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A Positive Look at BREXIT — from Johan Galtung

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nonviolence, Nuclear abolition on June 29, 2016 at 11:44 pm

On Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 4:00 PM, Antonio C. S. Rosa <antonio@transcend.org> wrote:
Brex’it, So Be’it; And Then What?
Nº 434 | Johan Galtung, 24 Jun 2016 – TRANSCEND Media Service

Brex’It, So Be’It; And Then What?

The vote turned out like the two referenda held in Norway in 1972 and 1994. And much for the same reason: Protestant break with Rome–Catholic, imperial–Henry VII made himself head of the Anglican Church in 1534. Religion was not the only reason, there are Protestant Nordic members of EU, closer to the continent and closer to Russia. World history, a short while after Pope Francis-Patriarch Kirill also made world history, bridging the Catholic-Orthodox 395-1054 gap.
The Disunited Queendom is now London with surroundings; England. The implications are enormous, for UK-GB and the British Isles in general, for EU and Europe in general, USA and the world in general. The US Trojan horse decided to leave the EU on 23 June 2016.
* UK-GB and the British Isles in general.
Goodbye United Kingdom, UK, we may get United Ireland, UI, instead.
Goodbye Great Britain, GB, we may get Scotland in EU instead.
Welcome to Britain of England-Wales, if they care for that vocabulary.
Welcome to new-born England, 23 June being the Day of Independence.
Independence? Washington, having lost its inside EU ally, will soon remind London of their “special relationship” as unsinkable aircraft carrier also doing the killing job–maybe some wanted that. And yet. England had the whole Global Establishment, if there ever was one, mobilized to pressure them to remain. They did not. There is something very impressive in that, however bad the campaign.
And yet. There is something to those British Isles, a shared and twisted history between Anglo-Saxons and Celts–Vikings, Normans–an enormous impact on the world now torn to pieces, torn into new pieces. Maybe time has come for something this author proposed in an NGO encounter at the Houses of Parliament on Northern Ireland-Ulster right before the Good Friday Agreement: CBI, a Confederation of the British Isles, with United Ireland, Scotland, England-Wales and smaller islands.
* EU and Europe in general.
On the possible positive side is EU independence of the USA, not choosing US foreign-military (and university system!) policy instead of working out its own. EU can now follow France-Germany in a Ukraine they know much better than the USA. They nay one day meet Russia in some “European House”–may Gorbachev see that before he passes away–and they may one day, hopefully soon, have a European Parliament recognizing Palestine as a state, making it clear this is not anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, but pro the other Semitic, pro-Palestine.
On the possible negative side is Germany winning the two “world wars” in Europe over who shall run Europe: Germany or England-France. Germany had visions of something close to an EU with economic center in Brussels and political in Berlin. After 1945 it was France, not England that stretched out a hand to beaten Germany, the 1950 coal and steel handshake that morphed into the Treaty of Rome (what a bad choice of name). France will have to do that again, but this time not from the strong position of being on the winning side of a war, but the weak position of being in layer 3 of the present 5 in EU with Germany on top and Greece at the bottom, the Nordics no 3, then the Latins, then Eastern Europe. This pyramid has to be flattened; many of the exit movements derive their momentum from that sad EU reality.
But also from a boring EU in spite of having to its credit, “acquis” open borders, the euro, a Europe with war held unthinkable. Could some of that come from not being masters in their own house, always listening to His Master’s Voice? Could healthy regionalism inspire a new deal, like healthy nationalism could for England? Freed from fighting US wars, liberated to build peace all over, like in EU?
Making an ever stronger or weaker union? Maybe stronger in peace policy. And maybe with the euro as common, not single currency, and not pressing members into a solidarity with no historical basis?
USA and the world in general.
This might be one more wake-up call for the USA, at a time with everybody but Hillary already awake. Talk about NATO as out of date, Europe and the Middle East taking care of their own affairs, wars as non-affordable, as counter-productive, some awareness that there are other victims than Americans in the wars, had been unthinkable, unspeakable. But old addictive habits are hard to change.
That opens for a possible widening slit between USA-England and EU-Europe. There is a model: the split between the West Roman (Catholic) and East Roman (Orthodox) empires in 395, the former lasting about 81 more years, the latter more than a thousand. This time the religious split would be between evangelical-protestant in the West and catholic-orthodox in the East, with a smart federation at the border, Ukraine, as a possible solution. A major test.
Another: defensive defense against IS brutality, negotiations with them, recognizing their right to have an IS when Europe has EU, and a Caliphate when Christianity has Vatican and the Patriarchy(ies). Learning from Islam about togetherness and sharing, how to overcome loneliness and alienation, admitting that the West needs to learn.
And China? Learning from them like they do from the West, inviting them to join the world from “between heaven and earth”.
The world in general? Moving away from states, toward regions. Be a good, caring Mother of regions, sharing solutions and problems generously with other regions around the world. With Latin America-Caribbean, Anglo-America–maybe with Mexico as MEXUSCAN–the African Union, the European House, SAARC, ASEAN. And the three badly missing ones in Asia: West Asia with Israel and Palestine, Iraq and Syria; Central Asia with Afghanistan, and Northeast Asia with the two Chinas, the two Koreas, Far East Russia and Japan now at nuclear logger-heads.
EU: a wake-up call! Don’t despair, grow, and help the world.
_________________________________
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He has published 164 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

Best regards, in solidarity,
Antonio Carlos da Silva Rosa, M.A. antonio@transcend.org
– Assistant to Prof. Johan Galtung
– Editor, TRANSCEND Media Service http://www.transcend.org/tms
– Secretary of the International Board of TRANSCEND
Porto/Portugal –Office: +351 226 065 617 –Cellular: +351 914 945 965
Twitter: @transcend_media – LinkedIn

“Capitalism and State sovereignty are goners. Bankism rules the world in all respects now.” “Militaries are the ultimate manifestation of direct, structural and cultural violence—a cancer that must be extirpated from humanity.” — Antonio C. S. Rosa

Europeans Contest U.S. Anti-Russian Hype

In Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace on June 28, 2016 at 9:41 am

Europeans Contest US Anti-Russian Hype
June 27, 2016

Besides the Brexit rejection of U.S.-style neoliberal economics, some European voices are protesting, finally, the U.S.-led, anti-Russian propaganda campaign that has justified an expensive new Cold War, notes Joe Lauria.
By Joe Lauria
A significant crack has been unexpectedly opened in the wall of Europe’s disciplined obedience to the United States. I’m not only referring to the possible long-term consequences for U.S.-European relations in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, but the unlikely blow against Washington’s information war on Moscow delivered by Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who a week ago shockingly accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of “war-mongering” against Russia.

Since the Bush administration’s twisting of events in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, which the E.U. blamed on Georgia, Western populations have been subjected to the steady message that Russia is a “threat” to the West and is guilty of “aggression.” This reached a peak with the false narrative of events in Ukraine, in which blatant evidence of the West’s complicity in a violent coups d’état was omitted from corporate media accounts, while Russia’s assistance to eastern Ukrainians resisting the coup has been framed as a Russian “invasion.”
The disinformation campaign has reached the depths of popular culture, including the EuroVision song contest and sports doping scandals, to ensure widespread popular support for U.S. hostile intentions against Russia.
The Russian “aggression” narrative, based largely on lies of omission, has prepared the way for the U.S. to install a missile-shield in Romania with offensive capabilities and to stage significant NATO war games with 31,000 troops on Russia’s borders. For the first time in 75 years, German troops retraced the steps of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
U.S. Designs on Russia
The U.S. is eyeing a post-Putin Russia in which a Wall Street-friendly leader like Boris Yeltsin can be restored to reopen the country to Western exploitation. But Vladimir Putin is no Yeltsin and has proven a tough nut for the U.S. to crack. Washington’s modus operandi is to continually provoke and blame an opponent until it stands up for itself, as Putin’s Russia has done, then accuse it of “aggression” and attack in “self-defense.”
In this way, Washington builds popular support for its own version of events and resistance to the other side of the story. Unfortunately it is not a new trick in the U.S. playbook.
“The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception,” wrote Mark Twain.
So suddenly, after many years of an air-tight, anti-Russia campaign believed unquestioningly by hundreds of millions of Westerners, comes Steinmeier last week blurting out the most significant truth about Russia uttered by a Western official perhaps in decades.
“What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering,” Steinmeier stunningly told Bild am Sontag newspaper. “Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken.”
Instead Steinmeier called for dialogue with Moscow. “We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation,” he said, saying it would be “fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence.”
In keeping with the U.S. propaganda strategy, the U.S. corporate media virtually ignored the remarks, which should have been front-page news. The New York Times did not report Steinmeier’s statement, but two days later ran a Reuter’s story only online leading with the U.S. military’s rejection of his remarks.
NATO General: Russia is No Threat
Just a day after Steinmeier was quoted in Bild, General Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s military committee, dropped another bombshell. Pavel told a Brussels press conference flat out that Russia was not at a threat to the West.
“It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing,” he said.
What? What happened to Russian “aggression” and the Russian “threat?” What is the meaning then of the fear of Russia pounded every day into the heads of Western citizens? Is it all a lie? Two extraordinary on-the-record admissions by two men, Steinmeier, the foreign minister of Europe’s most powerful nation, and an active NATO general in charge of the military committee, both revealing that what Western officials repeat every day is indeed a lie, a lie that may be acknowledged in private but would never before be mentioned in public.
Two years ago I was in a background briefing with a senior European ambassador at his country’s U.N. mission in New York and could hardly believe my ears when he said talk about Russia’s threat to Eastern Europe was “all hype” designed to give NATO “a reason to exist.” Yet this same ambassador in public Security Council meetings would viciously attack Russia.
But the hype is about more than just saving NATO. The fear campaign feeds the American and European military industries and most importantly puts pressure on the Russian government, which the U.S. wants overthrown.
Were these remarks made out of the exasperation of knowing all along that the Russian threat is hype? Were they made out of genuine concern that things could get out of hand under reckless and delusional leaders in Washington leading to a hot war with Russia?
Neither man has been disciplined for speaking out. Does this signal a change in official German thinking? Will German businessmen who deal with Russia and have opposed sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, which were forced on Germany by the U.S., be listened to?
Were Steinmeier’s remarks a one-off act of rebellion, or is Germany indeed considering defying Washington on sanctions and regime change in Moscow? Is the German government finally going to act in Germany’s own interests? Such a move would spark a European defiance of the United States not seen since the days when Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of NATO in 1966 to preserve French independence.
The last time European governments broke with Washington on a major issue was the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Then France and Germany joined Russia on the U.N. Security Council in blocking the war’s authorization (although Britain supported it). But France and Germany then voted for a resolution several months later that essentially condoned the invasion.
It’s Up to the European Public
One has to ask whether a conditioned German public is ready to see through the lies about Russia. Last November, I flew from St. Petersburg to Berlin and discussed this very question with a number of well-educated Germans.
Russian marchers honoring family members who fought in World War II. (Photo from RT)
Russian marchers honoring family members who fought in World War II. (Photo from RT)
I had visited Russia for the first time since 1995, 20 years before to the month. Those were the days of the Yeltsin-Jeffery Sachs Russia, of the unbridled neoliberal capitalism of the Wall Street-oligarch alliance that plundered the country leaving millions of Russians destitute. Outside train stations I saw homeless encampments replete with campfires. Policemen were stopping motorists for bribes. I ran from two men intent on robbing me until I lost them in a Metro station. That’s the Russia the neocons in Washington and the knaves and buccaneers on Wall Street want to see again.
The Russia I saw in St. Petersburg and Moscow, 20 years later, was orderly and prosperous, as modern as any European city. It is a testament to Russia’s resistance to American attempts to restore its political and financial control. Russia is a capitalist country. But on its own terms. It is fully aware of American machinations to undermine it.
In Berlin I met several Germans, educated, liberal and completely aware, unlike most Americans, of how the United Sates has abused its post-World War II power. And yet when I asked them all why there are still U.S. military bases in Germany 70 years after the war and 25 years after the Cold War ended, and who the Americans were protecting them from, the universal answer was: Russia.
History shows European fears of Russia to be completely overblown. Germany and other Western powers have invaded Russia three times in the last two centuries: France in 1812, U.S., Britain and France in the 1918 Russian Civil War, and Germany again in 1941. Except for Imperial Russia’s incursion into East Prussia after war was declared on it in 1914, the reverse has never been true.
In his memoirs Harry Truman admitted that false fear of Russia was the “tragedy and shame of our time” during the Cold War that he had much to do with in part to revive the U.S. post-war economy with military spending. George Kennan, the State Department official who advised a non-military containment of the Soviet Union, conceded as early as 1947 that Soviet moves in Eastern Europe were defensive and constituted no threat. In the 1990s, Kennan also decried NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders.
With its vast natural resources, Russia has been the big prize for the West for centuries, and is still today in neocon-driven Washington. But Germany, especially, has benefited from trade with Russia and has no need to join the U.S. imperial project.
The British voters’ decision, days after Steinmeier’s extraordinary remark, could herald significant change in Europe, which may be approaching an historical junction in its relationship with the United States. Growing anti-E.U. sentiment has spread across the continent, including calls for similar referenda in several countries.
British voters evidently saw through the hype about the Russian “threat,” as a majority did not buy British Prime Minister David Cameron’s scare tactic ahead of the vote that Brexit would make it harder to “combat Russian aggression.”
Britain has been called Washington’s Trojan horse in the E.U. The thinking is that without Britain, the E.U. would be freer to chart its own course. But as Alexander Mercouris explained here, Obama bypasses London to call Merkel directly with his demands. Still, removingBritain’s voice from the E.U., though more crucially not from NATO, opens space for more independent voices in Europe to emerge.
“I worry that we will have less clout on our own,” former British Ambassador to the United States Peter Westmacott told The New York Times. “In the future, we won’t have as much influence on Europe’s response to Putin’s transgressions, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, or the E.U.’s foreign and security policy. … And we will be less able to ensure it is U.S.-friendly.”
But that could be a good thing. If German leaders conclude the United States is pushing Europe into a disastrous war with Russia, could we see a Charles de Gaulle moment in Berlin? Merkel doesn’t seem to have it in her. Three days after Steinmeier’s remarks, she told a news conference she favored increased German spending for NATO to counter Russian “threats.”
Instead it will require a revolt by an awakened citizenry against the E.U. and elected European governments that refuse to stand up to Washington, mostly because it benefits their own class interests, to the detriment of the majority.
The Future of the EU
European social democracy had been probably the best social and political system ever devised on earth, maybe the best that is humanly possible. Europe could have been a model for the world as a neutral power committed to social justice. As late as 1988, Jacques Delors, then president of the European Commission, promised the British Trades Union Congress that the E.U. would be a “social market.”
Instead the E.U. allowed itself to be sold out to unelected and unaccountable neoliberal technocrats now in charge in Brussels. European voters, perhaps not fully understanding the consequences, elected neoliberal national governments slavishly taking Washington’s foreign policy orders. But Brexit shows those voters are getting educated. Unity is a great ideal but E.U. leaders have refused to accept that it has to benefit all Europeans.
The E.U.’s Lisbon Treaty is the only constitution in the world that has neoliberal policies written into it. If it won’t reform — and the arrogance of the E.U.’s leaders tells us it won’t — it will be up to the people of Europe to diminish or dismantle the E.U. through additional referenda. That would give liberated European nations the chance to elect anti-neoliberal national governments, accountable to the voters, which can also chart foreign policies independent of Washington.
The danger is that the right-wing sentiment that has driven a large part of the anti-Establishment movements in Europe (and the U.S.) may elect governments that grow even closer to Washington and impose even harsher neoliberal policies.
That is a risk that may need to be taken in the hope that the anti-Establishment left and right can coalesce around shared interests to put an end to the elitist European project.
Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached atjoelauria@gmail.com and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

Rocky Flats Downwinders Health Survey

In Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Plutonium, Public Health on June 27, 2016 at 7:45 am

If you lived within 10-Miles of Rocky Flats from 1952-1992, please take the Rocky Flats Downwinders Health Survey.

https:/www.rockyflatsdownwinders.com

NATO Provocation of Russia: The Political Establishment’s Hubris in American Imperialism

In Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace on June 27, 2016 at 3:21 am

This article by Ron Forthofer was published June 21, 2016,  in Countercurrents.org. Below it are other sources of information on this issue. Thanks to Carolyn Bninski of the RMPJC staff.

There are dangerous provocations along Russia’s western border that have received little or incredibly one-sided coverage by the U.S. media. Thus the U.S. public is not aware of the possibility of a major conflict between two nuclear-armed powers occurring due to an accident or misinterpretation. The genesis of this current situation goes back in ancient history to 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

After the fall, the U.S. along with the West German leader Helmut Kohl, pushed for the reunification of West and East Germany. The Soviet Union allowed reunification based on the promise made by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker (under President H.W. Bush). Baker said if the Soviets would allow reunification, that NATO would not expand “one inch” further east.

This promise was key for the Soviets who remembered previous devastating invasions by Western European nations. For example, during WWII estimates are that the Soviet Union lost over 26 million people, about 13% of its 1939 population. The Soviet Union was thus understandably concerned about a possibly hostile military group coming closer to its border.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the U.S. had unchallenged military power. Given this situation, the Washington establishment increased the risk of a new cold war and the possibility of an eventual war with Russia. President Bill Clinton started this process when, in violation of the promise made to the Soviets, he supported the eastward expansion of NATO.

In 1996, George Kennan, architect of the U.S. containment policy towards the Soviet Union after WWII, warned that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territories would be a “strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.” In 1998, Thomas Friedman solicited Kennan’s reaction to the Senate’s ratification of NATO’s eastward expansion. Kennan said: “I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else.”

Unfortunately, Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama failed to heed Kennan’s wisdom and continued NATO’s eastward expansion. Given Russia’s weakened state in the 1990s, the political establishment thought there was little risk. However, while the U.S. was destroying Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia rebuilt its military. Blinded by its hubris, the U.S. political establishment was slow to grasp the impact of the rebirth of a strong rival.

In April 2008 at a NATO summit in Bucharest, NATO temporarily postponed discussion of membership for Georgia and Ukraine. At the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly opposed NATO membership for both of these nations on Russia’s border, viewing their membership as a security threat.

Reinforcing this point, later in 2008 Russia used military force to protect two breakaway provinces of Georgia with the goal of preventing Georgia from joining NATO. Despite Putin’s strong warning and military action, after the 2010 election of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the U.S. increased its support of Ukrainians who favored connections with the West.

Removing Yanukovych, who opposed NATO membership, was the first step. In February 2014 after months of nonviolent protests, Yanukovych reached an agreement, mediated by EU foreign ministers, with the nonviolent political opposition for early elections. However, immediately following this compromise, members of the far right used violence and intimidation to oust Yanukovych. George Friedman, CEO of Stratfor, a U.S. firm known as the ‘Shadow CIA’, said: “It really was the most blatant coup in history.”

In response, in late February and early March 2014, Russia deployed some of its forces already in Crimea under a treaty and took control, conducted a vote that showed overwhelming support for rejoining Russia, and then annexed Crimea. The results of a vote in this situation may be suspect. However, it is likely that a vote conducted without the presence of the Russian troops would have yielded similar results. The U.S. also alleges that Russia provided militarily support to the Ukrainians in breakaway areas who opposed the far-right coup. There was initially intense fighting in these breakaway areas. Even though there have been ceasefire agreements, attacks by the Kiev government continue today with neo-Nazis playing an important role in the violence against the coup opponents.

Since these events, the U.S. and NATO have raised the ante by placing additional weapons systems and planning on rotating thousands of additional troops in Eastern Europe. The U.S. and NATO claimed their actions were prompted by Russia’s actions in Crimea and the breakaway areas. In response to these moves, Russia announced plans to create three new divisions.

Posturing continues by both sides. During U.S. military exercises with Poland in the Baltic Sea in April 2016, two unarmed Russian jets came dangerously close to the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer. Adding to the tension, NATO recently concluded military exercises in the Baltic Sea area and also a massive military exercise with approximately 30,000 troops in Poland. The U.S. also has temporarily deployed a guided missile destroyer, the USS Porter, to the Black Sea for a brief tour there.

A mistake or misinterpretation could spark a conflict that no one wants. Given this possibility, why does the U.S. continue along this path when further expansion of NATO is not vital to U.S. security? Of particular importance and relevance, remember that this expansion is in violation of a U.S. promise not to expand NATO to the east. Since Russia views the expansion as a major threat to its security, Putin and Russia cannot back down. Amazingly, when we need statesmen, the geniuses in our political establishment think provoking another nuclear-armed power is a sane policy. If this establishment doesn’t face reality soon, Kennan’s worst fears could be realized.

Ron Forthofer, Ph.D. is retired Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas; former Green Party candidate for Congress and for Governor of Colorado. Email: rforthofer@comcast.net

Resources on the dangers of war with Russia 6/22/16:
American Committee for East-West Accord: http://eastwestaccord.com/ There are new postings every day.
Stephen Cohen video (6/8/16): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8VP0vb9mP0
Richard Sakwa video: https://newcoldwar.org/interview-richard-sakwa-nato-exercises-encircling-russia-u-s-might-sleepwalking-doomsday-scenario/
Video on Russian Response to NATO expansion: http://thesaker.is/foreign-policy-diary-russias-responses-to-nato-expansionism/
Stephen Cohen video (6/22/16): https://www.thenation.com/article/is-the-us-pursuing-a-rogue-policy-by-waging-undeclared-war-against-russia/
Article by Noam Chomsky: http://ecowatch.com/2016/06/13/doomsday-clock-noam-chomsky/2/
Testimony by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock: http://eastwestaccord.com/prepared-testimony-jack-f-matlock-jr-house-foreign-affairs-committee-june-14-2016
http://www.globalresearch.ca/great-danger-us-nato-missiles-threatening-russia-putin-we-know-and-they-know-that-we-know/5531955
http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-slams-door-in-putins-face-says-if-putin-doesnt-want-russias-retaliatory-forces-eliminated-hell-need-to-be-the-one-to-press-the-nuclear-button-first/5529237?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles
http://www.globalresearch.ca/danger-obama-ignores-russias-valid-national-security-worries/5531696?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles
http://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-defense-chiefs-order-deployment-of-ground-forces-on-russias-doorstep-increased-u-s-military-presence-in-europe/5531451?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles
http://www.globalresearch.ca/russias-response-to-us-nato-expansionism-hot-war-new-cold-war-or-partnership-in-resolving-global-problems/5531431?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles

If You Value Life, Wake Up! — Paul Craig Roberts

http://thesaker.is/foreign-policy-diary-russias-responses-to-nato-expansionism/
https://www.thenation.com/article/is-the-us-pursuing-a-rogue-policy-by-waging-undeclared-war-against-russia/
http://johnhelmer.net/

Jock Cobb, MD, pioneer activist on Rocky Flats dies at age 96

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nonviolence, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Plutonium, Public Health, Rocky Flats on June 27, 2016 at 1:35 am

When I learned about Rocky Flats in 1979 I joined people occupying the railroad tracks entering the facility because I wanted to stop production of nuclear bombs and bring an end to a possible nuclear war. But very soon I attended a seminar on radiation health effects, done by Jock Cobb of the CU medical school. He was a spectacular teacher, able to make complex matters clear even as he presented the moral necessity of action. I learned from him to pay attention to the public health and environmental sides of the nuclear weapons enterprise.

Jock Cobb just died. The link to a Denver Post article about him is http://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/25/john-c-cobb-obituary/

I earlier posted to this blog an article describing Jock Cobb’s effort to study the effect of plutonium in the gonads. He collected samples but they were never analyzed, as you can see from reading the following: Rocky Flats plutonium in the gonads? Samples collected but never analyzed — entry dated August 11, 2014.

 

The One Nuclear Threat That Most People Aren’t Aware Of

In Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy on June 26, 2016 at 9:59 pm

by Joshua Krause

These days we are all well aware that nuclear technology provides plenty of ways to disrupt our society. There are of course, an abundance of nuclear missiles in the world today, as well suitcase nukes and dirty bombs. There is also the ever looming possibility of a meltdown occurring in a nuclear power plant. However, there is one nuclear threat that very few people are aware of, and we have the Russians to thank for it.

In short, they have a bona fide doomsday machine. No, this isn’t science fiction. At first glance it probably doesn’t sound very exotic, since this machine delivers ordinary nuclear weapons. What’s so unique about it, is the conditions that could cause it to activate. The Russians refer to it as the “Dead Hand,” and it operates similarly to the fictional doomsday device from Dr. Strangelove.

Developed in the 1980’s, the Dead Hand is a system designed to ensure that no matter what happens during a nuclear attack, the Soviets would always be able to strike back. They feared that the United States would be able to decapitate their leadership with a preemptive nuclear strike, so they built an automated nuclear command system that requires very little human input.

The Dead Hand is a computer system that is connected to a network of seismic, radiological, and air pressure sensors distributed throughout the country, as well as the government’s communication infrastructure. If the Dead Hand detects a nuclear blast on Russian soil, then it will check to see if communications are still open with the upper echelons of the Russian government. If that connection is ever severed, (say by a nuclear attack against the Kremlin) the computer will initiate the launch of every remaining nuclear missile in Russia’s arsenal.

What’s so scary about this system, is that it has little human input. In any nuclear arsenal, there are typically multiple layers of politicians and military officials that a launch order has to pass through. If the Dead Hand however, decides that it’s time to launch a nuclear assault against the US, then that authority is passed to a handful of midranking officers hunkered down in a bunker. It’s widely believed that this system is still in operation to this day, and believe it or not, many of our government’s leaders are unaware of its existence.

The technical name was Perimeter, but some called it Mertvaya Ruka, or Dead Hand. It was built 25 years ago and remained a closely guarded secret. With the demise of the USSR, word of the system did leak out, but few people seemed to notice. In fact, though Yarynich and a former Minuteman launch officer named Bruce Blair have been writing about Perimeter since 1993 in numerous books and newspaper articles, its existence has not penetrated the public mind or the corridors of power. The Russians still won’t discuss it, and Americans at the highest levels—including former top officials at the State Department and White House—say they’ve never heard of it. When I recently told former CIA director James Woolsey that the USSR had built a doomsday device, his eyes grew cold. “I hope to God the Soviets were more sensible than that.” They weren’t.

That secrecy should be alarming, because we don’t have a very good idea about what could trip up this aging system. The very existence of the human race is in the hands of a 31-year-old computer and a few Russian officers, and that leaves a lot of scary questions unanswered.

Is this aging computer system still reliable? How about the sensors that its connected to? Can the select few people who man it be trusted to make the right decisions? Under the right conditions, could the Dead Hand initiate an accidental nuclear strike?

If say a dirty bomb temporarily severed communications with the Dead Hand, would it know what really happened? Or would it just sense the radiation and assume the worst? What about an asteroid, or a solar flare? We don’t know if all the sensors need to be giving readings that are consistent with a nuclear attack, or if they only need to identify a handful of conditions. We don’t know if the officers who check on the system are going to simply follow the computer’s instructions, or if they will rely on their own judgement.

There’s a lot of scary stuff that we don’t know about the Dead Hand. It just goes to show even though humans are far too scared and reasonable to launch a nuclear attack against another nuclear armed nation, the possibility of such a conflict happening accidentally is always present.

______________

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

New report calls for Russia and the West to move back from the brink

In Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy on June 26, 2016 at 1:44 am

New Report Calls for Russia and the West to Move Back from the Brink
For Immediate Release: June 21, 2016
Media Contacts: Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, Arms Control Association, (202) 463-8270 x104; Ulrich Kuehn, Researcher, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg, +49 (1) 76 811219 75
(Mosow, Berlin, Washington)—A new report from a high-level group of international security experts from Russia, the United States, and Germany recommends that the West and Russia build on a number of existing arms control and confidence-building measures in order to avoid further exacerbation of the increasingly tense and dangerous relationship between Russia and the West, particularly along the border between Russia and NATO member states.
The third report of the Deep Cuts Commission describes 15 key recommendations to help address the most acute security concerns in Europe—particularly in the Baltic area—and increase U.S.-Russian nuclear transparency and predictability.
“The prime objective for the next few years should be limiting the potential for dangerous military incidents that can escalate out of control,” the authors argue. “Russia and the West must come back from the brink. They need to better manage their conflictual relationship. Restraint and dialogue are now needed more than ever,” they write.
The Commission’s recommendations include:
In order to reduce current security concerns in the Baltic area, NATO and Russia should initiate a dialogue on possible mutual restraint measures. All states should adhere to the NATO-Russia Founding Act. A NATO-Russia dialogue should aim at increasing the security of all states in the Baltic area by encompassing reciprocal and verifiable commitments. A sub-regional arms control regime could consist of interlocking elements such as restraint commitments, limitations, CSBMs, and a sub-regional Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism.

In light of the increasing dangers of military incidents between Russia, the United States and other NATO member states, the United States and Russia should revive a dialogue on nuclear risk reduction measures, capable of addressing risks posed by different sorts of emergencies in near real-time. The United States and Russia could consider creating a Joint Military Incident Prevention and Communications Cell with a direct telephone link between the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Russian General Staff, and NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Such a cell could be linked to or established in parallel with a new European Risk Reduction Center.

States-parties to the Treaty on Open Skies should pay more attention to the continued operation of Open Skies. They should strengthen its operation by devoting equal resources to upgrading observation equipment.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) participating States should consider measures to give effect to the principle of non-intervention into internal affairs. For this purpose, the OSCE could set up a commission which would carefully look into the issue from a legal point of view and explore possibilities for a new OSCE states-based mechanism. Beyond, OSCE participating States should prepare for a long-term endeavor leading to a Helsinki-like conference with the aim of reinvigorating and strengthening Europe’s guiding security principles.

The United States and Russia should commit to attempting to resolve each other’s compliance concerns with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by supplementing ongoing diplomatic dialogue with technical expertise, either by convening the Special Verification Commission or a separate bilateral experts group mandated to appropriately address all relevant treaty-related compliance concerns. Further on, the United States and Russia should address the issue of supplementing the treaty by taking account of technological and political developments that have occurred since the treaty’s entry into force.

The United States and Russia should address the destabilizing effects of nuclear-armed cruise missile proliferation by agreeing on specific confidence-building measures. Together with other nations, they should address the challenges of horizontal cruise missile proliferation by reinforcing the relevant Missile Technology Control Regime’s restrictions and by endorsing the inclusion of land-attack cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles/unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UAVs/UCAVs) in the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.

Moscow and Washington should exercise restraint in Russian and U.S. nuclear force modernization programs, remaining within the New START limits and acting consistent with the intent of the treaty. The United States should forego development of the LRSO and Russia should reciprocate by phasing-out of new nuclear-armed ALCMs. The United States should show restraint in ballistic missile deployments consistent with its policy of defending against limited threats. NATO should follow through on its commitment to adapt its ballistic missile deployments in accordance with reductions in the ballistic missile proliferation threats.

Russia and the United States should work toward early discussions on a possible follow-on strategic arms reduction treaty. They should be able to envision reductions to a level of 500 deployed strategic delivery vehicles and 1,000 deployed strategic warheads during the next decade. These discussions should explore options for exchanging measures of reciprocal restraint and seek to address other issues of mutual concern under a combined umbrella discussion of strategic stability.
Beyond these recommendations, the experts identify a number of additional measures which could foster confidence in and maintain focus on the goal of further nuclear disarmament.
The complete report is available online.
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Why I am in Russia, by David Hartsough

In Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace on June 20, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Why I am Going to Russia by David Hartsough June 14, 2016
The US and Russian governments are pursuing dangerous policies of nuclear brinkmanship. Many people believe we are closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuba missile crisis in 1962.
Thirty-one thousand troops from the US and NATO countries are engaged in military maneuvers on the Russian border in Poland – together with tanks, military planes and missiles. The US has just activated an anti-ballistic missile site in Romania which the Russians see as part of an American first strike policy. Now the US can fire missiles with nuclear weapons at Russia, and then the anti-ballistic missiles could shoot down Russian missiles shot toward the west in response, the assumption being only the Russians would suffer from nuclear war..
A former NATO general has said he believes there will be nuclear war in Europe within a year. Russia is also threatening use of its missiles and nuclear weapons on Europe and the US if attacked.
Back in 1962 when I met with President John Kennedy in the White House, he told us he had been reading The Guns of August describing how everyone was arming to the teeth to show the “other nations” they were strong and avoid getting embroiled in World War I. But, JFK continued, arming to the teeth was exactly what did provoke the “other side” and got everyone embroiled in that terrible war. JFK said to us in May 1962,”It is scary how similar the situation was in 1914 to what it is now “(1962) . I’m afraid we are back in the same place again in 2016. Both US and NATO and Russia are arming and engaging in military maneuvers on either side of Russia’s borders – in the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and the Baltic sea to show the “other” that they are not weak in the face of possible aggression. But those military activities and threats are provoking the “other side” to show they are not weak and are prepared for war – even nuclear war.
Instead of nuclear brinkmanship, lets put ourselves in the Russians’ shoes. What if Russia had military alliances with Canada and Mexico and had military troops, tanks, war planes, missiles and nuclear weapons on our borders? Would we not see that as very aggressive behavior and a very dangerous threat to the security of the United States?
Our only real security is a “shared security” for all of us – not for some of us at the expense of the security for “the other”.
Instead of sending military troops to the borders of Russia, let’s send lots more citizen diplomacy delegations like ours to Russia to get to know the Russian people and learn that we are all one human family. We can build peace and understanding between our peoples.
President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “I’d like to believe that the people of the world want peace so much that governments should get out of the way and let them have it.” The American people, Russian people, European people – all the world’s people – have nothing to gain and everything to lose by war, especially nuclear war.
I hope that millions of us will call on our governments to step back from the brink of nuclear war and instead, make peace by peaceful means instead of making threats of war.
If the US and other countries were to devote even half of the money we spend on wars and preparations for wars and modernizing our nuclear weapons stockpile, we could create a much better life not only for every American, but for every person on our beautiful planet and make the transition to a renewable energy world. If the US were helping every person in the world have a better education, decent housing and health care, this could be the best investment in security – not just for Americans, but for all people in the world we could ever imagine. .
David Hartsough is the Author of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist; Director of Peaceworkers; Co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and World Beyond War; and participant in a Citizens Diplomacy delegation to Russia June 15-30 sponsored by th

A nuclear weapon that American doesn’t neeed

In Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy on June 19, 2016 at 2:00 am

A NUCLEAR WEAPON THAT AMERICA DOESN’T NEED
New York Times Op Ed — June 18, 2016
by Dianne Feinstein and Ellen O. Tauscher

President Obama spoke last month in Hiroshima about charting a course to a future free of nuclear weapons. He discussed the “persistent effort” necessary to eliminate the threat of nuclear war.

To advance that goal, the president should reconsider the Defense Department’s effort to develop a new nuclear weapon called the Long-Range Standoff Weapon.

The Air Force is set next year to accelerate the development of this new nuclear cruise missile. It would carry an upgraded W-80 nuclear warhead and be able to penetrate the world’s most advanced air-defense systems.

We agree that a safe, reliable nuclear stockpile is needed. Our backgrounds, voting records and entire careers show that we understand and value the deterrent effect of our nuclear stockpile. However, building new nuclear weapons like this one could be unnecessary, costly and dangerous.

Like our current nuclear cruise missile, the Long-Range Standoff Weapon could strike an adversary’s territory from great distances. But there are compelling reasons not to introduce a cruise missile that could increase the risk of nuclear war.

As former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Andy Weber, a former assistant defense secretary, wrote last year, “Cruise missiles are a uniquely destabilizing type of weapon” because “they can be launched without warning and come in both nuclear and conventional variants.” We can reduce the risk of setting off accidental nuclear war by retiring nuclear cruise missiles and instead rely on conventional weapons.

Unfortunately, Congress has shirked its duty to carefully evaluate the need for new nuclear weapons capable of immense destruction. The decision to build the Long-Range Standoff Weapon should be thoroughly and publicly debated.

There are three key questions that remain unanswered.

First, does the military need a new nuclear cruise missile? In other words, are there any enemy targets we can no longer “hold at risk” using existing nuclear and conventional weapons and the platforms used to deliver them? We are aware of no such military necessity.

Next, what role does the military intend this weapon to serve? The Pentagon says it would “provide the president with uniquely flexible options in an extreme crisis.” This suggests a lowering of the threshold for nuclear war, a perilous approach that would endanger not only America but allies that we are pledged to protect, like Japan and South Korea.

Finally, what is the weapon’s cost? The Defense Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration have yet to provide concrete estimates for the program, but the Federation of American Scientists has reported that it could cost as much as $30 billion.

At a time when the Defense Department is set to modernize every leg of the nuclear triad, investing $30 billion in an unnecessary and dangerous new nuclear weapon is irresponsible.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter needs to address these issues. He should provide Congress with an analysis of alternatives to this missile. In particular, we want to know if the Defense Department has studied whether existing nuclear and conventional weapons are sufficient to strike enemy targets.

He should also certify that the sole objective of the weapon is nuclear deterrence. We want to eliminate any ambiguity that this new missile would be an offensive weapon.

And he should provide a public cost estimate. If taxpayers are expected to foot the bill, the price should not be shrouded in secrecy.

Instead of devoting our limited resources to a new nuclear weapon, President Obama would be wise to follow one of the main conclusions of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and reduce the role of our nuclear arsenal by developing advanced conventional weapons capacities.

The Air Force’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and the Navy’s Tomahawk cruise missile both provide conventional alternatives to nuclear cruise missiles. Each can attack enemy targets from tremendous distances without the risk of nuclear escalation.

The United States must lead the way to a nuclear-free world. We may not realize this goal in our lifetime, but we embrace the president’s call for “persistent effort” in that endeavor.

– Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic senator from California, is the vice chairwoman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. Ellen O. Tauscher is a former Democratic representative from California and former under secretary of state for arms control and international security.

 

For the online version and many comments, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/18/opinion/a-nuclear-weapon-that-American-doesn’t-need.html?_r=O

 

America already has more than enough nuclear missiles

In Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace on June 18, 2016 at 11:51 pm

America Already Has More Than Enough Nuclear Missiles
But Republicans are pushing a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program, which would not only bankrupt the Pentagon but could spark a global nuclear arms race.
· BY REP. ADAM SMITH

This summer, Congress has been tying itself up in knots, trying to decide how to adequately fund U.S. national defense priorities, given the limits imposed by sequestration. But the difficult reality is that, however we choose to address immediate challenges, any rational attempt to plan for America’s future security must begin with a clear-eyed reassessment of the costs, trade-offs, and dangers of the trillion-dollar plan Washington is undertaking to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. That reassessment should include an effort to eliminate the new nuclear cruise missile.
This week, I co-sponsored an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would cut funding for the development of this missile, the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, by $75.8 million. If adopted, that preliminary cut would have slowed its development by three years.

The United States needs a strong and credible nuclear arsenal. But our current nuclear forces are excessive. With over 5,000 deployed and stockpiled nuclear weapons — and thousands more awaiting dismantlement— we have a nuclear force stacked with redundancy. The “nuclear triad” that we would use to deliver these weapons consists of over 400 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles on high alert and undetectable nuclear ballistic submarines, each armed with two types of warheads. We also deploy nuclear gravity bombs that could be delivered from bombers or fighter aircraft, and air-launched nuclear cruise missiles. In addition, the United States maintains nondeployed nuclear weapons that act as an additional hedge to our deployed nuclear weapons, along with thousands of nuclear components and, of course, the ability to build even more nuclear weapons.

The truth is that the United States can retain a credible nuclear deterrent with significantly fewer nuclear weapons and fewer delivery systems, at a fraction of the cost.
The truth is that the United States can retain a credible nuclear deterrent with significantly fewer nuclear weapons and fewer delivery systems, at a fraction of the cost.
Instead, and with little debate, Congress has embarked on a plan to modernize all of these systems and increase these capabilities at an estimated total cost of $1 trillion over 30 years. This effort largely results from decisions made before the advent of the Budget Control Act and an ideological commitment to nuclear weapons by the Republican majority, which recently described them as our national security priority and “the foundation of all our defense efforts” in its security strategy. That plan means purchasing new nuclear weapons production facilities and labs, refurbishing warheads, land-based ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines, building new strategic bombers and nuclear-capable fighter aircraft, and, to top it all off, a new nuclear cruise missile.
These expenses will soon constitute a huge proportion of the U.S. defense budget: Yearly nuclear modernization costs will soon balloon and then more than double in the ensuing years, requiring at least $40 billion annually between 2024 and 2036, or nearly 10 percent of defense costs. This modernization “bow wave” — a term meant to describe the bulging costs resulting from new defense programs, like the waves that spread from the bow of a ship — will crowd out other defense priorities, consuming money for conventional weapons, cyber security, taking care of military families, and everything else. For comparison, consider that $40 billion would fund an additional 330,000 troops, and is almost twice the yearly cost of the Marine Corps.
That is an enormous problem that we are unprepared to handle. The comptroller of the Department of Defense has called the cost of nuclear modernization “the biggest problem we don’t know how to solve yet.” Brian McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, stated that the Pentagon is “wondering how the heck we’re going to pay for it,” and that current leadership is “thanking our stars we won’t be here to have to answer the question.” Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee repeatedly voted down and blocked amendments that would require more comprehensive cost assessments for these plans.
What’s more, this nuclear investment would actually undermine U.S. security by driving an emerging global nuclear arms race, undercutting American credibility in the pursuit of nuclear nonproliferation. Indeed, over the past few years, Russia and China have been modernizing their nuclear deterrents. Much of their spending is meant to assure the relevance of their deterrents and offset conventional military deficiencies. That doesn’t mean that the Pentagon must counter these new Russian and Chinese investments; America already has a reliable, credible nuclear deterrent. We must be careful to avoid creating incentives for a self-fulfilling cycle that heightens the risk of using atomic weapons.

To avoid going down this road and to ensure that we maintain the capabilities we need, we should cancel redundant systems such as the planned development of the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, which I proposed reducing funding for this week in a defense appropriations amendment; adopt substantial cuts to our nuclear arsenal, which could save tens of billions of dollars; and increase accountability and transparency by requiring the Defense Department to submit a 25-year plan for nuclear deterrent modernization to explain how it plans to manage these costs. Now is the time for serious oversight and a realistic approach to these issues in order to stop an emerging arms race and avoid wasting billions of dollars we cannot afford.

Sean Meyer
Manager, Strategic Campaigns
Global Security Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
smeyer@ucsusa.org
617-301-8065 (Office – Mon/Tues)
413-259-9129 (Wed-Fr)
@seanUCS