any warnings that came their way regarding the famine, although starvation had set in from early 1770. Then the deaths started in 1771. That year, the company raised the land tax to 60 per cent in order to recompense themselves for the lost lives of so many peasants. Fewer peasants resulted in less crops that in turn meant less revenue. Hence the ones who did not yet succumb to the famine had to pay double the tax so as to ensure that the British treasury did not suffer any losses during this travesty.

After taking over from the Mughal rulers, the British had issued widespread orders for cash crops to be cultivated. These were intended to be exported. Thus farmers who were used to growing paddy and vegetables were now being forced to cultivate indigo, poppy and other such items that yielded a high market value for them but could be of no relief to a population starved of food. There was no backup of edible crops in case of a famine. The natural causes that had contributed to the draught were commonplace. It was the single minded motive for profit that wrought about the devastating consequences. No relief measure was provided for those affected. Rather, as mentioned above, taxation was increased to make up for any shortfall in revenue. What is more ironic is that the East India Company generated a profited higher in 1771 than they did in 1768.

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Although the starved populace of Bengal did not know it yet, this was just the first of the umpteen famines, caused solely by the motive for profit, that was to slash across the country side. Although all these massacres were deadly in their own right, the deadliest one to occur after 1771 was in 1943 when three million people died and others resorted to eating grass and human flesh in order to survive.

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Winston Churchill, the hallowed British War prime minister who saved Europe from a monster like Hitler was disturbingly callous about the roaring famine that was swallowing Bengal’s population. He casually diverted the supplies of medical aid and food that was being dispatched to the starving victims to the already well supplied soldiers of Europe. When entreated upon he said, “Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits.” The Delhi Government sent a telegram painting to him a picture of the horrible devastation and the number of people who had died. His only response was, “Then why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?”

Posted in South Asia, UK0 Comments

Bangladesh to deploy Zionist mass wiretapping system

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Jimmy Johnson 

Palestinians in Gaza shopping for the latest smartphone. Technology Bangladesh is set to buy from Verint was developed using systemic spying on ordinary Palestinians. Majdi FathiAPA images

The Israeli-American firm Verint Systems looks set to win another mass public surveillance contract in South Asia, this time in Bangladesh.

The Dhaka-based newspaper The Daily Star reported last week that Verint is one of several firms set to share a Ministry of Home Affairs contract for the mass wiretapping of Bangladeshi phone and Internet communications.

This is the latest example of technology Israel developed to intercept Palestinian telecommunications being exported for governments abroad to monitor their citizenry.

Bangladesh formed the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) in 2010 to expand its surveillance capabilities. The Bangladeshi government at the time could monitor and record no more than 5,000 devices at one time. Later technology expanded that reach to 50,000 devices in 2013.

According to The Daily Star, the “present NTMC monitoring system is old and lacks the capacity to control the modern information technology.” The paper explains that “more modern equipment is required to assume more control over obstructing or recording users’ telephonic or online communications so that intelligence activities could be conducted more smoothly.”

To enhance its capabilities the NTMC is buying a series of monitoring systems from seven firms including Verint Systems.

Selling anti-Palestinian expertise

Unit 8200 is the technology division of the Israeli military’s Intelligence Corps. Former Unit 8200 member Idan Tendler explained in March that ”instead of relying on outside research and development, the 8200’s technologists work directly with their ‘customers’ (the intelligence officers). All of the unit’s technology systems, from analytics to data mining, intercept, and intelligence management, are designed and built in-house. Technologists sit side by side with their users on a daily basis to ensure that their ‘products’ meet the intelligence officers’ specific requirements.”

Another former Unit 8200 officer, Gil Kerbs, wrote in 2007 how Verint’s then most popular system the Logger “is based on the Unit’s technology.”

Unit 8200 and other elite Israeli military units are “the nation’s equivalent of Harvard, Princeton and Yale” and their “graduates, after leaving service, can parlay their cutting-edge snooping and hacking skills into jobs in Israel, Silicon Valley or Boston’s high-tech corridor.”

As The Financial Times reports, the education comes from ”snoop[ing] on Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank or naval and air blockade in the Gaza Strip, according to a whistle-blowing leak that created a stir last year. In an open letter in September 2014, published by Israel’s Yedioth Ahronothnewspaper and broadcast on Channel 10, a group of 43 serving and former 8200 reservists revealed what they said were coercive spying tactics being used on innocent Palestinians, including the collection of embarrassing sexual, financial or other information.”

That data collection and surveillance of Palestinians is the basis for the technological expertise ex-Israeli military personnel bring to Verint and other Israeli security and surveillance firms. This is what is now sought by the Bangladeshi government.

The Bangladeshi government says the system will be deployed to surveil “criminals” and those that threaten national security. The government has been repressing Bangladesh’s ongoing labor insurgency, raising concerns about what populations the government is defining as criminal.

Verint has sold similar mass telecom surveillance systems to IndiaMexico and, most famously, to the United States where Verint was implicated with another Israeli firm in the National Security Agency wiretapping scandal.

Posted in South Asia, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Indian Independence Day is Black Day for Kashmiris

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Image result for indian independence day photos

By Sajjad Shaukat

Every year when India celebrates Independence Day on August 15, Kashmiris on both sides of

the Line of Control and the world over observe it as Black Day to convey the message to the

international community that India continues to usurp their inalienable right to self-

This very day is being marked by complete shutdown, as deserted streets, closed businesses and

security patrolling the streets could be seen in the Indian-held Kashmir. Noting intensity in the

war of liberation and hoisting of Pakistani flags by the Kashmiri protesters, this time, Indian

occupation authorities have imposed stringent restrictions in Srinagar and other towns, and

deployed heavy contingents of police and troops to prevent people from holding anti-India

However, during the partition of the Sub-continent in 1947, the people of the state of Jammu and

Kashmir (J&K) which comprised Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the

British-led formula. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the J&K, in

connivance with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord

Mountbatten joined India.

The Radcliffe Boundary Award gave the Gurdaspur District—a majority Muslim area to India to

provide a land route to the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir. There was a rebellion in

the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord

Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.

Indian forces invaded Srinagar on October 27, 1947 and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir

in utter violation of the partition plan and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India

made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into

effect on January 01, 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir.

On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in March

1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an integral part

of the Indian union.

Kashmiris organized themselves against the injustices of India and launched a war of liberation

which New Delhi tried to suppress through various forms of state terrorism. Passing through

various phases, the struggle of Kashmiris which has become an interaction between New Delhi’s

state terrorism led by the Indian security forces and war of liberation by the freedom fighters

keeps on going unabated.

It is notable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its

repressive regime in the occupied Kashmir through various machinations.

Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the

Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has

been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted

killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation

of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounters.

According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, since 1989,

there have been deaths of 1,00000 innocent Kashmiris, 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests,

1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children

orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested. Indian brutal securities forces have continue

In fact, Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir

Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and

Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual

for an indefinite period.

Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out

grave human rights violations in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim

majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security

In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of

the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian-held Kashmir. The report

points out, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered

Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows troops to shoot to kill suspected

militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been

tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in

turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred 100,000 people. More than 8,000

disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”

In this respect, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by

Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.

It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages

across the northern regions of the Indian-occupied Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups

reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this regard, in August, 2011,

Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its

report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked

Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves

include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake

encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.

As a matter of fact, Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political

grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with

Kashmiris who are demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive

governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the

sake of their alien rule.

Nonetheless, August 15 which is the Independence Day for India, is Black Day for the

Kashmiris and their brethren in Pakistan including those living all over the world, as they re-

affirm their commitment to continue their struggle against Indian illicit occupation, and till the

attainment of their liberation.

Posted in India0 Comments

ISIS in Afghanistan: Proxy War Against Iran and China

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by ERIC DRAITSER

The nature of the war in Afghanistan has shifted dramatically in recent months. While the US and NATO continue to be actively involved in the country – their strategic objectives having changed very little since the Bush administration launched the war nearly a decade and a half ago – the complexion of the battlefield, and the parties actively engaged in the war, has changed significantly.

The emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan, along with the impending withdrawal of US-NATO troops from the country, has driven the Taliban into a marriage of convenience, if not an outright alliance, with Iran. What seemed like an unfathomable scenario just a few years ago, Shia Iran’s support for the hardline Sunni Taliban has become a reality due to the changing circumstances of the war. Though it may be hard to believe, such an alliance is now a critical element of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. But its significance is far larger than just shifting the balance of power within the country.

Instead, Afghanistan is now in many ways a proxy conflict between the US and its western and Gulf allies on the one hand, and Iran and certain non-western countries, most notably China, on the other. If the contours of the conflict might not be immediately apparent, that is only because the western media, and all the alleged brainiacs of the corporate think tanks, have failed to present the conflict in its true context. The narrative of Afghanistan, to the extent that it’s discussed at all, continues to be about terrorism and stability, nation-building and “support.” But this is a fundamental misunderstanding and mischaracterization of the current war, and the agenda driving it.

And what is this new and dangerous agenda? It is about no less than the future of Afghanistan and Central Asia. It is about the US and its allies clinging to the country, a key foothold in the region, and wanting to find any pretext to maintain their presence. It is about Iran and China positioning themselves in the country for the inevitable moment of US withdrawal and the opening up of Afghanistan’s economy. At the most basic level, it is about access and influence. And, as usual in this part of the world, terrorism and extremism are the most potent weapons.

The New Afghan War: Enter ISIS

However, within a few weeks, ISIS militants committed a mass beheading in the strategically vital Ghazni province, an important region of the country that lies on the Kabul-Kandahar highway. This incident officially put ISIS on the map in Afghanistan, and marked a significant sea change in the nature of the conflict there.

While the western media was replete with stories of ISIS and Taliban factions fighting together under the Islamic State’s banner, it has become clear since then that, rather than a collaboration between the groups, there has simply been a steady migration of fighters from the Taliban to ISIS which, if the stories are to be believed, pays much better. In fact, the last few months have demonstrated that, there is in fact competition between the two, and that Taliban and ISIS groups have fought each other in very intense battles. As Abdul Hai Akhondzada, deputy head of the Afghan parliament’s national security commission told Deutsche Welle in June:

Local residents and security officials confirmed that “Islamic State” (IS) fighters killed between 10 and 15 Taliban members in Nangarhar province…The Taliban have been fighting for a long period of time in Afghanistan and they see their position threatened by the emergence of IS. Of course, they won’t give up easily… While IS is fighting to increase its presence in the whole region – not only Afghanistan – the Taliban are fighting to overthrow the Afghan government.

Such skirmishes have now become a regular occurrence, pointing to a growing war between ISIS and Taliban factions. Increasingly, the war is being transformed from one waged by the Taliban against the Kabul government and its US and NATO patrons, into a war with competing groups fighting each other for supremacy on the battlefield and in the political life of the country.

But of course, the true nature of the conflict can only be understood through an examination of the key interests backing each side. And it is here where the shadowy world of terror factions and proxy armies are brought into the light of day.

It is now no secret that ISIS is an asset of western intelligence agencies and governments. The group has been directly sponsored and facilitated and/or allowed to develop unhindered in order to serve a useful purpose in Syria and Iraq. As the now infamous secret 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document obtained by Judicial Watch revealed, the US has knowingly promoted the spread of the Islamic State since at least 2012 in order to use it as a weapon against the Assad government. The document noted that, … there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria…and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

Moreover, intelligence agencies such as Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) have been facilitating ISIS militants crossing the border into Syria, as well as supporting an international network of terrorists to as far away as the Xinjiang province of China. Even US Vice President Joe Biden has noted that:

Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends… [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera. What were they doing?…They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.

Given all of this information, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that ISIS is to a large degree an asset of the US and its western allies. As if one needed further confirmation of this point, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, himself no stranger to the machination of US intelligence, bluntly declared just last month that ISIS could not possibly have expanded into Afghanistan “without a foreign hand, without foreign backing.

In Syria and Iraq, ISIS has essentially done the dirty work for the US and its Gulf and Israeli and Turkish allies. In Libya, ISIS has become a dominant terrorist force led by a documented US asset. In Yemen, ISIS has gained a foothold and carried out terrorist actions in support of the Saudi – and by extension, US – mission against the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies. Taken in total then, ISIS has proven very effective in furthering the US-NATO-GCC-Israel agenda. So too in Afghanistan.

Iran and Taliban Ally to Counter ISIS and Its Patrons

And it is for this reason that the Taliban has turned to Iran for support. Though Tehran has officially denied providing any weapons or financial support to the Taliban, sources in the region have confirmed that indeed such support is given. A senior Afghan government official speaking to the Wall Street Journal explained succinctly that, “At the beginning Iran was supporting [the] Taliban financially. But now they are training and equipping them, too.” Afghan security officials have claimed that Iran is hosting Taliban militants at training camps in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad, and Zahedan, and in the province of Kerman. If true, it means that the level of cooperation between the two has moved to a whole new level.

While one might want to maintain some skepticism about all the claims made by US and Afghan officials regarding Iranian support for the Taliban, the alliance makes good strategic sense for Tehran. As Iran fights against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, so too must it check the spread of this terror group in neighboring Afghanistan.

Moreover, Iran understands that ISIS is, in effect, an arm of the power projection of its regional rivals Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both of whom have been primary instigators of the war in Syria and the attempt to break the alliance of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah. Therefore, from the Iranian perspective, the Taliban’s war against ISIS in Afghanistan is essentially a new theater in the larger war against ISIS and its backers.

Additionally, there is still another important political rationale behind Tehran’s overtures to the Taliban: leverage and access. Iran is preparing for the impending departure of US-NATO forces from Afghanistan, and it desperately wants to make sure it has friends in the new government which will likely include some key members of the Taliban in important positions. And the recent moves by theTaliban to engage in peace talks only further this point; Iran wants to be part of a peace deal which could unite the non-ISIS forces in Afghanistan thereby giving Tehran both access and, most importantly, influence over the decision-making apparatus in an independent Afghanistan.

China and the New Afghanistan

Iran certainly has partners in the charm offensive toward the Taliban, most notably China. The last few months have seen a flurry of rumorsthat China has played host to a Taliban delegation interested in engaging in substantive peace talks with the Kabul government, a move which threatens to fundamentally alter the balance of power in Afghanistan and the region. Assuming the reports are true – by all indications they are – China is positioning itself to become the single most important player in a post-occupation Afghanistan.

Earlier this month in fact, an Afghan delegation from Kabul met with Taliban representatives in Islamabad, Pakistan to begin the dialogue process. It is a virtual certainty that such talks would never have taken place had the Chinese not intervened and opened direct channels of communication with the Taliban earlier this year. In this way, Beijing has become the key intermediary in the peace process in Afghanistan, a development which is likely to cause a fair amount of consternation in Washington. China has a multitude of reasons for pushing so hard for this dialogue process.

First and foremost, China sees in Afghanistan one of the main keys to its entire regional, and indeed global, strategy, from the New Silk Roads to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Sitting in the middle of the strategically critical Central Asia region, Afghanistan represents for China both a bridge to its partner, Pakistan, and the key to the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. Moreover, it represents a critical node in the potential pipeline networks, as well as trading routes.

Beijing also intends to be a major player in the exploitation of the mineral wealth of Afghanistan. The US Geological Survey has estimated that the mineral wealth of Afghanistan is worth roughly $1 trillion, making it some of the most prized land in the world. Iron, copper, cobalt, gold, lithium, and many other minerals are to be found just underneath the surface of Afghanistan; clearly an enticing prospect for China. Indeed, China has already heavily invested in copper mining concessions among others.

It is in this arena where China and its longtime rival India have come into conflict, as Delhi has also been a major player competing for key mining concessions in Afghanistan, including the vast iron ore deposits. Iran also figures into this question as its port of Chabahar, seen as an important prize for both India and China, is the likely destination for the iron ore extracted from Afghanistan, especially if it is to be shipped to India.

Not to be overlooked of course is the security issue. China’s ongoing struggle against Islamic extremism in Xinjiang has led to fears in Beijing that any economic plans could be jeopardized by terrorism-related instability. Xinjiang has seen a number of deadly terrorist attacks in the last eighteen months, including the heinous drive-bybombings that killed dozens and injured over 100 people in May 2014, the mass stabbings and bombings of November 2014, and the deadly attack by Uighur terrorists on a traffic checkpoint just last month which left 18 people dead.

And it is here where all these issues converge. China needs Iran both for economic and counter-terrorism reasons. Beijing wants to see Iran act as the driving force in the battle against ISIS terrorism in Afghanistan, as well as in the Middle East, in order to destroy the Saudi-backed and Turkey-backed terror networks that support the Uighur extremists. China also wants to be an active player in Afghanistan in order to both buttress its own national security and to instigate itself as the central economic force in the region. The strategic imperatives couldn’t be clearer.

Seen in this way, Afghanistan is at the very heart of both China’s and Iran’s regional plans. And this fact, more than any other, explains exactly the purpose that ISIS serves in Afghanistan. From the perspective of Washington, nothing could serve US imperial ambitions more effectively than a destabilization of Afghanistan both as justification for continued occupation, and to block Chinese penetration.

So, once again, we see ISIS as the convenient tool of western power projection. No doubt strategic planners in Tehran and Beijing see it too. The question is: will they be able to stop it?

Posted in China, Iran0 Comments

Independence Day Emphasizes on Strong Unity

NOVANEWS

Image result for PAKISTAN Independence Day PHOTO

By Sajjad Shaukat

The 14th August which is celebrated every year as the Independence Day, has come at a time

when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature internally and externally, which are not

only worrying all the citizens, but are also creating divisions among the federal and provincial

governments including political parties.

While, it was due to the selfless practical unity among the Muslims under the leadership of

Quaid-i-Azam that Pakistan became a tangible reality, on August 14, 1947. But that unity started

declining after passing through various crises, and the result was separation of East Pakistan in

1971, as the India manipulated differences between East Pakistan and the West Pakistan.

However, Pakistan’s security forces have been facing a different war against the enemy which

employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external

challenges. Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and

intelligence agencies against terrorists. In this respect, our Armed Forces have successfully

obtained their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) including other tribal agencies

through military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the

state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. In Balochistan, Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and other parts of the country including FATA our security forces and

law-enforcing agencies are coping with the militants, foreign agents and criminals.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises and challenges such as corruption, soaring

prices, energy-shortage, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon

the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid.

Externally, Pak Army and Rangers have boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at

the Line of Control in Kashmir including Working Boundary in Sialkot and other sectors. While,

the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing

anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. In this context, BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a

staunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) stated on July 12, 2014 that India needed

only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there

is no peaceful, democratic solution.

Unfortunately, it is because of lack of unity among our politicians, leaders and media that foreign

opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their

secret agenda by destabilizing the country which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic

World. In the past few years, nefarious designs of some foreign secret agencies like Indian RAW

and Israeli Mossad can be gauged from a number of anti-Pakistan developments such as their

support to insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, separatism in Balochistan and targeted

killings especially in Karachi.

In case of Pakistan’s war against terrorism, while emphasizing on national unity, Chief of Army

Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif has repeatedly stated, “We will continue to go after the inhuman beasts,

their facilitators till their final elimination.”

On June 10, this year, Gen. Raheel Sharif said, “Terrorists have been cleared from their

strongholds in North Waziristan Agency and Khyber Agency, and fight now is moving into last

few pockets close to Afghan border.” He laid emphasis on “continuation of the operations till

elimination of the last expected and probable terrorists groups and sanctuaries.”

Notably, present drastic situation cannot be comprehended by the general masses and even the

political leaders who abruptly change their opinion. Therefore, they become unintentional victim

of the external plotters who succeed in creating a rift particularly between the political groups,

divided on ethnic and linguistic lines. These external enemies also seek to create a division

between the political leaders and the Armed Forces of our country.

Nevertheless, today, Pakistan stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing internal and external

challenges and threats to the national security of the country.

At this critical moment, 14th August demands true national unity, which must be shown

practically. This significant day emphasizes that our political leaders must pledge that they will

not manipulate their regional and provincial differences at the cost of the national interests so as

to grab political power. In this connection, a blind dedication to one’s own race, tribe and creed

should not be allowed to create hatred in one group against the other. They must avoid exploiting

present thorny issues in order to increase their vote-bank at the cost of the integration of the

country. If any controversy arises, it can better be settled in consonance with the constitution. For

this aim, in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external enemies against the integrity of the

country, our political leaders, media and human rights groups must also stop manipulating any

crisis against Pak Army and country’s primary secret agency, ISI whose image are deliberately

being tarnished by the external plotters.

True and selfless unity against the foreign enemies requires that our rulers and leaders of other

political parties and must create national cohesion among various segments of society.

Particularly, our electronic media should give a matching response to malicious propaganda of

some countries including India and Israel which are distorting the image of Pakistan, its army

No doubt, at this crucial time, Pakistan’s survival lies in strong and selfless unity and cohesion,

as at present, even a layman can note that our country is in chaos and it seems as if there is a

“war of all against all” in the sense of ‘Hobbesian state of nature.”

On the occasion, we must follow the essence of the Pakistan Resolution which explained the

basic idea of an independent state (Pakistan) in real terms by displaying practical unity which is

not possible unless the government, the opposition leaders, civil societies, media owners,

security forces including all other segments of society pledge to sign a charter of integration

which is very necessary to pull the country out of the ongoing serious crises and threats.

Nonetheless, in wake of our serious crises and threats, Independence Day emphasizes on strong

national Unity.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ savages force 10 men to kneel atop buried bombs

NOVANEWS

The bloodthirsty Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ terrorists known for their mass executions and sickening beheading videos have released footage of their latest killing method: death by land mine.

Senate report on CIA tortures

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi savage terror group released new video showing their Zio-Wahhabi soldiers burying bombs on an Afghan hillside, forcing prisoners onto their knees and then setting off the hidden explosives.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ savages have burnt men alive and drowned prisoners in metal cages but now ‘ISIS’ have released a new video showing off their newest method of committing murder.

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Filmed in an unknown location in Afghanistan, ‘ISIS‘ savages are shown burying several explosive charges beneath the ground before covering them with earth.

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The ten prisoners are blindfolded and led up to where the bombs have been buried before they are forced to their knees. Saudi Zio-Wahhabi bloodthirsty detonate the charges, killing all the prisoners.

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ll the victims are described as ‘apostates’, according to the ‘ISIS’ video, which appeared on Zio-Wahhabi social media accounts last night. It is believed the victims are from the Shinwari tribe and were accused of aiding the Taliban in the Afghan province of Nangarhar, where ‘ISIS’ was recently expelled.

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Several of the other victims were also condemned to death for helping the Afghan government counter the longstanding insurgency in the troubled country.

The video appears heavily co-choreographed with the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ riding on horses across the green hills with the early morning fog adding to dramatic effect.

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Keen to carry out their horrendous act of brutality, the two new arrivals rush to join the line of militants standing behind the line of prisoners. All ten of the victims are blindfolded with a beige coloured scarf, with several of the victims appearing to be elderly in comparison to their young captors.

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Once ready, Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ militants lead their prisoners to where the bombs are buried, dragging their victims by their loose blindfolds.

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Several militants are shown putting the final preparations to the bombs, checking the yellow wires are correctly secured before covering up the explosives with earth.

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Concealed in the ground beneath their knees, the deadly explosive charges lie in wait, having been carefully wired up by several Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’.

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Unknown to the blindfold prisoners, they are made to kneel on the freshly relaid mounts of earth, where the explosives are buried. The two Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ wait by the prisoners before sprinting away from the line of victims just before the bombs detonate.

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The final scenes are too graphic to describe but represent the inhumane brutality of the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi jihadi organisation, who are continuing to grow in strength in Afghanistan.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ have developed an brutal reputation for their unimaginable levels of cruelty and violence.

Posted in Afghanistan0 Comments

Why the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

NOVANEWS

The following article first appeared in the August 2005 issue of Socialism and Liberation magazine. The 70th anniversaries of the U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan are Aug. 6 and 9 of this year.

August 6 and 9 mark the anniversaries of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Numerous historical and personal accounts will emerge in the press, recounting the destructiveness, inhumanity, and long-term misery created by the two U.S. bombs.

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Nuclear cloud over Nagasaki,
August 9, 1945.
Photo: Jazz Editions/Gamma

Nuclear weaponry, as an indiscriminate killing force responsible for unspeakable atrocities, is truly weaponry of a different type. Many accounts will attribute the horrific bombings to the cruel pragmatism of U.S. generals, or the ignorance of White House decision makers. Some will defend the bombs as an unfortunate example of military expedience. Ultimately—we will be reminded—the bombs compelled an immediate Japanese surrender and achieved the victory over fascism.

But these explanations only scratch at the surface. While it is true that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were murderous, terrible and cruel crimes, they are best understood not as the end of World War II, but as the beginning of a new war and an altogether new historical era. What some refer to as the “Cold War,” in fact began with nuclear incineration and massive human casualties. The bombs directly targeted Japan, but politically took aim at the Soviet Union, the worldwide communist movement and those colonized people fighting for national liberation.

From ally to enemy

The Soviet Union had been a U.S. ally in World War II, and lost an estimated 28 million soldiers and civilians—far more than any other nation—in the fight against fascism. Its reputation was at an all-time high in the United States. In public, the White House had nothing but praise for their Soviet allies. At the Battle of Stalingrad (ending in February 1943), the Soviet Union had done what the U.S. military and Britain were unable to do—turn back the Nazis.

After Stalingrad, the fascist forces continued taking losses in Eastern Europe at the hands of the Soviet Union. Italy had surrendered in September 1943. Finland, Bulgaria and Romania capitulated in 1944 and Germany finally surrendered in May 1945. The world political situation had changed.

As the smoke cleared, a picture of the post-war world was emerging. The principal foreign policy objective had changed from the victory over fascism to the control of the conquered territories. In the Pacific War against Japan, the United States reoriented its strategy accordingly. When the United States dropped the atomic bombs, the defeat of Japan—at that point a country on the defensive and without allies—was imminent. The main question was: who would preside over their surrender?

Japan’s imminent defeat

People in the United States refer to the period of 1941 to 1945 as the “Pacific War,” but in China it is called the “War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression”—and that resistance began much earlier. This is no accident. For decades Japan aspired to control China, invading the eastern Chinese province of Manchuria in 1931 (while the League of Nations stood idly by) and major cities in 1937. Japanese imperialism faced stiff resistance in China, particularly from the communists, and in response massacred entire cities. The United States was formally neutral, still trading with Japan, but threatened by its colonial aspirations.

When Japan entered into an alliance with Nazi Germany in 1941, the United States and Britain cut off its trade of oil and steel to Japan, thereby bringing its growing war-machine to a halt. In need of more raw materials, and interpreting the Western blockade as an act of aggression, Japan invaded colonial Pacific outposts of Britain, France and the United States, and attacked Pearl Harbor. The day after the Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor attack, the United States declared war on Japan.

The Japanese imperialists expanded their reach all over the Pacific. By late 1942 and early 1943, however, the Allies launched several successful offensives that re-captured many important Japanese outposts. This created staging grounds for the Allied forces to launch a final offensive on mainland Japan, and eliminated the raw materials that had been supplying the Japanese military. Meanwhile, the Chinese liberation struggle waged on with increasing ferocity.

Towards the end of the war, the Allies began to bomb dozens of Japanese cities, often with new destructive weapons. As they had done in Dresden, Germany, weeks earlier, the United States fire-bombed Tokyo, killing 100,000 people. The United States called for nothing short of unconditional surrender from the Japanese. Throughout their bombing campaign of the spring and summer, the United States military had left a few Japanese cities untouched. Two of them were Nagasaki and Hiroshima. On those cities, they wanted to test their new invention—the atom bomb.

Meanwhile, the Japanese ruling class was split. The military leadership wanted to fight on, but the “civilian” politicians pressured the Japanese emperor to negotiate for a peace treaty. They quietly opened diplomatic communications with the Allies, which implied that the military sector might accept a conditional surrender (with conditions like maintaining the emperor).

The U.S. government intended to maintain the emperor in its post-war reconstruction of Japan, but before it made any diplomatic moves towards peace, it first wanted to use its new weapons. General Dwight Eisenhower, one of President Harry Truman’s closest advisors, argued that Japan would soon surrender without the atomic bombs. Numerous historians have likewise argued that the atomic bombs were unnecessary from a military standpoint.

The political situation, however, compelled U.S. imperialism to act. In February 1945, the Soviet Union finally agreed to open a front against Japan. At that time, the United States and Britain believed only Soviet intervention could lead to a rapid Japanese surrender. The war in Europe ended in May, and the Soviet Union was preparing to enter the Pacific War in August.

Although they had initially courted Soviet intervention, by July the United States had successfully tested the atomic bomb and began to hope Japan would surrender before the Soviet Union arrived. With the Soviet Union preparing to invade through China, the U.S. government dropped the first bomb on August 6 on Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people instantaneously. President Truman, who ordered the bomb, defended it as a way to bring about surrender and save U.S. military lives that would have been lost in a ground invasion of Japan.

The Soviet Union declared war on Japan on August 8, and the following day the United States dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing an additional 100,000 people. The massive Soviet invasion, as well as the devastation caused by the atomic bombs, caused Japan’s ruling class to finally surrender on August 14. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians either died or suffered disease and deformity from the bombs’ radiation “fallout” in subsequent years.

The worldwide communist movement

In 1944, the Red Army of the Soviet Union rolled through Eastern Europe liberating nation after nation from fascism. The Soviet Union defeated the most hated governments in the world, and the prestige of communism soared. The Western capitalists naturally opposed the spread of Soviet power, but couldn’t do anything about it at the time.

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A U.S. nuclear bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima. August 6, 1945.
Photo: Epa Photos

It would be false, however, to simply attribute the spread of communist influence to the Red Army. The European working class was well aware that the capitalists in their own countries either promoted or collaborated with the forces of fascism throughout the first half of the 1940s. Nearly all of continental Europe fell under fascist domination. The communists throughout Europe and Asia had proven themselves to be the most courageous fighters and defenders of their homelands. On those grounds, the communist movement emerged as the dominant political force in many nations, with the Soviet Union functioning as its natural center of gravity.

From 1935 through the end of the war, the Austrian communist party grew tenfold (to 150,000) and the Czechoslovakian party almost twenty-fold (to 1,160,000). The Finnish party won 25 percent of the vote in 1945. In Greece, the communists were the dominant political force; the Yugoslav party directed a vast army renowned for vanquishing the German fascist invaders. Yugoslavia was the only country in Eastern or Central Europe to defeat the Nazis without the direct intervention of the Soviet Red Army.

Where the Soviet Union did not have a military presence, the communist parties still grew tremendously. The French party had over a million members, and the Italian party had over two million. The Belgian party grew tenfold, and the Danish party tripled. Capitalism was tottering.

The United States and Britain only partially recognized the organic nature of the communist movement, instead attributing it to Soviet conspiracy. The resistance fighters in many nations indeed looked to and forged relationships with the Soviet Union, but those relationships often had a moderating, rather than radicalizing effect on those parties.

To assure his allies that he was not planning revolution in their countries, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dissolved the Soviet-led Comintern in 1943. The Comintern (the Communist International) was an organization founded by Lenin and the Bolsheviks in 1919 to bring together communist and workers’ parties throughout the world to promote socialist revolution.

The tendency to avoid a new war with the capitalist Allies increased after World War II and the dropping of the atomic bombs. The Soviet government, above all else, wanted a respite, a breathing space from military conflict so that it could repair and rebuild the country’s devastated economy and infrastructure. The use of atomic weapons by the United States, and the ratcheting up of the threats against the USSR immediately after the close of World War II, compelled the Soviet leadership to divert an enormous part of its economic redevelopment program to the military.

Fearful that the United States would turn its atomic weapons against a non-nuclear USSR, the Soviet leadership poured vast resources into its own nuclear program. Contrary to Cold War mythology, the Soviets pursued a defensive posture in the post-war years. Spreading socialism and revolution in Western Europe was not the aim of the Soviet leadership. Their goal was to mitigate the U.S. war drive and to prevent the initiation of new conflict.

In 1949, the Soviets successfully detonated their first nuclear bomb, but were only able to achieve a significant nuclear arsenal in the mid-1950s.

The communist parties in Italy and France, having led the anti-fascist struggle during the war years, developed a mass base in the working class and among the peasantry. They had developed large armed forces that functioned as the indigenous resistance against Nazi occupation. Instead of pursuing a policy of armed struggle in order to carry out a socialist revolution immediately after the war, these parties laid down their weapons and entered the electoral process. This policy was backed by the Soviet leadership, which feared that a socialist revolution in Italy or France would trigger a nuclear attack by the United States against the USSR.

In Greece, the powerful communist party pursued an independent path of armed struggle against the British-backed capitalist government. The Soviet leadership did not provide material support to the Greek communist resistance, which was eventually destroyed.

Atomic diplomacy

While the Soviets acted to muffle socialist armed struggle in Europe following World War II, the situation was altogether different in Asia. The revolutionary forces fighting Japanese and European colonialism took the offensive in North Korea, China and Vietnam.

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The Soviet Red Army liberated Eastern Europe from fascism. Berlin, April 30, 1945.
Photo: Itar-Tass

Japan was occupied and rehabilitated as a U.S.-friendly government in order to counteract the spreading socialist revolution. The United States seriously considered using nuclear weapons in China, and had come to a decision in 1953 to “nuke” areas of North Korea, if the Korean War continued to go badly. On countless occasions, the U.S. government used nuclear threats as part of its new “atomic diplomacy,” which became a central tenet of its aggressive, imperial foreign policy.

Although nuclear weapons were popularly considered a means of “mutual deterrence,” the U.S. government in fact developed them as a means for first strike attack against non-nuclear countries. Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod have written, “Most Americans assume ‘deterrence’ means to deter the Russians from a nuclear attack on the U.S. But what the Pentagon intends is to ‘deter’ other, often weaker, non-nuclear nations from interfering with U.S. interests by threatening them with escalation to ‘the utmost levels of violence.’”

The U.S. government’s current hostile posturing toward Iran and North Korea upholds Kaku and Axelrod’s thesis. U.S. threats against these countries, and others like them, are a continuation of this misnamed “deterrence” policy, which took form at the end of World War II.

The nuclear weapon has been, from the very first time it was dropped, the military and political weapon of U.S. imperialism.

Posted in Japan, USA0 Comments

AUGUST 1945: LET’S TALK ABOUT TERRORISM

NOVANEWS
Nagasaki, Japan. September 24, 1945, 6 weeks a...
Nagasaki, Japan. September 24, 1945, 6 weeks after the atomic bomb attack on that city, the second atomic blast in history. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On August 6, 1945, the United States of America became the first — and, to this day, the only — nation to use atomic or nuclear weapons in actual hostilities (as opposed to testing). The unconditional surrender of Japan quickly followed, bringing an end to World War II.

For 70 years now, the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings have occasioned debate on whether or not those bombings were necessary, and whether or not they were justifiable.

Many World War II veterans  — and others — stand on simple necessity to justify the bombings. A US invasion of Japan’s home islands, they argue, would have entailed a million or more US military casualties, and even more Japanese civilian casualties than are attributed to the atomic attacks.

The argument is facially persuasive.  As of August 1945, my grandfather and my wife’s father were both serving in the US Navy in the Pacific.  There certainly existed a non-trivial likelihood that either or both of them would have died in subsequent battles had the war not ended. For obvious reasons, we’re grateful they came home alive.

The persuasiveness of the argument fades when we consider the facts: Conditional surrender had been on offer since late 1944, the condition being that Emperor Hirohito remain on the throne. The US fought two of the war’s bloodiest battles — Iwo Jima and Okinawa, at a cost of tens of thousands of Americans killed — then unleashed Little Boy and Fat Man on Japan’s civilian population, rather than accept that condition. But once the war was over, Hirohito was allowed to remain Emperor.

That aside, words mean things, and neither our happiness at our ancestors’ survival nor any military argument for insisting on unconditional surrender and dropping atomic bombs to get it changes the character of what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Terrorism, per WordNet, is “the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature.” The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings meet that definition in spades.

US president Harry S. Truman  ordered, consciously and with premeditation, the murder of somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 civilians in pursuit of his political goal of unconditional  Japanese surrender.

Whether or not an act constitutes terrorism doesn’t depend on whether or not its goals are laudable. Every terrorist and supporter of terrorism in history, save a handful of thorough nihilists, has justified his or her atrocities on the basis of the desired outcomes, claiming that a few innocent lives sacrificed now means more innocent lives saved later.

But innocent lives are not ours to sacrifice. Murder is murder and terrorism is terrorism, no matter what nationalist or patriotic colors we wrap them up in and no matter what ribbon of “necessity” we stick atop them.

Even if we accept the “necessity” argument for the murders at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they remain something to regret and to mourn, not something to justify or to celebrate.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Posted in Japan, USA0 Comments

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