Archive for August, 2004

Bust out of Lie Factory connection to Israel

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

A lot happened in two weeks while we were away. I’ve decided not to post on Karl Rove’s swift boat smear campaign against Kerry, except this — it seems to be working as Kerry’s lead in certain key states, like Pennsylvania, has evaporated.

A story to really watch broke all over CBS, CNN and the rest of the mainstream media on the last day of our trip back from the Midwest. It’s a shocker for most people who get their news from the commissars of FOX and the like.

Readers of Deep Blade Journal and the insightful media it promotes, however, will not be shocked by news that the Bush Pentagon is stocked with partisans for Israel. Previous Deep Blade posts contained some links to major articles describing the hijacking of US intelligence and foreign policy operations by what Seymour Hersh quotes that they themselves call “the Cabal”. Please see the Deep Blade post on the Lie Factory for links. See especially the Hersh article on Selective Intelligence and the Mother Jones piece by Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest.

Other backgrounders on the real policy origins of the Iraq conquest and other neo-con Middle East planning include the essential Securing the Realm, a planning document prepared by Lie Factory principals for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. See also After Iraq by Nicholas Lemann on “The plan to remake the Middle East” in The New Yorker issue of 2003-02-17. Lemann presents a deep examination of the consequences of Securing the Realm and includes an interview with Douglas Feith, the supervisor of suspected spy Larry Franklin.

On Counterpunch for December 13, 2002, the Christisons laid bare the “dual loyalties” of the Neo-cons in the Henhouse. They write:

The link between active promoters of Israeli interests and policymaking circles is stronger by several orders of magnitude in the Bush administration, which is peppered with people who have long records of activism on behalf of Israel in the United States, of policy advocacy in Israel, and of promoting an agenda for Israel often at odds with existing U.S. policy. These people, who can fairly be called Israeli loyalists, are now at all levels of government, from desk officers at the Defense Department to the deputy secretary level at both State and Defense, as well as on the National Security Council staff and in the vice president’s office.

Juan Cole in the last two days has at least 1, 2, 3, 4 detailed postings so far on the current developing story.

Will all of these current treasons just bounce off of Bush while John O’Neil and the swift boat smearers continue to succeed against Kerry? We’ll see in the coming days.

Friday vegetable blogging

Friday, August 27th, 2004

The last few days have included a great deal of driving, as we made our way across Canada and back into New England. East of Montreal (terrible traffic, don’t go that way) I noted fields filled with what I believe are rye grasses. Note how this vast field of the grasses with rich brown seed structures bend in the wind along a stretch of the 10 expressway near Granby, Quebec.

Friday vegetable blogging

Friday, August 20th, 2004

Deep Blade has been on vacation in Minnesota for the last week. Hope I left you with enough material last Friday. But I can’t miss vegetable blogging this week. Here is a very fine example of a midwestern vegetable and flower garden by a master gardener in Pine County, Minnesota.

Olympia Snowe job

Friday, August 13th, 2004

She has always been viewed as moderate. But during the Cold War years of the 1980s, US Representative Olympia Snowe, Republican from Maine’s Second Congressional District, never was shy about promoting a hard-line foreign policy. Supposed intelligence information about Soviet expansionist intentions, communist infiltration of popular movements in the Americas—the usual array of they’re-coming-to-get-us stories that filled the airwaves of that era—were part and parcel of Ms. Snowe’s political toolbox. I remember well those scary years as her constituent, as she regularly ignored my calming advice while helping the Reagan administration dump a trillion taxpayer dollars into weapons of planetary destruction and devastating proxy wars.

Elected to the US Senate in 1994, Ms. Snowe’s orientation today is seen as even more moderate when compared with the big-business and reactionary Republican mindsets of her current colleagues. But again, her moderate image is belied by extreme hard-line positions on foreign policy and use of military force—especially in Iraq. As her pre-war statements reveal, she ranked in Congress as one of the most bellicose proponents of the US attack, conquest, and occupation of that weak, battered country. Considering that Congress was filled to the brim with war eagerness in late 2002 and early 2003, that speaks volumes about Senator Snowe’s attitudes about war and peace.

Last month from her perch on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she finally saw a little light on pre-war falsehoods as the Committee issued its Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq. In a press release dated July 9, 2004, the senator says, “…we now know that key judgments relating to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program were overstated or were not supported by underlying intelligence reporting.”

Though we do not yet have the second phase of the report, “detailing how policy makers used the intelligence and the prewar assessments about post-war Iraq,” we do know how the senator used this material herself—in a manner at least as hysterical as President Bush did in his fright-producing statements delivered throughout the pre-war period.

The senator’s press release continues, “The facts in this report not only form an inescapable indictment of the status quo, but also beg for a comprehensive structural overhaul of our entire Intelligence Community.”

Yes, and the senator must be held to account for her own failures. The facts beg for a deep examination of the senator herself. Given that throughout the pre-war period, knowledgeable constituents repeatedly attempted to demonstrate to her the highly dubious nature of purported Iraq weapons intelligence—efforts that she blithely dismissed—the senator must include herself in that inescapable indictment.

When it really counted, Senator Snowe willfully ignored a flood of protest against war. Right from the beginning—from the summer of 2002 all the way through to the day the attack on Iraq began on March 20, 2003, many of us begged her to back off from her hard-line position and consider the possibility that the real threat from Iraq was minimal to zero, while emphasizing that military overthrow and occupation of the country would be a project fraught with danger.

Like we did one week ago today, on August 6, 2002 (Hiroshima Day), our group of activists petitioned both Maine senators, Ms. Snowe and Ms. Collins, on the dangers of US nuclear weapons policy and expanding use of military force as we demonstrated in front of the Federal Building in Bangor, Maine. Talk of an attack on Iraq was already in the air. This was our plea in August 2002:

There is no doubt that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator whose regime should be replaced with a democratic, peaceful government that respects the human rights of all Iraqi citizens. Yet, a US-led military overthrow is unlikely to achieve these ends. Most likely, it will simply result in the rise to power of another oppressive, violent regime and result in the needless deaths of thousands of Iraqis and Americans. The problems posed by Saddam Hussein cannot be resolved by unilateral U.S. military action.Will you insist that the US refer the Iraq problem to the UN Security Council for resolution and that the US take no action against Iraq without the explicit authorization of the UN Security Council and full cooperation with governments and peoples in the region? Will you call for representation of anti-war points of view in hearings (such as that of former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter) to examine U.S. policy toward Iraq?

But by October 2002, Senator Snowe had in no way shown any interest in our requests, even the UN part, because the US administration never was going to allow the Security Council to “resolve” anything diplomatically. She went ahead to justify war on Iraq with rhetoric so alarming and so impassioned that any listener should have been cowering in fear, plowing the way for congressional passage of The Iraq Resolution, H.J. 114, that became law with the president’s signature on October 16 of that year. It gave the president authority to use the “United States Armed Forces against Iraq”.

August 2002 “Die-in” demonstration in Bangor, Maine

A hungry tiger in Iraq

In her floor speech (See the Congressional Record: October 9, 2002; Page S10141-S10145), Ms. Snowe made with great flourish, even those President Bush did not make in his October 7 speech in Cincinnati, all the claims concerning Saddam’s weapons:

I have come to the conclusion—based on the facts—that Saddam Hussein’s continued, aggressive production of weapons of mass destruction presents a real and immediate global mess… they were unable to account for [laundry list of scary-sounding quantities]…As reported in the U.S. intelligence community document made public on October 4, 2002, [Hussein] has been seeking to revamp and accelerate his nuclear weapons program. The report concluded that if left unchecked, Iraq would “probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade”, and that if Hussein could acquire weapons-grade fissile material from abroad “it could make a nuclear weapon within a year”….

Hussein, following the departure of U.N. inspectors in 1998, is aggressively pursuing development of a nuclear capability, and is undeniably seeking items needed to enrich uranium, such as fissile material and gas centrifuge components like vacuum pumps and specialized aluminum tubes. Tellingly, the report also documents Iraq’s attempts to buy large quantities of uranium from Africa….

…the October 4 report states that Iraq is capable of “quickly producing and weaponizing” a variety of both chemical and biological agents, including anthrax, “for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives, including potentially against the U.S. homeland.” Both reports highlight that Hussein’s weapons are hidden in “highly survivable” facilities, some of them mobile,….

Today, we know from Secretary Rumsfeld that “al-Qaida is operating in Iraq”…that we have “accurate and not debatable” evidence of reportedly the presence of senior members of al-Qaida in Baghdad, and other associations….

And now the nexus between Hussein and terrorist groups and individuals is that we simply can’t afford the risk to humanity. Some say we should wait until the threat is imminent. But how will we know when the danger is clear, present and immediate? When people start checking into hospitals? When the toxin shows up in the water supply? When the dirty bomb goes off? Because, in the shadowy world of terrorism, as we have seen, that will already be too late….

In fact, Richard Butler, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector, was asked in an interview on October 8, 2002, “how easy it would be … for the Iraqis to arm a terrorist group, or an individual terrorist, with weapons of mass destruction.” It would be “extremely easy”, Ambassador Butler told the interviewer. “If they decided to do it, it would be a piece of cake“….

Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.

The world can no longer ignore the tiger in Iraq.

And ignore Iraq the US wouldn’t. By early February 2003, UN weapons inspectors were back in the country under UNSCR 1441. Perhaps the worldwide outcry against impunity Senator Snowe and Congress gave the Bush forced the administration to allow the UN to become involved at all. This had to be marginalized.

Senator Snowe dismissed constituents concerns about Powell, then arrested them

Enter Secretary of State Colin Powell. His February 5, 2003 presentation before the UN Security Council is thoroughly discredited by the SSCI report, and has for months been dissected in Deep Blade Journal. So I won’t go over all these details again. Suffice it to say that not one iota of what Snowe said about the existing (“undeniable”) ability of Saddam Hussein to make a surprise attack with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons—or support terrorists in such an attack—turned out to be true.

Readers can refer to Sy Hersh’s October 2003 article. This sums up the truth about the CIA “Stovepipe” process on which Powell’s talk depended (and fills in those details about “how the administration used the intelligence” that is missing from the SSCI report). Powell was used to discredit the null findings of the UNMOVIC inspection team, while substituting the falsehoods the Bush Administration required to sell its war. Hersh wrote,

the intelligence reports about Iraq provided by the United Nations inspection teams and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitored Iraq’s nuclear-weapons programs, were far more accurate than the C.I.A. estimates.”…” senior Administration people, soon after coming to power, had bypassed the government’s customary procedures for vetting intelligence.”

So how did Senator Snowe use the Powell presentation? To beat over the head those of us who were against the war, of course. Around mid-March 2003, Senator Snowe finally got around to answering mail from the previous fall. Here is her language, as it appeared in both the response letter, and in the text of a squirrely talk one of the Senator’s assistants delivered to a group of concerned constituents on March 16, 2003:

On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Cohn Powell presented the United Nations Security Council with clear, convincing, specific and well-corroborated evidence that Iraq has failed to comply with UN resolutions, and has continued its efforts to develop and conceal its capability to produce and deploy biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons….

The Secretary’s testimony builds on the sobering reports of Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix which demonstrate that Iraq has consistently fallen short of the ‘unconditional, immediate, and active’ cooperation required under U.N. resolutions. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 did not call for partial compliance, it called for full and open disarmament by Iraq. The world community must put the onus on Saddam Hussein where it belongs. He illegally possesses weapons of mass destruction and he must comply.

President Bush has sought support through the Security Council to enforce the requirements of Resolution 1441, and set a deadline for the disarmament of Iraq. I continue to hope that Saddam will take this last opportunity for peace, but while the U.S. has followed the course of diplomacy, Saddam continues to choose the course of deceit.

The blatant deceit belongs here to Snowe, and also to Powell and the administration.

At the time, Deep Blade posted Who Deceives?. Nearly everything discussed in this piece was totally confirmed in later disclosures. What Snowe says about Blix is a misrepresentation by omission. In what “fell short”, the inspectors were rapidly filling in the blanks, and the UN’s null findings were conveniently ignored by Snowe.

On the day the war began, March 20, 2003, a group sat in Snowe’s office with one simple request. According to Karen Saum, one of these brave protesters, “Our sole demand was that Snowe explain why she declared Secretary Colin Powell’s lies to the UN Security Council to be ‘well corroborated evidence'”.

Saum continued:

Senator Snowe does her constituents a grave disservice when she does not level with us about falsified information that has been used to prove a lie. Sen. Snowe, by her failure to stand against Bush, will be as guilty as he of war crimes. We hold her accountable. Through vigils, petitions, letters, emails, faxes, and phone calls, we called upon the Senator to oppose this war. All of our efforts were ignored or trivialized by form letter responses. We know of no other way to have the truth heard. Through our presence at her office we expressed our outrage.

Saum and five comrades were arrested, and later given suspended sentences.

We are asking her nicely again

With every supposed threat from Iraq discredited by the Intelligence Committee and the senator’s own admission, it is time to hold Olympia Snowe accountable for her bellicosity and refusal to respond. There is so much more she should do now to get us out of Iraq. The decision in favor of war that she so emphatically promoted has led to extraordinarily heartbreaking costs in lives and treasure. What now will she do to change policy so that these costs do not mount for the foreseeable future, as it appears they will on the current course? Our requests have been and will continue to be presented to her.

Last Friday, August 6, 2004, we returned to Senator Olympia Snowe’s office to again deliver our message:

On the matter of recent revelations about intelligence failures on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq and given the history of our pre-war concerns in 2002 and 2003, we are … saddened that Senator Snowe refused to consider the strong doubts we clearly expressed to her at the time about the now-discredited Iraq intelligence briefing Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the United Nations Security on February 5, 2003. Better communication and consideration of our concerns by our elected representatives may have helped avert war, a stated desire at that time… [we are] hopeful that one day these failures will be behind us and that we can support true efforts to eliminate WMD … Will you ask the administration to present a reasonable timetable for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq? … Will you in the future give constituents with anti-war views and concerns about obviously shaky intelligence much more serious consideration? Will you declare your support for long-standing proposals and more recent United Nations efforts aimed at creating a non-nuclear weapons zone in the Middle East?

I do not hold my breath that the senator will respond to us in any positive way. Her assistant took our concerns and our petitions last Friday. But even after the litany of failures, it seems to me that she is comfortable hiding behind a highly politicized and absurd finding that intelligence agencies were not under “pressure” concerning Iraq and bureaucratic “reform” proposals that have followed the SSCI and 911 Commission reports.

She feels safe about her seat, which is up in 2006. Unfortunately those of us who understand the history, duplicity, and failure of skepticism Senator Snowe has displayed in the Iraq disaster are still just mice trying to roar. We will keep trying.

Friday vegetable blogging

Friday, August 13th, 2004

It’s coming in

The top shot is of the large vegetable garden next door at the neighbors. We’ve been taking care of it and picking a few things for them while they are on vacation. The zucchini (below) is really starting to come in. No need to worry about watering today, as the Veazie Sewer District rain gage is reporting 0.60 in. of rain already, while the remnant of Tropical Storm Bonnie is passing through.

I love the Daily Show

Friday, August 13th, 2004

Jon Stewart and his people are really paying attention. Or maybe they read Kerry’s Thursday 8/12 rapid response posting and took off from there.

At any rate, the comedy timing of Stewart’s “sensitivity/sensitoughity” piece last night was impeccable. There were three quotes:

I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history.

–John Kerry at the Journalists of Color Unity Conference, August 5

A “sensitive war” will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans and who seek the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons to kill hundreds of thousands more. The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity.

–Vice President Dick Cheney, August 12

Then, after cutting to a Rob Cordry “report” on the US’s careful-not-to-upset-Muslims “kicking ass and taking names” operation in Najaf, Stewart points out that, “Using such language, like ‘sensitivity’, suggests weakness, timidity, … Frenchness, quite frankly. Dick Cheney was 100% right to assail anybody who would use that word in relation to our War on Terror. And just by point of contrast, the day after Kerry made his comment, Bush took on the exact same subject in a speech in front of the exact same group:

Now, in terms of the balance between running down intelligence and bringing people to justice obviously is — we need to be very sensitive on that.

–President Bush at the Journalists of Color Unity Conference, August 6

Then Jon Stewart says something like, “Dude, I think the Vice President just called you a pussy”. ROFL

All Republicans should take to heart what the Vice President’s wife added, and just stay home in November, or vote for Ralph Nader:

Q Senator Kerry has made the statement that he would like to fight a more sensitive war on terror. What in the world he be thinking about there? What’s your thoughts?

MRS. CHENEY: I just kind of shook my head when I heard that. With all due respect to the Senator, it just sounded so foolish. I can’t imagine that al Qaeda is going to be impressed by sensitivity. (Laughter.)

But it did remind me of kind of this — we’ve heard for a long time from the extreme left in this country, whenever it comes to a matter of our national interest, that somehow the problem is not with the people who are attacking us, the problem is with us. You’ve heard that. And it struck me as a kind of expression of that idea — somehow the problem is not with the people who are attacking us, the problem is with us. If we’ll just adjust our attitude seems to be the idea. We just do a little mental adjustment here, things will go well. Well, I think it just fits with what Dick is saying. This is kind of left-wing foolishness that certainly isn’t appropriate for someone who would seek to be Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

Political Goss

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

“There really should be a yellow sign around the Langley Headquarters of CIA, ‘Politicians may go no further'” –Ray McGovern, PBS News Hour, 8/10/2004

The Goss nomination to the CIA speaks volumes. First, no one with any objectivity is going to be allowed to run Bush’s CIA. Only a highly political and loyal Republican operative can be trusted to keep the secrets of this administration’s incredible duplicity, malfeasance, and embarrassing connections to unsavory elements. Furthermore, the Goss nomination is nakedly political with respect to the November election.

Terence Hunt’s analysis in an AP release today has it right, “More broadly the nomination reinforced Bush’s efforts to keep the nation focused on the war on terrorism, his strongest suit in his battle for re-election.”

The News Hour on Tuesday was as close to terrific as it ever gets. Former DCI Stansfield Turner (Carter Administration) and former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern, a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity laid out a case against Goss. Here’s how Ray McGovern wrapped it up:

At the end of [the joint Congressional committee that was the first to investigate 9/11], their final report left out all the information having to do with what the president of the United States was told prior to 9/11. The White House forbade that from being in the final report. Eleanor Hill, the executive director of that committee remonstrated loudly.Porter Goss gave in to the White House, and so that report was ipso facto, incomplete, because it contained lots of stuff, but nothing on what the president was told before 9/11. That’s proof positive to me that you’ve got a partisan person here who will do the bidding of the White House. And that’s precisely why he’s been nominated and nominated now because the controversy will now be centered on the failure of intelligence, Iraq, 9/11, failure of intelligence and no attention being given to the failure of the president.

I’ll go further. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the 911 report winks that tracing the financing of the plot was of little “practical significance”. But who on September 11, 2001 was taking a leisurely breakfast, just as the planes hit, with a Pakistani intelligence figure implicated in just such financing? Why, Porter Goss himself! Now I’m sure Representative Goss was not privy to the plot, but this goes to show that there is deep mystery about 911 that will stay buried with the political operative Porter Goss as DCI.

Oil demand looking up

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

A BBC story today quotes the most recent monthly oil market report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which said that “demand for oil was running at 82.2 million barrels a day, 750,000 more than previously thought”.

“The upwards revision means that daily demand has grown by a record 2.5 million barrels a day this year”, according to the report.

Light sweet crude prices have touched $45 in the last 48 hours.

The IEA also says “world demand would rise by a further 1.8 million barrels next year to 84 million barrels a day….OPEC’s production capacity would rise by 400,000 barrels a day this year, and by a further 700,000 barrels a day in 2005.”

Hmmm. That adds up 700,000 bpd short. Plus, why would demand growth fall be 30% next year unless they expect a rapid fall-off in economic growth? This is not explained.

Other very interesting stories are linked on the same page as this BBC story, for example Environment drives Hummer vs Hybrid row (an American 10mpg Hummer owner defends his big engine delusions).

There is also a very interesting q&a thing (click on the link for “Ask an oil expert”) with Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, OPEC’s director of research, Dr Leo Drollas of the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London, and Rick Sellers, head of the Renewable Energy Unit at IEA.

Needn’t worry about supplies, is the consensus, “reserve growth” and unconventional oil has us covered until 2080. When questioners pressed on this matter, Shihab-Eldin, says just that “production capacity will increase”, and Drollas says simply, “we’ve been there before,” referring to the 1970s, when $100 per barrel oil was predicted, but we saw sub-$20 oil in the 1990s.

This last point is quite true, but then the world was still in the midst of major discoveries of new giant fields, the likes of which have not been found since, despite vigorous effort.

M. King Hubbert wrote in 1971 that world oil would peak in 2000. Could Hubbert’s analysis have been accurate in the 1970s? Why not? The fact that prices dipped during some intervening periods does not disprove it. I’ll be agnostic. Show me the oil. We’ll see if the world is producing 115–125 mbd within 20 years, as these analysts suggest will happen.

Aftermath

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

An exhibit of photographs, available on the internet here, begins with text reading

On August 10, 1945, the day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Yosuke Yamahata began to photograph the devastation. His companions on the journey were a painter, Eiji Yamada, and a writer, Jun Higashi.

One bomb did this, one bomb. Over a dozen years after the Cold War, the United States, Russia, the UK, China, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea, maybe Iran — and perhaps even al Qaeda (did I forget anyone?) — still possess several thousand of even-more devastating versions of this bomb. They can be delivered anywhere on the planet using devices ranging from multi-warhead missiles on a variety of land-based and sea-based platforms, to vehicles or containers where the quite small bombs could be placed and smuggled. The dynamics of the post-Cold-War world order led by the US and its now-demonstrated policy of preventive war have increased the chances that one or more such superbombs will be used.

After viewing the Nagasaki photo exhibit, how can anyone feel like it would be a good idea to unleash that force again? Shouldn’t America again become a leader in backing away from the nuclear brink? Even Ronald Reagan could take up this mantle, as he engaged with Gorbachev and signed the INF treaty. Shouldn’t we return to moving in this direction, instead of destroying our diplomatic legacy, as President Bush did in his unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty?

The traditional bilateral policy labeled “nuclear deterrence” is gone. A new type of deterrence, where the sole global superpower is only deterred from military domination of weak yet uncooperative target states when these targets possess or are perceived to possess nuclear bombs, forms the new perilous nuclear dynamic.

Furthermore, the possibility of nuclear terror has markedly risen in the current global pathology. The US invasion of Iraq under the stated theory that not to do so would risk a “mushroom cloud” as “first warning” was of course a ruse — but only in the sense that the target of the invasion was incorrect. In fact, no longer is there any state target that America can attack with hope that permanent safety from nuclear attack will follow. Perhaps Pakistan or Saudi Arabia could have been better selections for last year’s invasion, as the more likely source of such a surprise attack exists within these countries — noting that the 911 plot was arguably centered there. And Pakistan is known to have nukes — they tested one, remember? But Pakistan is President Bush’s Terror War “ally”, even as it is wrapped in layer after layer of secret machinations. What is the truth? Is the US afraid of Pakistan? Is that why it receives treatment far different than that given Iraq?

Military might is a blunt instrument in the era of “stateless” terrorism. The danger of that “mushroom cloud” has only grown as a result of the US conquest of Iraq.

August 6 demonstration in Bangor, Maine

How can we stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons if our own government insists on going in the wrong direction and provoking the world with invasions and a whole new program of nuclear weapons development, including new bomb concepts — the “robust earth penetrator” — and new weapons-making facilities?

That is the question we presented to the media and our representatives in Congress during a moving demonstration on Friday August 6, the 59th anniversary of the first nuclear bombing of civilians in Hiroshima, Japan.

Coverage on all three local TV stations was excellent, as illustrated by the above screen grabs. Yes, that’s Deep Blade giving the TV about a 10-second comment. This story in the Bangor Daily News for August 7 was a bit odd, focusing as it does on two brief and very minor hecklings.

Please see a pdf version of our handout, with our requests for action by our congressmen and senators. This 2-page piece contains a wealth of information about our nuclear concerns, including a model letter for contacting your congresspeople to oppose new funding for new nuclear weapons and facilities in the 2005 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

Excellent additional coverage of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki 59th anniversary

Nuclear bombs were not needed to either “save lives” or hasten the end of World War II. Those are myths. Calling these widely-held beliefs myths invites irrational emotional attacks from those steeped in them, but I must point this out just the same. The truth is that far from ending a World War, the civilian nuclear attacks of 1945 started a new war with surprising and uncontrollable consequences. We don’t know yet all of these consequences as the world remains fraught with nuclear danger.

A number of websites have in the last few days provided excellent examinations of these issues of myth and reality concerning the 1945 civilian nuclear attacks. Here are three recommendations:

–Danny Schecter, the News Dissector and one of American journalism’s national treasures, posted a terrific column on August 6. He covers reporting Hiroshima, secrets of the uranium, and was it necessary in this fine posting with numerous links.

–Click through to the links provided in these postings at Under the Same Sun: 1, 2. The first is an interview with Gar Alperovitz, whose examination of the Truman diaries uncovered in the mid 1980s followed by a decade of work on the “decision to drop the bomb” has led to an important book by that name. According to Alperovitz, “The use of the atomic bomb, most experts now believe, was totally unnecessary. Even people who support the decision for various reasons acknowledge that almost certainly the Japanese would have surrendered before the initial invasion planned for November. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey stated that officially in 1946.

–A piece on Counterpunch by anthropologist David Price of St. Martin’s College in Olympia, Washington describes how, through a 1996 interview and examination of the papers of the late sinologist and cold warrior George Edward Taylor, he assembled an untold story about Japan and “the cultural conditions of unconditional surrender”. Price writes that Taylor

came to see his job as being to convince U.S. civilian and military leaders that they did not have to engage in acts of genocidal annihilation to end the war. Racist stereotypes of maniacal Japanese soldiers and citizens fighting to the death dominated the War Department and the White House, and Taylor and his staff increasingly strove to battle this domestic enemy as a prime deterrent of peace. It was with great difficulty that Taylor and his staff of anthropologists worked to convince civilian and military personnel that the Japanese were even culturally capable of surrender.

In 1945 the US War Department preferred “a genocidal campaign to obliterate a ‘race’ believed incapable of surrender”, despite the MAGIC intercepts showing “that in the days before the attacks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, American intelligence had good evidence that Ambassador Sato was close to surrendering to the Americans”.

The sad lesson that follows from this preference informs a litany of US interventions ever since, including the one-track path towards the conquest of Iraq no matter what its previous government conceded to the US on its tenacious “disarmament” demands, including the former Iraqi regime’s apparent total destruction of the weapons that were built with American help.

National Security Rice-a-Roni

Sunday, August 8th, 2004

Extracts of testimony by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Assistant To The President For National Security Affairs, before the 911 Commission on Thursday, April 8, 2004:

MS. RICE: … I think that concern about what I might have known or we might have known was provoked by some statements that I made in a press conference.

I was in a press conference to try and describe the August 6th memo, which I’ve talked about here in my opening remarks and which I talked about with you in the private session. And I said at one point that this was a historical memo, that it was not based on new threat information, and I said no one could have imagined them taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon — I’m paraphrasing now — into the World Trade Center, using planes as a missile. …

MR. BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB.

MS. RICE: I believe the title was “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States”…

… It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information, and it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States…

… The fact is that this August 6th PDB was in response to the President’s questions about whether or not something might happen or something might be planned by al Qaeda inside the United States. He asked because all of the threat reporting, or the threat reporting that was actionable, was about the threats abroad, not about the United States.

This particular PDB had a long section on what bin Laden had wanted to do — speculative, much of it — in ’97, ’98, that he had in fact liked the results of the 1993 bombing. It had a number of discussions of — it had a discussion of whether or not they might use hijacking to try and free a prisoner who was being held in the United States, Rassam. It reported that the FBI had full field investigations underway. And we checked on the issue of whether or not there was something going on with surveillance of buildings, and we were told, I believe, that the issue was the courthouse in which this might take place.

Commissioner, this was not a warning. This was a historic memo — historical memo prepared by the agency because the President was asking questions about what we knew about the inside.

Now here is Rice’s tune on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, Sunday, August 8, 2004:

RUSSERT: … many people were scared out of their wits on Monday, cynical on Tuesday and befuddled by Wednesday [after the terror alert was raised to orange for sites in New York, Washington and New Jersey].

MS. RICE: The government has a duty to warn when we find information that is more specific than the sort of general warnings that have been out there….The president’s made that commitment….Tom Ridge has made that commitment. All of us have. And starting on a week ago Friday and going through the weekend, we began to get important intelligence from some of the people that were being rounded up in these raids in Pakistan….

Some raids produced physical evidence, all in the context of a pre-election threat that we had talked about before. And so, while it was not imminent, it did give a time frame that suggested some urgency….

The decision was made that you had no choice but to warn people that their buildings had been cased.

[Though some of the reports came from 2000 and 2001], perhaps some of them had been updated. But whether they had or not, we know that al Qaeda meticulously plans over a number of years. The casings for the East Africa Embassy bombings which were done in 1998 had been done five years before.

Based on information from people picked up in raids and knowing about terrorists who were thought to be plotting against the United States made it imperative that the nation be warned.

The good thing is that we don’t have a situation like we had before 9/11, where the information was not being shared. This was in some way textbook for the sharing of information that was coming in from the field, coming in from liaison with Pakistan.

Dear Dr. Rice, The thing you had on August 6, 2001 WAS SHARED, it was in your hands. Just say you failed to do your job in 2001, and/or that the terror alerts this week were way, way overblown, since they were based on “historical information”. You are apparently incapable of parsing national security information. Sincerely, Deep Blade

Meanwhile, an important Pakistani intelligence asset has been burned in the process. I don’t know how Rice can keep her job.

Thanks to Harry Shearer on Le Show for un-dissonancing this cognitive dissonance.