Tag Archive | "Nuclear War"



Gregory Peck in a scene from the 1959 movie, “On the Beach,” showing how a nuclear war ends life on the planet.
By John Pilger 

The U.S. submarine captain says, “We’ve all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you’re never ready, because you don’t know when it’s coming. Well, now we do know and there’s nothing to be done about it.”

He says he will be dead by September. It will take about a week to die, though no one can be sure. Animals live the longest.

The war was over in a month. The United States, Russia and China were the protagonists. It is not clear if it was started by accident or mistake. There was no victor. The Northern Hemisphere is contaminated and lifeless now.

A curtain of radioactivity is moving south towards Australia and New Zealand, southern Africa and South America. By September, the last cities, towns and villages will succumb. As in the north, most buildings will remain untouched, some illuminated by the last flickers of electric light.

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper   

These lines from T.S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute’s novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears. The endorsements on the cover said the same.

Published in 1957 at the height of the Cold War when too many writers were silent or cowed, it is a masterpiece. At first the language suggests a genteel relic; yet nothing I have read on nuclear war is as unyielding in its warning. No book is more urgent.

Some readers will remember the black and white Hollywood film starring Gregory Peck as the U.S. Navy commander who takes his submarine to Australia to await the silent, formless specter descending on the last of the living world.

I read On the Beach for the first time the other day, finishing it as the U.S. Congress passed a law to wage economic war on Russia, the world’s second most lethal nuclear power. There was no justification for this insane vote, except the promise of plunder.

Aiming Toward a Hot War

The “sanctions” are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.

Their main aim seems to be war – real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-65 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.

The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies – the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indochina, which President Reagan called “a noble cause” and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an “exceptional people.” He was not referring to the Vietnamese.

Filming last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I overheard a National Parks Service guide lecturing a school party of young teenagers. “Listen up,” he said. “We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom.”

At a stroke, the truth was inverted. No freedom was defended. Freedom was destroyed. A peasant country was invaded and millions of its people were killed, maimed, dispossessed, poisoned; 60,000 of the invaders took their own lives. Listen up, indeed.

A lobotomy is performed on each generation. Facts are removed. History is excised and replaced by what Time magazine calls “an eternal present.” Harold Pinter described this as “manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good, a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis [which meant] that it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

Those who call themselves liberals or tendentiously “the left” are eager participants in this manipulation, and its brainwashing, which today revert to one name: Trump.

Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics,” wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us.

A Narcissistic Media

While they pursue their fossilized anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardiansuppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.

On 3 Aug., in contrast to the acreage the Guardian has given to drivel that the Russians conspired with Trump (reminiscent of the far-right smearing of John Kennedy as a “Soviet agent”), the paper buried, on page 16, news that the President of the United States was forced to sign a Congressional bill declaring economic war on Russia.

Unlike every other Trump signing, this was conducted in virtual secrecy and attached with a caveat from Trump himself that it was “clearly unconstitutional.”

A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.

This glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to the “national security” managers who guard a system based on war, surveillance, armaments, threats and extreme capitalism. Martin Luther King called them “the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today.”

They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to install an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia’s “borderland” – the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people. Their goal is to dismember the modern Russian Federation.

In response, “partnership” is a word used incessantly by Vladimir Putin – anything, it seems, that might halt an evangelical drive to war in the United States. Incredulity in Russia may have now turned to fear and perhaps a certain resolution. The Russians almost certainly have war-gamed nuclear counter strikes. Air-raid drills are not uncommon. Their history tells them to get ready.

The threat is simultaneous. Russia is first, China is next. The U.S. has just completed a huge military exercise with Australia known as Talisman Sabre. They rehearsed a blockade of the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, through which pass China’s economic lifelines.

The admiral commanding the U.S. Pacific fleet said that, “if required,” he would nuke China. That he would say such a thing publicly in the current perfidious atmosphere begins to make fact of Nevil Shute’s fiction.

Silencing Dissenting Journalists

None of this is considered news. No connection is made as the bloodfest of Passchendaele a century ago is remembered. Honest reporting is no longer welcome in much of the media. Windbags, known as pundits, dominate: editors are infotainment or party-line managers. Where there was once sub-editing, there is the liberation of axe-grinding clichés. Those journalists who do not comply are defenestrated.

The urgency has plenty of precedents. In my film, The Coming War on China, John Bordne, a member of a U.S. Air Force missile combat crew based in Okinawa, Japan, describes how in 1962 – during the Cuban missile crisis – he and his colleagues were “told to launch all the missiles” from their silos.

Nuclear armed, the missiles were aimed at both China and Russia. A junior officer questioned this, and the order was eventually rescinded – but only after they were issued with service revolvers and ordered to shoot at others in a missile crew if they did not “stand down.”

At the height of the Cold War, the anti-communist hysteria in the United States was such that U.S. officials who were on official business in China were accused of treason and sacked. In 1957 – the year Shute wrote On the Beach – no official in the State Department could speak the language of the world’s most populous nation. Mandarin speakers were purged under strictures now echoed in the Congressional bill that has just passed, aimed at Russia.

The bill was bipartisan. There is no fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. The terms “left” and “right” are meaningless. Most of America’s modern wars were started not by conservatives, but by liberal Democrats.

When Obama left office, he presided over a record seven wars, including America’s longest war and an unprecedented campaign of extrajudicial killings – murder – by drones.

In his last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study, Obama, the “reluctant liberal warrior,” dropped 26,171 bombs – three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day. Having pledged to help “rid the world” of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate built more nuclear warheads than any president since the Cold War.

Trump is a wimp by comparison. It was Obama – with his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his side – who destroyed Libya as a modern state and launched the human stampede to Europe. At home, immigration groups knew him as the “deporter-in-chief.”

One of Obama’s last acts as president was to sign a bill that handed a record $618 billion to the Pentagon, reflecting the soaring ascendancy of fascist militarism in the governance of the United States. Trump has endorsed this.

Buried in the detail was the establishment of a “Center for Information Analysis and Response.” This is a ministry of truth. It is tasked with providing an “official narrative of facts” that will prepare us for the real possibility of nuclear war – if we allow it.


Pravda: North Korea, Nuclear war to start on the Day of the Sun


North Korea: Nuclear war to start on the Day of the Sun. 60271.jpeg

North Korea may have the ability to launch missiles with warheads filled with nerve gas, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday, April 13. Abe also said that North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or launch ballistic missiles again.

“There is a possibility that North Korea is already capable of delivering missiles with sarin in its  warheads,” the Japanese prime minister said at parliamentary hearings, Reuters reports. Shinzo Abe recalled the infamous sarin attack in the Tokyo subway system from 1995. The attack, conducted by Aum Shinrikyo Japanese sect, killed 12 people.

On April 15, North Korea will celebrate the 105th anniversary since the birth of the founder of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung. This is the largest national holiday in the country, which is called the Day of the Sun. Kim Il Sung is referred to as the “Sun of the Nation” in the DPRK. In the past, North Korean leaders would test weapons on April 15.

Meanwhile, spokespeople for the South Korean Defense Ministry expressed their readiness to show resistance to “provocations of the North,” which may follow in connection with the celebration of the Day of the Sun on April 15. In addition, Seoul does not exclude a possibility of either a nuclear or a missile test on the 85th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army, which the North celebrates on April 25.

Reportedly, the DPRK is prepared for a new nuclear test. According to 38 North U.S.-Korea Institute, commercial satellite images of the North Korean nuclear test site in Phungeri showed activity at the northern terminal, as well as new activity in the main administrative zone and a certain number of personnel around the command center of the test site. The images were taken on April 12.

Against the backdrop of growing tension on the Korean Peninsula, a question arises about further actions of the allies of the two Koreas. According to Japanese media outlets, the USA supposedly considers only two options for the situation to develop: either China increases pressure on the DPRK, or the United States attacks North Korea, should Beijing continue demonstration inaction.

Noteworthy, the US administration welcomed China’s move to abstain fro the voting in favor for the draft resolution of the UN Security Council to investigate the chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib. China made the decision following President Xi Jinping’s official visit to the United States. The White House called the decision a huge diplomatic victory.

In the meantime, Syrian President Bashar Assad expressed his support for the DPRK by sending a telegram to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un congratulating him on the 105th anniversary of his grandfather’s birthday. In the message, Assad calls the DPRK and Syria “friendly countries,” that counteract to “insane ambitions of major powers” whose intent is to subjugate other countries through expansionist and predatory policies.

Russia, for its part, is also monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula. On April 11, a group of Russian Navy warships arrived at the South Korean port of Pusan. The official goal of the campaign is the demonstration of the St. Andrew’s flag in the Asia-Pacific region and the further development of naval cooperation with APR countries.

On April 13, commander of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Federation, Admiral Sergei Avakyants had a meeting with commander of the South Korean Navy, Vice Admiral Chung Jin Sobu. The meeting took place at the naval base of Pusan. The officials discusses issues of international military cooperation between the fleets of the two countries.

In the meanwhile, US aircraft carrier strike group lead by USS Carl Vinson is heading to the shores of South Korea. The group includes a missile cruiser and two missile destroyers.

DPRK officials, commenting on the dispatch of US ships to the Korean Peninsula, declared their readiness to get involved in a military confrontation with the United States should tensions escalate further. “We will take most severe countermeasures against the provocateurs to defend ourselves with the might of our weapons,” spokespeople for the North Korean Foreign Ministry said.

Pravda.Ru requested an opinion about the current development on the Korean Peninsula from Yevgeny Kim, an expert with the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of the Far East.

“Do you think that a military conflict between North Korea and the USA is possible indeed?”

“I do not think that the Americans are crazy enough to attack North Korea, given the situation that has developed so far. The Northerners can answer. This is not Syria! They will certainly attack US ships and army bases. They have their own missiles for the purpose.”

“What does the South Korean press say at the moment?”

“The South Korean press considers the dialogue between Trump and Xi Jinping most important now. Xi Jinping has just returned from Washington. Yesterday, the Chinese leader had a telephone conversation with Trump. The fact is that Xi Jinping still believes the crisis should be resolved peacefully.

“The Americans may attack first, and then say that it was Pyongyang that attacked them first. They will use it as a reason to strike North Korea. They can do it easily, they have done that before – they started the war in Vietnam that way. They said that the Vietnamese attacked an American destroyer and a cruiser, but in fact it turned out that nothing like that happened, but the USA had already started military actions against Vietnam.

“Let’s remember the year 2013, when a decision was made to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. ISIL terrorists staged a provocation back then too. They blew up ammo near Damascus and accused Assad of that. The Americans interfered, but Russia came to regulate the problem peacefully. Russia  said that Damascus was willing to destroy all of its chemical weapons.

“The Americans want China to put more pressure on North Korea – not only politically, but also economically. Strengthening economic sanctions against the DPRK could be an option.

“I would also like to pay attention to the recent statement from a representative of DPRK’s Ministry of Defense, who said that the Americans were trying to intimidate Pyongyang with their aircraft carriers, but North Korea would respond to the Americans accordingly. He then added: “We will not move a muscle to the actions of the Americans.”

“What does it mean?”

“North Korea is not going to take an initiative to strike the US aircraft carrier. Those people in Pyongyang are not crazy at all, they know perfectly well what an aircraft carrier is and what it can do. I’m sure that we will not see provocations on the part of North Korea: they do not want a military conflict to happen.”

“Is there any information about the evacuation of Pyongyang?”

“North Korea has repeatedly said before that the country was prepared for a military attack. They say that they can hide all their people in the mountains. I think that they have announced evacuation to be on the safe side, because the Americans are unpredictable.”

“They ordered the evacuation of 25 percent of Pyongyang residents – this is 600,000 people. Is it real?”

“They have mobilization programs in case of war. It can be real.”

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From MAD to Madness: Playing Games with Nuclear War


Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning


The following text is an Excerpt from Paul H. Johnstone and Diana Johnstone’s Book  published by Clarity. To order the book directly from the publisher click here. 

In the early fifties, Air Force Target Intelligence was new, growing, finding its way. Everything was in a state of flux, and over all hung an air of urgency resulting from the threat of the Cold War.

The Cold War Atmosphere

The prevailing Pentagon presumption was that at almost any time the Russians would unleash their hordes upon Western Europe. In the Air Force Directorate of Intelligence, a Special Studies Group had been set up by General C.P. Cabell (who later moved over to CIA and was chief of operations there at the time of the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco, although it was Richard Bissell who was directly in control of that operation). This Group was charged with writing most of the long range strategic think-pieces for the Directorate.

Click book cover right to order directly from Clarity

It was headed by Steve Possony, a Hungarian émigré who professed to be an expert on Communism in general and the Soviet Union in particular. Steve was the first of several Central European émigrés I met in the next few years who passed as experts on Communist Europe and who had at least some small influence on strategic thought and the formation of American policy. Others were Strausz-Hupé, Kissinger, Brzezinski and many lesser lights such as Leon Gouré and Helmut Sonnenfeldt. In every case I felt they were thinking, consciously or otherwise, not as Americans but as representatives of a lost cause in their native land, and I always believed they were used by the military because their ‘obsessions’ were so useful.

The one product of Possony’s group that I most distinctly remember was an annual appraisal of the strategic situation. And the reason I remember it, perhaps, is that every year that appraisal forecast a massive Russian land attack on Western Europe the following year. Several of us began to laugh about it after a while, but the forecast was always intoned awesomely and with superficial plausibility. I do not know whether many people who heard the briefings really believed the forecasts. I suspect many doubted it would really be next year, and thought it more likely the year after that or even later. But even doubters approved the forecast because, they reasoned, it was better to err in this direction than to minimize the danger. Above all, it was good to say things that emphasized the need for strong defenses.

This prediction of imminent mass attack by Russian hordes upon freedom’s bastions in Western Europe was, so far as I know, the specialty of Possony and company (maybe even they did not believe it, but it was, after all, a living). The general tone was not unlike the orientation briefings that were standard fare in those years for visitors to military bases of almost every sort — at least all of those I visited. These standard briefings were intended to explain the function and organizational status of the particular base or command, and as a one-time teacher I felt they were models of effective pedagogy. There was generally an articulate and accomplished raconteur, commonly a major or lieutenant colonel, armed with well-practiced topical jokes for starters, with a baton and a profusion of well executed charts and graphs and diagrams manned usually by a master sergeant. The introductory pleasantries varied from post to post and from time to time, but once these preliminaries were disposed of there was no doubt where the serious business would begin. It would begin with a series of charts, the first being Russia, colored red of course, with its boundaries of 1938, before the Russo-Finnish War and before the annexation of eastern Poland following the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 and the outbreak of World War II.

Then the red of Soviet Russia would flow into the areas taken from Finland, then from Poland in the 1939 seizure, then the red would move, one nation at a time, to cover the Baltic States, and after that Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Albania, North Korea, Czechoslovakia, China, and what we still called French Indochina. It was a red tide that was gradually overrunning the world. It was monolithic, centrally controlled and directed from Moscow, and the peoples of the areas turned red were Communist automatons, with never so much as a hint that they might have different cultural traditions or social values. The only suggestion of local differentiations was that poverty and hunger and sheer desperation induced human beings to become Communist automatons, which explained why areas in which there was political unrest of any sort were the areas we needed to keep a sharp eye on to prevent a Communist takeover.

It was almost always assumed that any war would be an unlimited war between the United States and our allies on one side, and the USSR and all her European Communist satellite states, plus China and North Korea on the other. The latter two did not count for much in those early days. Indeed the Korean War, although not a general war, was interpreted to confirm what almost everyone took for granted anyway, namely that the entire Communist bloc was a completely monolithic structure, with every major action dictated by Moscow and every slave state acting in concert.

By no means was this sort of presumption confined to the Pentagon. Even such a distinguished and broadly informed intellect as Secretary of State Dean Acheson subscribed to the doctrine. For instance, when in the last week of June, 1950, the North Koreans launched their attack on South Korea and President Truman returned from Missouri for a week of crisis conferences in Blair House, the basic premise of every attempt to understand the gravity of the situation and what our best response should be was that this was a Russian ploy and that the dominant question was what role in the overall strategy of Soviet plans for world conquest did this Korean venture play. Nearly twenty years later, when he wrote his State Department memoirs, Present At the Creation, Acheson still felt the same way. All this, despite the continued reporting, from 1945 on by our people on the spot, that the hostility of the regimes of both North and South Korea toward each other was so bitter that it was dangerously explosive and might erupt at any time. Our first occupation commander in South Korea had recommended we get out to avoid entanglement in a civil war between the two. And at least up to the time I write this, even though we have poured billions of dollars’ worth of military aid into South Korea, we have very carefully refrained from providing enough to give such confidence of military victory as to encourage their acknowledged aggressive tendencies.

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