Archive for the ‘War’ Category

France’s Retribution Will Be Swift and Harsh, as Will the Inevitable Reaction, and as Will the Retribution for the Reaction.

November 15, 2015

Police patrol near the Eiffel Tower the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris. (photo: Reuters)
Police patrol near the Eiffel Tower the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris. (photo: Reuters)

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

14 November 15


ir travel used to bestow a kind of immunity. Wheels up into the blackening sunset, and the world couldn’t touch you. The office couldn’t call. Nobody could find you. It was a three-hour recess from the news and cares and pain of the world. Of course, this odd place of solace has gone the way of free baggage check-in and actual food in coach. The technology has given the world a longer, deeper reach. So, if you choose, you can sit on a plane over a dark, anonymous planet and get the news of an impeccably organized murder half a world away.

French radio reporter Julien Pearce was inside the Bataclan theater when gunmen entered. Two men dressed in black started shooting what he described as AK-47s, and after wounded people fell to the floor, the two gunmen shot them again, execution-style, he said. The two men didn’t wear masks and didn’t say anything. The gunfire lasted 10 to 15 minutes, sending the crowd inside the small concert hall into a screaming panic, said Pearce, who escaped. He said he saw 20 to 25 bodies lying on the floor. The hostage situation at the Bataclan continued early Saturday. One of the explosions at the Stade de France outside Paris appears to be a suicide bombing, a Western intelligence source receiving direct intelligence from the scene told CNN’s Deb Feyerick. A dismembered body, consistent with the aftermath of an explosion from that type of device, was found at the scene, the source said.

There is no question that it will get worse as they move toward dawn in Paris. There is no question that it will get worse as the days turn into months and the months into years. Barbarians have laid siege to an entire European city for one of the first times since Rome fell. The body count will climb. The retribution will be swift and harsh, as will the inevitable reaction, and as will the retribution for the reaction. And the events of the day will be fed into the armored, blind triviality of the ongoing American election, and into the utterly corrupted American political system, and into the carefully cultivated timidity and faithlessness that all of these things have combined to make out of the American democracy over the past 15 years. Something awful has happened in Paris. Out of it will be born something awful in the collective mind and the collective heart and the collective soul. I wish I weren’t so sure of this, but the planet looks awfully black from up here, and it doesn’t look any different if you close your eyes.​


Obama administration abandons Pentagon program to train Syrian rebels

October 9, 2015

October 09, 2015

The New York Times »

Breaking News Alert

October 09, 2015

Obama administration abandons Pentagon program to train Syrian rebels

Friday, October 9, 2015 7:40 AM EDT

The Obama administration has ended the Pentagon’s $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels, administration officials said on Friday, in an acknowledgment that the beleaguered program had failed to produce any kind of ground combat forces capable of taking on the Islamic State in Syria.
Pentagon officials were expected to officially announce the end of the program on Friday, as Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter leaves London after meetings with his British counterpart, Michael Fallon, about the continuing wars in Syria and Iraq.
Read more »

The UN: Pretending to Oppose War for 70 Years

September 28, 2015

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From United Nations logo
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The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals don’t just ignore the fact that development isn’t sustainable; they revel in it. One of the goals is spreading energy use. Another is economic growth. Another is preparation for climate chaos (not preventing it, but dealing with it). And how does the United Nations deal with problems? Generally through wars and sanctions.

This institution was set up 70 years ago to keep nations, rather than a global body, in charge, and to keep the victors of World War II in a permanent position of dominating the rest of the globe. The UN legalized “defensive” wars and any wars it “authorizes” for whatever reason. It now says drones have made war “the norm,” but addressing that problem is not among the 17 goals now being considered. Ending war is not among the goals. Disarmament isn’t mentioned. The Arms Trade Treaty put through last year still lacks the United States, China, and Russia, but that’s not among the 17 concerns of “sustainable development.”

Saudi Arabia’s “responsibility to protect” Yemen by murdering its people with U.S. weapons isn’t at issue. Saudi Arabia is busy crucifying children and heading up the UN’s Human Rights Council. Meanwhile U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Foreign Minister of Turkey have declared that they will start addressing the full “lifecycle” of young people who become “terrorists.” Of course, they’ll do so without mentioning the U.S.-led wars that have traumatized the region or the by now long established record of the global war on terrorism producing terrorism.

I’m happy to have signed this letter, which you, too, can sign below:

To: U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon

– Advertisement -The U.N. Charter was ratified on October 24, 1945. Its potential is still unfulfilled. It has been used to advance and misused to impede the cause of peace. We urge a rededication to its original goal of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Whereas the Kellogg-Briand Pact forbids all war, the U.N. Charter opens up the possibility of a “legal war.” While most wars do not meet the narrow qualifications of being defensive or U.N.-authorized, many wars are marketed as if they meet those qualifications, and many people are fooled. After 70 years isn’t it time for the United Nations to cease authorizing wars and to make clear to the world that attacks on distant nations are not defensive?

The danger lurking in the “responsibility to protect” doctrine must be addressed. Acceptance of murder by armed drone as either non-war or legal war must be decisively rejected. To fulfill its promise, the United Nations must rededicate itself to these words from the U.N. Charter: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

To advance, the United Nations must be democratized so that all people of the world have an equal voice, and no single or small number of wealthy, war-oriented nations dominate the UN’s decisions. We urge you to pursue this path.

World Beyond War has outlined specific reforms that would democratize the United Nations, and make nonviolent actions the primary activity engaged in. Please read them here.

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David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at and and works for the online (more…)

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War Is A Lie

September 16, 2015

The updated second edition of War Is A Lie will be published onApril 5, 2016, by Just World Books.

Please support your local bookstores, but if you buy it from Amazon, please buy it on April 5th to put it at the top of the charts on day one.

I will make a limited number of appearances around the U.S. and elsewhere to speak about the new book. If you or your organization would like to help organize such an event near you, please click REPLY and let me know.

The first edition of War Is A Lie had a huge impact in 2010 and was published in the United States, Europe, and China. It has been taken out of print in preparation for the new one.

The new leader of the Labour Party in the UK recommends this book.

More recommendations and information are at


The Israeli government did everything it could to defeat the nuclear deal with Iran and failed.

Click here if you think it would be a mistake for the U.S. to now give Israel weapons with which it could start a war on Iran by itself.

President Obama wants to reward Israel by authorizing the transfer of “massive ordnance penetrators” and other advanced weaponry needed for an Israeli attack on Iran, and by promising Israel as much as $45 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons over the next 10 years.

If Israel starts a war with Iran, it will be very difficult to keep the United States out of it.

If Israel uses new U.S. weapons to attack Palestinian civilians, their blood will be on the hands of U.S. taxpayers.

In fact, Israel’s routine attacks on Palestinians make the transfer of U.S. weaponry to Israel illegal under U.S. law.

Click here to ask President Obama to comply with the law.



Our friends in Afghanistan have created another place where you can sign your name for abolishing war and meet others who are working on the same thing. Please visit them here.


The International Day of Peace and other events around the world

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Despite 14 Years of the US War on Terror, Terror Attacks Have Skyrocketed Since 9/11

September 11, 2015

A U.S. soldier secures a landing zone for a Black Hawk helicopter in the Shigal district center in Kunar province, Afghanistan. (photo: Getty)
A U.S. soldier secures a landing zone for a Black Hawk helicopter in the Shigal district center in Kunar province, Afghanistan. (photo: Getty)

By Paul Gottinger, Reader Supported News

11 September 15


error attacks have jumped by a stunning 6,500% since 2002, according to a new analysis by Reader Supported News. The number of casualties resulting from terror attacks has increased by 4,500% over this same time period. These colossal upsurges in terror took place despite a decade-long, worldwide effort to fight terrorism that has been led by the United States.

The analysis, conducted with figures provided by the US State Department, also shows that from 2007 to 2011 almost half of all the world’s terror took place in Iraq or Afghanistan – two countries being occupied by the US at the time.

Countries experiencing US military interventions continue to be subjected to high numbers of terror attacks, according to the data. In 2014, 74 percent of all terror-related casualties occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Syria. Of these five, only Nigeria did not experience either US air strikes or a military occupation in that year.

The data also show that the number of terror attacks around the world jumps up significantly shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2002, there were only 208 terror attacks, but by 2005 that figure had jumped to 11,000. There is no public data available on the number of terror attacks in 2004.

The State Department produced 2004’s terrorism data in its Patterns of Global Terrorism report from that year, but the report came under heavy criticism from the Bush administration for showing terrorism was at a 19-year high. These findings flew in the face of the Bush administration’s assertion that terrorism had declined in 2003, and as a result the 2004 data was never released.

The Bush administration ended the State Department’s annual report on terror, and instead issued a new report, which listed no methodology and withheld statistics on incidents of terrorism. The 2004 terrorism estimates in the table below are taken from CIA figures.

RSN’s analysis of the impact of 14 years of the US War on Terror seem to verify what the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index found last year. That report stated, “The rise in terrorist activity coincided with the US invasion of Iraq.” The US occupation, the report continues, “created large power vacuums in the country allowing different factions to surface and become violent.”

This so-called “Iraq Effect” has been reported by British intelligence, as well as in the US government’s own reports, which stated that “the war in Iraq has become the cause célèbre for jihadists” and that the war is “shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives.”

On October 7, the US war in Afghanistan will hit its 14th year. In one estimate, the US War on Terror may have killed between 1.3 and 2 million people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This count doesn’t include deaths that have resulted from the drone wars in Somalia and Yemen, air strikes on Libya in 2011, and the current US bombing and military involvement in Syria.

These figures dwarf the roughly 3,000 people who tragically died in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The US invasion of Iraq destabilized Iraq and Syria, creating the conditions for the emergence of ISIS, which now controls large parts of the two countries. The invasion of Afghanistan has not been able to wrestle large sections of the country from the Taliban, leaving Afghanistan in state of perpetual war. And the air war to oust Muammar Gaddafi has left Libya in a state of chaos.

The instability caused by these wars, along with the atrocities perpetrated by US-led forces, which can be exploited for terrorist recruitment, have played a significant role in the increase of terrorism worldwide.

As we commemorate the tragic events of September 11, 2001, let us also reflect on the even larger tragedies, the staggering number of people who have died as a result of the US War on Terror, and the fact that the US effort has only increased the specter of terrorism, which now haunts millions around the world.

Terror attacks around the world. (photo: US State Department)

Terror attacks around the world. (photo: US State Department)

Paul Gottinger is a staff reporter at RSN whose work focuses on the Middle East and the arms industry. He can be reached on Twitter @paulgottinger or via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it “>email.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


Comment: Not “despite” but “due to”. Wars create more problems and sufferings.


Peace and the Ideology of Greed and Division

August 14, 2015

war costs

Cooperation, tolerance and, crucially, sharing the worlds resources equitably amongst the people of the world, these would go a long way towards establishing social justice and trust, which in turn would help facilitate peace.

We all want peace, don’t we? Peaceful relationships and communities; an absence of violence and conflict: a World at Peace. This is surely everyone’s heartfelt desire. Without peace nothing can be achieved, none of the subtler essential needs of our time, such as feeding everyone and providing good quality health care and education to all – let alone the urgent need to save our planet (S.O.P.), beautify the cities and develop sustainable alternative energy sources.

Despite the fact that we all hanker after peace, there are currently aroundthirty armed conflicts taking place across the globe – wars in which many hundreds or many thousands of innocent people are being killed. They are not on the whole conflicts between one country and another, not directly anyway, although some may be. Ideology fuels much of the fighting, as well as popular armed resistance to corporate state power, state terrorism and repression. It’s worth saying at this point, that in addition to armed conflict the ‘war’ on independent ‘free’ thinking, true democracy and the freedom of the individual is a constant one. Brutal and unrelenting, it is fought by the ‘Masters of Mankind’ (Adam Smith’s famous term for the ruling elite) against the rest of us, the 99%.

War, and armed conflict more broadly, comes about when the conditions for such are present. Remove the causes of conflict – which, we accept, may be intricate  – and, logic dictates, peace will come about. Alternatively, manipulate the conditions, distort and pervert information, create fear and suspicion and engineer conflict. Does the current socio-economic paradigm (let’s call it market fundamentalism) encourage the conditions for violent conflict and social tensions, or negate the causes of such conflict?

The Business of War

In order to engage in wars that supposedly nobody wants, weapons are developed, manufactured, energetically sold (often by heads of state on corporate trade missions) and eagerly bought. The jets and tanks, guns and drones are used to destroy and kill – – ‘the enemy’, ‘terrorists’ and those who dissent and agitate – increasingly regarded by governments as the same thing. They are used to create an atmosphere of fear in which control of the people becomes easier. These murderous gadgets add prestige and status to those states that can afford them, and show the world that they are growing’, – ‘developing’, and should be taken seriously.

In democracies the state can no longer use weapons to suppress the people and curtail independence. Here thinking is controlled using the bodies of mass propaganda – advertising, the media, consumerism, and education amongst other national armaments.

Making weapons and associated paraphernalia is big business, perhaps the biggest. In 2014 worldwide expenditure on arms, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), was US $1.7 something Trillions (about 3% of global GDP).  America is responsible for around 70% of worldwide arms sales and spends as much on the machinery of war as the rest of the developed world combined – US $610 billions (SIPRI 2014).

Why would a government spend 16% of the total US federal budget, on killing machines and supporting technology if it were working for, and wanted peace, or was concerned about addressing social injustice and poverty? After all there are estimated to be around 50 million (15%) Americans living in poverty, people, who, one would imagine, would benefit from some of these funds being pushed their way.

It is a country run by an Oligarchy dominated by Neoliberalism: it has the highest level of Income and wealth inequality of all the industrialised nations (which feeds all manner of social ills from mistrust to homicide); and; whilst its leaders self-righteously talk of peace, democracy and human rights on the world stage, it is said that since the end of World War II, America haslaunched the overwhelming majority of military operations in the world. In fact according to Scientists Citizens (referring to an article in the American Journal of Public Health), it is responsible for a staggering 201, of the 248, armed conflicts that occurred up to 2001. The renowned American documentary film-maker, Michael Moore, whose latest project ‘Where to Invade Next’ focuses on America’s warring obsession, says, there’s “this constant need it seems to always have an enemy – where’s the next enemy so we can keep this whole military industrial complex alive, and keep the companies that make a lot of money from this in business.”

The desire for peace, that we all supposedly want, runs contrary to the drive for arms sales, and the primary imperative of neo-liberalism – profit and the constant increase of a nation’s GDP figures. Nation states build armies and develop weapons in order to fight wars – to achieve what? Peace, or the extension and domination of an ideology, the raping and pillaging of another country, the justification and growth of an industry? In Capitalism A Ghost Story, Arundhati Roy asks, “do we need weapons to fight wars? Or do we need wars to create markets for weapons? ”

Ambition versus Peace

The current socio-economic system of ‘market fundamentalism’ as Indian writer P. Sainath describes it, is the suffocating paradigm of contemporary civilisation under which all of us live. It has infiltrated every area of living, has caused worldwide inequality on unprecedented levels, reduced everything, and everyone to a commodity, sees all people as consumers, all places as markets and is the poisonous hand behind the global environmental catastrophe.

Is it a model for peace? Does it facilitate peaceful co-existence and social harmony? Indeed, are such ideals even relevant within a system that is content to allow men, women and children to die of hunger in their thousands simply because they are desperately poor; where the quality of health care and education someone receives is dependent on the size of their bank balance. Financial profit is the motive driving all action flowing from its pernicious core, and all means are justified by this greedy, short sighted, short term, end.

It is the shiny, noisy face of a materialistic ideology, which dominates all areas of life, and promotes a particular set of values. False values, many of us believe, that are causing a range of destructive unhealthy, social and environmental effects.

The crudest most basic aspects of human nature are emphasised: selfishness, nationalism, individual success and personal fulfilment are all fiercely encouraged, excess championed. Divisive goals tightly knitted together and relentlessly fed by desire, which sits at the agitated centre of the whole structure; a house of cards that would collapse without the constant itch of insatiability and perpetual discontent. And can peace exist where there is discontent?

Ambition (personal and national) together with the competitive spirit is almost mandatory within the confines of such a conditioned space, and as the Indian thinker J. Krishnamurti said, an ambitious man (or woman) “is not a peaceful man, though he may talk of peace and brotherhood”. He was equally damning of competition, saying, “there can be no peace, no enduring happiness for man as long as we  – the individual, the group and the nation – accept this competitive existence as inevitable. Competitiveness, ambition, implies conflict within and without”. Ideas shared by Albert Einstein, whomaintained that the competitive spirit destroys “all feelings of human fraternity and cooperation”.

Injustice is inherent in the system – of income, wealth, influence and opportunity. It strengthens social divisions, causing tensions, both seen and suppressed and conflict within and without; facilitates concentrations of power and control and its opposite – marginalisation, exclusion and vulnerability, leading to exploitation and abuse. Is peace possible along such perverted lines of living?

Calculated Intentions

War comes about when the conditions that create conflict are present. Ideologies of all kinds, together with the divisive, selfish values that Neoliberalism promotes, encourage such conditions. Given the nature of these ideas and the range of self-interests that support them, it is hard to see how the current system can do anything other than facilitate social conflict and perpetuate war – ‘infinite war’, which Michael Moore maintains is the calculated intention, certainly of the American government.

A range of inherent tendencies exist within us all, many good, some not so positive – violence is one, tribalism and anger others. And yes, there is violence and conflict in our communities because human beings are themselves violent. But the environment in which we live can either facilitate the good, or agitate the destructive elements in human nature. With its inherent injustice, and values encouraging materiality, selfishness, nationalism and desire, the current system feeds and strengthens the negative.

Peace will come about when there is social justice, contentment and trust. All of which are the enemies of the ruling elite. All of which must be repeatedly and relentlessly called for.

Cooperation, tolerance and, crucially, sharing the worlds resources equitably amongst the people of the world, these would go a long way towards establishing social justice and trust, which in turn would help facilitate peace.  Such perennial principles of goodness need to sit at the heart of a radically reformed socio-economic model, and in place of the existing divisive ideals, true values inculcated that unite people and evoke the good.

7 decades after WWII, many praise Germany, scorn Japan

August 13, 2015

7 decades after WWII, many praise Germany, scorn JapanSouth Korean visitors walk by a statue of South Korean patriot Ahn Jung-geun, who shot down Japan’s former top official in Korea, Ito Hirobumi, in 1909, the year before occupying Tokyo formally annexed the Korean Peninsula, at Ahn Jung-geun memorial hall in Seoul, South Korea.AP Photo/Julie Yoon


Both nations brutalized continents. Both slaughtered and abused tens of millions of people. But while Germany is held up as a paragon of post-World War II reconciliation, Japan is mired in animosity with its neighbors seven decades later.

In many ways, the stunning economic and political resurrections of both countries since the war ended 70 years ago Sunday have been a windfall for their respective regions. Both have largely been generous in aid, both, for the most part, sterling examples of liberal democracies.

But talk to Europeans and Northeast Asians about Germany and Japan and you’ll often find stark differences in perception.

Some of this is linked to the Soviet threat during the Cold War, which forced Europe to work closely with powerful West Germany. No such unifying force emerged in ultracompetitive Northeast Asia.

A kneeling former West German chancellor is a European icon of reconciliation, but China and the two Koreas see Japan as having continually gotten a free pass.

Protected by U.S. forces interested in establishing a regional military bulkhead, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, the public face of the troops who ravaged Asia, was never held accountable. Nor were many suspected war criminals, including the grandfather of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. There’s also criticism that frequent whitewashing of history by senior Japanese leaders, including Abe, nullifies Tokyo’s repeated attempts to display remorse.

The perceived injustice of history still rankles, and leaders in Seoul and Beijing use the resulting nationalism to cement domestic support and pursue territorial goals.

Here’s a country-by-country look at the very different ways Japan and Germany are viewed in parts of Asia and Europe today:



Perhaps the crystallization of abysmal Japan-South Korea ties can be found in the widespread veneration of Ahn Jung-geun, who shot down Japan’s former top official in Korea, Ito Hirobumi, in 1909, the year before occupying Tokyo formally annexed the Korean Peninsula.

A young, mustachioed Ahn, cradling a hand disfigured when he sliced off part of a finger as an expression of patriotism, can be seen on banners and posters throughout Seoul. A musical about Ahn’s life, called “Hero,” has been staged every year since 2009. A sleek museum tells Ahn’s life story, culminating with a lifelike diorama that shows Ahn aiming his pistol at a mortally wounded Ito.

Throughout South Korea, there is what Robert Kelly, a professor at Pusan National University, calls an “extraordinary, and negative, fixation with Japan.”

People in both countries admire the other’s culture and recognize shared security concerns, especially about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

But the Japanese colonization — which was followed by division in 1945 by the Soviets and the Americans and the 1950-53 Korean War that technically continues today — still rankles because “Japan was essentially trying to eliminate Korean-ness,” said John Delury, a professor at Seoul’s Yonsei University.

“Japan will never be another Germany,” said Doowon Heo, a 36-year-old teacher from Siheung, South Korea, referring to the postwar German reconciliation efforts. “The number of people who have personally experienced the colonial era will continue to decline, but Japan continues to refresh our memory about what it was like then.”



Poland, where the European war started when Germany invaded on Sept 1, 1939, is the site of one of the most powerful and unexpected gestures of German remorse.

A monument in the former Warsaw Ghetto marks the day Willy Brandt, the former West German chancellor, fell to his knees there in 1970.

Brandt received the Nobel Peace Prize the next year, with officials citing his kneeling at the Jewish site in Warsaw as an example of his work “to bury hatred and seek reconciliation across the mass graves of the war.”

Such efforts by Germany have been a consistent feature of its policies toward Poland, which suffered 6 million deaths during the war, half of them Jewish.

Since the fall of communism in Europe, Germany has strongly backed Poland’s efforts to join both the European Union and NATO, steps that have helped bring unprecedented prosperity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s backing was seen as critical in the election last year of former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to head the European Council in Brussels, the first time a Pole has won a top leadership position within the European Union.

Trade flows across the neighbors’ borders, students take part in exchange programs, and most young Poles and Germans have largely overcome past grievances.

Some older Poles, however, have mixed feelings.

“Once, in a restaurant in Bonn, the owner, who was in his late 30s, came up to a group of me and other Poles and said, ‘I am so sorry we did such horrible things, please forgive us,’” said Pawel Kuczynski, a 60-year-old documentary filmmaker. “But I only experienced this once. Mostly in my dealings with Germans, I get the feeling that they still look down upon us.”



On a recent overcast day, a smattering of Chinese tourists walked across the Marco Polo bridge in southwestern Beijing, which some see as the site of the first true battle of World War II.

Japan’s Imperial Army occupied Manchuria in the early 1930s, but on July 7, 1937, after a Japanese soldier went missing in the area, thousands of troops on both sides marched in the region. Fighting and atrocities soon followed, including the rape of Nanjing by the Japanese.

China keeps the memory of Japanese subjugation and brutality raw through its education system and popular culture. Television shows regularly depict virtuous Chinese soldiers outsmarting villainous Japanese.

Anti-Japanese sentiment is also easily channeled into support for China’s assertive claims to uninhabited islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

“There is always going to be a certain amount of loathing for the Japanese,” said Cao Yongzheng, a 62-year-old office manager from Jiangsu province in eastern China. “We’ll buy their products, but we don’t like them. It’s important that young people come to these places to remember.”



Despite their grim shared wartime history, Germany and the Netherlands are now strong allies in NATO and the European Union, and are tied closely together economically.

But memories of the just over 100,000 Jewish men, women and children rounded up by the Nazis in the Netherlands and sent to their deaths are kept alive in a small annex hidden by a bookcase in a canal-side house in Amsterdam.

This is where Anne Frank lived for more than two years starting in 1942, writing her now famous diary about life in hiding from the Nazis who occupied the Netherlands for much of the war.

For years, the home where Anne hid stood empty, run down and in danger of demolition. Eventually, a foundation took over and transformed it into a museum honoring Anne, who died in a concentration camp.

The museum is now visited by more than 1 million people each year.



Japan occupied much of Southeast Asia during World War II, but its legacy is much different in China and the Koreas. Its 3 1/2-year occupation of Indonesia, at the time a Dutch colony, added momentum to a burgeoning independence movement.

One of the few reminders of Japan’s wartime presence in Indonesia is the former residence in Jakarta of Rear Adm. Maeda Tadashi, who helped draft Indonesia’s first independence proclamation. The building is now a museum dedicated to the history of independence.

The Japanese portrayed their occupation of Indonesia as the intervention of a benevolent older brother and were initially welcomed as liberators from the despised Dutch.

Japan, attempting to persuade Indonesians to join the war, gave them roles in government for the first time and steps toward self-administration.

Brutality increased in the twilight of the occupation, but resentment among Indonesians against Japan is rare today.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


W. E. B. Du Bois to Malcolm X: The Untold History of the Movement to Ban the Bomb

August 4, 2015
Published on

Coretta Scott King (R) with Women Strike for Peace founder Dagmar Wilson (L) in a march on the United Nations Plaza, New York City, Nov. 1, 1963. (Image: Bettmann/CORBIS)

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. announced his strong opposition to the war in Vietnam, the media attacked him for straying outside of his civil rights mandate. In so many words, powerful interests told him: “Mind your own business.” In fact, African American leaders have long been concerned with broad issues of peace and justice—and have especially opposed nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, this activism is left out of mainstream corporate-produced history textbooks.

On June 6, 1964, three Japanese writers and a group of hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) arrived in Harlem as part of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki World Peace Study Mission. Their mission: to speak out against nuclear proliferation.

Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese American activist, organized a reception for the hibakusha at her home in the Harlem Manhattanville Housing Projects, with her friend Malcolm X. Malcolm said, “You have been scarred by the atom bomb. You just saw that we have also been scarred. The bomb that hit us was racism.” He went on to discuss his years in prison, education, and Asian history. Turning to Vietnam, Malcolm said, “If America sends troops to Vietnam, you progressives should protest.” He argued that “the struggle of Vietnam is the struggle of the whole Third World: the struggle against colonialism, neocolonialism, and imperialism.” Malcolm X, like so many before him, consistently connected colonialism, peace, and the Black freedom struggle. Yet, students have rarely heard this story.

With the recent developments in Charleston surrounding the Confederate flag, there is a renewed focus on what should be included in U.S. history textbooks and who should determine the content. Focusing on African American history, too often textbooks reduce the Black freedom movement to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington. Rosa Parks and Dr. King are put in their neat categorical boxes and students are never taught the Black freedom struggle’s international dimensions, viewing slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement as purely domestic phenomena unrelated to foreign affairs. However, Malcolm X joined a long list of African Americans who, from 1945 onward, actively supported nuclear disarmament. W. E. B. Du Bois, Bayard Rustin, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Black Panther Party were just a few of the many African Americans who combined civil rights with peace, and thus broadened the Black freedom movement and helped define it in terms of global human rights.

If students learn about Du Bois at all, it is usually that he helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) or that he received a PhD from Harvard. However, a few weeks after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Du Bois likened President Truman to Adolph Hitler, calling him “one of the greatest killers of our day.” He had traveled to Japan and consistently criticized the use of nuclear weapons. In the 1950s, fearing another Hiroshima in Korea, Du Bois led the effort in the Black community to eliminate nuclear weapons with the “Ban the Bomb” petition. Many students go through their entire academic careers and learn nothing of Du Bois’ work in the international arena.

If students ever hear the name Bayard Rustin, it is usually related to his work with theMarch on Washington. He has been tragically marginalized in U.S. history textbooks, in large part because of his homosexuality. However, Rustin’s body of work in civil rights and peace activism dates back to the 1930s. In 1959, during the Civil Rights Movement, Rustin not only fought institutional racism in the United States, but also traveled to Ghana to try to prevent France from testing its first nuclear weapon in Africa.

These days, some textbooks acknowledge Dr. King’s critique of the Vietnam War. However, King’s actions against nuclear weapons began a full decade earlier in the late 1950s. From 1957 until his death, through speeches, sermons, interviews, and marches, King consistently protested the use of nuclear weapons and war. King called for an end to nuclear testing asking, “What will be the ultimate value of having established social justice in a context where all people, Negro and White, are merely free to face destruction by Strontium-90 or atomic war?” Following the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, King called on the government to take some of the billions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons and use those funds to increase teachers’ salaries and build much needed schools in impoverished communities. Two years later, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, King argued the spiritual and moral lag in our society was due to three problems: racial injustice, poverty, and war. He warned that in the nuclear age, society must eliminate racism or risk annihilation.

Dr. King’s wife largely inspired his antinuclear stance. Coretta Scott King began her activism as a student at Antioch College. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, King worked with various peace organizations, and along with a group of female activists, began pressuring President Kennedy for a nuclear test ban. In 1962, Coretta King served as a delegate for Women Strike for Peace at a disarmament conference in Geneva that was part of a worldwide effort to push for a nuclear test ban treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union. Upon her return, King spoke at AME church in Chicago, saying: “We are on the brink of destroying ourselves through nuclear warfare . . . . The Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement must work together ultimately because peace and civil rights are part of the same problem.”

Soon, we will commemorate the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not long after comes the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Students will then return to school and to their history textbooks. However, most will not learn how these issues are connected. They will not learn of all those in the Civil Rights Movement who simultaneously fought for peace. But this must change, and soon. The scarring of war and poverty and racism that Malcolm X spoke of continues. It’s time that students learn about the long history of activism that has challenged these deadly triplets.

Vincent J. Intondi is an associate professor of history at Montgomery College and director of research for American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute. He is the author ofAfrican Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement (Stanford University Press, 2015).

Japan artist battles museum over works mocking government

July 29, 2015

Japan artist battles museum over works mocking governmentVisitors look at the works by Makoto Aida, one of Japan’s best-known and controversial artists, as part of an art exhibition for children at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo on July 28, 2015AFP

Tokyo (AFP) —

One of Japan’s best-known contemporary artists is locked in a fight with a public museum over claims it has threatened to pull the plug on works critical of the conservative government.

Makoto Aida said the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo told him to yank the pieces from an exhibit that started last week because they were “not suitable” for kids, but the museum countered that it just asked him to “modify” his creations.

“I was told that the works were not appropriate and that they wanted me to remove them,” the artist told AFP at the museum this week.

He added that the demand followed a complaint from a visitor and at the request of the Tokyo city government.

One piece, a video installation, appears to mock nationalist premier Shinzo Abe, whose popularity has dived as parliament debates controversial legislation aimed at expanding the scope of Japan’s military, which is currently limited to a narrowly defensive role.

The legislation, which Abe says is necessary to counter rising regional tensions, is controversial in pacifist Japan and has sparked rare protests.

Aida’s video depicts the artist pretending to be Abe making a speech in broken English, while a large calligraphy mildly mocking the education ministry hangs nearby.

Aida said the calligraphy work was meant to be humorous “not political”.

The video—which says he is playing the role of “a man calling himself Japan’s Prime Minister”—offers a “sincere apology” to people in China, Korea and other Asian countries that suffered from Japan’s imperial expansion in the first half of the 20th Century.

Abe has been accused by some of taking a revisionist view on Japan’s warring past, framing the country as more victim than aggressor.

“We began imitating other powerful countries, we colonised those weaker nations surrounding us, and we began wars of aggression,” the artist says in the video transcript.

“There were a great many people whom we insulted, and we wounded – and we killed… I am sorry!!!!”

A museum spokeswoman said Aida was asked to “modify” his works for the child-focused exhibit, without elaborating.

“We asked him if he could make them more approachable to children,” she said.

© 2015 AFP

Seeking War to the End of the World

July 27, 2015

Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan. (photo: YouTube)
Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan. (photo: YouTube)

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

26 July 15


Despite the disastrous Iraq War, neocons still dominate Official Washington’s inside-outside game, government policymakers coordinating with think-tank opinion leaders to keep world tensions high and money flowing to military projects, a process personified by Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland, says Robert Parry.

f the neoconservatives have their way again, U.S. ground troops will reoccupy Iraq, the U.S. military will take out Syria’s secular government (likely helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State take over), and the U.S. Congress will not only kill the Iran nuclear deal but follow that with a massive increase in military spending.

Like spraying lighter fluid on a roaring barbecue, the neocons also want a military escalation in Ukraine to burn the ethnic Russians out of the east, and the neocons dream of spreading the blaze to Moscow with the goal of forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin. In other words, more and more fires of Imperial “regime change” abroad even as the last embers of the American Republic die at home.

Much of this “strategy” is personified by a single Washington power couple: arch-neocon Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and an early advocate of the Iraq War, and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who engineered last year’s coup in Ukraine that started a nasty civil war and created a confrontation between nuclear-armed United States and Russia.

Kagan, who cut his teeth as a propaganda specialist in support of the Reagan administration’s brutal Central American policies in the 1980s, is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post’s neocon-dominated opinion pages.

On Friday, Kagan’s column baited the Republican Party to do more than just object to President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal. Kagan called for an all-out commitment to neoconservative goals, including military escalations in the Middle East, belligerence toward Russia and casting aside fiscal discipline in favor of funneling tens of billions of new dollars to the Pentagon.

Kagan also showed how the neocons’ world view remains the conventional wisdom of Official Washington despite their disastrous Iraq War. The neocon narrative gets repeated over and over in the mainstream media no matter how delusional it is.

For instance, a sane person might trace the origins of the bloodthirsty Islamic State back to President George W. Bush’s neocon-inspired Iraq War when this hyper-violent Sunni movement began as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” blowing up Shiite mosques and instigating sectarian bloodshed. It later expanded into Syria where Sunni militants were seeking the ouster of a secular regime led by Alawites, a Shiite offshoot. Though changing its name to the Islamic State, the movement continued with its trademark brutality.

But Kagan doesn’t acknowledge that he and his fellow neocons bear any responsibility for this head-chopping phenomenon. In his neocon narrative, the Islamic State gets blamed on Iran and Syria, even though those governments are leading much of the resistance to the Islamic State and its former colleagues in Al Qaeda, which in Syria backs a separate terrorist organization, the Nusra Front.

But here is how Kagan explains the situation to the Smart People of Official Washington: “Critics of the recent nuclear deal struck between Iran and the United States are entirely right to point out the serious challenge that will now be posed by the Islamic republic. It is an aspiring hegemon in an important region of the world.

“It is deeply engaged in a region-wide war that encompasses Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, the Gulf States and the Palestinian territories. It subsidizes the murderous but collapsing regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and therefore bears primary responsibility for the growing strength of the Islamic State and other radical jihadist forces in that country and in neighboring Iraq, where it is simultaneously expanding its influence and inflaming sectarian violence.”

The Real Hegemon

While ranting about “Iranian hegemony,” Kagan called for direct military intervention by the world’s true hegemonic power, the United States. He wants the U.S. military to weigh in against Iran on the side of two far more militarily advanced regional powers, Israel and Saudi Arabia, whose combined weapons spending dwarfs Iran’s and includes – with Israel – a sophisticated nuclear arsenal.

Yet reality has never had much relationship to neocon ideology. Kagan continued: “Any serious strategy aimed at resisting Iranian hegemony has also required confronting Iran on the several fronts of the Middle East battlefield. In Syria, it has required a determined policy to remove Assad by force, using U.S. air power to provide cover for civilians and create a safe zone for Syrians willing to fight.

“In Iraq, it has required using American forces to push back and destroy the forces of the Islamic State so that we would not have to rely, de facto, on Iranian power to do the job. Overall, it has required a greater U.S. military commitment to the region, a reversal of both the perceived and the real withdrawal of American power.

“And therefore it has required a reversal of the downward trend in U.S. defense spending, especially the undoing of the sequestration of defense funds, which has made it harder for the military even to think about addressing these challenges, should it be called upon to do so. So the question for Republicans who are rightly warning of the danger posed by Iran is: What have they done to make it possible for the United States to begin to have any strategy for responding?”

In Kagan’s call for war and more war, we’re seeing, again, the consequence of failing to hold neocons accountable after they pushed the country into the illegal and catastrophic Iraq War by selling lies about weapons of mass destruction and telling tales about how easy it would be.

Instead of facing a purge that should have followed the Iraq calamity, the neocons consolidated their power, holding onto key jobs in U.S. foreign policy, ensconcing themselves in influential think tanks, and remaining the go-to experts for mainstream media coverage. Being wrong about Iraq has almost become a badge of honor in the upside-down world of Official Washington.

But we need to unpack the truckload of sophistry that Kagan is peddling. First, it is simply crazy to talk about “Iranian hegemony.” That was part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rhetoric before the U.S. Congress on March 3 about Iran “gobbling up” nations – and it has now become a neocon-driven litany, but it is no more real just because it gets repeated endlessly.

For instance, take the Iraq case. It has a Shiite-led government not because Iran invaded Iraq, but because the United States did. After the U.S. military ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, the United States stood up a new government dominated by Shiites who, in turn, sought friendly relations with their co-religionists in Iran, which is entirely understandable and represents no aggression by Iran. Then, after the Islamic State’s dramatic military gains across Iraq last summer, the Iraqi government turned to Iran for military assistance, also no surprise.

Back to Iraq

However, leaving aside Kagan’s delusional hyperbole about Iran, look at what he’s proposing. He wants to return a sizable U.S. occupation force to Iraq, apparently caring little about the U.S. soldiers who were rotated multiple times into the war zone where almost 4,500 died (along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis). Having promoted Iraq War I and having paid no price, Kagan now wants to give us Iraq War II.

But that’s not enough. Kagan wants the U.S. military to intervene to make sure the secular government of Syria is overthrown, even though the almost certain winners would be Sunni extremists from the Islamic State or Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Such a victory could lead to genocides against Syria’s Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other minorities. At that point, there would be tremendous pressure for a full-scale U.S. invasion and occupation of Syria, too.

That may be why Kagan wants to throw tens of billions of dollar more into the military-industrial complex, although the true price tag for Kagan’s new wars would likely run into the trillions of dollars. Yet, Kagan still isn’t satisfied. He wants even more military spending to confront “growing Chinese power, an aggressive Russia and an increasingly hegemonic Iran.”

In his conclusion, Kagan mocks the Republicans for not backing up their tough talk: “So, yes, by all means, rail about the [Iran] deal. We all look forward to the hours of floor speeches and campaign speeches that lie ahead. But it will be hard to take Republican criticisms seriously unless they start doing the things that are in their power to do to begin to address the challenge.”

While it’s true that Kagan is now “just” a neocon ideologue – albeit one with important platforms to present his views – his wife Assistant Secretary of State Nuland shares his foreign policy views and even edits many of his articles. As she told The New York Times last year, “nothing goes out of the house that I don’t think is worthy of his talents. Let’s put it that way.” [See’s “Obama’s True Foreign Policy ‘Weakness.’”]

But Nuland is a foreign policy force of her own, considered by some in Washington to be the up-and-coming “star” at the State Department. By organizing the “regime change” in Ukraine – with the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 – Nuland also earned her spurs as an accomplished neocon.

Nuland has even outdone her husband, who may get “credit” for the Iraq War and the resulting chaos, but Nuland did him one better, instigating Cold War II and reviving hostilities between nuclear-armed Russia and the United States. After all, that’s where the really big money will go – toward modernizing nuclear arsenals and ordering top-of-the-line strategic weaponry.

A Family Business

There’s also a family-business aspect to these wars and confrontations, since the Kagans collectively serve not just to start conflicts but to profit from grateful military contractors who kick back a share of the money to the think tanks that employ the Kagans.

For instance, Robert’s brother Frederick works at the American Enterprise Institute, which has long benefited from the largesse of the Military-Industrial Complex, and his wife Kimberly runs her own think tank called the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

According to ISW’s annual reports, its original supporters were mostly right-wing foundations, such as the Smith-Richardson Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, but it was later backed by a host of national security contractors, including major ones like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and CACI, as well as lesser-known firms such as DynCorp International, which provided training for Afghan police, and Palantir, a technology company founded with the backing of the CIA’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel. Palantir supplied software to U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan.

Since its founding in 2007, ISW has focused mostly on wars in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, including closely cooperating with Gen. David Petraeus when he commanded U.S. forces in those countries. However, more recently, ISW has begun reporting extensively on the civil war in Ukraine. [See’s “Neocons Guided Petraeus on Afghan War.”]

So, to understand the enduring influence of the neocons – and the Kagan clan, in particular – you have to appreciate the money connections between the business of war and the business of selling war. When the military contractors do well, the think tanks that advocate for heightened global tensions do well, too.

And, it doesn’t hurt to have friends and family inside the government making sure that policymakers do their part to give war a chance — and to give peace the old heave-ho.

[For more on this topic, see’s “A Family Business of Perpetual War.”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.



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