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Gorbachev Ended Cold War, Eased Nuclear Tensions But Trusted US Too Much – Experts

News Ghana, By SPUTNIK, September 1, 2022,

Late Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was a good, well-meaning man who ended the Cold War and dramatically reduced superpower and global nuclear tensions, but he put too much trust into the unwritten assurances of American leaders, experts told Sputnik.

Gorbachev died on Tuesday at the age of 91 in Moscow after a long and serious illness, according to the Central Clinical Hospital. He will be laid to rest at the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow after a public farewell ceremony on Saturday.

Former US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Chas Freeman paid tribute to Gorbachev’s monumental achievement in easing global tensions and ensuring superpower peace for decades.

“Until his death, he was the most consequential of all living persons,” Freeman said.

Global anti-nuclear campaigner Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Nobel Peace Prize winning Physicians said Gorbachev had far greater vision and determination to abolish nuclear weapons than his US counterparts.

Global anti-nuclear campaigner Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Nobel Peace Prize winning Physicians said Gorbachev had far greater vision and determination to abolish nuclear weapons than his US counterparts.

“A global hero died [on Tuesday]. A man who liaised with [then-US president Ronald] Reagan who brought the Cold War to an end and was one of the wisest men, if not the wisest, of this last century,” she said.

Unfortunately, when the two leaders met in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 1986 and almost agreed to abolish nuclear weapons, Reagan insisted on keeping Star Wars, the US-space-based weapons systems, Caldicott recalled.

“Gorbachev opposed this notion, so we still have our lives hanging by a thread, rapidly approaching global annihilation,” she said.

Gorbachev was also opposed to the eastward expansion of NATO in the 30 years following the end of the Soviet Union, Caldicott pointed out. A halt on NATO expansion east of the Oder River and the eastern-most border of Germany had been promised by then-Secretary of State James A. Baker III in the George Herbert Walker Bush administration, she noted.

However, this pledge was “subsequently violated by the great United States of America, hence the murderous mess in the Ukraine [today],” Caldicott commented.

American University in Moscow President Edward Lozansky agreed that Gorbachev was a good man who sought international global security and cooperation for all, especially for the Russian and American peoples, but that he was naive in trusting the assurances of successive US leaders.

“Gorbachev was a good man who clearly saw the mountains of problems in… the Soviet Union but naively expected America’s help in solving them,” he said.

In his vision which Gorbachev presented to Washington he saw this help not as a charity but an investment in the future, involving both mutually beneficial security and economic cooperation, Lozansky explained.

“Taking into account Russia’s enormous natural riches, its huge nuclear arsenal and human capital, that cooperation being performed in an honest way would definitely be good for everyone and prevent many problems that America faces today,” he pointed out.

However, the Washington establishment has chosen another way, Lozansky observed………

Gorbachev will rank high in the annals of the world, Lozansky concluded.

“Still. I believe that his historical legacy will place him in the ranks of the righteous,” he said.

California State University Political Science Professor Beau Grosscup agreed that Gorbachev had courageously approved enormous constructive changes even at the cost of his own standing and career…………..  https://newsghana.com.gh/gorbachev-ended-cold-war-eased-nuclear-tensions-but-trusted-us-too-much-experts/

September 2, 2022 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Nagasaki A-bomb survivor told German foreign minister to spurn ‘nuclear umbrella’

August 9, 2022 (Mainichi Japan) NAGASAKI — Nagasaki A-bomb survivor Shigemitsu Tanaka, 81, used German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s July visit to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum to share his experience of the bombing and ask her to abandon the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.”

Germany, a NATO member, participated as an observer in the first meeting of parties to the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons held in Vienna in June, despite being covered by the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal. Although Germany has not signed the treaty, the European nation stressed that it will participate in constructive dialogue with the countries and regions that have ratified the treaty.

The 41-year-old foreign minister, who came to Japan for talks with her Japanese counterpart, visited the A-bomb museum on July 10. Tanaka is the chairman of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council and was invited to the museum for the visit.

Baerbock looked Tanaka in the eye, and as if in reply, Tanaka shared his experience of the atomic bombing and his subsequent suffering. He hoped that his wish that there should never be another “hibakusha,” or person exposed to the atomic bombings, reached the foreign minister.

On Aug. 9, 1945, a flash of light engulfed 4-year-old Tanaka in his yard in the Nagasaki Prefecture village (now town) of Togitsu, about 6 kilometers north of the hypocenter. He rushed into an air-raid shelter to escape the noise and the blast. When he went outside again, he found his home’s tatami mats and shoji sliding doors blown away and the windowpanes shattered.

The next day his father, an Imperial Japanese Navy unit member stationed in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, was sent to the bombed city to do rescue work. When he returned home, he complained of physical discomfort and other symptoms. His mother also treated the injured at a national elementary school in the village, and a few days after the bombing, she went to an acquaintance’s home about 1 km from the hypocenter to check if they were all right.

His mother developed diarrhea and rashes on her legs, and later liver and thyroid problems. His father became frustrated with his mother’s many hospital visits, and he turned into a violent alcoholic. Twelve years later, he died of liver cancer…………………………..

When the foreign minister left the museum, she left a comment in the visitors’ book that read, “This is a place that conveys the madness of nuclear war and the terrible suffering caused by the atomic bombs. As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is a danger that such a horrific reality will occur again. That is why our commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons will never weaken.”…………………………………

Tanaka had strong words for the Japanese government: “If we say that we are ‘the only country to have experienced atomic bombings’ but do nothing, we will lose the world’s trust. Since Japan claims to serve as a bridge between the nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states, now is the time for Japan to take a stance like that of Germany, which participated in the meeting (of parties to the U.N. nuclear weapons ban treaty) even though it did not sign or ratify the treaty.”

(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Takahashi, Nagasaki Bureau) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220808/p2a/00m/0na/014000c

August 8, 2022 Posted by | health, Japan, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

British soldiers used as radiation guinea pigs in nuclear bomb tests in Australia

British veterans ‘ordered to march through smoking craters’ in nuclear bomb tests, Brian Tomlinson claims the state dumped him and his comrades, many of whom died from cancer after being used in a shocking human experiment,

 https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-veterans-ordered-march-through-27563987 Susie Boniface, Reporter, 24 Jul 2022,

A veteran of nuclear bomb tests has told how British ­servicemen were ordered to march through a smoking crater to find how radioactive it was.

Brian Tomlinson said he also had to dig out scientific instruments buried in the contaminated soil and revealed he was left with bleeding ulcers on his palms for two decades.

But he claims the state dumped him and his comrades, many of whom died from cancer in the years after they were used in a shocking human experiment in the Australian outback.

And Brian supports the Mirror’s campaign for a medal for heroes of the nuclear tests in the 50s.

“That place is still radioactive, it’s in the soil for a hell of a long time, so what chance does a human being have?” he said.

“A medal would get us a little bit of recognition for those who took part. It says you’re someone who’s been noticed and not discarded, which is how we’ve felt for so long.”

Last month, Boris Johnson became the first PM to meet veterans, and promised action before October’s 70th anniversary of the first test. His resignation threw it into doubt and campaigners are seeking ­reassurances from Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss that they will do the same.

Brian, now 85, was a sapper sent to Maralinga, South Australia, in 1957 to take part in Operation Antler, a series of three atomic bomb tests designed to help build the more powerful H-bomb.

His troop of Royal Engineers were blended with Australian soldiers, and 40 of them lived for a year inside the blast zone in canvas tents.

The main base, where scientists, top brass, and most troops stayed, was called Maralinga Village. Brian’s unit was 14 miles deeper into the testing grounds, at Roadside Camp. From there, it was just 9 miles to Ground Zero.

Brian, a 20-year-old corporal at the time, said: “Nobody told us what it was all about, or checked us for ­radiation, but every morning we went into the forward area.

We had pneumatic drills, and had to blast down through the soil. There was about 12 inches of earth, red dust, and below that was rock.”

For each of 3 blasts, the crew had to bury dozens of large steel containers 8ft square. Each had instruments inside to measure the explosion, with pipes protruding above ground level. Those closest to the bombs were sandbagged and concreted to protect them from the shockwave.

A few hours after each bomb, Brian and his crew – wearing only shorts, socks, boots and a hat – had to drive back in, remove the sandbags and concrete, and extract the instruments.

Scientists who went with them wore radiation suits and badges, but Brian said for the first two blasts he had neither.

He added: “After the third bomb, we were given little rubber boots, and a white overall, and a dose badge. We were told to walk through the crater. The mushroom cloud was still overhead. The wind had started to push it away. It was only a few hours after, not very long.”

The first two bombs, ­codenamed Tadje and Biak, were one kiloton and 6kts respectively.

But the third, Taranaki, was 25kts, as powerful as the weapon which destroyed ­Nagasaki in 1945.

Brian, of Yate, near Bristol, said: “As you approached the bomb site it was quite amazing, because it was like a bowling green. Everything was green and smooth. It was only when you were on it you realised the heat from the bomb had crystallised the earth underneath it. It was a crust of molten sand, like glass.

“The crater left there was huge. They told us to walk into that, down into the crater, and up the other side, and then check our meters to see how high the dose was.”

Brian said: “When it reached a certain point they told us to come out. It didn’t take long for it to reach that point. We weren’t told at the time what the dose was supposed to be. But it was just as bad as going through the centre of the bomb as soon as it had gone off.”

The first two bombs were detonated on top of 100ft-high towers built by the sappers, but desert sand was sucked into the fireball and fell to the ground as toxic fallout. The third bomb was tethered to barrage balloons 980ft up, supposedly minimising the risk.

But the size of the bomb, and perhaps the fact the same site was used for previous weapons tests, meant there was still fallout.

After they left the crater, Brian was taken to a decontamination area. The men’s clothes were stripped off and taken away, and the men were put through showers.

“We spent 5 or 6 minutes scrubbing away, then put ourselves in this meter, it was like standing on a weighing machine, and you push your hands through these bars to be tested. If a bell rang, you were still radioactive and had to go back in and scrub under your nails, everywhere, in your hair. I had to do it 3 times. They didn’t give us any more information.”

Documented safety measures at Maralinga included wire fences through which sand could easily be blown, and one wooden post barrier that Brian’s unit passed through each morning.

Brian was not checked for radiation while excavating amid the fallout, nor given long-term medical follow-ups. Six years later, he was medically discharged with a duodenal ulcer.

Radiation is known to cause problems with the lining of the gut, and earlier this year a government study reported nuclear test veterans were 20 per cent more likely than other servicemen to die from stomach cancer.

Brian said: “It wasn’t until later I started having skin problems. It would cover me from head to toes, rashes on my back, chest, legs, thighs. They used to come out on the palms of my hands.

“I’d get a little itchy blister in the centre of my palm, it would break and then spread over the fingers. I used to wear white cotton gloves to ease the pain and itching.

“The skin would go hard, then crack and bleed, and it would start all over again. I had that for 20 years, and no doctor could work out what it was.”

https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mirror.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk-news%2Fbritish-veterans-ordered-march-through-27563987&cre=bottom&cip=45&view=web

Today, cancer patients are warned radiotherapy using beta radiation can lead to radiodermatitis, which causes rashes, skin peeling, and ulceration. It is caused by the decay of isotopes, including plutonium and cobalt-60, both of which were in the Antler bombs.

Brian said: “I would have a constant itch, all over, and had to take cold showers just to stop the itching and have something of a normal life. I got depressed, to the point where I didn’t want to go and see the doctors because they just have me the same old medication and it never did me any good. Then one day, after 20 years, it just stopped, as suddenly as it came.”

Two decades after his discharge, Brian also had an operation to finally cure his ulcer. It involved cutting the vagus nerve, which controls digestion as well as carrying sensory information from the skin’s surface.

“I told all my consultants what was done to me out there in Maralinga, and asked if it was due to fallout. They all denied it,” said Brian. “Nobody’s ever done anything for us nuclear test veterans except withhold information from us.”

Campaigners have asked the Prime Minister for a medal and a service of national recognition at Westminster Abbey to mark the Plutonium Jubilee in 3 months’ time.

A spokesman for the MoD said it was grateful to veterans, and claimed they were well-­monitored and protected. He added: “The Prime Minister met with veterans recently, and asked ministers to explore how their dedication can be recognised. We remain committed to considering any new evidence”

************************************************************************

For 40 years, the Mirror has campaigned for justice for the brave men who took part in Britain’s nuclear weapons tests.

The Ministry of Defence has fought back every step of the way.

We have told countless heartbreaking stories of grieving mums, children with deformities, men aged before their time and widows struggling to hold their families together, all while campaigning for recognition.

Two years ago we launched an appeal for a medal for the 1,500 survivors.

For the first time we were able to prove some were unwittingly used in experiments.

Our appeal was backed by then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson but his review foundered after he lost his job.

It had only six meetings in two years. They never asked to meet veterans. They never questioned the evidence.

Instead they asked for information from the MoD, which has a track record of denying what its own paperwork later proves.

And as our medal campaign gathered steam, civil servants simultaneously withdrew public documents from the National Archives.

Would anyone working in Whitehall today stay there, if 3 megatons of plutonium exploded south of the river?

The test veterans and their families will never stop fighting. The Mirror will never cease to demand they are heard.

Prime Minister, listen to them. Overturn this disgraceful decision.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Big guns’ keep the world on nuclear high alert – Helen Caldicott

With Russia and the U.S. currently on the warpath during the escalating conflict in Ukraine, the world is again at serious risk of nuclear disaster, writes Dr Helen Caldicott.

By Helen Caldicott | 17 July 2022,

JOHN F. KENNEDY’s Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and I got to know each other during the last years of his life.

One day, as we were having lunch in the Metropolitan Club, he said to me:

“Helen, I was in the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis and we came so close – within three minutes – to nuclear war.”

Now, we are at another turning point in history — although most commentators seem not to understand the gravity of the situation. For the first time since then, the two nuclear superpowers armed as they are with thousands of nuclear weapons – many on hair-trigger alert – are facing each other during an escalating war in Ukraine.

As the genius, Albert Einstein said:

‘The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.’

So true.

Here we are with Vladimir Putin who decided to invade Ukraine killing innocent civilians and destroying property at random, while the U.S. military-industrial complex rejoices at the opportunity to make and sell as many weapons as it can, as its shares bound sky high.

The neo-cons that Joe Biden has appointed to his Cabinet are thrilled that for the first time since the Cold War ended, they can take on the “evil” Russia — although Russia seems no longer to be a communist country, but in fact a raging capitalist institution, with many of its state riches stolen by outrageous oligarchs living high on the hog.

During the Clinton Administration, Putin requested that Russia become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but it never eventuated as Russia was too big and too authoritarian.

NATO was created to defend western Europe from the perils of the “aggressive” Soviet Union and, as is well-known when the Cold War ended, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move one inch to the East.

This posture however was antithetical to aerospace corporation Lockheed Martin whose president, Norman Augustine took it upon himself to visit these newly liberated countries convincing them to become democracies – that is, part of NATO – which required them to arm themselves to the tune of millions of dollars, enormously benefiting the U.S. military-industrial complex.

America then introduced military and missile equipment in all these NATO countries, targeting, of course, Russia, while NATO expanded from 12 to 30 countries.

Putin originally had two requests:

  • that the missiles targeting Russia be removed; and
  • that Ukraine not be admitted to the NATO block.

He was refused.

The present precarious situation is heightened by the testosterone imperative that has dominated and guided wars throughout history, superimposed by the tenuous control of nuclear arsenals, the launching of which has too often been triggered by false alarms, a rising moon, a flock of geese triggering radar alerts, human fallibility, war games, tapes plugged into the Pentagon system and many more.

Superimposed upon this fragile system is the age-old necessity to “win”.

I wake up each morning, look out the window to see the roses and wonder how much longer they will exist — more frightened now than I have ever been even during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, PERSONAL STORIES, World | Leave a comment

Scotland needs to dissociate from the world’s nuclear madness – a personal story

 https://www.thenational.scot/politics/20252135.scotland-needs-dissociate-worlds-nuclear-madness/

Brian Quail, Glasgow, 3 July 22,

ON the morning of Monday June 13 I was lying on the road at Coulport, my arm hidden in a plastic tube. At the other end of this, the redoubtable Willemein from Faslane Peace Camp was handcuffed to me. (This is called locking on and is a method of frustrating arrest).

We were accompanied by some young folk from XR Peace, while the wonderful Protest in Harmony sang to keep our spirits up.

After an hour or so, a nice policeman started to go through the five warnings process. Analogous to reading the Riot Act, this is a formality which I always welcome since it means the process of being arrested is actually starting.

I struggled up into a sitting posture when he said that we were preventing people going about their normal business. I pointed out that servicing hydrogen bombs is not legal business. My point was ignored. I was put into a very narrow cage on a van and driven off to Clydebank and several hours of imprisonment in a police cell.

All things are connected. While this is going on here, in Vienna, the United Nations States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) just concluded the first meeting, and condemned unequivocally “any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances”. Some 61 countries have ratified this Treaty. It is now compulsory international law – ius cogens – from which there is no derogation.

In Ukraine, civilians are killed by aerial bombing, while the rest of the world looks on in horror. We are not allowed to burn people. We all know that, but we are threatening to do just that every moment of every day with our so-called “deterrent”. Young men are diligently practising their role in using Trident. All things are connected.

In a few weeks we will commemorate our nuclear Original Sin, the greatest single-act war crime in history, Hiroshima. This will be largely ignored. And precisely because we are unrepentant of this atrocity, we are prepared to repeat it – and unimaginably worse – with Trident. All things are connected.

At start of the Second World War when Rotterdam was bombed by the Germans, Hitler justified this by saying “better 1000 dead Dutchman than one dead German soldier”. People were aghast and said this was just the attitude we were fighting against. Yet at the end of war bomber Harris blanket bombed German cities. When some scrupulous people protested this he said: “All the cities of North Germany are not worth the bones of one British grenadier.”

I don’t know if Bomber Harris realised he was parroting Hitler, but it hardly matters. What is important is we ended up adopting the morality which we went to war to fight against in the first place. We became the enemy.

When human extermination became the official policy of the advanced states, the finest brains in the world reacted with incredulous horror. Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell published the Peace Manifesto back in 1955, where they said: “Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.” Their anguished plea was ignored.

The good people who wanted us to have a future rallied round the call to “ban the bomb”. We said ban the bomb and – guess what – that is exactly what we have done. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the United Nations in New York on September 20 2017 and entered into force on January 22 2021. This has finally banned the bomb. The nine rogue nuclear states may ignore this but they are thereby stigmatised as pariah states, and they will ultimately have to accept the rule of law.

Today the Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than at any other time in the past. The nuclear states respond by obdurately modernising their weaponry. Boris Johnston has increased the killpower of Trident by 40%. So we in Scotland have to endure Trident. How long can this tyrannical lunacy endure?

A few days ago I received a letter informing me that my appearance in court on June 29 which I agreed to following my arrest, had been cancelled. Is this an indication that a glimmer of sanity has penetrated the legal bureaucracy? Or am I just clutching at straws?

Scottish independence means freedom from nuclear terrorism not only for us, but for all the countries of the worl. also. If only we can find the courage to seize it Because all things are connected.

July 4, 2022 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What I Know About Human Life as a Nuclear Downwinder

A government that knowingly harms its own citizens must be held accountable. Our lives are worth more than civilization-ending weapons.  https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/06/17/what-i-know-about-human-life-nuclear-downwinder MARY DICKSON, June 17, 2022

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, we unbelievably find ourselves on the brink of a new Cold War, ironically as casualties of the last Cold War are running out of time to seek the compensation and justice they deserve.

President Biden recently signed into law a stopgap bill to extend for another two years the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which pays partial restitution to select victims of atmospheric nuclear testing on American soil.  While a welcome first step, it fails to address thousands more Americans who have been excluded from compensation despite the devastating harms they have suffered from radiation exposure. Time is running out as many are literally dying as they wait for justice.


I am a casualty of the Cold War, a survivor of nuclear weapons testing. Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah during the Cold War I was repeatedly exposed to dangerous levels of radioactive fallout from hundreds of detonations at the Nevada Test Site just 65 miles west of Las Vegas.

Our government detonated 100 bombs above ground in Nevada between 1951 and 1962 and 828 more bombs underground through 1992, many of which broke through the earth’s surface and spewed radioactive fallout into the atmosphere as well. The jet stream carried fallout far beyond the test site where it made its way into the environment and the bodies of unsuspecting Americans, while a government we trusted repeatedly assured us “there is no danger.”

In the spring before my 30th birthday, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Children, especially those under the age of five at the time of radiation exposure, as I was, were most at risk.

I have been sliced, radiated and scooped out. I have buried and mourned the dead, comforted and advocated for the living, and worried with each pain, ache and lump that I am getting sick again. I survived thyroid cancer as well as subsequent health complications that left me unable to have children. My sister and others I grew up with were not so fortunate. They lost their lives to various cancers and other radiation-related illnesses.  Before she died, my sister and I counted 54 people in a five-block area of our childhood neighborhood who developed cancer, autoimmune disorders, and other diseases that ravaged them and their families.

The government’s ambitious program of nuclear testing had tragic consequences for countless unsuspecting, patriotic Americans living downwind. “We are veterans of the Cold War, only we never enlisted and no one will fold a flag over our coffins,” a late friend of mine was fond of saying.     

The U.S. government finally acknowledged its responsibility in 1990 when it passed the bipartisan Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which paid partial restitution to some fallout victims in select rural counties of Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The bill never went far enough. We now know that the harm wreaked by fallout extends far beyond these counties.  We also know that people are still getting sick. The suffering has not ended.

As part of a coalition of impacted community groups working with allied advocates nationwide, we have worked hard for the speedy expansion and extension of RECA through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2021. This bipartisan bill would add downwinders from all of Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Guam, as well as uranium miners who worked in the industry beyond 1971. It also would increase compensation from $50,000 to $150,00 for all claimants and extend the program for 19 years.

The House bill currently has 68 co-sponsors, the Senate bill 18, Republicans and Democrats from across the country. What we now need are their colleagues in both parties to join them.

As we reach out to Senators and Representatives asking them to support the bills, we are sometimes confronted with questions about cost. What, I ask in return, is a human life worth? Over the last 32 years, RECA has paid out $2.5 billion to 39,000 Americans. To put that into perspective, each year this country spends $50 billion just to maintain our nuclear arsenal.  Are our lives not worth 0.5% of the cost of weapons that harmed us?

What is paramount is rectifying the mistakes of the past. As Rep. Diane Titus of Nevada said, “These people are Cold Warriors and we do not leave our warriors on the field.”

A government that knowingly harms its own citizens must be held accountable. Our lives are worth more than civilization-ending weapons. It’s a simple matter of priorities and justice.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hope, hard reality mix in Fukushima town wrecked by nuclear disaster 

Hope, hard reality mix in Fukushima town wrecked by nuclear disaster, Japan Today , Mar. 20

By Mari Yamaguchi,  Yasushi Hosozawa returned on the first day possible after a small section of his hometown, Futaba, reopened in January — 11 years after the nuclear meltdown at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi plant.

It has not been easy.

Futaba, which hosts part of the plant, saw the evacuation of all 7,000 residents because of radiation after the March 11, 2011, quake and subsequent tsunami that left more than 18,000 people dead or missing along Japan’s northeastern coast.

Only seven have permanently returned to live in the town.

“Futaba is my home … I’ve wanted to come back since the disaster happened. It was always in my mind,” Hosozawa, 77, said during an interview with The Associated Press at his house, which is built above a shed filled with handcrafted fishing equipment.

An abandoned ramen shop sits next door, and so many houses and buildings around him have been demolished, the neighborhood looks barren.

A retired plumber, Hosozawa had to relocate three times over the past decade. Returning to Futaba was his dream, and he patiently waited while other towns reopened earlier.

To his disappointment, the water supply was not reconnected the day he returned. He had to fill plastic containers with water from a friend’s house in a nearby town.

The town has no clinics, convenience stores or other commercial services for daily necessities. He has to leave Futaba to get groceries or to see his doctor for his diabetes medicine.

On a typical day, he makes a breakfast of rice, miso soup and natto. In the late morning, he drives about 10 minutes to Namie, a town just north of Futaba, to buy a packed lunch and to shop.

He takes a walk in the afternoon, but “I don’t see a soul except for patrolling police.” He drops by the train station once in a while to chat with town officials. After some evening sake at home, he goes to bed early while listening to old-fashioned Japanese “enka” songs.

He looks forward to the spring fishing season and likes to grow vegetables in his garden.

But Hosozawa wonders if this is the best way to spend his final years. “I won’t live much longer, and if I have three to four more years, I’d rather not be in a Futaba like this,” he says. “Coming back might have been a mistake.”

“Who would want to return to a town without a school or a doctor? I don’t think young people with children will want to come,” he said.

More than 160,000 residents evacuated

When massive amounts of radiation spewed from the plant, more than 160,000 residents evacuated from across Fukushima, including 33,000 who are still unable to return home.

Of the 12 nearby towns that are fully or partially designated as no-go zones, Futaba is the last one to allow some people to return to live. There are still no-go zones in seven towns where intensive decontamination is conducted only in areas set to reopen by 2023.

Many Futaba residents were forced to give up their land for the building of a storage area for radioactive waste, and Fukushima Daiichi’s uncertain outlook during its decades-long cleanup makes town planning difficult.

Futaba Project, which helps revitalize the town through tourism, new businesses and migration from outside Fukushima, sees potential for educational tourism.

“Places with scars of the disaster remain in Futaba … and visitors can see its reality and think about the future,” said Hidehiko Yamasaki, staffer at the nonprofit Futaba Project………………….  https://japantoday.com/category/national/hope-hard-reality-mix-in-fukushima-town-wrecked-by-nuclear-disaster

March 21, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, PERSONAL STORIES, social effects | Leave a comment

I was a nuclear missile operator. There have been more near-misses than the world knows

I was a nuclear missile operator. There have been more near-misses than the world knows        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/mar/10/i-was-a-nuclear-missile-operator-there-have-been-more-near-misses-than-the-world-knows, Cole Smith

As a 22-year-old I controlled a warhead that could vaporize a metropolis. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the public is waking up again to the existential dangers of nuclear weapons

rom 2012 to 2017, I worked as a US air force nuclear missile operator. I was 22 when I started. Each time I descended into the missile silo, I had to be ready to launch, at a moment’s notice, a nuclear weapon that could wipe a city the size of New York off the face of the earth.

On the massive blast door of the launch control center, someone had painted a mural of a Domino’s pizza logo with the macabre caption, “World-wide delivery in 30 minutes or less or your next one is free.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, I’ve heard more discussions of nuclear war than I did in the entire nine years that I wore an air force uniform. I’m glad that people are finally discussing the existential dangers of nuclear weapons. There have been more near-misses than the world knows.

Greg Devlin was an airman assigned to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) team in Arkansas in 1980. One night he responded to a leak in the missile’s fuel tank. A young airman working in an ICBM launch tube had accidentally dropped a socket from his toolkit; the socket fell down the silo, ricocheted, and pierced a hole in the stage-one fuel tank. The missile’s liquid fuel exploded. Devlin was thrown 60ft down an asphalt road and watched as a massive fireball rose overhead.

The ICBM had a nine-megaton warhead – the most powerful single nuclear weapon in American history – on top. When the missile exploded, the warhead was thrown into the woods, disappearing into the night.

“I was stunned and in pain but I knew the nuke hadn’t gone off,” Devlin told me, “because I remembered those stories from Hiroshima where people had been turned into little charcoal briquettes. I was alive. That’s how I knew the nuke didn’t detonate.” Although the nuclear warhead didn’t explode, the accident still claimed the life of one airman and injured 21 others, including Devlin.

When I was training as a nuclear missile operator, my instructor told me the story of what happened in Arkansas that night in 1980. It’s a famous story within the missile community. Stories like these were a way of impressing upon young officers the integrity required to be a good steward of these weapons and a warning of how quickly things can go wrong. That warning was very much on my mind as I began my first “alert” down in the claustrophobic underground missile silo that housed the launch control center.

But somewhere along my way to nearly 300 nuclear “alerts” – 24-hour shifts in command of a launch crew – I began to brush the story off as a scare tactic for rookies. Similarly, I think that after the end of the cold war, the general public allowed the threat of nuclear warfare to recede into the background. The threat simply didn’t feel real to new generations like it did to those who grew up huddling under their desks during nuclear attack drills in elementary school.

And the young crews who steward this nuclear arsenal today aren’t immune from the post-cold war malaise. In 2013, during my first year on crew, 11 ICBM officers were implicated in a drug scandal. The following year, 34 ICBM launch officers were implicated in a cheating scandal on their monthly proficiency exams.

Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the air force at the time, said, “This was a failure of integrity on the part of some of our airmen. It was not a failure of our nuclear mission.”

In this attempt to save face, Secretary James revealed a state of dissonance that every nuclear missile operator lives with. We are told, day in and day out, that our integrity is crucial to the deterrent value of nuclear weapons and helps make the world a safer place. But what man or woman of integrity could possibly launch a nuclear weapon?

As the war in Ukraine is reminding us, life with nuclear weapons is not safer or more peaceful. If you study nuclear warfare, you’ll learn about “megatons” and nuclear yields, stockpiles and budget expenditures. These numbers quantify the enormous danger of nuclear weapons but also, in rendering that danger abstract, obfuscate it.

Greg Devlin has a different set of numbers from his experience with missiles. “Since that explosion I’ve had 13 spine surgeries and two spinal stimulators. I lived the last decade of my life on morphine,” said Devlin.

Nuclear weapons turn the most important parts of life into nothing more than numbers – which is exactly the thought process needed for a society that believes that launching a nuclear missile is a viable solution to conflict. Because in the wake of a nuclear attack there will be no individuals, only numbers.

March 12, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, incidents, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

The personal toll of nuclear bomb tests on soldiers and their families

Nuclear test veterans were more likely to have cancer and die, government study finds, Mirror, BySusie Boniface 25 Feb 2022

”………………………………………………………….This isn’t history, it is our daily lives’

Ken McGinley was sent to Christmas Island aged 19. He later became sterile and developed a rare blood cancer. He founded the BNTVA in 1983, and has now been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

He said: “This study is proof, but it isn’t the full picture. It doesn’t analyse the sterility, birth defects, or miscarriages, or the number of cancers some of us have had and survived.

“It’s time for full disclosure – a public inquiry. This isn’t history, it is our daily lives, and the government must act now to deliver justice before that anniversary.”

Ken, 83, of Paisley, added: “I was treated like an enemy of the state. I wasn’t given my blood cancer diagnosis although it was in my notes, my benefits were stopped, and when my wife Alice and I were trying for children, a note was added to our file that the doctors would be ‘very interested in the outcome of any pregnancy ’.”

‘Tragedy took over mum’s life’

After The Mirror called for a medal, then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson met campaigners in 2018.

Widow Shirley Denson, whose husband Eric was an RAF pilot ordered to fly through a mushroom cloud in 1958, walked into the room and said: “So, you’re the man responsible for killing my husband.”

Shirley, of Morden, Surrey, had uncovered documents proving Eric was used in an experiment on his plane, and had the equivalent of 1,649 X-rays to his brain in just six minutes. He later took his own life after two decades of crippling headaches, saying he couldn’t stand it any more. A third of his descendants have birth defects, including missing and extra teeth.

Mr Williamson was so impressed by her that he ordered fresh research.

Shirley died before it could be published, in March last year, with the MoD refusing her deathbed plea for a medal.

Daughter Shelley, 59, said: “My mum was a formidable woman. She raised four daughters, and had to deal with the tragedy not just of my dad’s suicide, but his illness in the years before it. It took over her life.

“This study proves what she always said, when the government claimed there was no evidence – we ARE the evidence. All those young men who were sent to their deaths, just married, with children on the way or yet to come, and then left to rot.

“I hope now that the veterans and their families finally get everything they deserve. It would be an awesome legacy for my mum. She fought so valiantly, and it broke her heart that there was no justice for her girls.”…………………

Operation Buffalo took place in Australia and 1956 and included an “indoctrinee force” ordered to walk, crawl and run through fallout to see how much stayed on their uniforms. Some were ordered to sit in tanks close to the blast to test the effect on men and machinery. The study found all of them had a radiation dose, 85 per cent were dead, more than a quarter died from cancer, and they had double the risk of dying from leukaemia and unspecified tumours. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nuclear-test-veterans-were-more-26331008

February 26, 2022 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

Oka Nobuko age 16 in Nagasaki 1945

After the hibakusha: the future of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1870/

Yoshida Mayu, NHK World Correspondent, 31 Jan 22,   Activists calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons have long relied on the powerful testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, or hibakusha, to grow their movement. But with ever fewer people to offer that testimony, both the hibakusha and activists know those days are running out. NHK World’s Yoshida Mayu speaks to different generations who have a common goal: a world without nuclear weapons.

Hellish memories

Oka Nobuko was in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city. For most of her life, she avoided talking about her experiences as the memories were too painful.

Last year she finally broke her silence to deliver a speech at the annual ceremony commemorating the date of the bombing.

“When I stood up, I was immediately knocked down and I lost consciousness,” she recounted. “When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. Pieces of shattered glass were lodged in my body.”

Oka was a 16-year-old nursing student at the time and helped treat other victims at a first aid center.

“No treatment was possible in a lot of these cases,” she said. “There was flesh dangling from exposed bone. Some people jumped off buildings to kill themselves because they couldn’t endure the pain any longer.”

She described the scenes as “hellish” and said she suffered severe headaches every time the memories returned. For this reason, she always avoided going to the area where the first aid center was located.

Time to speak

In a letter to a close friend three years ago, Oka wrote of her worries that her memories and those of other hibakusha would soon be gone.

“The hibakusha are getting older and someday all of us will be gone,” she wrote.

Estimates put the number of living hibakusha at around 127,000, with an average age of 83.This sense that time was running out is what motivated Oka to finally share her story last August.

“We, the hibakusha, will continue to share our experiences and call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We will fight for peace.”

Last November, three months after giving her speech, Oka died at the age of 93.

Inspiring other hibakusha Fukuda Hakaru, a 90-year-old Nagasaki hibakusha, says hearing Oka speak inspired him to share his own story. He wrote her a letter, saying how much her courage had moved him.

Fukuda had gone to the first aid center Oka was working at to get medicine for his father, who was severely injured in the blast.

“I can still hear the screams of the patients,” he says. “Doctors and nurses were running around to help them. It was a painful sight. It is very hard for me to talk about what I saw. The medical workers were the ones who saw up close the inhumanity of the atomic bombs.”

Fukuda was 14 at the time. He did not suffer any serious injuries, but his father, who was working close to ground zero, died a month later.”I’ll never forget how I felt. I had to pick up his remains after the cremation, but I have no idea how I managed. The world needs to know that this is the kind of pain that an atomic bomb causes. It cannot be allowed to happen again.”

Fukuda says he long felt he had a duty to share his story but avoided doing so because he was worried about the anti-hibakusha discrimination he and his family might face.

Many survivors and their families have had to deal with prejudice and discrimination over the years. Initially, little was known about the effects of radiation exposure, and some people incorrectly regarded it as contagious. The social stigma was especially serious when it came to marriage or work.

“The hibakusha continue to suffer today,” says Fukuda. “That’s yet another reason why we need to make sure this never happens again.”

Preserving Oka’s message

In December, a group of university students from Nagasaki hosted a virtual conference about the experiences of the hibakusha, speaking to high school classes about the stories they had heard from survivors.

One of these students was Kaji Misato, who spent a lot of time with Oka during her final days.

“Oka was with her mother and brother at the time of the bombing,” Kaji said at the event. “As she stood up, she realized she was covered in blood.”Kaji spoke to Oka four times last year and recorded five hours of conversation. She said it was an eye-opening experience.

“The atomic bombing always felt like something in the past,” Kaji says. “But after hearing her story, I started to feel a greater sense of attachment. She told us the war had robbed her of her youth and she wanted peace so the same thing didn’t happen with the youth of today.”Every year on August 9, a siren rings out across the city at 11:02 AM, the exact time the atomic bomb exploded. Residents stop what they are doing to observe a minute of silence. But when Kaji visited the city center last year, she was shocked to see how few people were actually paying their respects.

About a month later, Oka was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Kaji met with her shortly after.

“She told me she was worried that once all the hibakusha are gone, their memories would fade as well,” Kaji says.

She took her words to heart and decided to share what she told her with people even younger. The high school students who attended the virtual session said it was an insightful experience.”Her vivid memories made me feel the horror of the atomic bomb,” said one student.

“We cannot take peace for granted,” said another. “We have to take care of the people who are close to us.”

This year promises to be a crucial one for the abolition movement. State parties to the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty are planning to hold their first meeting to try to agree on specific actions. In the meantime, young campaigners like Kaji are ensuring that the stories from those who witnessed the horrors of 1945 are documented and heard.

February 1, 2022 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Horrors of Hiroshima, a reminder nuclear weapons remain global threat

UN News,    15 January 2022, Peace and Security, Despite the annihilation of two major Japanese cities in 1945, atomic bombs have not been relegated to the pages of history books, but continue to be developed today – with increasingly more power to destroy than they had when unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki back in 1945.
 Those first nuclear weapons deployed by the United States, indiscriminately killed tens of thousands of non-combatants but also left indelible scars for the immediate survivors, that they, their children and grandchildren still carry today.

“The Red Cross hospital was full of dead bodies. The death of a human is a solemn and sad thing, but I didn’t have the time to think about it because I had to collect their bones and dispose of their bodies”, a then 25-year-old woman said in a recorded testimony, 1.5 km from Hiroshima’s ground zero.

“This was truly a living hell, I thought, and the cruel sights still stay in my mind”

To highlight the tireless work of the survivors, known in Japanese as the hibakusha, the UN’s Office for Disarmament Affairs, created an exhibition at UN Headquarters in New York which has just come to a close, entitled: Three Quarters of a Century After Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Hibakusha—Brave Survivors Working for a Nuclear-Free World.

It vividly brings to life the devastation and havoc wreaked by those first atomic bombs (A-bombs), and their successor weapons, the more powerful hydrogen bombs (H-bombs) which began testing in the 1950s

Quest to save humanity

In the aftermath of the bombings in Japan, the hibakusha, conducted intense investigations with the aim of preventing history from repeating itself.

With an average age of 83 today, the dwindling band continue to share their stories and findings with supporters at home and abroad, “to sav[ing] humanity…through the lessons learned from our experiences, while at the same time saving ourselves”, they say, in the booklet No More Hibakusha -Message to the World, which accompanies the exhibit.

Recounting the day in Hiroshima that 11 members of her family slept together in an air raid shelter, a then 19-year-old woman spoke of how three small children died during the night, while calling for water.

“The next morning, we carried their bodies out of the shelter, but their faces were so swollen and black that we couldn’t tell them apart, so laid them out on the ground according to height and decided their identities according to their size”.

These brave survivors testify that peace cannot be achieved ever, through the use of nuclear weapons.

‘Absolute evil’

A group of elderly hibakusha, called Nihon Hidankyo, have dedicated their lives to achieving a non-proliferation treaty, which they hope will ultimately lead to a total ban on nuclear weapons.

“On an overcrowded train on the Hakushima line, I fainted for a while, holding in my arms my eldest daughter of one year and six months. I regained my senses at her cries and found no-one else was on the train”, a 34-year-old woman testifies in the booklet. She was located just two kilometres from the Hiroshima epicentre.

Fleeing to her relatives in Hesaka, at age 24 another woman remembers that “people, with the skin dangling down, were stumbling along. They fell down with a thud and died one after another”, adding, “still now I often have nightmares about this, and people say, ‘it’s neurosis’”.

One man who entered Hiroshima after the bomb recalled in the exhibition, “that dreadful scene – I cannot forget even after many decades”.

A woman who was 25 years-old at the time, said, “when I went outside, it was dark as night. Then it got brighter and brighter, and I could see burnt people crying and running about in utter confusion. It was hell…I found my neighbour trapped under a fallen concrete wall…Only half of his face was showing. He was burned alive”.Uniting for peace

The steadfast conviction of the Hidankyo remains: “Nuclear weapons are absolute evil that cannot coexist with humans. There is no choice but to abolish them”.

In August 1956, the survivors of the 1945 atomic bombs in Hiroshima on 6 August and Nagasaki three days later, formed the “Japan Confederation of A and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations”.

Encouraged by the movement to ban the atomic bomb that was triggered by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru disaster – when 23 men in a Japanese tuna fishing boat were contaminated by nuclear fallout from a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll in 1954 – they have not wavered in their efforts to prevent others from becoming nuclear victims.

“We have reassured our will to save humanity from its crisis through the lessons learned from our experiences, while at the same time saving ourselves”, they declared at the formation meeting.

The spirit of the declaration, in which their own sufferings are linked to the task of preventing the hardship that they continue to carry, resonates still in the movement today…………………………………………….

The hibakusha became more and more vocal in the suffering that was inflicted upon them, hoping that it could help create a road map towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In oral testimonies, they shared their experiences both during and after the bombings and sent written messages to the NPT Review Conference in 2010 appealing to the world.

In July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which complements the NPT, was adopted and came into force last year on 22 January……………………

the UN is committed to ensuring their testimonies live on, as a warning to each new generation.

The Hibakusha are a living reminder that nuclear weapons pose an existential threat and that the only guarantee against their use is their total elimination”, Mr. Guterres stated. “This goal continues to be the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations, as it has been since the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1946”.

While the Tenth Review Conference of the NPT, which had been scheduled for January, has been postponed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued to urge world leaders to “draw on the spirit of the Hibakusha” by putting aside their differences and taking “bold steps towards achieving the collective goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons”. https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/01/1109602

January 17, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, depleted uranium, Japan, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

Harry Reid’s legacy – a staunch opponent of Yucca nuclear waste disposal site

Over a decades-long political career, former Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid will be remembered for many battles fought on behalf of Nevadans.
Perhaps one of the most memorable was his vehement opposition to the Yucca
Mountain disposal site. The Yucca Mountain saga followed Reid throughout
his career in the Senate. The Department of Energy recommended the site for
a nuclear waste repository in 1986, the year Reid was elected to the
Senate.

 KTNV 29th Dec 2021

https://www.ktnv.com/news/harry-reids-legacy-a-staunch-opponent-of-yucca-mountain-nuclear-waste-disposal-site1

January 1, 2022 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

A free press, a free Julian Assange – would be the best gift for the world

Cartoon by Badiucao, in The Age 20 December 21.

December 20, 2021 Posted by | media, PERSONAL STORIES, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Jimmy Carter hailed as ‘action’ hero for stopping nuclear meltdown at 28

Jimmy Carter hailed as ‘action’ hero for stopping nuclear meltdown at 28  https://nypost.com/2021/12/16/jimmy-carter-is-action-hero-for-stopping-nuclear-disaster/
By Hannah Sparks, December 16, 2021  Who needs action movies when there are real-life superheroes like Jimmy Carter among us?

A viral Twitter thread is reminding the world that the 39th US President James Earl Carter Jr., now 97, actually rescued Ottawa, Ontario, from nuclear destruction as a 28-year-old way back on Dec. 12, 1952.

“Do you remember the world’s very first nuclear meltdown? That time the US President, an expert in nuclear physics, heroically lowered himself into the reactor and saved Ottawa, Canada’s capital?” asked Canadian physicist University of Ottawa professor Jeff Lundeen in his now-viral thread, originally posted Tuesday but officially trending two days later.

Sounds like schlocky action movie, but it actually happened!”

Lundeen’s revelatory tweet to his modest 1,078 followers now boasts nearly 50,000 likes, more than 20,000 retweets and hundreds of cheerfully shocked comments. He included data from the Ottawa Historical Society and a snippet of a 2011 report documenting Carter’s heroics, and he followed up with several other media sources that recount the historic tale.

As the story goes, the Plains, Ga., native planned his entire life to join the Navy — and did so when he received his appointment to the Naval Academy in 1942. After graduating with distinction, Carter spent two years completing his service ship duty before signing on to the Submarine Force. Following a series of relocations and promotions, the young lieutenant would request to join Captain Hyman G. Rickover’s nuclear sub program, where they were developing the world’s first atomic subs.

Rickover then sent Carter to work for the US Atomic Energy Commission, where he served on temporary duty with the Naval Reactors Branch. Meanwhile, a few months later, an accidental power surge at Chalk River Laboratories in Ottawa caused fuel rods within a nuclear research reactor to rupture and melt — risking a full nuclear meltdown.

It was the first such incident of its kind, and Carter’s team of 23 men was ordered to clean it up.

I

n a scene straight out of modern-day blockbusters, the operation would require the brave men to descend into the core by rope and pulley so they could deconstruct the reactor bolt by bolt. The lab had set up a duplicate reactor as a training field for Carter’s team, who would get only one shot at the real thing. Each man would have to descend into the core and complete their high-flying tasks in 90-second spurts, as exposure to toxic radiation within the reactor posed a high risk to their long-term health.

Their plan went off without a hitch. The core was shut down and then rebuilt. From there, Carter went on to become the engineering officer for the USS Seawolf, one of the first submarines to operate on atomic power. By 1961, he retired from the Navy and Reserves, and, in 1963, ran for his first political office.

For those who admire the single-term Democratic president, Lundeen’s tweet was just another reminder of Carter’s selfless service — and good jokes.

One top Twitter response included a quote from the president, who visited Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island power plant in 1979, during their disastrous partial meltdown.

When asked by media if he thought it too dangerous to visit the radioactive site, he reportedly quipped, “No, if it was too dangerous they would have sent the vice president.”

December 18, 2021 Posted by | incidents, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges on the Execution of Julian Assange

Hedges: The Execution of Julian Assange, SCHEERPOST, By Chris Hedges 14 Dec 21, He committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. And empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds.

Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners. Joe Biden. Boris Johnson. Scott Morrison. Theresa May. Lenin Moreno. Donald Trump. Barack Obama. Mike Pompeo. Hillary Clinton. Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Justice Timothy Victor Holroyde. Crown Prosecutors James Lewis, Clair Dobbin and Joel Smith. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg. William Burns, the director of the CIA. Ken McCallum, the Director General of the UK Security Service or MI5.

Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on October 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The ten years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly three in the high security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied with a lack of sunlight and exercise and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress.  “His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry,” his fiancé Stella Morris said of the stroke. 

His steady physical and psychological deterioration has led to hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. He has spent weeks in the medical wing of Belmarsh. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” The executioners have not yet completed their grim work. Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the Haitian independence movement, the only successful slave revolt in human history, was physically destroyed in the same manner, locked by the French in an unheated and cramped prison cell and left to die of exhaustion, malnutrition, apoplexy, pneumonia and probably tuberculosis.  

Assange committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Labour. Trump or Biden. It does not matter. The goons who oversee the empire sing from the same Satanic songbook. Empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. Rome’s long persecution of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, forcing him in the end to commit suicide, and the razing of Carthage repeats itself in epic after epic. Crazy Horse. Patrice Lumumba. Malcolm X. Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Sukarno. Ngo Dinh Diem. Fred Hampton. Salvador Allende. If you cannot be bought off, if you will not be intimidated into silence, you will be killed. 

The obsessive CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, which because none succeeded have a Keystone Cop incompetence to them, included contracting Momo Salvatore Giancana, Al Capone’s successor in Chicago, along with Miami mobster Santo Trafficante to kill the Cuban leader, attempting to poison Castro’s cigars with a botulinum toxin, providing Castro with a tubercle bacilli-infected scuba-diving suit, booby-trapping a conch shell on the sea floor where he often dived, slipping botulism-toxin pills in one of Castro’s drinks and using a pen outfitted with a hypodermic needle to poison him. 

The current cabal of assassins hide behind a judicial burlesque overseen in London by portly judges in gowns and white horse-hair wigs mouthing legal Alice-in-Wonderland absurdities. It is a dark reprise of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado with the Lord High Executioner drawing up lists of people “who would not be missed.”

I watched the latest installment of the Assange show trial via video link on Friday. I listened to the reading of the ruling granting the appeal by the United States to extradite Assange. Assange’s lawyers have two weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court, which they are expected to do. I am not optimistic. 

Friday’s ruling was devoid of legal analysis. It fully accepted the conclusions of the lower court judge about increased risk of suicide and inhumane prison conditions in the United States. But the ruling argued that US Diplomatic Note no. 74, given to the court on February 5, 2021, which offered “assurances” that Assange would be well treated, overrode the lower court’s conclusions. It was a remarkable legal non sequitur. The ruling would not have gotten a passing grade in a first-semester law school course. But legal erudition is not the point. The judicial railroading of Assange, which has eviscerated one legal norm after another, has turned, as Franz Kafka wrote, “lying into a universal principle.” 

The decision to grant the extradition was based on four “assurances” given to the court by the US government.  The two-judge appellate panel ruled that the “assurances” “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” promise that Assange will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which keep prisoners in extreme isolation and allow the government to monitor conversations with lawyers, eviscerating attorney-client privilege; can, if the Australian his government agrees, serve out his sentence there;  will receive adequate clinical and psychological care; and, pre-trial and post trial, will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. 

“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the judges wrote. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant. 

None of the “assurances” offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on.  All come with escape clauses. None are legally binding. Should Assange do “something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX” he will be subject to these coercive measures. And you can be assured that any incident, no matter how trivial, will be used, if Assange is extradited, as an excuse to toss him into the mouth of the dragon. 

The decision to grant the extradition was based on four “assurances” given to the court by the US government.  The two-judge appellate panel ruled that the “assurances” “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” promise that Assange will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which keep prisoners in extreme isolation and allow the government to monitor conversations with lawyers, eviscerating attorney-client privilege; can, if the Australian his government agrees, serve out his sentence there;  will receive adequate clinical and psychological care; and, pre-trial and post trial, will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. 

“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the judges wrote. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant. 

None of the “assurances” offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on.  All come with escape clauses. None are legally binding. Should Assange do “something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX” he will be subject to these coercive measures. And you can be assured that any incident, no matter how trivial, will be used, if Assange is extradited, as an excuse to toss him into the mouth of the dragon. 

Should Australia, which has marched in lockstep with the US in the persecution of their citizen not agree to his transfer, he will remain for the rest of his life in a US prison. But so what. If Australia does not request a transfer it “cannot be a cause for criticism of the USA, or a reason for regarding the assurances as inadequate to meet the judge’s concerns,” the ruling read. And even if that were not the case, it would take Assange ten to fifteen years to appeal his sentence up to the Supreme Court, more than enough time for the state assassins to finish him off. I am not sure how to respond to assurance number four, stating that Assange will not be held pre-trial in the ADX in Florence. No one is held pre-trail in ADX Florence. But it sounds reassuring, so I guess those in the Biden DOJ who crafted the diplomatic note added it. ADX Florence, of course, is not the only supermax prison in the United States that might house Assange. Assange can be shipped out to one of our other Guantanamo-like facilities. Daniel Hale, the former US Air Force intelligence analyst currently imprisoned for releasing top-secret documents that exposed widespread civilian casualties caused by US drone strikes, has been held at USP Marion, a federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) since October. CMUs are highly restrictive units that replicate the near total isolation imposed by SAMs. 

There is no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, a  a foreign national, under the Espionage Act.  The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuador Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers. This fact alone invalidates any future trial. Assange, who after seven years in a cramped room without sunlight in the embassy, has been held for nearly three years in a high-security prison in London so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the unrelenting abuse and torture it knows will lead to his psychological and physical disintegration.


By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners. Joe Biden. Boris Johnson. Scott Morrison. Theresa May. Lenin Moreno. Donald Trump. Barack Obama. Mike Pompeo. Hillary Clinton. Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Justice Timothy Victor Holroyde. Crown Prosecutors James Lewis, Clair Dobbin and Joel Smith. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg. William Burns, the director of the CIA. Ken McCallum, the Director General of the UK Security Service or MI5.

Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on October 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The ten years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly three in the high security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied with a lack of sunlight and exercise and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress.  “His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry,” his fiancé Stella Morris said of the stroke. 

His steady physical and psychological deterioration has led to hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. He has spent weeks in the medical wing of Belmarsh. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” The executioners have not yet completed their grim work. Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the Haitian independence movement, the only successful slave revolt in human history, was physically destroyed in the same manner, locked by the French in an unheated and cramped prison cell and left to die of exhaustion, malnutrition, apoplexy, pneumonia and probably tuberculosis.  

Assange committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Labour. Trump or Biden. It does not matter. The goons who oversee the empire sing from the same Satanic songbook. Empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. Rome’s long persecution of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, forcing him in the end to commit suicide, and the razing of Carthage repeats itself in epic after epic. Crazy Horse. Patrice Lumumba. Malcolm X. Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Sukarno. Ngo Dinh Diem. Fred Hampton. Salvador Allende. If you cannot be bought off, if you will not be intimidated into silence, you will be killed. 

The obsessive CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, which because none succeeded have a Keystone Cop incompetence to them, included contracting Momo Salvatore Giancana, Al Capone’s successor in Chicago, along with Miami mobster Santo Trafficante to kill the Cuban leader, attempting to poison Castro’s cigars with a botulinum toxin, providing Castro with a tubercle bacilli-infected scuba-diving suit, booby-trapping a conch shell on the sea floor where he often dived, slipping botulism-toxin pills in one of Castro’s drinks and using a pen outfitted with a hypodermic needle to poison him. 

The current cabal of assassins hide behind a judicial burlesque overseen in London by portly judges in gowns and white horse-hair wigs mouthing legal Alice-in-Wonderland absurdities. It is a dark reprise of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado with the Lord High Executioner drawing up lists of people “who would not be missed.”

I watched the latest installment of the Assange show trial via video link on Friday. I listened to the reading of the ruling granting the appeal by the United States to extradite Assange. Assange’s lawyers have two weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court, which they are expected to do. I am not optimistic. 

Friday’s ruling was devoid of legal analysis. It fully accepted the conclusions of the lower court judge about increased risk of suicide and inhumane prison conditions in the United States. But the ruling argued that US Diplomatic Note no. 74, given to the court on February 5, 2021, which offered “assurances” that Assange would be well treated, overrode the lower court’s conclusions. It was a remarkable legal non sequitur. The ruling would not have gotten a passing grade in a first-semester law school course. But legal erudition is not the point. The judicial railroading of Assange, which has eviscerated one legal norm after another, has turned, as Franz Kafka wrote, “lying into a universal principle.” 

The decision to grant the extradition was based on four “assurances” given to the court by the US government.  The two-judge appellate panel ruled that the “assurances” “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” promise that Assange will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which keep prisoners in extreme isolation and allow the government to monitor conversations with lawyers, eviscerating attorney-client privilege; can, if the Australian his government agrees, serve out his sentence there;  will receive adequate clinical and psychological care; and, pre-trial and post trial, will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. 

“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the judges wrote. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant. 

None of the “assurances” offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on.  All come with escape clauses. None are legally binding. Should Assange do “something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX” he will be subject to these coercive measures. And you can be assured that any incident, no matter how trivial, will be used, if Assange is extradited, as an excuse to toss him into the mouth of the dragon. 

Should Australia, which has marched in lockstep with the US in the persecution of their citizen not agree to his transfer, he will remain for the rest of his life in a US prison. But so what. If Australia does not request a transfer it “cannot be a cause for criticism of the USA, or a reason for regarding the assurances as inadequate to meet the judge’s concerns,” the ruling read. And even if that were not the case, it would take Assange ten to fifteen years to appeal his sentence up to the Supreme Court, more than enough time for the state assassins to finish him off. I am not sure how to respond to assurance number four, stating that Assange will not be held pre-trial in the ADX in Florence. No one is held pre-trail in ADX Florence. But it sounds reassuring, so I guess those in the Biden DOJ who crafted the diplomatic note added it. ADX Florence, of course, is not the only supermax prison in the United States that might house Assange. Assange can be shipped out to one of our other Guantanamo-like facilities. Daniel Hale, the former US Air Force intelligence analyst currently imprisoned for releasing top-secret documents that exposed widespread civilian casualties caused by US drone strikes, has been held at USP Marion, a federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) since October. CMUs are highly restrictive units that replicate the near total isolation imposed by SAMs. 

The High Court ruling ironically came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced at the virtual Summit for Democracy that the Biden administration will provide new funding to protect reporters targeted because of their work and support independent international journalism. Blinken’s “assurances” that the Biden administration will defend a free press, at the very moment the administration was demanding Assange’s extradition, is a glaring example of the rank hypocrisy and mendacity that makes the Democrats, as Glen Ford used to say, “not the lesser evil, but the more effective evil.” 

Assange is charged in the US under 17 counts of the Espionage Act and one count of hacking into a government computer. The charges could see him sentenced to 175 years in prison, even though he is not a US citizen and WikiLeaks is not a US-based publication. If found guilty it will effectively criminalize the investigative work of all journalists and publishers, anywhere in the world and of any nationality, who possess classified documents to shine a light on the inner workings of power. This mortal assault on the press will have been orchestrated, we must not forget, by a Democratic administration. It will set a legal precedent that will delight other totalitarian regimes and autocrats who, emboldened by the United States, will gleefully seize journalists and publishers, no matter where they are located, who publish inconvenient truths. 

There is no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, a  a foreign national, under the Espionage Act.  The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuador Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers. This fact alone invalidates any future trial. Assange, who after seven years in a cramped room without sunlight in the embassy, has been held for nearly three years in a high-security prison in London so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the unrelenting abuse and torture it knows will lead to his psychological and physical disintegration.

The persecution of Assange is designed to send a message to anyone who might consider exposing the corruption, dishonesty and depravity that defines the black heart of our global elites. 

Dean Yates can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. He was the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad on the morning of July 12, 2007 when his Iraqi colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed, along with nine other men, by US Army Apache gunships. Two children were seriously wounded. The US government spent three years lying to Yates, Reuters and the rest of the world about the killings, although the army had video evidence of the massacre taken by the Apaches during the attack. The video, known as the Collateral Murder video, was leaked in 2010 by Chelsea Manning to Assange. It, for the first time, proved that those killed were not engaged, as the army had repeatedly insisted, in a firefight. It exposed the lies spun by the US that it could not locate the video footage and had never attempted to cover up the killings. 

Watch the full interview I did with Yates

The Spanish courts can tell you what US “assurances” are worth…………….

The people in Afghanistan can tell you what U.S “assurances” are worth………..

The people in Iraq can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. ……..

The people of Iran can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. ………

The thousands of people tortured in US global black sites can tell you what US “assurances” are worth……..

Assange, at tremendous personal cost, warned us. He gave us the truth. The ruling class is crucifying him for this truth. With his crucifixion, the dim lights of our democracy go dark.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VzFJ9csons&t=130s      https://scheerpost.com/2021/12/13/hedges-the-execution-of-julian-assange/?fbclid=IwAR1dILpTE-VKbcdBa_gFy3vKLPMvddoBhPf6MKJ1cmuDMf0HrFUyungV-vo

December 14, 2021 Posted by | legal, PERSONAL STORIES, politics international, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, USA | 1 Comment