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TODAY. Even more dangerous GROUPTHINK – swallowing the idea that a nuclear war could be won

Of course, it must be disappointing to the developers and then the buyers of magnificent new toys, to know that those toys cannot actually be really played with. I mean, they did have a couple of little real games in 1945, and that was fun.

Since then, they’ ve had some sort of second-rate games – testing the toys on indigenous lands, and in the oceans, I mean, tough luck that this destroyed environments, brought cancer and death and dislocation to indigenous communities. And heck, even some white communities were damaged! Also, just building the toys caused thousands of workers to be made ill, and many to die.

But we knew that it was all in a good cause – didn’t we?

And now, many voices, especially some powerful and oh-so-knowledgeable voices, are calling for getting serious with these toys – time to nuke the Russians to bring peace and democracy to them? And, time for the Russians to nuke us in the interests of getting in first?

But the trouble is, some thoughtful people think that it might not work out so well. Apparently, even a very clever computer worked it out that no-one could win in a nuclear war. Indeed, the computer thought that the only way to win – is not to play.

To write seriously – it would be an awful pity if we let those oh-so-knowledgeable voices pass their thinking on to us all, or to enough people – so that using nuclear weapons whether bombs or ”tactical” is accepted as an OK thing to do.

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 3 Comments

U.S. Intelligence played a part in the sinking of Russia’s Flagship vessel

US Intel Assisted In Sinking Russian Flagship Vessel: Officials Claim Bombshell

Escalation  https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/us-intel-assisted-sinking-russian-flagship-vessel-officials-say-bombshell-revelation, BY TYLER DURDEN, FRIDAY, MAY 06, 2022 

Less than 24 hours after The New York Times issued a provocative report citing unnamed US officials who are celebrating that American intelligence-sharing with Ukraine’s military has helped take out multiple Russian generals since the Feb.24 invasion, NBC News is out with yet another bombshell claim sourced to the deep state US intel officials.

Amid what seems escalation after escalation, and new revelations of Washington’s deepening and perhaps increasingly direct role in fighting Russia in Ukraine, NBC brings us this doozy

Intelligence shared by the U.S. helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moskva, U.S. officials told NBC News, confirming an American role in perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s troubled invasion of Ukraine.”
As a reminder of just how hugely significant the claim is – and just how dangerous in terms of representing a massive escalation – the Moskva was considered the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, had 510 crewmen on board before Neptune anti-cruise ship missiles scored a direct hit in mid-April, and was the most embarrassing single blow to President Putin’s war effort of the whole conflict thus far.’

The report continues:

“The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, U.S. officials told NBC News. The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.”

This comes after the NY Times revealed in a report the night prior that much of the intel-sharing is focused on Russian troop and equipment movements.
According to further details based on anonymous US senior officials:

The U.S. did not know in advance that Ukraine was going to target the Moskva, officials said, and was not involved in the decision to strike. Maritime intelligence is shared with Ukraine to help it defend against attack from Russian ships, officials added.

The U.S. role in the sinking has not been previously reported.

Biden admin officials in the days after the Moskva sinking had been relatively silent, possibly suggesting that they knew more about the details than what their quiet public stance let on.
The April 15 event had initially also been met with lack of answers from Moscow as it attempted to deal with the crisis of its flagship missile cruiser sinking to the bottom of the Black Sea after it was hit off Odessa, and as it later said all the crew were evacuated. However some Ukrainian and Western officials said the ship suffered casualties.

It goes without saying that this fresh NBC report will be viewed by Moscow as an outrageous acknowledged escalation by Washington, though so far Russian leadership’s public response has been rather muted
The Kremlin had previously warned it would hold external countries supplying arms and other forms of assistance “responsible” – and that “decision-making” centers including Kiev would come under increased attack. Meanwhile, cruise missile strikes even as far west as Lviv do appear to be expanding this week.
Indeed it seems that these intentional “leaks” to the media, likely as part of a deliberate strategy of seeking to intimidate Russia in hopes it will more quickly back off its military operations, will instead only serve to ratchet things further as broader great power tensions hit boiling point.

May 7, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Antiwar Coalitions in Action

Antiwar Groups Protest Defense Industry Profiteering in UkraineTyler WalicekTruthout, 3 May 22,

”……………………………………………….. In the meantime, large-scale real-world protests against the war have erupted on numerous fronts — both within Russia and Ukraine and across the globe. Progressive, pacifist and anti-imperialist groups in the U.S. are no exception, having mobilized their considerable institutional resources to voice their own opposition. Given the unlikelihood of influencing the actions of the Russian government, they’ve targeted the realm in which they are mostly likely to have an impact — namely, U.S. policy. Because of its deep entanglements in the war, the U.S. response could easily be a critical determining factor on the outcome: either negotiation, drawdown and eventual peace, or escalation and sustained bloodshed.

Though the U.S. antiwar movement has never reattained the scale of its Vietnam-era heyday, plenty of groups with antiwar missions are active in the modern day. Many date to the resistance against the U.S.’s imperial expeditions in Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s — for example, CODEPINK, the sizeable progressive and feminist antiwar organization, was founded in 2002. The group has been one of the more visible in mounting a response to the Ukraine issue, voicing dissent with the provision of weapons and directing public attention to the geopolitical context of NATO’s aggressive posture in the preceding years.

Truthout reached CODEPINK cofounder and activist Medea Benjamin, a Green Party member and former California Senate candidate, to learn more about the group’s agitational efforts and how antiwar elements in the U.S. might conceivably affect policy. As Benjamin sees it, the effort begins with education and informing the public: counteracting a media apparatus that insistently seeks to justify opening the floodgates of advanced weaponry — sometimes very directly.

“[The idea that weapons and sanctions are necessary] is being pushed by people in the White House and most members of Congress. It’s certainly being pushed by the corporate media,” Benjamin said. (Take The New York Times, for instance, which conceded sanctions may be “harsh,” but deemed they were ultimately “appropriate.” We are left to wonder why the Times didn’t insist the U.S. be so “harshly” sanctioned in the wake of the invasion of Iraq.)

Benjamin underscored the structural incentives: “The weapons companies [are] concerned about the drawing down of U.S. wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. [The state] sees this as an opportunity to really debilitate Russia.… The ability to bleed the Russian economy and to curtail its reach also means that the U.S. is strengthening its position globally.”

CODEPINK and its allies, galvanized by the war, have busied themselves in a flurry of activity. CODEPINK had in fact already rallied a number of times in protest of rising tensions, before the crisis’s late-February outbreak. Immediately after Russian troops made their first incursion into Ukraine, the organization, along with U.K.-based groups like the Stop the War Coalitionthe No to NATO Network and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, held an emergency online panel and rally, bringing together figures like Jeremy Corbyn and historian and writer Vijay Prashad to denounce the war (Corbyn called it “abominable, appalling and unnecessary”), and to call for peace.

CODEPINK’s series of webinars drew thousands — including, as Benjamin described, “representatives from members of parliaments from many governments, including the British, Irish, German, French and Spanish, [and] well-known academics and activists.” In April, Benjamin also hosted another “Stop the War in Ukraine” online rally featuring Noam Chomsky, another appearance from Vijay Prashad, Greek leftist politician Yanis Varoufakis, New Left Review editor Tariq Ali, and other notable voices.

These online events occurred in tandem with real-world rallies — “days of action,” which, Benjamin said, brought together “about 125 different groups around the world.” CODEPINK has long worked beside organizations like the ANSWER Coalition (another large antiwar group in the United States, which has also hosted online conversations). Together with the Black Alliance for Peace, Peace Action, and others, the coalition put together a rally in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square as tensions rose. Further CODEPINK protests took place across various U.S. locales, where volunteers demonstrated, put up flyers and gathered signatures on petitions.

As Benjamin framed it, the core message in conducting this public outreach amounted to posing the questions, “Do you want the war in Ukraine to end? Do you want to save the lives of Ukrainian people? Well, then let’s call for a ceasefire and for serious negotiations.” She feels that this approach is a convincing one: “Once we have a chance to talk to people about it, we do get them to our side.”

Benjamin and CODEPINK plan to sustain their current rates of activity. In June, the group is joining the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, D.C. — an effort spearheaded by the Poor People’s Campaign to speak out against militarism and the bloated defense budget, among other systemic issues. Benjamin also highlighted future plans to send activists to protest an upcoming NATO strategic summit in Madrid, along with an international antiwar coalition of considerable size. Their hope is to apply pressure at a critical time: “With the upcoming election in November, I think that we can be part of talking about why this is happening, not allowing Biden to get away with blaming everything on Russia, but instead putting the blame on militarism and the inability to really seriously push for a negotiated solution,” Benjamin told Truthout.

Resolute Nonviolence

Joining CODEPINK at the Madrid NATO summit and elsewhere will be World Beyond War (WBW), a U.S.-based pacifist organization that maintains international chapters, including in Ukraine. David Swanson is WBW’s executive director. In a conversation with Truthout, he described the group’s assiduous organizing efforts. Like CODEPINK, WBW’s current strategy is to inform the public, presenting pacifist arguments for abolishing war, nuclear weaponry and arms dealing. WBW’s output has included innumerable articles, books, interviews, op-eds, videos, podcasts, and other media. In addition, said Swanson, “We’ve done tons of webinars, online and offline educational events. We have lots of speakers, we go and talk to classrooms, go and talk to peace groups that organize events and do tons of the same online.”

To augment the media push, WBW has also directed substantial real-world actions. “The past week, we’ve been doing protests all over the world,” said Swanson. The immediate future will see WBW participate in widespread protests on a global day of action, planned for May 7.“We’ve done these days before, usually in coalition with other groups, sometimes globally, sometimes nationally, trying to do days of events where we have at least small and sometimes large demonstrations or rallies or protests everywhere.”

WBW is also engaging in some more pointed confrontations. In one instance, a WBW advisory board member disrupted an event in Canada by confronting the deputy prime minister with an antiwar, anti-NATO diatribe. Another arm of WBW’s strategy, ongoing for years, is to protest at the physical offices of weapons manufacturers — major beneficiaries of wars that are incentivized to ensure they remain as drawn-out and destructive as possible. WBW will be demonstrating at the next annual meeting of aviation and defense corporation Northrop Grumman. Members aim to draw attention to the key role that the corporation and other arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin play in “the war on Ukraine from which [they are] proudly profiting,” Swanson said. “There are Congress members proudly profiting from stock ownership in Lockheed Martin.”

Swanson sees the attention that the war on Ukraine has received as an opportunity to buttress opposition to militarism in general — and to flag certain contradictory narratives from U.S. empire and its mouthpieces. “After decades of demanding that war victims be treated with some sympathy and respect,” he said, “to have that finally happen in one place is an opportunity to say ‘Yes! Right on! What about all the other war victims?’ To have the U.S. government want war treated as a crime and prosecuted in a court — wonderful! Now how about all the other wars?”

That sort of hypocrisy around foreign policy is one of the state’s (and dominant media’s) most reliable features. Again, the tragedy of Ukraine has been especially amplified because it serves a convenient ideological function in contesting Russia’s geopolitical position. (And, as many have pointed, or blurted, out: Sympathy towards this conflict has also had particular purchase because Ukraine is considered a “civilized” European country with a large white population. A number of media figures have told on themselves on this front.)

Key to WBW’s ideology is an unswerving commitment to pacifism. As Swanson described it, “We are opposed to all war, all militarism, all war thinking, all support for military funding, always, without exception.… We think that’s actually the moral thing to do.” Nonviolence, for WBW, is non-negotiable — as evidenced by a recent article of his, which criticized the Poor People’s Campaign for an email that seemed to condone arming Ukraine. As Swanson continued: “To drag this on, to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian as we have their backs with the money rolling in — I don’t think this is a moral position. This is the point we struggle to educate people on: that the United States and Ukraine, as well as Russia, should be trying to end the war. It’s almost considered treasonous. The ‘proper’ position is to want to continue the war to weaken Russia.”

People Can Still Stop Wars

Countless organizers are just as aghast as Swanson at the grotesqueries of this war as well at its ideological utility for other powerful warmongering interests, their rank hypocrisy on display. Despite its distance from the conflict and a lack of leverage over Russia’s actions, the U.S. antiwar movement does, conceivably, have the potential to impact its own government. A U.S. pivot to pursuing a diplomatic resolution might help avoid a prolonged and grueling war of attrition. Yet if present conditions continue to accelerate — continued Russian aggression (as well as their significant battlefield setbacks) as the West increasingly arms Ukraine — the war may develop into the latter.

There are challenging moral questions to be weighed by the war’s opponents: questions of pacifism and self-defense, of how best to show solidarity with a beleaguered Ukraine, of how a war of aggression might be mitigated without worsening violence. Even understanding the conflict requires triangulating between the relentless propaganda of two powerful and deceptive nations. It would be easy for antiwar activists to give into the long odds and a sense of impotence or apathy, in a struggle that can seem quixotic. Yet the U.S. military and government, while an imposing edifice of power and profit, is not invulnerable, and mass protest and dissent have swayed the course of its history in the past. Despite their differences, antiwar organizers are collectively buoyed by a faith in what history has demonstrated: that people, when organized, can still stop wars.  https://truthout.org/articles/antiwar-groups-protest-defense-industry-profiteering-in-ukraine/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=77e07376-4f26-4746-9b6e-12d42fb0f129

May 7, 2022 Posted by | ACTION, opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

[Book review] Documenting the tragic aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster


Natsuko Katayama kept fastidious notes on what she saw – and the people she spoke to – on the grounds of the Fukushima nuclear site.

People on the Front Lines: A Record of Nine Years of Disaster Relief by Workers at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant” Written by Natsuko Katayama, translated by Lee Eon-suk, published by Prunsoop, sold for 23,000 won.

We have already forgotten about Fukushima. Hardly anyone remembers what happened there 11 years ago.People seemed apathetic when the incoming administration’s transition team announced that it will be extending the operational life of 18 nuclear reactors. There’s little sign of public pushback or opposition. Short-term profit is regarded as more important and precious than human lives and the environment, as greed erodes fear.I try to imagine the 179 notebooks that reporter Natsuko Katayama kept over nine years at Fukushima. Those tattered notebooks must contain not only the blood, sweat and tears of those years, but also pain, anger and sadness. Disaster, sacrifice, suffering, frustration, tenacity, hope and sadness arise amid unfamiliar words such as Fukushima, nuclear power, workers, contaminated water, nuclear meltdown, protective equipment, radiation exposure, risk, and subcontractors and then grow dim amid imaginary shouts and groans.

Katayama, a reporter on the city desk at the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, went undercover at Fukushima after the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011 and continued digging for the truth there through 2019. She recorded her struggle in 179 notebooks which serve as the basis for “People on the Front Lines.” The “people on the front lines” that she met at Fukushima during those nine years can be seen as “minor characters.”According to Osamu Aoki, a freelance journalist whose commentary appears at the end of the book, this book represents “reportage that insists on covering minor characters.”“There are too many major characters in the world of journalism, including newspapers. [. . .] But there are many voices that are omitted in that process. Unknown people have feelings that contain facts we need to savor, ponder, contemplate and ruminate over,” Aoki wrote in the essay.

In reality, this book is a treasure trove of those minor characters. Katayama’s reporting is raw and intimate precisely because it is so plain and unadorned. Nine years of reporting is divided into nine chapters, which are summarized in a table of contents that runs for six pages.Randomly sampling the table of contents feels as if you’ve already read the whole book.“Fighting with sweat under the masks.” “Home before winter?” “Please tell them what’s happening here.” “Heading into the reactor with a son’s encouragement.” “Drilling into the containment vessel despite the radiation.” “Families scattered to the winds.” “Let’s live here.” “They do want to work until the reactor is decommissioned.” “Enough with these pointless inspections.” “Nothing has changed since the accident.” “How long will the contaminated water keep leaking?” “The scariest thing is being forgotten.” “A colleague died, but the work resumes.” “Are they just going to throw it away in the end?” “Someone’s got to do the work.” “We face the radiation, but the company keeps the money.” And so on.

Sei (55, a pseudonym) had been working with nuclear reactors since getting a part-time job at one in high school, at the age of 16. He fled Fukushima with his family three days after the nuclear accident, but came back four months later.Sei firmly believed in the safety of the reactor. That was partly because he’d been working at nuclear reactors for four decades. His confidence in the five-fold barrier that was supposed to keep the radiation out was shattered into pieces.

This is what he told Katayama: “We didn’t take any precautions after the accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island in the US because we saw those as being other countries’ problems. There was too much arrogance in the government and the power company. I felt betrayed because I’d believed it was absolutely safe.”Sei was the technician who “drilled into the containment vessel despite the radiation.” He knew it was risky but thought that someone had to do it.Compensation from the government made things harder for the victims. They had to deal with resentment from those around them, who thought they didn’t have to work anymore.

Katayama recorded what she was told about the suffering of scattered families who were shuffled from one shelter to another, suffering that they were reluctant to talk about. The victims were shunned in other areas, and their children were treated as refugees and “contaminants” at nurseries and schools.Parents felt they had to dress their children in plain clothes to keep a low profile. Family breakdowns were common, including separations and divorces. With so many people separated from their families, some were even driven to suicide.Workers went about their duties in the wrecked reactor despite radiation so heavy that not even robots could operate. That raises many questions. For example, why did they work there? Was it because of the money?

The only way to learn how those workers truly felt was to rub shoulders with them in the field. The stories that Katayama tells so plainly present us with the complex interiority of people facing an unheard-of disaster.Do people carry the genes of hope that allow them to overcome extreme discouragement when they are pushed to the brink? Their desire to return home and remake it into a place where children can live in peace through their own strength could be seen as foolish bravado. But that conceals their heavy responsibility as members of society — the notion of “if not us, then who?”In July 2011, a 56-year-old worker was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder, large intestine and stomach after just four months at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The cancer hadn’t metastasized, but had occurred separately in those organs.

But the government didn’t recognize the cancers as being job-related. Too little time had elapsed between the radiation exposure and the occurrence of cancer for a causal relationship to be established, the government said.That worker had gone to Fukushima not because he wanted to, but because he didn’t want to lose his job. He had been more afraid of being terminated than being exposed to radiation, but now he regrets that decision.The workers who combated the disaster at Fukushima were given unreasonable duties without receiving decent pay in a network of subcontractors that were often seven or eight times removed from the prime contractor.

Any incident, no matter how horrific, is forgotten with time. But Katayama had been meticulously investigating, listening, and recording what had happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant with the conviction that it must not be forgotten. In the eighth year after the accident, she started coughing up blood and was diagnosed with cancer of the throat.The workers that Katayama had gotten to know during her long reportage were worried about her. “How did you come down with cancer before we did?”One worker who was already racked with illness offered her comfort. “When one door closes, another opens.”Katayama maintains her journalistic interest in Fukushima. She’s now in her 11th year reporting there, and on her 220th notebook.By Kim Jin-cheol, staff reporterPlease direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Militarism in the USA on the rise, with the Ukraine war

The U.S. public largely endorses these policies, with a majority approving of or wishing to increase weaponry shipments. (Further, a remarkable 35 percent favor direct military action — “even if it risks nuclear conflict with Russia,”

Antiwar Groups Protest Defense Industry Profiteering in Ukraine, Tyler WalicekTruthout, 3 May 22, The war of aggression that Russia has perpetrated in Ukraine has rightly generated widespread condemnation, both among Russia’s Western critics and the world at large. On the war’s obvious heinousness, almost all of the U.S. political spectrum is in agreement. However, opinions as to the appropriate Western response proceed from vastly different premises.

The predominant left position is, on the whole, resolutely antiwar. U.S. activists of all stripes have been rolling out ambitious organizing efforts in the hopes of nudging the conflict towards diplomacy and an eventual ceasefire. Given the considerable death toll and the millions of refugees the war has produced — to say nothing of the threat of conventional or nuclear escalation — the matter is an urgent one.

In the process of organizing opposition, there has, of course, been much in the way of internal debate among various left factions. More contentious dimensions include the question of arming Ukrainians, the comparative moral weighting of nonviolence and self-defense, and the degree of culpability that should be attributed to NATO for its demonstrable role in decades of ratcheting tensions.

Whatever their perspective on the circumstances, organizers from left-liberals to communists are calling upon the means of protest at their disposal, from media initiatives to global rallies to demonstrations at the thresholds of the military-industrial complex. To mount an effective confrontation with the U.S. empire and defense industry and influence a far-flung conflict is a daunting prospect. Yet despite the historic scale of the challenge, coalitions of antiwar activists are striving to realize their vision of the end of imperial aggression — perpetrated by Russia and the U.S. alike.

Defaulting to Militarism

Antiwar organizers generally share a conviction that diplomacy should take precedence in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The vast majority are vehemently opposed to any form of active U.S. military intervention — a prudent stance for those who wish to avoid a hot war with a nuclear power. Unsurprisingly, the same cannot be said for the U.S. political establishment, which has seized upon the opportunity to vilify Russia, seemingly eager to court a clash between the two deteriorating superpowers. Right-wing war fervor, always simmering below the surface, has boiled over; Republican jingoists (and a number of foolhardy op-eds in major mediaespoused everything from a no-fly zone to refusing to rule out the deployment of U.S. ground troops.

These lawmakers’ martial fantasies are more than a little cavalier about the potential for Great Power conflict. Comparatively less reckless centrists, for their part, mostly favor a two-pronged approach: the imposition of devastating punitive sanctions on Russia and the delivery of vast amounts of weaponry to Ukrainian forces — stopping short of outright U.S. military intervention.

Democrats have leaped to snipe at the right by demonstrating who can demand the larger flood of weaponry, while leveraging the conflict for all manner of political purposes. By any measure, it has been a field day for fawning, ham-fisted propagandists like noted stenographer Bret Stephens. (“The U.S. stands up to bullies!”) Both parties are unequivocal in their shared support for an overflowing bounty of war materiel and other assistance. As of this writing, the White House is requesting a stunning $33 billion for Ukraine. The number keeps climbing.

The U.S. public largely endorses these policies, with a majority approving of or wishing to increase weaponry shipments. (Further, a remarkable 35 percent favor direct military action — “even if it risks nuclear conflict with Russia,” speaking poorly of their aptitude in risk assessment.) NATO has held out against calls to impose a no-fly zone; at least the military alliance sees the wisdom in avoiding a shooting war with Russian forces.

The shooting will instead be done by Ukrainian hands with plentiful Western arms — very much to the benefit of the U.S. defense industry. It is no coincidence that we see such an eagerness to fortify Ukraine among the government and media. Not only is the state keen to see Russia battered and chastened, but conflict and arms deals, as ever, mean profit.

Antiwar activists perceive the inundation of Ukraine with armaments as yet another round of war profiteering — one that risks precluding diplomatic solutions. As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy petitions the world to arm Ukraine and intervene militarily, antiwar groups, in contrast, have spoken out in strident opposition to the staggering influx of Western arms, as well as the Cold-War style bellicosity that U.S. power has again taken up with gusto.

Antiwar Coalitions in Action

In the meantime, large-scale real-world protests against the war have erupted on numerous fronts — both within Russia and Ukraine and across the globe. Progressive, pacifist and anti-imperialist groups in the U.S. are no exception, having mobilized their considerable institutional resources to voice their own opposition. Given the unlikelihood of influencing the actions of the Russian government, they’ve targeted the realm in which they are mostly likely to have an impact — namely, U.S. policy. Because of its deep entanglements in the war, the U.S. response could easily be a critical determining factor on the outcome: either negotiation, drawdown and eventual peace, or escalation and sustained bloodshed………………….. https://truthout.org/articles/antiwar-groups-protest-defense-industry-profiteering-in-ukraine/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=77e07376-4f26-4746-9b6e-12d42fb0f129

May 7, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ukraine seeks Russia’s total defeat – top officials

Kiev insists the only document it will sign with Moscow is Russia’s “capitulation”,  https://www.rt.com/russia/554887-ukraine-treaty-russia-capitulation/ 3 May 22,

Ukraine’s top security official has said that, instead of a peace treaty, Kiev is only prepared to sign a document with Moscow that would finalize Russia’s defeat. The announcement comes as the conflict between the two countries continues to rage.

During an TV interview on Monday, Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), was asked about international security assurances for Kiev and possible peace with Russia.

Danilov replied: “With Russia we can only sign an act of its capitulation. The sooner they do it, the better it will be for their country.”

The official noted earlier in the interview that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office handles the talks and not the NSDC. “We have our own views. The president knows my stance on the issue,” he said. He added that he believes Zelensky will not violate Ukraine’s constitution, which guarantees the country’s territorial integrity and aspirations to join NATO.

Later on Monday, Zelensky’s adviser Alexey Arestovich brought up Danilov’s remarks during a chat with activist and YouTuber Mark Feygin. “The statement is very simple: there will be no peace treaty with Russia. There will only be the capitulation of the Russian Federation,” Arestovich said.

Asked whether Danilov had been authorized to make such statements, Arestovich said: “He doesn’t just make statements like that. He’s an official of the highest rank. It’s a completely new reality.”

Moscow wants Ukraine to renounce its bid to join NATO, as well as recognize Crimea as part of Russia, and the independence of the Donbass republics. Moscow also seeks the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine.

Peace negotiations stalled after a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, in late March. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Kiev on Sunday of frequently changing positions and “sabotaging” the talks. 

Russia attacked neighboring Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In the UK ”a disarmament week of actions against nuclear threats- ‘Faslane Action for Bomb Ban ‘ starting June 6

 Anti-nuclear protesters will be staging a camp on the Rosneath Peninsula
next month. They will be travelling from Bristol for a ‘disarmament week
of actions against nuclear threats’. Trident Ploughshares, who first
appeared locally in the late 1990s as TP 2000, and XR Peace are planning a
‘Faslane Action for Bomb Ban’, starting on June 6.

They will bring a
large CND symbol on a trailer and hold photo opportunities in Chester,
Carlisle and Glasgow en route to the peninsula, where they are expected at
12 noon on Thursday June 9. 

Lochside Press 5th May 2022https://thelochsidepress.com/2022/05/05/anti-nuclear-camp-on-rosneath-peninsula-next-month/

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Propaganda During Times of War

The Postil Magazine,  Anne Morelli

This article, by Anne Morelli, is here translated for the first time complete. It is based on her monograph, Principes élémentaires de propagande de guerre (utilisables en cas de guerre froide, chaude ou tiède)The Basic Principles of War Propaganda (For Use in Case of War, cold, hot, or warm), which was first published in 2001 and then revised and republished in 2010 to include the war in Afghanistan and Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech.

Morelli’s ten principles, or “commandments” are often accredited to Lord Arthur Ponsonby. Rather, Morelli summarized Ponsonby’s work, Falsehood in War-Time to formulate them.

The current Russian-Ukrainian conflict is just the latest iteration of the immense reach of war propaganda to fashion consent, in the form of ready sacrifice of blood and treasure.

…………………. Ponsonby’s Ten Commandments

The principles identified by Ponsonby can be easily stated as ten “commandments.” I will state them here, and we will see for each of them to what extent they have been applied by NATO’s propaganda services.

  1. We do not want war
  2. The other side is solely responsible for the war
  3. The enemy has the face of the devil (or in the order of “ugly”)
  4. The real aims of the war must be masked under noble causes
  5. The enemy knowingly commits atrocities. If we commit blunders, they are unintentional
  6. We suffer very few losses. The enemy’s losses are enormous
  7. Our cause is sacred
  8. Artists and intellectuals support our cause
  9. The enemy uses illegal weapons
  10. Those who question our propaganda are traitors

1. We Do Not Want War

Arthur Ponsonby had early noticed that the statesmen of all countries, before declaring war or at the very moment of this declaration, always solemnly assured as a preliminary that they did not want war. ………….

2. The Other Side is Solely Responsible for the War

Ponsonby noted this paradox of the First World War, which can also be found in many previous wars: each side claimed to have been forced to declare war to prevent the other from setting the planet on fire. Each government would loudly declare the aporia that sometimes war is necessary to end wars………..

,…………..  in the case of this second principle (“it is the other who wanted the war”), it is obvious that it has been applied many times during the NATO war against Yugoslavia……………………..

…. The Franco-Belgian weekly Le Vif-Express ran this headline: “The dictator of Belgrade has a crushing responsibility in the misfortunes of the Serbian and Albanian people.” The insistence on the person of the leader of the enemy camp is not a coincidence. Ponsonby’s third principle insists on the need to personify the enemy in the person of its leader.

3. The Enemy has the Face of the Devil

It is not possible to hate a whole people globally. It is therefore effective to concentrate this hatred of the enemy on the opposing leader. The enemy thus has a face, and this face is obviously odious…………..

………..  as far as possible, it is necessary to demonize this enemy leader, to present him as a madman, a barbarian, an infernal criminal, a butcher, a disturber of peace, an enemy of humanity, a monster. ………….

Since the Second World War, Hitler has been considered such a paradigm of evil, that any enemy leader must be compared to him. ……………………………..

4. The Real Aims of the War must be Masked under Noble Causes

Ponsonby had noted for the 1914-1918 war that one never spoke, in the official texts of belligerents, of the economic or geopolitical objectives of the conflict. Not a word was said officially about the colonial aspirations, for example, that Great Britain expected and which would be fulfilled by an Allied victory. Officially, on the Anglo-French side, the goals of the First World War were summarized in three points:

  • to crush militarism
  • to defend small nations
  • to prepare the world for democracy

……………………………. One might innocently ask what connection there can be between the defense of oppressed minorities and the free movement of capital, but the first type of discourse obviously conceals less avowed economic goals. Thus, 12 large American companies, including Ford Motor, General Motors and Honeywell, sponsored the 50th anniversary summit of NATO in Washington, in the spring of 1999.

……….. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea announced that the cost of the military operation against Yugoslavia would be more than offset by the longer-term benefits that the markets could realize.

…………. This is also one of the basic principles of war propaganda: the war must be presented as a conflict between civilization and barbarism. To do this, it is necessary to persuade the public that the enemy systematically and voluntarily commits atrocities, while our side can only commit involuntary blunders..

5. The Enemy Knowingly Commits Atrocities. If We Commit Blunders, They are Unintentional

Stories of atrocities committed by the enemy are an essential part of war propaganda. This is not to say, of course, that atrocities do not occur during wars. On the contrary, murder, armed robbery, arson, looting and rape seem to be commonplace in all circumstances of war and the practice of all armies, from those of antiquity to the wars of the 20th century. What is specific to war propaganda, however, is to make people believe that only the enemy is accustomed to these acts, while our own army is at the service of the population, even the enemy, and is loved by them.

6. We Suffer very few Losses. The Enemy’s Losses are Enormous

During the Battle of Britain in 1940, the British greatly “overestimated” the number of German planes shot down by British fighter and the D.C.A………………………………………………..

7. Our Cause is Sacred

God’s support for a cause is always an important asset, and for as long as religions have existed, we have happily killed each other in the name of God. War propaganda must obviously make public opinion believe that “God is on our side;………………………………………..

8. Artists and Intellectuals Support our Cause

During the First World War, with a few rare exceptions, intellectuals massively supported their own side.

9. The Enemy uses Illegal Weapons

There is nothing like affirming the deceitfulness of the enemy in war propaganda by assuring that he fights with “immoral” and condemnable weapons………………………………………

During NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, this old principle of war propaganda, noted by Ponsonby, was reused. Indeed, when the Yugoslavs revealed in June 1999 the use by NATO of depleted uranium weapons, with immeasurable human and ecological consequences, it was not necessary to wait long for the response. By August 1999, the Western media claimed that the Yugoslavs had used chemical weapons in Kosovo, thereby transgressing the rules of “civilized” war.

10. Those who Question our Propaganda are Traitors

Ponsonby’s last principle is that those who do not participate in the official propaganda should be ostracized and suspected of intelligence with the enemy.

Conclusion

As we can see from these examples, the ten “commandments” of war propaganda described by Ponsonby have lost none of their relevance in almost a century. Have they been applied intuitively by NATO propaganda officers or by following the grid that we ourselves have followed? It is always risky to think that propaganda is built by systematically staging it, according to a meticulous plan; and one would rather believe that the possibility of improvement has criss-crossed the old Ponsonby principles……………. Anne Morelli is a Belgian historian at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).  https://www.thepostil.com/propaganda-during-times-of-war

May 7, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Expansion into Asia-Pacific: NATO military bloc is poison, not antidote — Anti-bellum

Global TimesMay 7, 2022 Japan shouldn’t be a promoter for NATO’s Asia-Pacific expansion The Ukraine crisis and the geopolitical tragedy it has triggered are not enough to kill the hunger of the US and some Western countries to reap political profits from the situation. Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his British counterpart Boris […]

Expansion into Asia-Pacific: NATO military bloc is poison, not antidote — Anti-bellum

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK PM scuttled Kiev-Moscow peace talks – Ukrainian media

 https://www.sott.net/article/467527-UK-PM-scuttled-Kiev-Moscow-peace-talks-Ukrainian-media RT, Thu, 05 May 2022 ,

UK PM Boris Johnson • Ukraine War Last month’s visit by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was key in persuading Kiev to break off peace negotiations with Moscow, the newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda (UP) reported on Thursday, citing officials close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The West had originally advised Zelensky to flee because Russia would win in 72 hours, but was now backing him fully, they claimed.

According to the “behind-the-scenes look” at the ongoing crisis published in the Kiev-based outlet, Ukraine’s western backers were convinced that the Russian military would seize Kiev within three days and offered Zelensky to govern from exile in London or Warsaw.

When this failed to happen, and Russia offered negotiations, Zelensky sent a delegation with the goal of creating the impression he was willing to make a deal. According to UPthe points of agreement made public by Russian envoy Vladimir Medinsky after the March 29 talks in Istanbul, Turkey “are in fact true.”

Then Russian troops withdrew from northern Ukraine and British PM Boris Johnson arrived in Kiev, “almost without warning” on April 9.Johnson brought “two simple messages” with him, according to UP.The first was that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin was “a war criminal, who should be prosecuted and not negotiated with.” The second was that even if Ukraine was ready to sign some kind of agreement with Russia, the West was not.

Johnson’s message was understood as a signal that the collective West “now felt that Putin was not really as omnipotent as they had imagined,” according to Ukrainian officials quoted by UP. Between what they described as Ukrainian military victories and alleged Russian atrocities in “Bucha, Borodyanka and Mariupol,” the West stopped being “isolationist” and pledged to help Ukraine with all sorts of heavy weapons. Kiev officials are now publicly planning for a “total defeat” and “capitulation” of Russia. According to UP:

“The moral and values gap between Putin and the world is so great that even the Kremlin will not have a negotiating table long enough to bridge it.”

Moscow has said its military operation in Ukraine is proceeding as planned, with the “second phase” focusing on destroying or compelling the surrender of Ukrainian forces that have been shelling the Donbass for most of the past decade. The Russian military is also using long-range missiles to destroy railway junctions used to bring NATO weapons into Ukraine, as well as warehouses where they are being stored.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force. 

May 7, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Remembering The Day After: Nuclear Hotseat

  https://beyondnuclear.org/remembering-the-day-after-nuclear-hotseat/ 5 May 22, The 1983 ABC-TV Movie of the Week, The Day After, shocked audiences deeply at the time and changed the world by showing the horrific truth of what a nuclear bomb explosion would actually do. More than 100 million viewers turned in, making it the highest-rated made-for-TV film in history.  This week, Nuclear Hotseat host, Libbe HaLevy, talks with Jeff Daniels, director of the documentary Television Event, which tells the story of The Day After –what it took to make it, the pushback, the political consequences. Television Event will be screened as part of the International Uranium Film Festival, May 19-29, 2022.

On November 20, 1983, ABC-TV broadcast The Day After, a chilling fictional account of the aftermath of a nuclear war on a small Kansas town. This came after weeks of buildup and, behind-the-scenes, intense controversy extending all the way to a White House in the midst of a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. With impressive access to the principals involved with the project and a trove of archival footage, Jeff Daniels revisits the improbable story of this anti-nuclear major television event and the impact it left on the Reagan era and beyond. Listen here.

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russian State TV Threatens to Annihilate the U.K. With 1,600-Foot-Tall Nuclear Tsunamis

The segment focused on the use of new Sarmat missiles and Poseidon torpedoes to turn the U.K. into a “radioactive desert. BY KYLE MIZOKAMI. MAY 5, 2022  

  • On Sunday, a Russian state TV channel threatened to destroy the United Kingdom with nuclear superweapons.
  • The segment focused on the use of new Sarmat missiles and Poseidon torpedoes to turn the U.K. into a “radioactive desert.”
  • It contained numerous factual errors, and the alleged U.K. threat was actually invented by other Russian state media sources.

A Russian state television agency has openly threatened to wipe the United Kingdom off the map with nuclear weapons, likely in response to a manufactured threat made up by another arm of the Kremlin’s media empire. The news segment depicted the use of a single Sarmat superheavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or Poseidon nuclear torpedo to destroy the U.K. The entire segment was apparently based on a threat that the U.K. never actually made.

Russian Channel One’s popular anchor Dmitry Kiselyov manufactured the threat on his popular Sunday evening television news program. Kiselyov, known as “Russia’s Spin Doctor,” is a popular news personality who in 2014 boasted his country could turn the U.S. into “nuclear ash.” In 2019, Kiselyov listed a number of targets in the continental United States that would be hit in the event of a nuclear war.    

This week, Kiselyov turned his attention to the United Kingdom. Kiselyov stated that President Vladimir Putin has put Russian nuclear forces on “high combat alert,” and then turned his attention to allegations that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson could conduct “retaliatory strikes,” presumably on Russia. Kiselyov then stated that the U.K. could be destroyed with a Sarmat ICBM or Poseidon torpedo.

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

California Governor ”open” to keeping Diablo Canyon Nuclear Station going, but that might not be feasible

Gov. Newsom open to extending Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s life, but analysts differ on feasibility and need

Changing course on the planned retirement of the nuclear plant would be surprising given California’s efforts to procure new electricity resources to replace it, one expert said.

Utility Dive, Kavya Balaraman, Senior Reporter May 5, 2022   California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, is open to the possibility of delaying the closure of the state’s last operational nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, according to media reports, but some industry players remain skeptical about the feasibility of such an effort.

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Newsom may try to delay the retirement of the plant, currently scheduled to occur in 2024 and 2025 when the federal licenses for its two units expire. Newsom told the newspaper’s editorial board that California could try to tap into the $6 billion in federal funding announced in February for nuclear reactors facing retirement, noting that the state “would be remiss not to put that on the table as an option.”

Some experts, however, are skeptical about whether the plant can – and should – be kept open, given the process that would be required to get its Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license extended, as well as recent efforts in the state to build gigawatts of clean energy generation to replace it. ……..

PG&E spokesperson Carina Corral said in an emailed statement that the utility is proud of the role that the Diablo Canyon power plant plays in California…….

Other experts, however, don’t think that pursuing a license renewal process for Diablo Canyon is feasible at this point.

“If they were going to extend the life of the plants, they’d have to reapply to the NRC and that would mean preparing the applications again. And I think enough has changed since they originally submitted, that that would be a pretty heavy lift,” Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said.

If the decision to keep the plant open were made tomorrow, it is highly unlikely that Diablo Canyon’s Unit 1 would receive a renewal before its license expired, although that would still be possible for Unit 2, according to Lyman.

And on the issue of whether another party could take over ownership of Diablo Canyon and move forward with the renewal process, “they would have to transfer the existing license to a new entity – and that in itself is a regulatory action that could be subject to challenge,” he said. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/analysts-differ-on-feasibility-need-to-extend-diablo-canyon-california-nuclear-plant/623214/

May 7, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom unit seeks compensation, as Finland tears up nuclear power plant contract

Rosatom unit seeks compensation from Finnish group on ditching nuclear power plant contract.   May 6 (Reuters) – The Finnish unit of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom said on Friday it will demand compensation from Finnish consortium Fennovoima for “unlawful termination” of contract for the delivery of a planned nuclear power plant in Finland.

Earlier in the week, Fennovoima announced it had scrapped the contract due to “significant delays and inability to deliver the project” by Rosatom’s Finnish subsidiary RAOS Project. The war in Ukraine has worsened risks for the project. ……………….

The cost of the planned facility was initially set at 7.5 billion euros ($7.91 billion). The chairman of Fennovoima’s board Esa Harmala said earlier that the consortium had already spent 600-700 million euros on the facility.https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/rosatoms-unit-seeks-compensation-finlands-fennovoima-2022-05-06/

May 7, 2022 Posted by | Finland, Legal | Leave a comment

Meltdown at Three Mile Island- USA’s closest nuclear close shave

Shortly after 4am on 28 March 1979, a pressure valve failed to close in
the Unit 2 reactor at Three Mile Island, a nuclear power plant on a strip
of land in central Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River. The technical
malfunction, compounded by human error – control room workers misread
confusing signals and halted the emergency water cooling system – heated
the nuclear core to dangerously high levels.

The film The China Syndrome
was still in theaters, starring Jane Fonda as a television reporter
investigating cover-ups at a nuclear power plant whose meltdown could
release radioactive material deep into the earth, “all the way to
China”. Three Mile Island – still the worst commercial nuclear accident
in US history – was no China Syndrome, but it got terrifyingly close to
catastrophic, Chernobyl-level damage.

As the Netflix docuseries Meltdown:
Three Mile Island recounts, Unit 2 came less than half an hour from fully
melting down – a disaster scenario that would have sickened hundreds of
thousands in the surrounding area. Two days after the accident, an
explosive bubble of hydrogen gas was found in the reactor. The plant’s
operator, Metropolitan Edison, tried to downplay the risk of radioactive
releases, but panic ensued; more than 100,000 people fled the surrounding
area. Plant technicians were eventually able to slowly bleed the gas from
the cooling reactor, avoiding a deadly explosion.

Though workers inside theplant were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, it remains unknown how
much contamination escaped the facility into the surrounding community. In
its second half, Meltdown, directed by Kief Davidson, homes in on the story
of Rick Parks, a cleanup supervisor turned whistleblower on the Bechtel
Corp, the company hired to conduct the billion-dollar cleanup by
Metropolitan Edison and supervised by the government’s Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC).

“While a lot of people know about the disaster, they
don’t know about what happened in the cleanup phase and how close we were
to another disaster,” Davidson told the Guardian. “We dodged a bullet a
second time, and it was entirely due to the fact that Rick Parks and
[fellow whistleblower] Larry King stood up. “We should know about these
stories,” he added. “We should be able to look at the people who risk
everything in order to save communities from a potential disaster.”

 Guardian 5th May 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/may/05/meltdown-three-mile-island-netflix-us-nuclear-accident

May 7, 2022 Posted by | incidents, media, USA | Leave a comment