Week of the Bomb: Monday

[In addition to the classified briefings for presidential candidates, this excellent piece should be required reading for all of them and their senior advisors, with a written test to follow. Then publish the results of that test before the general election. — VFP 132 ed.]

With the anniversary of the Trinity Test just passed, and the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki coming up, I realize the atomic bomb has been following me for years. The first book of poetry I …

Source: Week of the Bomb: Monday

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The peace boat Golden Rule sails into a new era of nuclear activism

This article originally appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 25, 2016. [with links]

by Dawn Stover


Dwarfed by the ships from the US Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the US Coast Guard that visited Portland, Oregon, for Fleet Week last month, the 30-foot-long Golden Rule looked like it was from another era. And it was.

The boat, sporting a 6-foot-wide peace symbol on one of its sails, is the same wooden ketch once crewed by pacifists who tried to sail it to the Marshall Islands in 1958, to protest US atmospheric testing of large nuclear bombs. They were prepared to sacrifice the boat and their own lives in an attempt to stop the tests, which were devastating the islands and sending radioactive fallout around the globe.

Like that historic voyage of 58 years ago, the Golden Rule’s 2016 tour of the Pacific Northwest is intended to promote nuclear disarmament. This time around, though, the challenge of raising public awareness may be even more difficult than it was in 1958. The volunteer crew doesn’t expect to bring about change through protest—they have no plans to risk arrest or boat seizure. Instead they’re hoping to appeal to boaters, Rotary club members, waterfront tourists, and others who may not be aware that their country not only possesses thousands of nuclear weapons, but is also working on extremely expensive upgrades to them. Continue reading

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The Big Boom: Nukes and NATO

The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO

Dispatches From The Edge

July 18, 2016

“Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”

-William J. Perry

U.S. Sec. Of Defense (1994-97)

Perry has been an inside player in the business of nuclear weapons for over 60 years and his book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” is a sober read. It is also a powerful counterpoint to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) current European strategy that envisions nuclear weapons as a deterrent to war: “Their [nuclear weapons] role is to prevent major war, not to wage wars,” argues the Alliance’s magazine, NATO Review.

But, as Perry points out, it is only by chance that the world has avoided a nuclear war—sometimes by nothing more than dumb luck—and, rather than enhancing…

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Thanks for Your Service, but Don’t Tell the Kids About It (We Need Them to Enlist)

The deceptive claims made by my recruiter were part of my motivation to visit high schools in lower-income towns and help educate students about the particular ways they might be misled by the recruiters in their schools’ hallways.

By Emily Yates. Op-ed originally appeared at Truthout.

CR-PittsburghCA

“Excuse me, are you saying negative things about the military?”

The question came over my right shoulder, from a well-dressed woman whose nametag proclaimed her to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Pittsburg, California. We were in the Pittsburg High School gymnasium, the location of an end-of-year career fair for graduating seniors. Two other veterans and I, along with a civilian friend, were tabling there with the Full Picture Coalition, a network of individuals dedicated to bringing students the truth about military recruitment, and we’d been conversing with students for nearly two hours before the woman interrupted us to demand, with eyes narrowed, what kind of negativity we might be spreading. Alex, one of the veterans in our group (and a former Army recruiter himself), smiled at her.

“We’re just telling the students about our experience, ma’am,” he said. “We’re veterans.”

Another woman, also from the Pittsburg Chamber, approached. I recognized her as the one who’d shown us where to set up our table that morning.

“I thought you were here to tell students about corporate jobs they could get after the military,” she snapped, glaring at our display of colorful pamphlets and flyers, including one titled “Questions to Ask Your Military Recruiter.” “I think you need to leave.” Continue reading

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Silencing America as it prepares for war

By John Pilger

27 May 2016


Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

“We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”. The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.

The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for Continue reading

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Defense contractor lobbyists start 2016 strong

From the April 21, 2016 Politico Morning Defense email:

<<LOBBYING TALE OF THE TAPE – NORTHROP TOPS DEFENSE FIRMS: Northrop Grumman topped defense contractors in lobbying spending for the first three months of this year, jumping ahead of Boeing for the top defense slot, according to the latest round of lobbying disclosure filings. Northrop, which won the Long-Range Strike Bomber contract last year, spent $4.7 million on lobbying in the first quarter, more than $1 million above the same time period in 2015.

Boeing was second among defense firms with $4.5 million in lobbying expenditures the first quarter, followed by Lockheed Martin at $3.7 million. General Dynamics jumped up to fourth at $2.5 million. And United Technologies was fifth at $2.3 million – a drop of $1.9 million compared to the first quarter last year, before the company sold Sikorsky to Lockheed.

In all, 20 of the biggest defense firms spent $28.3 million on lobbying last quarter, nearly identical to the total a year ago, according to a POLITICO analysis.>> 

 
According to a 2014 analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, corporate lobbying is a really good investment–“for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government”…a 76,000 percent return on the lobbying investment. Not too bad.

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Breaking the Chains of Command: Anarchist Veterans of the US Military, by Brad Thomson

This piece appears in the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, N. 28, on Justice available from AK Press here. Brad received an Institute for Anarchist Studies writing grant to assist…

Source: Breaking the Chains of Command: Anarchist Veterans of the US Military, by Brad Thomson

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