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Thousands rally in Rome against arming Ukraine

Trade unionists and leftists marched after the new government promised more arms for Kiev next year

https://www.rt.com/news/567650-italy-ukraine-weapons-protest/ 5 Dec 22,

Left-wing demonstrators took to the streets in Rome on Saturday, demanding higher wages and condemning the Italian government for renewing a decree allowing it to send weapons to Ukraine until 2024.

Organized by Italy’s USB trade union and backed by a number of leftist political factions, the protest saw thousands of people assemble at the Piazza della Repubblica and march behind a banner reading “guns down, wages up.”

“The Meloni government is dragging us further and further into a spiral of war with unpredictable outcomes,” the USB wrote prior to the protest. “Italy is evidently a belligerent and active country in the conflict, despite the fact that the great majority of the population is against the war and the consequent sharp increase in military spending.”

Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, issued a decree on Thursday allowing her cabinet to continue sending weapons to Ukraine until the end of 2023 without seeking the formal approval of parliament. Her predecessor, Mario Draghi, was a staunch supporter of Kiev and lost power after a disagreement over arms shipments split the largest party in his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.


The Italian public is split too, with 49% opposing sending weapons to Kiev and 38% in favor, according to a poll taken by EuroWeek News last month. Additionally, 49% of Italians believe that Ukraine needs to make concessions to Russia in the ongoing conflict to speed up the peace process, while only 36% want Kiev to keep fighting.

Last month, another rally in Rome calling for a peace deal to end the Ukrainian conflict drew 100,000 people, organizers said.

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December 5, 2022 Posted by | Italy, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia a”pot of gold” for America’s military section to wage war in space

US Space Force eyes ‘prime’ Australian real estate for future warfare operations, ABC News, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene 3 Dec 22

Visiting senior US military officers believe Australia is a “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”, as they eye off this continent’s “prime” geography for future space operations.

Key points:

  • US military officials visiting Australia say conflict in space in the next few years is a very real prospect
  • They believe the war in Ukraine is demonstrating the growing importance of space as a new war-fighting domain
  • Australia’s southern location and potential launch sites near the equator make it an attractive prospect for future operations

Top-ranking members of the US Space Force are warning of China’s growing capability in the emerging military domain as they meet defence counterparts and local industry representatives.

“I’m visiting my allies and we’re talking about future partnerships that we can have,” US Space Force Lieutenant-General Nina Armagno told reporters in Canberra.

“This is prime country for space domain awareness,” the director of staff of the US Space Force added while speaking at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.  

The three-star general has travelled to Canberra along with Lieutenant-General John Shaw, the deputy commander of the US Space Command who is responsible for America’s combat capabilities above Earth……………………………..

Both of the visiting military officers believe the war in Ukraine is demonstrating the growing importance of space as a new war-fighting domain…………………………..

Australia’s own Defence Space Command was only formally stood up in March, but General Armagno says this country already has the natural advantage of its southern-hemisphere geography and potential launch sites close to the equator.

“It seems as [if] Australia is sitting on a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, really, for our common national security interests,” she said.   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-02/us-space-force-eyes-australian-real-estate-future-warfare/101724368

December 2, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, space travel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Weapons company Raytheon continues to be the winner in the Ukraine war, with new $1.2 billion surface-to-air missile contract .

Raytheon wins $1.2 billion surface-to-air missile order for Ukraine, By Jen Judson, Defense News, 1 Dec 22

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Missiles and Defense a contract worth as much as $1.2 billion to deliver six National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System batteries for Ukraine.

The contract is part of the fifth Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package and includes training and logistical support to Ukraine’s military and security forces, the Army said in a a Nov. 30 statement.

Raytheon, the world’s second-largest defense contractor, won a contract in August to deliver to NASAMS batteries to Ukraine as part of the third USAI package. The new contract is a follow-on…………………

The work to award Raytheon a contract was led by the Army’s Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, along with others across the Defense Department.

Ukraine has requested an integrated air and missile defense system that the U.S. and other allies are striving to fulfill. The system would be made up of short-range, low-altitude systems; medium-range, medium-altitude systems; and long-range, high-altitude systems that together would neutralize the threat of Russian aircraft and missiles.

Ukrainian forces had been using Russian-made SA-6 and SA-8 air defenses. In addition to NASAMS, the country also asked for Cold War-era Hawk systems – a medium-range, medium-altitude system, that’s considered to still be effective.  https://www.defensenews.com/land/2022/12/01/raytheon-wins-12-billion-surface-to-air-missile-order-for-ukraine

December 2, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Deliberate ambiguity’: Israel’s nuclear weapons are greatest threat to Middle East

https://peoplesworld.org/article/deliberate-ambiguity-israels-nuclear-weapons-are-greatest-threat-to-middle-east/ December 2, 2022 11:06 AM CST  BY RAMZY BAROUD

As Western countries are floating the theory that Russia could escalate its conflict with Ukraine to a nuclear war, many of those governments continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Luckily, many other countries around the world do not subscribe to this endemic hypocrisy.

The Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction was held between Nov. 14-18, with the sole purpose of creating new standards of accountability that, as should always have been the case, would apply equally to all Middle Eastern countries.

The debate regarding nuclear weapons in the Middle East could not possibly be any more pertinent or urgent. International observers rightly note that the period following the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to accelerate the quest for nuclear weapons throughout the world. Considering the seemingly perpetual state of conflict in the Middle East, the region is likely to witness nuclear rivalry as well.

For years, Arab and other countries attempted to raise the issue that accountability regarding the development and acquisition of nuclear weapons cannot be confined to states that are perceived to be enemies of Israel and the West.

The latest of these efforts was a United Nations resolution that called on Israel to dispose of its nuclear weapons, and to place its nuclear facilities under the monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Resolution number A/C.1/77/L.2, which was drafted by Egypt with the support of other Arab countries, passed with an initial vote of 152-5. Unsurprisingly, among the five countries that voted against the draft were the United States, Canada and, of course, Israel itself.

U.S. and Canadian blind support of Israel notwithstanding, what compels Washington and Ottawa to vote against a draft entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East?” Keeping in mind the successive right-wing extremist governments that have ruled over Israel for many years, Washington must understand that the risk of using nuclear weapons under the guise of fending off an “existential threat” is a real possibility.


Since its inception, Israel has resorted to, and utilized the phrase “existential threat” countless times. Various Arab governments, later Iran and even individual Palestinian resistance movements, were accused of endangering Israel’s existence per se. Even the non-violent Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement was accused by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 of being an existential threat to Israel. Netanyahu claimed that the boycott movement was “not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence.”

This should worry everyone, not just in the Middle East, but the whole world. A country with such hyped sensitivity about imagined “existential threats” should not be allowed to acquire the kinds of weapons that could destroy the entire Middle East several times over.

Some may argue that Israel’s nuclear arsenal was intrinsically linked to real fears resulting from its historical conflict with the Arabs. However, this is not the case. As soon as Israel completed Stage 1 of its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their historic homeland, and long before any serious Arab or Palestinian resistance was carried out in response, Israel was already on the lookout for nuclear weapons.

As early as 1949, the Israeli army had found uranium deposits in the Negev Desert, leading to the establishment, in 1952, of the highly secretive Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC).

In 1955, the U.S. government sold Israel a nuclear research reactor. But that was not enough. Eager to become a full nuclear power, Tel Aviv resorted to Paris in 1957. The latter became a major partner in Israel’s secretive nuclear activities when it helped the Israeli government construct a clandestine nuclear reactor near Dimona in the Negev Desert.

The father of the Israeli nuclear program at the time was none other than Shimon Peres who, ironically, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. The Dimona Nuclear Reactor is now named “Shimon Peres Nuclear Research Center-Negev.”

With no international monitoring whatsoever, thus with zero legal accountability, Israel’s nuclear quest continues to this day. In 1963, Israel purchased 100 tons of uranium ore from Argentina, and it is strongly believed that during the October 1973 Israel-Arab war, Israel “came close to making a nuclear preemptive strike,” according to Richard Sale, writing for United Press International (UPI).

Currently, Israel is believed to have “enough fissionable material to fabricate 60-300 nuclear weapons,” according to former U.S. Army Officer Edwin S. Cochran.

Estimates vary, but the facts about Israel’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are hardly contested. Israel itself practices what is known as “deliberate ambiguity,” so as to send a message of its lethal power to its enemies, without revealing anything that may hold it accountable to international inspection.

 shows what now is known as the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city of Dimona, Israel. A long-secretive Israeli nuclear facility that gave birth to its undeclared atomic weapons program appeared to be undergoing its biggest construction project in decades recently, according to newly taken satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press. | U.S. Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science / U.S. Geological Survey | via AP

Estimates vary, but the facts about Israel’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are hardly contested. Israel itself practices what is known as “deliberate ambiguity,” so as to send a message of its lethal power to its enemies, without revealing anything that may hold it accountable to international inspection.

What we know about Israel’s nuclear weapons has been made possible partly because of the bravery of former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, a whistleblower who was held in solitary confinement for a decade due to his courage in exposing Israel’s darkest secrets.

Still, Israel refuses to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), endorsed by 191 countries.

Israeli leaders adhere to what is known as the “Begin Doctrine,” in reference to Menachem Begin, the rightwing Israeli prime minister who invaded Lebanon in 1982, resulting in the killing of thousands. The doctrine is formulated around the idea that, while Israel gives itself the right to own nuclear weapons, its enemies in the Middle East must not. This belief continues to direct Israeli actions to this day.

U.S. support for Israel is not confined to ensuring the latter has “military edge” over its neighbors in terms of traditional weapons, but also to ensure Israel remains the region’s only superpower, even if that entails escaping international accountability for the development of WMDs.

The collective efforts by Arab and other countries at the UN General Assembly to create a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons are welcomed initiatives. It behooves everyone, Washington included, to join the rest of the world in finally forcing Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a first but critical step toward long delayed accountability.

December 2, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secrecy on USA’s new nuclear stealth bomber, and of course, secrecy on its cost to taxpayers.

The fact that the price is not public troubles government watchdogs.

Pentagon unveils new nuclear stealth bomber after years of secrecy The HillBY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA NEXSTAR MEDIA WIRE – 12/02/22

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s newest nuclear stealth bomber is making its public debut after years of secret development and as part of the Pentagon’s answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China.

The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years. Almost every aspect of the program is classified. Ahead of its unveiling Friday at an Air Force facility in Palmdale, California, only artists’ renderings of the warplane have been released. Those few images reveal that the Raider resembles the black nuclear stealth bomber it will eventually replace, the B-2 Spirit.

The bomber is part of the Pentagon’s efforts to modernize all three legs of its nuclear triad, which includes silo-launched nuclear ballistic missiles and submarine-launched warheads, as it shifts from the counterterrorism campaigns of recent decades to meet China’s rapid military modernization………………………………….

Six B-21 Raiders are in production; The Air Force plans to build 100 that can deploy either nuclear weapons or onventional bombs and can be used with or without a human crew. Both the Air Force and Northrop also point to the Raider’s relatively quick development: The bomber went from contract award to debut in seven years. Other new fighter and ship programs have taken decades.

The cost of the bombers is unknown. The Air Force previously put the price for a buy of 100 aircraft at an average cost of $550 million each in 2010 dollars — roughly $753 million today — but it’s unclear how much the Air Force is actually spending.

The fact that the price is not public troubles government watchdogs.

“It might be a big challenge for us to do our normal analysis of a major program like this,” said Dan Grazier, a senior defense policy fellow at the Project on Government Oversight. “It’s easy to say that the B-21 is still on schedule before it actually flies. Because it’s only when one of these programs goes into the actual testing phase when real problems are discovered. And so that’s the point when schedules really start to slip and costs really start to rise.”

The Raider will not make its first flight until 2023. However, using advanced computing, Warden said, Northrop Grumman has been testing the Raider’s performance using a digital twin, a virtual replica of the one being unveiled.

…………………… Given advances in surveillance satellites and cameras, the Raider will debut very much under wraps and will be viewed inside a hangar. Invited guests including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will witness the hangar doors open to reveal the bomber for its public introduction, then the doors will close again.  https://thehill.com/homenews/3759575-pentagon-unveils-new-nuclear-stealth-bomber-after-years-of-secrecy/

December 2, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Broken promises: how nuclear armed states are failing on their commitments to disarm

2 Dec22

As the US Air Force shows off its new B-21 stealth bomber and Russia and China are expanding and updating their own nuclear arsenals, we explore how these states are violating their commitments under international law and increasing the risk of nuclear catastrophe.

The United States Air Force today showed off its latest means of using weapons of mass destruction: the B-21 stealth bomber. This aircraft, developed by Northrop Grumman, is designed to drop two new types of nuclear weapons: the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb and the LRSO nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile, as well as various conventional weapons. The B61-12 nuclear bomb has an explosive yield of up to 50 kilotons; in comparison, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945, killing more than 140,000 people, had a yield of just 16 kilotons. 

A single B61-12 bomb dropped by a Northrop Grumman B-21 would likely kill hundreds of thousands of civilians and injure many more, and cause massive damage to civilian infrastructure and the environment; radioactive fallout could contaminate large areas across multiple countries.

The development of the B-21 represents yet another step in the modernisation  of the US nuclear arsenal. The B-21 bomber will reportedly be deployed at three bases in the US, resulting in an increase of the number of bomber bases with nuclear weapons from two bases today to five bases by the 2030s. The B-21 will carry new and “improved” nuclear weapons, and is obviously intended to do so for decades to come.

Northrop Grumman, the manufacturer of the B-21, received $5 billion in income from nuclear-weapon-related contracts in 2021, and spent $11 million on lobbying elected officials, including those who approve such contracts. The company also contributed several million dollars to think tanks researching and writing about nuclear weapons. 

But the US is certainly not alone: Russia and China are also expanding and updating their nuclear arsenals. Russia has developed and successfully tested its new Sarmat ICBM; the missile was displayed in public in November. The Sarmat is intended to replace the SS-18 ICBM and will likely carry the same warheads: 10 warheads per missile, each with a yield of 500-800 kilotons. That means that one Sarmat missile could carry the same destructive force as at least 250 Nagasaki-size warheads, only one of which killed 74,000 people in 1945. According to a US report, China has recently increased its nuclear arsenal beyond 400 warheads, and now has 300 ICBMs, an increase of 200 since 2021. Chinese nuclear submarines are reportedly now patrolling while armed with nuclear missiles. (Since both Russia and China are much less transparent than the US about their nuclear capabilities, it is possible that they are also modernizing and expanding their arsenals in other ways.)

All these steps by China, Russia and the US are directly contrary to their obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT requires them to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”. Under the NPT, the three countries have made an “unequivocal undertaking … to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals” and have committed to “pursue policies that are fully compatible with the Treaty and the objective of achieving a world without nuclear weapons”. …………………………….

ICAN Executive Director, Beatrice Fihn, commented “This is why the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is so important. Now that the treaty is in force, nuclear weapons are comprehensively prohibited under international law. By joining the TPNW and participating actively in its implementation, countries can contribute to stigmatising and delegitimising nuclear weapons and building a robust global norm against them. The TPNW is clear: the actions of nuclear-armed states to retain, modernize and expand their nuclear arsenals are illegal, immoral and unacceptable,” https://www.icanw.org/nuclear_weapons_modernisation_russia_china_us_failing_commitments_to_disarm

December 2, 2022 Posted by | weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain’s bunkers offer little chance of survival after a nuclear attack

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/02/britains-bunkers-offer-little-chance-of-survival-after-a-nuclear-attack 2 Dec 22 David Saunders and Mark Newbury write that, with no bunker provision for civilians, most of us won’t have access – and those who do should not expect to live long.

The owner of the Kelvedon Hatch bunker suggests that those selected for his shelter might survive for 10 to 20 years in it while avoiding nuclear fallout (‘When you hear the four-minute warning’ … Whatever happened to Britain’s nuclear bunkers?, 24 November). This is, sadly, an unrealistic expectation if one simply looks at the likely impact on infrastructure of even a limited nuclear attack on the UK, based on exercises and analysis conducted during the cold war.

It was accepted 50 years ago that nobody above ground is likely to be left fit or alive to generate power or supply clean water. Food cannot be grown in a radioactive environment and, in the period preceding any outbreak of war, there will be diminished food stocks due to panic buying or rationing.

The scenarios modelled by civil defence analysts even during the 1980s Pershing and cruise missile deployment suggested that survival in Britain’s local government bunkers would be short lived. There was never any provision in the UK for sheltering the civilian population in the event of a nuclear conflict and Britain’s civil defence posture was abandoned as a posture after the 1960s.

While in neutral Sweden and Switzerland housebuilding rules made provision to protect the civil population, in Britain the idea of being able to survive to the same extent as in, say, the blitz in the second world war is merely a pious hope.

Nice to know that, according to the civil defence historian Nathan Hazlehurst, “Key members of central government, the military and royal family will have access to bunkers, along with those staff needed to run the country post-attack.” The rest of us will (I assume) have to make do with an updated version of the much-derided Protect and Survive booklet.

December 2, 2022 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un wants North Korea to be a nuclear superpower – the real risk is a regional arms race

The Conversation, Alexander Gillespie, December 2, 2022

The recent claim by Kim Jong Un that North Korea plans to develop the world’s most powerful nuclear force may well have been more bravado than credible threat. But that doesn’t mean it can be ignored.

The best guess is that North Korea now has sufficient fissile material to build 45 to 55 nuclear weapons, three decades after beginning its program. The warheads would mostly have yields of around 10 to 20 kilotons, similar to the 15 kiloton bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

But North Korea has the capacity to make devices ten times bigger. Its missile delivery systems are also advancing in leaps and bounds. The technological advance is matched in rhetoric and increasingly reckless acts, including test-firing missiles over Japan in violation of all international norms, provoking terror and risking accidental war.

The question now is how best to bring the pariah nation into the orbit of arms control negotiations and international dialogue. However remote the chances of that, the alternative risks a regional nuclear arms race………………………………………….

Three decades of non-compliance with international obligations by North Korea have not engendered trust or a willingness by surrounding countries to submit to a nuclear neighbour. More likely is a regional nuclear arms race, as happened when India got the bomb and Pakistan had to keep up, or when Israel triggered Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

South KoreaJapan and possibly even Taiwan are likely to follow suit, either asking to host US ballistic missiles or pursuing independent nuclear strategies – especially if they feel the US won’t defend them after the next presidential election.

None of this makes the world safer.  https://theconversation.com/kim-jong-un-wants-north-korea-to-be-a-nuclear-superpower-the-real-risk-is-a-regional-arms-race-195726

December 2, 2022 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New Mexico’s revolving nuclear door: top environment officials sell out to nuclear weapons lab.

 https://nukewatch.org/press-release-item/top-environment-dept-officials-sell-out-to-nuclear-weapons-labs/ 28 Nov 22

Santa Fe, NM – As part of a long, ingrained history, senior officials at the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) have repeatedly resigned to go to work for the nuclear weapons labs, the Department of Energy, or DOE contractors. In a number of cases that is where they came from to begin with.

The hierarchy of leadership at NMED starts with the Secretary, Deputy Secretaries and then Division Directors. The position of Resource Protection Division Director is particularly critical because it oversees the two NMED bureaus most directly involved with DOE facilities in New Mexico, the Hazardous Waste Bureau and the DOE Oversight Bureau. However, all four former or current Resource Protection Division Directors have gone or are going to work for the nuclear weapons labs, the DOE or its contractors. They are:

 
•     Chris Catechis, currently Acting Resource Protection Division Director, is reportedly assuming a job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) within days. Prior to NMED he had worked at the Sandia National Laboratories for 22 years.[1]
•     Catechis’ immediate supervisor Stephanie Stringer resigned October 31 to go to work for DOE’s semi-autonomous nuclear weapons agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). She was Resource Protection Division Director prior to being promoted to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Operations (second only to NMED Secretary James Kenney).


•     J.C. Borrego resigned as NMED Acting Deputy Secretary and Acting Resource Protection Division Director in the last months of the Governor Martinez Administration to go to work for the Sandia National Laboratories.

•     During the Martinez Administration, Kathryn Roberts resigned as Resource Protection Division Director to go to work for a DOE contractor. Prior to NMED she had worked at LANL for four years as Group Leader for Regulatory Support and Performance.

This begs the question of whether the positions of NMED Deputy Directors and Resource Protection Division Directors are being intentionally targeted for co-optation by the nuclear weapons industry. The Environment Department remains underfunded and understaffed, but in contrast DOE will spend $9.4 billion in FY 2023 on nuclear weapons and related programs in New Mexico. [2] This is astonishing when the state’s entire operating budget is $8.5 billion. Exactly what the benefits are for New Mexicans from all of this nuclear weapons spending is not clear. On the downside, the Land of Enchantment is a target for nuclear waste dumping. At the same time, New Mexico is rated dead last in education[3] and quality of life for children.[4]

DOE’s largest expenditures in New Mexico are for the aggressive expansion of the production of plutonium “pits,” the radioactive cores of nuclear weapons. This will generate yet more radioactive wastes and contamination that should require robust regulation and enforcement. Despite that, top NMED officials are subverting their loyalties during an ongoing lawsuit by the Environment Department against DOE seeking to terminate a 2016 “Consent Order” that condones weak cleanup at the Lab.

The Deputy Directors and the Resource Protection Division Directors serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Yet their actions seemingly conflict with a “Code of Conduct” that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham stipulated for state employees. It decreed:
 
“You shall treat your government position as a public trust… only to advance the public interest and not to obtain personal benefits… Full disclosure of real or potential conflicts of interest shall be a guiding principle… You shall not engage in any other employment or activity that creates a conflict of interest… you shall disclose any anticipated outside employment before it begins… violating some provisions of this Code of Conduct may subject you to potential civil enforcement actions and criminal penalties under the law.”[5]

To illustrate how these changing loyalties can potentially compromise environmental protection in New Mexico, Stringer and Catechis were centrally involved in recent and pending NMED decisions on:

•     Granting “temporary authorization” to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the nation’s only designated permanent radioactive waste dump, to drill a new ventilation shaft to support its expansion.

•     Extending WIPP’s hazardous waste permit. The current permit expired in 2020 but has been administratively continued. DOE is now seeking to have it indefinitely extended. More than half of WIPP’s future capacity will be reserved for plutonium wastes from expanded nuclear weapons production.

•     Allowing or not allowing LANL to release up to 100,000 curies of gaseous radioactive tritium into the air.
•     Approving or not LANL’s request to “cap and cover” existing buried radioactive and toxic wastes, instead of comprehensive cleanup that would eliminate the threat to groundwater.  
•     NMED’s lawsuit against DOE to terminate the ineffective 2016 Consent Order governing cleanup at LANL.

NMED Deputy Secretary Stephanie Stringer doubled as Chair of New Mexico’s Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC). She recently opposed a motion by the citizen groups Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) and Honor Our Pueblo Existence to reverse a state groundwater discharge permit. CCNS’ Joni Arends questioned Stringer’s decision, saying, “The important LANL Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility (RLWTF) handles, treats and stores hazardous wastes, hence it is required to be regulated by the NM Hazardous Waste Act. But under her leadership, the Water Quality Control Commission rejected our petition for review of the permit on jurisdictional grounds, while granting a stay of the proceedings as requested by NNSA.”

“We learned that Stringer submitted her job application to NNSA on August 7, two days before a WQCC hearing that she presided over as Chair. On August 30, she signed the Commission’s order granting the NNSA’s motion to stay all proceedings on the RLWTF. The very next day NNSA offered Stringer a salaried position. On October 31, 2022, Stringer resigned her position with NMED and on November 6 reported for work at NNSA. At no time did Stephanie Stringer disclose her new job before leaving NMED. Her conduct disqualified her from serving on the WQCC and is highly improper and in violation of the Governor’s Code of Conduct – all to the detriment of the citizens and environment of New Mexico.”[6]

The example of former Resource Protection Division Director Kathryn Roberts is particularly troubling. After working at LANL she was employed at NMED and in time became the Resource Protection Division Director. In that capacity she was the lead negotiator with Christine Gelles, then-manager of the DOE Environmental Management Los Alamos field office, for a revised 2016 Consent Order that weakened cleanup at LANL. Roberts resigned from NMED a half year after the revised Order went into effect, joining Gelles at Locknecker and Associates, a LANL cleanup contractor.[7] The new Consent Order allowed the Lab to settle any outstanding violations of the more stringent and enforceable 2005 Consent Order. Existing violations were waived when New Mexico could have collected more than $300 million in stipulated penalties had NMED vigorously enforced the 2005 Consent Order. At the time, the Land of Enchantment was facing a budget crisis with a projected $600 million deficit. In effect, NMED gave away half of that deficit to a polluting nuclear weapons site that now has an annual budget of $4.5 billion.

Other examples of NMED’s revolving door of regulators selling out to the regulated:

•     Katheryn Robert’s immediate boss at the time, NMED Secretary Ryan Flynn, resigned to become executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association that lobbies against environmental regulations.

•     In the 1990’s, after drafting state regulations governing the release of mixed radioactive and hazardous air emissions, NMED air quality specialist Bill Blankenship left to work at LANL, in part to enable a Clean Air Act permit for a major plutonium facility for nuclear weapons.

•     Pete Maggiore, NMED Secretary July 1998 – August 2002, joined NNSA’s Los Alamos Office in 2011.  

•     Susan McMichael, NMED Office of General Counsel in the late 1990’s, resigned to become an attorney for LANL.

•     Kathryn Lynnes, Environmental Compliance Specialist, Hazardous Waste Bureau 2004 – 2006, subsequently worked for LANL and then for the Air Force on the Kirtland Air Force Base’s aviation fuel groundwater contamination, a very contentious issue for the State of New Mexico.

Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch New Mexico Director, commented, “New Mexico needs to quit being a nuclear banana republic. We can’t have our top Environment Department officials selling out to the state’s largest polluters. I call upon the Governor to enforce the Code of Conduct that she stipulated. Moreover, state legislators should pass a law that the regulators can’t go to work for the regulated for at least two years after leaving their positions with the New Mexico Environment Department.”

November 28, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Deliberate ambiguity’: Israel’s nuclear weapons are greatest threat to Middle East

Middle East Monitor Dr Ramzy Baroud, November 28, 2022 ,

As western countries are floating the theory that Russia could escalate its conflict with Ukraine to a nuclear war, many western governments continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s own nuclear weapons capabilities. Luckily, many countries around the world do not subscribe to this endemic western hypocrisy.

‘The Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction’ was held between November 14-18, with the sole purpose of creating new standards of accountability that, as should have always been the case, be applied equally to all Middle Eastern countries.

The debate regarding nuclear weapons in the Middle East could not possibly be any more pertinent or urgent. International observers rightly note that the period following the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to accelerate the quest for nuclear weapons throughout the world. Considering the seemingly perpetual state of conflict in the Middle East, the region is likely to witness nuclear rivalry as well.

For years, Arab and other countries attempted to raise the issue that accountability regarding the development and acquisition of nuclear weapons cannot be confined to states that are perceived to be enemies of Israel and the West.

The latest of these efforts was a United Nations resolution that called on Israel to dispose of its nuclear weapons, and to place its nuclear facilities under the monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Resolution number A/C.1/77/L.2, which was drafted by Egypt with the support of other Arab countries, passed with an initial vote of 152-5. Unsurprisingly, among the five countries that voted against the draft were the United States, Canada and, of course, Israel itself.

US and Canadian blind support of Tel Aviv notwithstanding, what compels Washington and Ottawa to vote against a draft entitled: “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”? Keeping in mind the successive right-wing extremist governments that have ruled over Israel for many years, Washington must understand that the risk of using nuclear weapons under the guise of fending off an ‘existential threat’ is a real possibility.

Since its inception, Israel has resorted to, and utilised the phrase ‘existential threat’ countless times. Various Arab governments, later Iran and even individual Palestinian resistance movements were accused of endangering Israel’s very existence. Even the non-violent Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement was accused by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 of being an existential threat to Israel. Netanyahu claimed that the boycott movement was “not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence.”

This should worry everyone, not just in the Middle East, but the whole world. A country with such hyped sensitivity about imagined ‘existential threats’ should not be allowed to acquire the kind of weapons that could destroy the entire Middle East, several times over.

Some may argue that Israel’s nuclear arsenal was intrinsically linked to real fears resulting from its historical conflict with the Arabs. However, this is not the case. As soon as Israel finalised its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their historic homeland, and long before any serious Arab or Palestinian resistance was carried out in response, Israel was already on the lookout for nuclear weapons…………………..

With no international monitoring whatsoever, thus with zero legal accountability, Israel’s nuclear quest continues until this day. In 1963, Israel purchased 100 tons of uranium ore from Argentina, and it is strongly believed that, during the October 1973 Israel-Arab war, Israel “came close to making a nuclear preemptive strike”, according to Richard Sale, writing in United Press International (UPI).

Currently, Israel is believed to have “enough fissionable material to fabricate 60-300 nuclear weapons,” according to former US Army Officer, Edwin S. Cochran.

Estimates vary, but the facts about Israel’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are hardly contested. Israel itself practices what is known as ‘deliberate ambiguity’, as to send a message to its enemies of its lethal power, without revealing anything that may hold it accountable to international inspection.

What we know about Israel’s nuclear weapons has been made possible partly because of the bravery of a former Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, a whistleblower who was held in solitary confinement for a decade due to his courage in exposing Israel’s darkest secrets.

Still, Israel refuses to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), endorsed by 191 countries…………..

The US support for Israel is not confined to ensuring the latter has ‘military edge’ over its neighbours in terms of traditional weapons, but to also ensure Israel remains the region’s only superpower, even if that entails escaping international accountability for the development of WMDs.

The collective efforts by Arab and other countries at the UNGA to create a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons are welcomed initiatives. It behoves everyone, Washington included, to join the rest of the world in finally forcing Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a first but critical step towards long-delayed accountability.  https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20221128-deliberate-ambiguity-israels-nuclear-weapons-are-greatest-threat-to-middle-east/

November 28, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Most NATO members have run out of weapons for Ukraine – NYT

 https://www.rt.com/news/567248-nato-weapons-ukraine-tapped-out/ 27 Nov 22Only larger states have untapped potential to continue arming Kiev, newspaper claims

Arms transfers to Ukraine have left Western weapon stockpiles strained, making it increasingly difficult for NATO militaries to honor politicians’ pledges to supply Kiev, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

“Smaller countries have exhausted their potential,” and according to one NATO official, at least 20 of the bloc’s 30 members are “pretty tapped out,” the newspaper wrote. Only “larger allies,” including France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, have enough stockpiles to continue or potentially increase their weapon shipments to Ukraine.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, the US and its Western allies have been providing Kiev with billions of dollars in security assistance, to the tune of nearly $40 billion, now comparable to the entire annual defense budget of France. Moscow has repeatedly warned that the weapon shipments will only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct conflict between Russia and NATO.

As Ukraine continues to call for more weapons, EU stockpiles are running low, with Germany already “reaching its limit as of early September. Meanwhile, Lithuania, which does not have any more weapons to donate, has urged the allies to give Ukraine “everything we have.”

US President Joe Biden has vowed to keep the arms pipeline open for “as long as it takes,” but even American military stockpiles have taken a toll after repeated shipments to Kiev. As early as March, just weeks after the conflict in Ukraine kicked off, the US Defense Department was already scrambling to replenish thousands of shoulder-fired missiles supplied to Kiev. By August, US stockpiles of 155mm artillery ammunition were uncomfortably low,” according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The Pentagon’s latest fact sheet detailed more than $19 billion in direct military aid approved since February, including over 46,000 anti-armor systems, nearly 200 Howitzers, 38 long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), and a litany of other heavy weapons, vehicles and ammunition – as well as over 920,000 of 155mm artillery rounds.

The US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) previously pointed out that the American military is “not structured to fight or support an extended conflict,” while the defense industry is “sized for peacetime production rates,” and expanding capabilities would take years.

NATO is heavily invested in Ukraine, with the alliance’s members also providing training and intelligence capability. Despite this “unprecedented support,” the military bloc’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has repeatedly claimed that “NATO is not a party to the conflict.”

Moscow sees things differently. Multiple top officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have accused NATO of waging war against Russia “by proxy,” while Putin has described Russia as fighting “the entire Western military machine.”

November 28, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un Emphasizes Nuclear Development as North Korea’s ‘Ultimate Goal’

Kim continues to double down on the importance of the nuclear program for his country.

 The Diplomat, Mitch Shin, November 28, 2022, Following the successful test of its Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on November 18, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un praised the work of those who contributed to the development of the missile, Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), one of the North’s main state-controlled media, reported on Sunday.

During a photo session with the contributors, Kim reiterated the importance of developing nuclear weapons as a means to protect North Korea…………….

As the Korean War stalled with a truce in 1953, the two Koreas are technically still at war………………………….

Considering Kim’s latest order to his scientists and technicians and his speech in September, he seems to have concluded that nuclear development is the only way to survive. With nuclear development described by Kim as the “ultimate goal,” it indicates that he will never preemptively denuclearize his country………………. more https://thediplomat.com/2022/11/kim-jong-un-emphasizes-nuclear-development-as-north-koreas-ultimate-goal/

November 28, 2022 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

It’s high time to defuse the military carbon bomb

We cannot tackle climate change, and save our collective future, while increasing military spending.

the richest countries spent $9.45 trillion on their militaries between 2013 and 2021 compared with an estimated $234bn on climate finance – in other words, they have spent 30 times as much on the military as climate finance.

The annual United Nations climate talks, known as the Conference of Parties (COP), have traditionally promised much but delivered little. This year’s COP27 was no different, with most observers noting that it even backtracked on commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow.

What was less observed was that the summit faced a major additional obstacle in 2022. This year, the climate crisis was overshadowed by the war in Ukraine which has been the foreign policy priority of the United States and the European Union since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February.

The difference between the way the world’s richest countries responded to the Ukraine war and the carbon war on our whole planet is undoubtedly stark.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, the US and its NATO allies provided Ukraine with military assistance worth more than $25bn, welcomed nearly seven million refugees, and willingly absorbed severe economic shocks caused by energy price increases triggered by the war.

Despite a global recession looming on the horizon, these countries did not hesitate to increase their military expenditure. Germany allocated 100 billion euros ($104bn) of its 2022 budget for the armed forces, for example, and the US House of Representatives approved a record $840bn military spending.

Yet at COP27, these same wealthiest nations were not even able to deliver the $100bn in climate finance that had been promised as far back as 2009 to the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries. A recent report co-published by the organisation I work for, the Transnational Institute, found that the richest countries spent $9.45 trillion on their militaries between 2013 and 2021 compared with an estimated $234bn on climate finance – in other words, they have spent 30 times as much on the military as climate finance.

After many years of pressure, at COP27, nations finally agreed to create a loss and damage mechanism to provide funds to impoverished countries suffering severe climate impacts, but it is so far just an empty pot. The accelerated arms race that has emerged since the Russian invasion and rising US-China tensions signal that filling that pot will not be a priority for most wealthy nations in the near future.

These spending choices matter not just because they are diverting resources from urgently needed climate action, but also because every dollar spent on the military is worsening the climate crisis. Most militaries consume significant amounts of fossil fuels. One estimate calculates that military emissions may make up 5.5 percent of global emissions. If the global military were a country, it would be the fourth biggest emitter in the world, ahead of Russia.

Furthermore, most of the world’s military spending goes towards the purchase of equipment and vehicles that are among the worst offenders when it comes to carbon emissions. In 2022 alone, for example, 475 new F-35 fighter jets, which use a whopping 5,600 litres (1,480 gallons) of oil per hour of flight, have been ordered. These fuel-guzzling planes could be flying for the next 30 years.

The emissions increase even further when war breaks out. The Ukrainian government at COP27 presented research showing that the first eight months of war had already led to 33 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to adding 16 million cars to the United Kingdom’s roads for two years.

US and UK military chiefs argue that they are committed to reducing military emissions, but their plans so far remain undetailed, opaque and unconvincing. Adding solar panels to a military base is easy to do, but does nothing to tackle the main challenge, which is fossil fuel consumption by military jets, ships and tanks. For now, there is no alternative, green fuel that can be produced at the scale needed and without triggering unacceptable social and environmental consequences, such as increased deforestation and the dispossession of Indigenous peoples.

The uncomfortable truth is that there is no way of ensuring that our planet remains habitable in the long term while continuing to increase military spending. In the midst of an intense and brutal war in Ukraine, this fact is too easily lost as governments are able to justify any increases in military spending to deal with the new immediate “threats”.

Moreover, the military spending of many rich countries is already way out of proportion to any real or perceived threat. NATO member states, for example, already spend 17 times as much on the military as Russia. The US spends more on its military than the next nine countries combined.

Meanwhile, the world has an ever smaller window to tackle climate change – the most pressing threat to our collective future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world must cut emissions by 45 percent by 2030 to have any chance at keeping global average temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). When every month counts, embarking on an accelerated arms race is the worst path the world’s most powerful nations can take. It diverts money and attention from urgent climate action, it increases emissions and it fuels conflicts at a time of increased climate instability.

Climate change can teach us a critical lesson about security. Carbon emissions do not recognise borders. It is not possible for any nation to shield itself from the effects of climate change using tanks or fighter jets. The only way to tackle the climate emergency is through global cooperation. Demilitarisation and peace are the best and perhaps the only ways to ensure that humanity has the capacity and resilience to respond to this crisis.

Only if the world’s leaders recognise that uniting to confront the threat of global heating is more important than any imperialist strategy or narrow economic interest, may we have a chance to avoid climate catastrophe. A secure nation in the end depends on a secure planet.

November 25, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US Arms Dealing Is Out of Control

What will it take to rein in Washington’s arms-sales addiction?

The Nation, By William D. Hartung. NOVEMBER 23, 2022,

There’s a seldom commented upon reality of this century and this moment: The United States remains the number-one arms-exporting nation on the planet. Between 2017 and 2021, it grabbed 39 percent of the total global weapons market, and there’s nothing new about that. It has, in fact, been the top arms dealer in every year but one for the past three decades. And it’s a remarkably lucrative business, earning American weapons makers tens of billions of dollars annually.

It would be one thing if it were simply a matter of money raked in by the industrial half of the military-industrial complex. Unfortunately, in these years, US-supplied weaponry has also fueled conflicts, enabled human-rights violations, helped destabilize not just individual countries but whole regions, and made it significantly easier for repressive regimes to commit war crimes.

At first glance, it appeared that Joe Biden, on entering the White House, might take a different approach to arms sales. On the campaign trail in 2020, he had, for instance, labeled Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state and implied that the unbridled flow of US weaponry to that kingdom would be reduced, if not terminated. He also bluntly assured voters that this country wouldn’t “check its values at the door to sell arms.”

Initially, Biden paused arms deals to that country and even suspended one bomb sale. Unfortunately, within eight months of his taking office, sales to the Saudi regime had resumed. In addition, the Biden team has offered arms to a number of other repressive regimes from Egypt and Nigeria to the Philippines. Such sales contrast strikingly with the president’s mantra of supporting “democracies over autocracies,” as well as his reasonable impulse to supply weapons to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s brutal invasion.

The last president who attempted to bring runaway US weapons trafficking under some sort of control was Jimmy Carter. In 1976, he campaigned for the presidency on a platform based, in part, on promoting human rights globally and curbing the arms trade. And for a period as president, he did indeed suspend sales to repressive regimes, while, in that Cold War era, engaging in direct talks with the Soviet Union on reducing global arms sales. He also spoke out eloquently about the need to rein in the trade in death and destruction.

However, Zbigniew Brzezinski, his hard-line national security advisor, waged a campaign inside his administration against the president’s efforts, arguing that arms sales were too valuable as a tool of Cold War influence to be sacrificed at the altar of human rights. And once that longtime ally, the shah of Iran, was overthrown in 1978 and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, all talk of controlling the arms trade went out the window.

THE BIDEN RECORD: WHY NOT RESTRAINT?

What accounts for Joe Biden’s transformation from a president intent on controlling arms sales to a business-as-usual promoter of such weaponry globally? The root cause can be found in his administration’s adherence to a series of misguided notions about the value of arms sales. In a recent report I wrote for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft on the US approach to such exports, I lay out those notions fully, including lending a hand in stabilizing key regions, deterring Washington’s adversaries from engaging in aggression, building meaningful military-to-military relationships with current or potential partner nations, increasing this country’s political and diplomatic influence globally, and creating jobs here in the United States. In the Saudi case, Biden’s shift was tied to the dangerous notion that we needed to bolster the Kingdom’s supposedly crucial role in “containing Iran”—a policy that only increases the risk of war in the region—and the false promise that, in return, the Saudis would expand their oil output to help curb soaring gas prices here at home.

Such explanations are part of an all-encompassing belief in Washington that giving away or selling weaponry of every sort to foreign clients is a risk-free way of garnering yet more economic, political, and strategic influence globally. The positive spin advocates of the arms trade give to the government’s role as the world’s largest arms broker ignores the fact that, in too many cases, the risks—from fueling conflict and increasing domestic repression elsewhere to drawing the United States into unnecessary wars—far outweigh any possible benefits.

AN ARMS CLIENTS HALL OF SHAME

There are numerous examples, both historically and in the present moment, of how this country’s arms sales have done more harm than good, but for now let’s just highlight four of them—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

SAUDI ARABIA……………

EGYPT…………………….

NIGERIA………………….

THE PHILIPPINES……….

COMPANIES CASH IN

While the humanitarian consequences of US arms sales may be devastating, if you happen to be a major weapons maker like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, or General Dynamics, the economic benefits are enormous. Weapons systems built by those four companies alone have figured in more than half of the $100 billion-plus in major arms offers made since President Biden took office.

While those firms prefer to pose as passive beneficiaries of carefully considered government policies, they continue to work overtime to loosen restrictions on weapons exports and expand the number of countries eligible for such equipment and training. To that end, those four giant firms alone routinely donate millions of dollars to key members of Congress, while employing 300 lobbyists, many of them drawn from the ranks of the Pentagon, Congress, and the National Security Council. Once on board, those retired generals, admirals, and other officials use their government contacts and inside knowledge of the arm-sales process to influence government policies and practices.

A particularly egregious and visible example of this was Raytheon’s effort to pressure Congress and the Trump administration to approve a sale of precision-guided munitions to the Saudis. A former Raytheon lobbyist, Charles Faulkner, worked inside the State Department to keep the Saudi arms pipeline open despite that country’s bombing of civilian targets in Yemen, and then Raytheon’s former CEO, Thomas Kennedy, even went so far as to directly lobby Senate Foreign Relations chairman Senator Robert Menendez over Saudi arms sales. (He was rebuffed.) But the most spectacular lobbyist for the Saudis was, of course, President Trump, who justified continuing arms sales to Riyadh after the regime’s 2018 murder of US resident, Saudi journalist, and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi this way:

$110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries—and very happy to acquire all this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

In fact, neither Russia nor China would be able to replace the US as Saudi Arabia’s primary arms supplier any time soon. The kingdom is so reliant on American equipment that it might take a decade or more for it to rebuild its military around weapons supplied by another nation.

In reality, expansive as American arms sales to the Saudis are, that $110 billion figure was a typical case of Trumpian exaggeration. Actual sales during his term were less than one-third of that, and jobs tied to those sales in the US were similarly far less than President Trump claimed. The figure he liked to throw around— 500,000—was at least 12 times the actual one. Still, the damage done by the weaponry his administration rammed through Congress for the Saudis has been incalculable and can’t be measured by the dollar value of any particular sale.

The Raytheon lobbying campaign was extraordinary primarily because its details became public knowledge. But count on one thing: Similar efforts by other military-industrial corporations surely take place behind closed doors on a regular basis. One precondition for reducing dangerous arms deals would have to be reducing the political power of the major weapons-producing companies.

PUSHING BACK AGAINST AMERICA’S ARMS SALES ADDICTION

In 2019, spurred by Saudi actions ranging from the war in Yemen to the Khashoggi murder, both houses of Congress voted down a specific deal for the first time—$1.5 billion in precision-guided bombs for Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern clients—only to have their actions vetoed by President Trump. Successful votes to end military support or Saudi Arabia under the War Powers Resolution met a similar fate……………………………

Success in reining in Washington’s arms-sales addiction will, at the very least, require a major campaign of public education. Too few Americans even know about their nation’s role as the world’s largest weapons trader, much less the devastating impact of the arms it transfers. But when asked, a majority of Americans are against arming repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia and consider arms sales to be “a hazard to US security.”

Still, until there is greater public understanding of the humanitarian and security consequences of what the government is doing in our name, coupled with concerted pressure on the Biden administration, the national security state, and the weapons makers, the arms trade is likely to continue full speed ahead. If so, those companies will remain in weapons heaven, while so many people on this planet will find themselves in a hell on Earth https://www.thenation.com/article/world/arms-dealing-us-weapons-market/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%2011.23.2022&utm_term=daily

November 25, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Maligned in Western Media, Donbass Forces are Defending their Future from Ukrainian Shelling

Republished 24 Nov 22 Eva Bartlett in Gaza

Published Nov 19, 2022, Covert Action [See the comments section, some apologists for the West’s war on Syria have resurfaced…]

Smeared, stigmatized, and lied about in Western media propaganda, the mostly Russian-speaking people of the Donbass region were being slaughtered by the thousands in a brutal war of “ethnic cleansing” launched against them by the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv, which the U.S. installed after the CIA overthrew Ukraine’s legally elected president in a 2014 coup.

Although the Donbass people had been pleading for Russian military aid to defend them against the increasingly murderous military assaults by the Ukraine government forces, which killed more than 14,000 of their people, Russian President Vladimir Putin declined to intervene. Instead, he tried to broker a peace agreement between the warring parties.

But the U.S. and Britain secretly colluded to sabotage peace negotiations, persuading president Zelenksy to ignore the Minsk III peace agreement that the Ukraine government had previously signed, and which had been countersigned by Russia, France and Germany.

Realizing that the U.S. and its NATO allies would never permit peace negotiations to succeed, Putin finally sent troops into Ukraine on February 24. Russian troops went in to support and reinforce the outnumbered and outgunned Donbass Forces who had been defending their land against attacks by the Kyiv government for nearly eight years.

Voices From the Frontlines of Former Eastern Ukraine Republics

In the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in October, I went to a frontline outpost 70 meters from Ukrainian forces in Avdeevka (north and west of Donetsk), according to the Donbas commanders I spoke with there. [Watch our interview here]

To reach that position, I went with two other journalists to a meeting point with two commanders of Pyatnashka—volunteer fighters, including Abkhazi, Slovak, Russian, Ossetian and other nationalities, including locals from Donbas.

From there, they drove us to a point as far as they could drive before walking the rest of the way, several minutes through brush and trenches, eventually coming to their sandbagged wood and cement fortified outpost.

It has changed hands over the years, Ukrainian forces sometimes occupying it, Donbas forces now controlling it.

One soldier, a unit commander who goes by the call sign “Vydra” (Otter), was formerly a miner from the DPR who had been living in Russia with his family. In 2014, he returned to the Donbas to defend his mother and relatives still there. He spoke of the outpost.

“We dug and built this with our hands. Several times over the years, the Ukrainians have taken these positions. We pushed them back, they stormed us…Well, we have been fighting each other for eight years.”

There, artillery fire is the biggest danger they face. “You can hide from a sniper, but not from artillery, and they’re using large caliber.”

………………………………………………… Perhaps surprising to some, when Vydra was asked whether he hates Ukrainians, he replied emphatically no, he has friends and relatives in Ukraine.

“We have no hatred for Ukraine. We hate those nationalists who came to power. But ordinary Ukrainians? Why? Many of us speak Ukrainian. We understand them, they understand us. Many of them speak Russian.

I’ve been involved in sports a lot of time, wrestling. So, I’ve got a lot of friends in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kirovograd, Odessa, Lvov, Ivano-Frankivsk, Transcarpathia.

I have relatives in western Ukraine, and we still communicate. Yes, they say one thing on the street, but when we talk to each other, they say, ‘Well, you have to, because the SBU is listening.’

Ukraine shouts about democracy, then puts people in handcuffs for no reason. My aunt got in trouble because they found my photo on her Skype.

And I’m on the Myrotvorets [kill list] website.” [As is the author, see this article.]

He spoke of Ukraine’s shelling from 2014, when the people of the Donbass were unarmed and not expecting to be bombed by their own country.

“When the artillery hit the city of Yenakievo, east of Gorlovka, we were defenseless. We went with hunting rifles and torches to fight them. Most of the weapons we had later were captured from them. We had to go to the battlefield without weapons in order to get the weapons.”

When asked if he was concerned that Ukrainian forces might take Donetsk he replied no, of course not, they didn’t succeed in 2014, they won’t now……………….

I asked how he felt to be treated and described as sub-human, to be called dehumanizing names, a part of the Ukrainian nationalists’ brainwashing propaganda. As I wrote previously:

“Ukrainian nationalists openly declare they view Russians as sub-human. School books teach this warped ideology. Videos show the extent of this mentality: Teaching children not only to also hate Russians and see them as not humans, but also brainwashing them to believe killing Donbas residents is acceptable. The Ukrainian government itself funds neo-Nazi-run indoctrination camps for youths.”

“It’s offensive,” Vydra said, “We are saddened: There are sick people. We need to heal them, slowly.”

I asked whether he thought friendship between Ukrainians and Russians would be possible.

“It will take years for any friendship. Take Chechnya, one region of Russia, it was at war. But slowly, slowly…We must all live together. We are one people.” Indeed, now Chechen fighters are one of the most effective forces fighting alongside Donbas and Russian soldiers to liberate Donbas areas from Ukrainian forces…………………………………..

Commanders Speak of Geopolitical Reasons for Ukraine’s War

Outside, sitting in front of an Orthodox banner and a collection of collected munitions—including Western ones—two platoon commanders, “Kabar” and “Kamaz,” spoke of the bigger geopolitical picture. [See video]

“America is running the show here,” Kabar said. “It builds foreign policy on the basis of how its domestic policy is built, which is through conflicts with external countries. They are accustomed to proving their power to their people through terrorism around the world, inciting fires in Syria, in the east. They played the card of radical Islam there………………………………………….. more https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/46477/posts/4401278654

November 24, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment