Global Famine, Is it a Conspiracy?

Global Famine, Is it a Conspiracy?

© By Eric Walberg

Food protests and riots have swept more than 20 countries in the past few months. On 2 April, World Bank President Robert Zoellick told a meeting in Washington that there are 33 countries where price hikes could cause widespread social unrest. The UN World Food Programme called the crisis the silent tsunami, with wheat prices almost doubling in the past year alone, and stocks falling to the lowest level since the perilous post-World War II days.

One billion people live on less than $1 a day. Some 850 million are starving.

Meanwhile, world food production increased a mere 1 per cent in 2006, and with increasing amounts of output going to biofuels, per capita consumption is declining. The most commonly stated reasons include rising fuel costs, global warming, deterioration of soils, and increased demand in China and India. So is it all just a case of hard luck and poor planning?
There is just too much of a pattern, and too many elements all pointing in the same direction. Anyone following the news will have heard of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which first met in 1921 and the group that represents the inner circle within the inner circle, the Bilderberg Club, which first met in 1954.
The latter, once a highly secretive organisation bringing together select world political and business leaders, was exposed to the media spotlight in the 1990s and since then has had to endure increasing criticism for its, to say the least, undemocratic role in shaping political leaders’ thinking and actions in accordance with the desires of the world business elite.
The US has never been shy about flaunting world opinion. A case in point is its sole “nay” to multiple UN General Assembly and conference resolutions which declare that “health care and proper nourishment are human rights.” The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1 in 1981 under President Ronald Reagan, and at UN-sponsored food summits by similar margins in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, and in 2002 under President Bush, dismissing any “right to food.”
Whether Republican or Democrat, Washington instead champions free trade as the key to ending the poverty which it argues is at the root of hunger, and expresses fears that recognition of a right to food could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions. And these are only resolutions by a powerless body which is in any case virtually subservient to the US.
We can see at this very moment how this international humanitarian body is not above using starvation of innocent Gazans as a political tool in the interests of the status quo. Despite loud protestations to the contrary, there is little real international will opposing a future where millions die of starvation while a world elite consolidate their power.
Trying to come to grips with the world food crisis, it’s hard not to subscribe to some version of a conspiracy theory – that somehow, for some reason, this rush towards widespread world famine is actually a plan by a world clique intent on drastically reducing the world population, accelerating the collapse of national governments, allowing gigantic world corporations effectively to take their place, controlling vast areas of land, leading towards a world governed by these corporations. Especially with the US so clear in its assumption that indeed widespread famine is in the cards, for which it does not want to be held responsible. Forget about global warming (which is of course very real and harmful to food production). Here are a few more red flags.
First, the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), set up largely by the US following World War II, are notorious for refusing to advance loans to poor countries unless they agree to Structural Adjustment Programmes that require the loan recipients to devalue their currencies, cut taxes, privatise utilities and reduce or eliminate support programmes for farmers. The results are a weakened state, impoverished local farmers and increased economic domination by international corporations.
Combined with this is constant pressure on poor countries to lower tariffs, preventing them from building up their industrial potential, often destituting their farmers who cannot compete with heavily subsidised produce from rich nations.
Second, rich country subsidies, in Canada, for example, allow the federal government to pay farmers $225 for each pig killed in an ongoing mass cull of breeding swine, as part of a plan to reduce hog production. Some of the slaughtered hogs may be given to local Food Banks, but most will be destroyed or made into pet food. None will go to, say, Haiti.
Third, biofuel programmes are now channelling massive quantities of cereal and other crops to produce fuel for the world’s wealthy to run their second and third family cars while close to a billion starve. Add in Genetically Modified products, which are now being forced on poor countries (and not only) by large multinationals, protected by copyright laws, effectively enslaving farmers in perpetuity, not to mention their likely dire effects on loss of crop variety.
Last but not least, the current US-sponsored wars in the Middle East, with the resultant sky-rocketing oil prices, are merely accelerating a descent into the abyss, as it and its conjunct NATO continue to expand beyond all responsible limits and venture into Asia, threatening more and more recalcitrant countries with loss of sovereignty, subversion and outright invasion.
Much of the world believes that 9/11 was not the work of a handful of ill-trained Saudi youth, but wilfully perpetrated by a handful of US/Israeli covert operatives as part of a plan to reinforce US hegemony in the world. If that is indeed the case, then the current world food crisis makes perfect sense – stage three, after 9/11 and the Middle East wars.
But you don’t have to believe in a “Made it Happen On Purpose” (MHOP) conspiracy for either 9/11 or the food crisis. As political analyst William Blum, famously cited by Osama Bin Laden on one of his video missives, says, “we’re speaking of men making decisions based not on people’s needs but on pseudo-scientific, amoral mechanisms like supply and demand, commodity exchanges, grain futures, selling short, selling long, and other forms of speculation, all fed and multiplied by the proverbial herd mentality – a system governed by only two things: fear and greed; not a rational way to feed a world of human beings.”
Blum subscribes to a “Let it Happen On Purpose” (LHOP) explanation concerning 9/11, that whatever conspiracy exists is loose and unorganised, that a big dose of incompetence mixed with justified anger by the oppressed is producing an explosive concoction, but that it is still possible that leaders will wake up and address the issues sensibly. This is a much more comforting worldview, but one that looks thinner and thinner as the whirlwind gathers momentum.
While Blum dismisses speculation about the food crisis as conspiracy, the links between the current world upheavals starting with 9/11 are there for all to see, and less and less seems to separate MHOP from LHOP as time marches on.
In fact there has been a food crisis ever since imperialism really got underway three centuries ago. Perhaps the most extensive famines in history were presided over by Britain in India in the 18-20th centuries. It has merely metamorphosed over time, just as has the “one world” movement that imperialism itself launched. Back then, it was more obvious: burn, rape, dispossess, enslave, create monopolies for trade and production (plantations), talk about “darkest Africa.” Now it is the World Trade Organisation, WB, IMF, emergency loans, privatisation, GM crops, and just possibly, the gathering “food crisis.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez perhaps said it best: “It is a massacre of the world’s poor. The problem is not the production of food. It is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis.”
Then what is really going on?
First of all, let’s get rid of the idea that we are seeing “impersonal market forces” at work. Supply and demand is not a law, it’s a policy. Second, let’s ask the question which any competent investigator should pose when starting out on the trail of a possible crime: “Who benefits?” Indeed we can even describe the crime as genocide if the events in question are avoidable or planned. Those who benefit are obviously the ones who finance agricultural operations, those who are charging monopoly prices for the commodities in demand, the various middlemen who bring the products to market, and the owners of the land and other assets used in the production/consumption cycle.
In other words, it’s the financial elite of the world who have gained control of the most basic necessities of life, guided by a long-term strategy by international finance to starve much of the world’s population in order to seize their land and control their natural resources.
In Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making (2008), David Rothkopf, currently at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade under Clinton and managing director of Kissinger and Associates, brazenly outlines the real situation. As a consummate insider, he is clearly someone who should know. A global elite now run the planet and have usurped the power of national governments while ensuring laws constrained by borders are all but obsolete.
“Each one of them is one in a million. They number six thousand on a planet of six billion. They run our governments, our largest corporations, the powerhouses of international finance, the media, world religions, and, from the shadows, the world’s most dangerous criminal and terrorist organisations. They are the global superclass, and they are shaping the history of our time,” states the promo for the book.
This elite “see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations. Their connections to each other have become more significant than their ties to their home nations and governments.”
But why would an insider give the plot away to us plebs, you may well ask. For one thing, the exposure of the conspirators in the world media – yes, the Internet and satellite communications work both ways – has meant that there is a pressing need for some soothing PR, showing us that whatever conspiracy there is, it is benign, for our own good, necessary, if you will. That’s the only explanation for such a startlingly frank insider’s account as Superclass provides.
Secondly, it seems the time is ripe to move forward on this plan to drastically reduce world population, and increase control of the Earth’s land and resources for a world elite in perpetuity. One-world government, super imperialism, call it what you will.
The expansion of the US military empire abroad, the Trojan Horse of the conspiracy, comes with the creation of a totalitarian system of surveillance at home and abroad, put into place as part of the “War on Terror.” Human microchip implants for tracking purposes are starting to be used. The military-industrial complex has become the US’s largest and most successful industry, intent on destroying both foreign and domestic “enemies.” The pieces are now in place for world domination.
The 20th century – any conspiracy really can only be clearly argued starting from the Great War-to-end-all-war – surely was the US century, meaning it was able to impose its ideology of markets, consumerism and individualism even to the far reaches of Communist Russia and China, and hence ensure that the global elite it set in motion will subscribe in some form to its agenda – if indeed there is one.
However, the actors in the conspiracy – whether LHOP or MHOP, for I do believe the tragic state of the world did not just occur by chance – are not stable. There has been a remarkable power shift from the Amero-European coalition that dominated the world in the 20th century. Ironically with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West reigned supreme for only a very short time. The rise of China and Asia, the resurgence of Russia, while now integrated into the post-World War II international economic system, will no doubt shape the agenda that the 21st century inherits from its three centuries of imperialism.
This situation is in fact a perverse form of Kant’s recipe for world peace: countries must be willing to cede sovereignty to prevent war. His idealistic proposal floundered on the unwillingness of countries to cede meaningful autonomy to a world body, as the experience of the League of Nations and the UN have shown in spades.
However, once the US succeeded in amassing overwhelming economic might in the world and in splitting up the Soviet Union, it proceeded to use NATO as just such a world body, successfully tempting the resultant statelets to join it, i.e., to cede effective control over their foreign affairs to the US. The plan was for Russia to be coaxed into the fold as well, though this part of the plan has, as it turns out, hit a snag.

What about foreign aid? Yes, Bush just proposed spending an additional $770 million, bringing next year’s budget of food assistance to $2.6 billion. But since this is tied aid, forcing countries to import subsidised US produce, less than half the amount actually reaches the starving peasants, and combined with WB/IMF structural adjustment policies such aid really does more to compound the problem than provide any real long-term change for the better.
For sceptics about the possibility of some form of LHOP/MHOP, just consider the following: if indeed 6,000 elite business leaders control the world’s fate, surely such an immensely wealthy and powerful coterie could solve the food crisis in a flash. The massive expenditures on arms and the wanton destruction they cause every second, could, if stopped, provide the will and resources to restructure the world to end starvation, let alone poverty, leaving lots left over for the elite to wallow in. There is no organised force of any consequence opposing this world elite. What’s stopping it?

Iran warns any attack would start ‘world war’

Iran warns any attack would start ‘world war’

A senior military commander warned on Saturday that any attack on Iran would start a new world war, as Tehran pressed on with its controversial nuclear drive despite the risk of further UN sanctions.

“Any aggression against Iran will start a world war,” deputy chief of staff for defence publicity, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, said in a statement carried by the state news agency IRNA.

Iran is under international pressure to halt uranium enrichment, a process which lies at the core of fears about Iran’s nuclear programme as it can make nuclear fuel as well as the fissile core of an atom bomb.

“The unrestrained greed of the US leadership and global Zionism… is gradually leading the world to the edge of a precipice,” Jazayeri said, citing the unrest in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Georgia.

“It is evident that if such a challenge occurs, the fake and artificial regimes will be eliminated before anything,” he said, without naming any countries.

Iran does not recognise Israel, which is often described by officials in Tehran as a “fake regime” and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has provoked itnernational outrage saying it should be wiped off the map.

The United States and its staunch ally Israel, the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear armed nation, accuse Iran of seeking atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme.

Iran, a leading OPEC member, has vehemently denied the allegations, insisting its only wants to provide electricity for a growing population when its reserves of fossil fuels run out.

The United States has never ruled out military action against Iran over its defiance of international demands for an enrichment freeze, but so far is pursuing the diplomatic route.

Iran has repeatedly vowed a crushing response to any attacks and has flexed military muscles in recent years by holding war games and showing off an array of home-grown weaponry including ballistic missiles.

Another top military commander said Iran was prepared to “take the enemies off-guard” and would unveil more weapons in case of an attack.

“Some of the equipment of our armed forces have been announced but there are important things hidden whose effect would be shown on the day (of any attack),” deputy army commander Abdolrahim Mousavi told Fars news agency.

“Offensives are part of the strategy of defence and if a country confines itself to its borders it has set a limit and eliminated part of its capability,” he said.

During war games in July which stoked international concern, aides to the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Iran would target US bases and US ships in the Gulf as well as Israel if it was attacked.

Iran also test-fired its Shahab-3 missile which it says puts Israel within range.

In recent months, several Israeli politicians have talked of the possibility of a preemptive military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities to avoid any possibility of Tehran acquiring an atomic weapon.

Iran has repeatedly said it has no intention of halting enrichment despite three sets of UN Security Council sanctions and US and EU sanctions on its banking system.

Iran insists it has a right to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is currently operating about 4,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges and installing several thousand more.

However, the country’s first Russian-built nuclear power plant is yet to come on line.

The Islamic republic risks further sanctions for failing to give a clear response to an incentives package offered in June by six world powers in return for a halt to the sensitive work.

World powers offered to start pre-negotiations with Iran during which Tehran would add no more uranium-enriching centrifuges and in return face no further sanctions.

The offer by permanent Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany included trade incentives and help with a civilian nuclear programme.

Israeli PR fails the “decent, honest and truthful” test

Israeli PR fails the “decent, honest and truthful” test

Stuart Littlewood


© Carlos LATUFF

Stuart Littlewood shows how Israeli public relations fodder pumped out in London and Tel Aviv fails a crucial PR test. He argues that, if the Palestinians and other Arab were to get their media act together, they could “make mincemeat” of Israeli propaganda.

When Ron Prosor arrived in London last year to take up his post as Israeli ambassador he was eager to step up public relations. He told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “I’m not afraid to appear anywhere, and there is no platform … that I will not utilize for PR work.”

We are familiar with the usual Israeli PR mantras:

► having to contend with suicide bombers
► how Arafat turned down former prime minister Ehud Barak’s so-called ‘generous offer’ in 2000
► how the Israeli public has moved to the left in recent years whereas Palestinians have moved to the extreme right
► Israel is a democracy under attack
► Jerusalem is the capital of Israel forever
► Israel is against any negotiations with Hamas because it as a terrorist movement.

This last is all the more preposterous when echoed by the US, Britain and the EU, which have connived to keep Palestine under Israel’s military jackboot for 40 years.

Israel, of course, is an ethnocracy with racist laws, not a democracy as we know it in the West. This week an Israeli human rights organization, Gisha, is appealing against a decision by Israel’s so-called ‘democracy’ banning radio advertisements to highlight the plight of Palestinian students enrolled at foreign universities but prevented by Israel from leaving the Gaza Strip. The director-general of the Broadcast Authority said the subject was “politically and ideologically controversial”.

I wonder if the Ambassador is aware that in the UK PR campaigns are supposed to observe rules set down by the Advertising Standards Authority? In short, all marketing communications must be legal, decent, honest and truthful. The main difficulty for Israeli PR, as others have pointed out, is that Israel is probably the world’s worst brand, followed closely by Zionism. Any marketing effort that is remotely decent, honest or truthful would sink both.

Let’s take the recent Telegraph article, in which the Ambassador says “the constant barrage of rockets being fired on Israeli citizens… the average British citizen is painfully unaware that, since Hamas seized control of Gaza last year, 1,400 rockets and 1,500 mortar bombs have landed on Israeli soil.” He fails to mention that these crude, home-made projectiles are nothing compared to the thousands of high-tech munitions fired by Israeli F16s, helicopter gun-ships, armed drones, tanks, troops and warships at the 1.5 million civilians imprisoned in the Gaza Strip. Is that honest?

Under the rules “no marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise”.

Ambassador Prosor claims that “Britain has become a hotbed for radical anti-Israeli views … Israel has been cast as a pantomime villain… a climate of hatred is fomented on campuses”. This would be hard to prove. Under the rules he must hold documentary evidence to support all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation.

If anti-Israeli views do exist, I imagine they’re directed not so much against Israel and its people as the Zionist Tendency that rules it.

As for hatred, the Israeli government provides a running master-class on how to stoke it up. Take the latest example. A report by Peace Now, an Israeli non-governmental organization, says that at least 2,600 new Israelis-only homes are currently under construction illegally – in Palestine’s West Bank, an increase of 80 per cent over last year. In occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians justly claim as the capital of their future state, the number of new Israeli government bids for construction has increased from 46 in 2007 to 1,761 so far this year.

This breaches earlier agreements as well as international law and obviously undermines final status talks. Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, says the construction will not affect talks. “The peace process is not, and should not be, affected by any kind of settlement activities” and the settlement building programme should not be used as an excuse to avoid negotiations, she tells Palestinians. What planet is the woman on? Everybody knows perfectly well that settlement building, like the Separation Wall, is a Trojan horse used by Israelis to bite deep into Palestinian land, seize control of precious water resources and fragment any future Palestinian state. The Israel government is busily creating ‘facts on the ground’ that are likely to prevent any peace deal, so cannot be regarded as a real ‘partner for peace’.

Enter Condoleezza Rice, having lost all touch with reality and ignoring Peace Now and other reports. She says she has faith in Israeli intentions. “I don’t believe that it is Israel’s policy to increase activity in the settlements, rather it is to decrease activity,” she remarked during a press conference. Rice is supposed to be bright but evidently inhabits the same planet as Livni.

Devious PR goes unchallenged

Let’s dwell for a moment on Barak’s ‘generous offer’, another of the myths Israelis love to peddle. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22 per cent of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22 per cent and recognize Israel within ‘Green Line’ borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line established after the Arab-Israeli War). Conceding 78 per cent of the land that was originally theirs was an astonishing compromise on the part of the Palestinians.

But it wasn’t enough for Barak. His ‘generous offer’ required the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within the 22 per cent remnant. It’s plain to see on the map that these settlement blocs create impossible borders and already severely disrupt Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “Temporary Israeli Control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control indefinitely. The ‘generous offer’ also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the Palestinian State. What nation in the world would accept that? The truth contained in Barak’s maps was hidden by propaganda spin.

At Taba, Barak presented a revised map. The Palestinians considered it a basis for negotiation but Barak repudiated it after his election defeat. You don’t have to take my word for it – the facts are well documented and explained by organizations such as Gush Shalom.

Another rule to remember is that you “should not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience” of your audience.

Several weeks ago I and others, describing ourselves as Friends of Mohammed Omer, wrote to Ambassador Prosor asking for an explanation after the young journalist was beaten up and admitted to hospital by Israeli security thugs when he arrived at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on 26 June. Mohammed, who had committed no crime, was on his way home to his family in Gaza after receiving the coveted Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism at a ceremony in London.

Mr Prosor ignored our request and several reminders, and finally had his Deputy Head of Mission send a woefully inadequate response to an MP. In it the Israelis tried to demolish Mohammed’s ‘testimony’ and discredit him. But according to Mr Omer no Israeli investigator contacted him and no-one asked for medical reports. Refusing an independent inquiry or tribunal in such a case, and not even interviewing the victim or his doctors, or the Dutch diplomats who accompanied him, spells whitewash – and a PR blunder of the first magnitude.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, when the two Free Gaza boats broke the illegal blockade last week Israel’s propaganda machine lashed out to brand the 40-odd multi-national and multi-faith activists who undertook the voyage a “handful of provocateurs seeking a public relations stunt… aimed at boosting Hamas”. This ridiculous claim didn’t end there. The siege-breakers, said Israeli officials, “support Hamas suicide bombers and rocket attacks on Israel towns and cities” and show “a complete and total disregard for innocent Israel terror victims”.

Unable to say anything intelligent about the voyagers – or indeed Hamas – the Israelis as usual resorted to nasty accusations that could not possibly be justified.

Most of the PR fodder pumped out relentlessly by Israeli propagandists in London and Tel Aviv could never hope to pass the ‘decent, honest and truthful’ test. Those responsible for it are plainly incompetent in the professional marketing sense. If only the Palestinians and the Arab League would get their media act together they could make mincemeat of their Israeli tormentors in the all-important battle for hearts and minds.

But I hear on the grapevine that the Palestinian Authority – that den of collaborators in Ramallah – promised their US sponsor not to embarrass Israel in public. So the PA, knowing which side their bread is buttered, make no effort. Thus Israel’s devious PR goes unchallenged – except by Hamas.

It’s a mistake to think you can turn around a poor brand by throwing more PR at it. You have to improve the product. In Israel’s case they’ll have to cut out the crime and racism, hand back what they have stolen, scrupulously observe international law and UN Charter obligations, and show contrition for past sins. Only then will it be possible to begin turning Israel into an acceptable and marketable entity with a fine reputation for justice and good neighbourliness, which surely is what most people wish to see.

When that’s on track is when good PR kicks in.

AMERICAN/ZIONIST WAR WHORES

AW, C’MON, YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT.

JUST LOOK AT IT THERE, GLISTENING IN THE BRIGHT SUNLIGHT, WITH BEADS OF OIL AND SWEAT DRIPPING OFF ITS NAKED ARMS…

THERE FOR THE TAKING. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TAKE IT…

IRAN, THE GREAT OIL PRIZE, THE HARLOT THAT TEASES NEOCON FANTASIES, KEEPING THEM AWAKE AT NIGHT, WAITING FOR AN OVERWHELMING AMERICAN THRUST…

IRAN, THE TEMPTRESS, WHO TAUGHTS THE ZIONIST WAR-MONGERS INTO SENDING THEIR FAVORITE AMERICAN HITMEN TO SUBDUE ISRAEL’S RELUCTANT BRIDE…

FOOLISH AMERICANS, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO RAVAGE THE IRANIAN NATION.

Israel knows, 63% of us want Israel to launch a nuclear first strike against Iran, 55% think that we should nuke them ourselves. (SOURCE) This is total bullshit. This Jewish group promoting global thermonuclear war (any attack upon Iran is an attack upon Russia), the Israel Project, surely confined its survey to areas with large Jewish populations.

This is the same outfit that produced this commercial glorifying a first strike on Iran:

ZIONIST WAR-MONGERING

JUST ANOTHER CASE OF ZIONIST BRAINWASHING, MEDIA CONTROL, CONTROL OF BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES AND STARTING MORE ILLEGAL WARS. ONLY TRUE “ANTI-SEMITES” COULD MAKE SUCH ACCUSATIONS

Conservatism: Shilling for its Corporate Master

Conservatives dread the light of day. They know that if their true motives are revealed, they’ll be lucky to get away with their lives. If they didn’t have an iron grip on media, they’d be banished, like any monster would, and preferably tarred and feathered on the way out.

Conservatism: Shilling for its Corporate Master

by Jon Faulkner

Germany, under Hitler, defined fascism with its attendant brutality, and brought its ugly face to the world’s attention. Like the right wing everywhere, it sought to present a contrived rational for its existence, while trying to hide its crimes against humanity. When the truth won out, all it had left was the horror, the scorn, the disgust that humanity reserves for the monstrous. The smoking remnants of a nation lay broken, and its people were hesitantly recognized as human. Americans should take careful note.

Germany celebrated its heyday over the bones of the dead, and few Germans were aware enough to understand the contradiction of their imagined superiority over the weak, the dispossessed. They still bear the burden of that pain over 60 years later. Even the most casual student of history knows that nations bury themselves over the prospect of change. They realize that Germans saw in Hitler salvation, even though nothing threatened them. Hitler made Germans feel entitled to whatever it was they could claim as their own, and to hell with anyone who stood in their way.

The U.S, under Bush, would seem to bend to the same, aimless ambitions as Germany at war. Americans keep confirming the same themes the republicans insist are vital. Fiscal responsibility! They rave. As they run up the national debt to unprecedented heights. Freedom! They shout. As bombs are dropped on foreign lands and innocent people are murdered while the Constitution is diminished, subverted, disrespected, and why? Personal responsibility! They cry. As U.S. corporations need another taxpayer funded handout to correct their unregulated greed.

Conservatives dread the light of day. They know that if their true motives are revealed, they’ll be lucky to get away with their lives. If they didn’t have an iron grip on media, they’d be banished, like any monster would, and preferably tarred and feathered on the way out.

The right wing’s history is in acting as corporate shill. Corporate has no motive to understand morality so it must have a defense, an explanation for its lack. It is the right wing’s job to provide it. The care that human beings demonstrate for each other is a threat to the corporate bottom line. Compassion is a concept outside the province and interest of corporate law. The motives that drive a man or women to challenge the impossible are unwelcome, and even threatening, in a plutocratic, corporate society. Art is reduced to advertising, for in the corporate world imagination is not welcome. It doesn’t fall within the boundaries of strict definition. It’s not something that can be held, weighed, and measured so what possible use could it have to the corporate mentality?

Art is the medium, the window, through which humanity may catch a fleeting glimpse of itself. It allows, for an instant, that humanity may take an objective view of where it’s been and where it’s going. It’s a huge threat to the corporate function. That’s why advertisement is the public art. For advertisement celebrates the material, and art attempts to examine the intangible depths of the human soul. It asks that humanity look inward to its true nature – to the motives for its existence. The corporate world can’t recognize humanity, nor the moral tenants that guide it. It can’t concern itself with ordinary care outside of profit. It must restrict itself to its only function – bottom line profit, no matter the expense in human terms. Art, and the human imagination, threatens its existence.

Millions of Americans are ready and anxious to vote for Bush ll, the senile version. Why so many voters would do such a thing is entirely outside the province of rational explanation. Bush, one man, has visited fiscal disaster upon the nation. He has also presented the U.S. as an imperialist nation, willing to invade sovereign states for corporate opportunity, thinly disguised as freedom. If one such man may decide the fate of so many, then some assessment of their character, honor, and intelligence, seems vital.

Americans failed to hold Bush to any qualifier, and their reward is richly deserved. The ones who saw it coming and had to watch it unfold, like an automobile accident in slow motion, will be dragged down right along with the rest of the herd, which, it seems, is poised again to abandon all caution in their support of McCain, a mere codification of the previous eight years. Even a dumb animal learns that after it’s been burned a few times it doesn’t revisit the source of its injury.

Americans remain largely ignorant of the right wing’s historical role in concentrating wealth among a comparative few. The robber barons of the late 19th century, and the grand opulence of the roaring twenties, were republican high points before Americans shook themselves awake and recoiled in horror at conservative excess. Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle, helped Americans understand the forces that would undermine democracy. Certain men, driven by unfettered greed, will casually abandon all consideration of moral allowance in their driven pursuit of more, more, more. This is a form of mental illness.

Conservatism’s chief interest is in enriching themselves at other’s expense. This doesn’t tie to the democratic principle of governance by the majority, where the individual does matter, and the desires and needs of the minority are recognized, and if possible, addressed. Conservatives, on the other hand, deliberately disqualify minorities as drags on economy, or even insurrectionists, who would bring harm to the nation. This scare tactic dovetails nicely into the public’s installed fear of minority groups. Divide and conquer.

As much as they try to disguise their hatred of anyone unlike themselves, they reveal their ambition to destroy. If only they would tell the truth, that ignorance is bliss, but only until the bill comes due. War is their forte’, and peace is only a convenient pause while dividing up the loot before their next target is selected, whether it be foreign or domestic. The world is growing more finite daily, and the corporate struggle is in grabbing as much claim to material as possible.

Those who fight wars do so knowing that sacrifice is their burden, and the resultant world should be a new, and better place. Those dead soldiers, who stormed the beaches against the stuttering German machine guns, summoned their impossible bravery from the realization that without their charge at certain death the world would be a darker place. The American soldiers, fighting in Iraq, are given to understand that their war is unending, that it can’t be won.

The aftermath of WWlI saw the collective efforts of the victors devoting every resource to bring the humiliated losers, the murderous outlaws of the world’s community, back into the human fold. The victors did this in gratitude to their dead, who kept the wolf, the ever creeping, relentless tide of fascism, away from their doors.

Conservatism would protest against helping the vanquished. Let them eat cake, it would say. No matter its disguise, conservatism always concerns itself with the condemnation of human spirit. It insists on mass conformity to realize its ends. It must punish human transcendence to realize its own, narrow boundaries. Its material infatuation is unshakeable, and it has no tolerance for any view but its own. It sees the human struggle in terms of possible advantage for itself. It can’t grasp the salient truth that humanity is its causation, and any diminishment of humanity is its own.

Any disposition of human spirit is an affront to its aim. It demands of humanity precisely what humanity can’t give – its collective surrender to sameness. Conservatism asks that equality be universal, without character or form. Conservatism is a colorless world, without the spontaneity of human inspiration. It doesn’t recognize humanities long history of overcoming impossible odds. It doesn’t welcome humanity with its incredible diversity of thought. It can only understand its own narrow aim, that like mules, human beings must be presented a carrot on a stick. Conservatism is constantly threatened by its black and white perception of the world, while humanity is intuitively unwilling to deny its collective dream of individual determination, that is only restricted by imagination.

Suppose they threw an election and nobody came

Suppose they threw an election and nobody came

By Paul Richard Harris

The editorial board of Axis of Logic is encouraging voters in the United States to stay away from the polls on November 4.

I’m part of that editorial board, and I agree that the US electoral system is so utterly corrupt that participating in its charade borders on stupidity. We are urging potential voters to do almost anything else that day: read a book, take in a movie, spend some time with your kids or parents, clip your toenails — there aren’t many things you could choose to do that will be less valuable than choosing a candidate in the next US election.

But that got me to thinking about two things:

  • What is the purpose of voting in the first place?
  • What happens if US citizens listen to us, and no one shows up to vote?

Let me digress for a moment. Although we are specifically concerned about the upcoming US elections, the issue of why we are voting in the first place is more universal.

My own country might have a general election before the United States. Our government is of the parliamentary form and, at the federal level at least, elections don’t follow a defined timeframe. An election must be conducted at least once every five years, but short of that requirement, the government is free to call for an election whenever the mood strikes them. Naturally, they normally do that only when they think their chances for re-election are solid. They don’t always guess right, but that’s life. Our present overlords seem to be thinking they will be good to go any day now.

So, supposing Canadians do get the opportunity to go to the polls soon, here are the options they can exercise: they can stay home and not vote; they can go to the polling place and spoil their ballots (in which case it is simply discarded); they can go the polling place and formally refuse the ballot (in which case it is registered as declined, like choosing ‘none of the above’); they can hold their noses and select one of whatever is on the ticket in their constituency.

We have relatively simple ballots. There is usually only the election itself taking place; referenda, special votes, and so on are quite rare. And we get one vote, for one candidate. So we can’t, say, choose Stephane Dion for prime minister without also choosing his band of no-goods along with him. We can’t select the Conservatives without getting stuck with Stephen Harper (the current prime minister). But we do have lots of choices — Canadian Heritage, NDP, Green, Marxist-Leninist, Lennon & McCartneyist and a bunch of others — whom we can choose with confidence, since we can be absolutely certain none of these will ever form a government.

It is hard to accept that thinking Canadians consider our electoral system to have any merit whatsoever. In almost every individual riding, we consistently elect ‘representatives’ (the term is used here loosely) who are opposed by more than half of those who bothered to vote. Perhaps that’s one of the main reasons that voter participation has steadily dwindled over the past few decades: only a small minority ever ends up with what it wants.

But — and here’s what sets us aside from our southern neighbours — our elections are actually fair. There are real ballots, counted by real people, and retained in case they need to be recounted. Vote counting is overseen by representatives of the parties, and done in the full sight of everyone. No matter how inept our candidates might have been, no matter how poor our choices might have been, we can be absolutely assured that the dreck we get stuck with is the dreck we chose.

Why do we vote?

The answer to that is pretty simple, really: people in most countries think they are participating in democracy.

But let’s be very clear about democracy: It never had a chance. The forces arrayed against the dream of government of, by, and for the people have been extraordinary. It is possible that they are insurmountable; it is certain that they are anonymous to most members of the public.

This is a very complicated subject, not because it addresses fair voting or republicanism versus parliamentary government, or proportional representation, or any of those things. But because it deals with the shadowy world of international economics and finance, about which most of us know very little. And it is a difficult subject because most of us don’t want to acknowledge that we’ve been had, that we have only briefly enjoyed anything that remotely approached government serving the interests of the public — which surely must be the purpose and definition of democracy.

Prior to the rise of democracy a few hundred years ago, hunger was rarely a social problem. As discovered in the writings of economic historian Karl Polanyi, hunger did not afflict individuals in traditional societies unless the whole group was threatened in some way — famine, fire, pestilence, disease, invasion, and the like. Almost everyone had work to do, and freedom from hunger was an accepted social norm. As the landholding gentry became established, this situation only varied a little. Using the feudal manor as an example, everyone worked and everyone was housed and fed.

According to Polanyi, the principle of having basic needs satisfied was sanctioned “under almost every and any type of social organization up to about the beginning of sixteenth century Europe.” At about that time, individuals ‘unattached to the manor’ began to arise and develop into craftsmen. Some were able to sell their services and products, while others fell to destitution. But with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, these individual craftsmen and artisans found themselves quickly swallowed and suddenly bereft of the ability to feed and house themselves and their families.

In England, this caused the onset of an early attempt at socialism. In 1795, a system was established that provided an allowance to the poor, tied to the price of bread, and meant to ensure a basic ‘right to live’. Within about forty years, though, the ‘right to live’ was considered an impediment to the progress of the Industrial Revolution, essentially because it eased the desperation of workers and made them a little less amenable to working in horrid conditions for starvation wages. It is not hard to see why an eventual clash between the labourers and the business owners was certain to come.

As we all know, the ruling classes around most of the world were eventually dragged, kicking and screaming, into a new reality where the people got to select governments and have some input into the direction that they wished society to take. And almost from the outset, these popularly elected governments, or democracies, have been chimera.

Government has, as one of its primary responsibilities, the management of the economy. Leaving aside whether they should have more or less input into economies, they have by their sheer size and force of law the ability to influence how a country’s economy operates internally, and how it reacts to or coalesces with international economies.

The simple reality is, however, that governments are only as powerful as their ability to control the movement of capital. And that has almost always eluded them. Gold was once the medium of exchange and the constant against which currency was measured; the ability to readily move the gold from one country to another was constrained. That gave government its last best opportunity to govern effectively.

In our present day, however, wealth moves in nanoseconds. Currencies around the world are bought and sold in a heartbeat, and decisions made just to put a few more coins into someone’s pocket can destroy the economy of some small country overnight. And all of this happens completely free of regulation.

To make matters worse, corporations now rule the world — no country’s government is in charge of anything, except a few small dictatorships. Decisions regarding economics are all made to serve the needs of corporations. In effect, our governments are the paid lobbyists of those corporations. So when we vote, all we are really determining is who we think is the best person to get paid by us for working against our interests.

This might not be so bad as it sounds if the corporations were housed locally, paid taxes locally, and generally provided a benefit to society. But they are not, do not, and cannot. It is a legal requirement for a corporation to take all steps necessary to achieve the maximum return on the shares of its investors. They cannot have concern for the needs of society.

My friends on the left — most of whom are not as far left as I — object to any acknowledgement that capitalist pursuits have some merit. But the trouble is, Adam Smith was largely right in his views that even-handed trade and strong worker power are the only things that could realistically promote fairness and democracy. And we on the left are often guilty of absolutism; we refuse to even acknowledge the possibility that some of the thinking of the right might have merit. On the right, however, it is far more common for them to lift the good ideas of the left and simply appropriate them.

The word ‘capitalism’ is in bad odour today, a disdain it has surely earned. But the ideal behind trade amongst peoples is a great incentive to people to produce, to get ahead, to make things and invent things; it is the necessary grease to move society forward.

My concern is always with labels — I know all about the arguments that surround the concept of ‘framing’, and that choice of language is very powerful in how things proceed. But looking at the reality, rather than at what things are called, we see pretty clearly that the problems stem — almost entirely — from corporate rule.

The British court which originally declared corporations to be ‘persons’ set us down an inevitable path to where we are right now. In the absence of reforming that issue, nothing is going to change. Even revolution won’t help unless we change that fundamental law. We need an overwhelming surge of jurisdictions throwing off the shackle of corporate rule, and willing to tell those nations who won’t do likewise to take their business elsewhere.

We do have the Scandinavian experience of how benign capitalism can be when sternly corralled — but even there, it is still the corporation at the heart of driving society. Given the legal personhood, corporate rule cannot help but be totalitarian — it’s what it’s designed to do.

So we have three essential problems that will need to be stopped before any real progress will take place:

  • outlawing speculation in currencies, or taxing it heavily enough to strongly curtail it
  • stripping corporations of their personhood
  • making corporations responsible first to the laws of their homeland, second to the laws of any country where they do business, third to international law, fourth to their shareholders

And another thing that would be helpful is that the United States needs to be sent to its room and told to think about what it has done.

I don’t invest; I don’t speculate in currencies or bond markets; the money I do have is kept in several Credit Unions; I actively boycott dozens of corporations based solely on their bad citizenship (Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, etc.); I buy from local farmers and local vendors wherever possible; I buy Fair Trade products as much as I can; I don’t eat meat — partly because I don’t like it much, but mostly because of the North American penchant for loading it up with chemicals, for mistreating the animals and the environment; I donate money to groups like Doctors Without Borders. In short, I try as hard as I can to live within the economy we have, while participating in it as little as possible.

But I don’t vote.

It isn’t that I wouldn’t love to vote; it’s just that I hate to waste my time on anything so meaningless. I’d get far better use of my time by looking for imaginary shapes in the clouds; and I wouldn’t have to wash my hands and gargle when I was done.

I am thoroughly a socialist (have been since my teens); but that’s not enough. Without those fundamental changes noted above in how the world’s economy operates, we will merely be moving the deck chairs on the Titanic. Because even socialism will eventually decay if required to operate within the current economic paradigm — whatever name we call it by.

In my view, the radical thinkers who seem to be trying to move society in the right direction are not nearly radical enough. I am a big fan of Hugo Chavez, but I don’t think his reforms will go far enough — they can’t, without those fundamental changes noted above.

What happens if no one gets elected?

I have tried to locate anything in United States, Canadian, or British law that can offer guidance here. But, frankly, no one seems to have considered the possibility that the populace would ever, en masse, just sit on their hands and refuse to be led to the polling booth.

Since it is the upcoming US vote that prompted this article in the first place, let me speculate about how they would handle it.

First, having absolutely no one vote is simply unthinkable. At the very least, each of the self-serving candidates is going to vote for him or herself. And depending on the size of their families, and who owes them favours or hopes to get favours, somebody is going to win each seat. But if every candidate manages to win election on a basis of, say, 20 votes against 15 for their opponent in a jurisdiction with half a million potential voters, how do you think that will play out? Even in the United States, where citizens are often referred to as ‘we the sheeple’, it must be assumed that no one would tolerate the formation of a government on such a basis.

So the next logical choice is that the incumbents would try to enact some form of martial or emergency authority to maintain the seats themselves. That would require a level of cooperation between these people that is likely to be so far outside their experience as to be impossible — they can rarely even agree on lunch. Regardless, whatever efforts they tried to hold power would require the assistance of the military, and it is speculative how much support the military would be willing to give. More likely, some strong military leader would get it into his head that if there was ever a time in the US for a coup, this was it.

By far the most likely scenario, is that all hell would break loose. And the US would finally see a real revolution; not like the one in the late 1700s where the population simply exchanged one sort of aristocratic authority for another. The society that would eventually flow out of this revolution is anyone’s guess, considering that US citizens are armed to the teeth.

In Canada, if there was a complete absence of government, it is doubtful that most of us would notice the difference.

What can we do about all this?

Maybe nothing.

But maybe, just maybe, we’ll wake up and smell the rot. Maybe we’ll take the initiative and go after our governments — with threats, if need be — and force them to take control. One of the things our rulers have always relied upon is our willingness to be cowed. From time to time, here and there throughout the world, a movement arises that overthrows the order of the day. Unfortunately, in all but a very small number of cases, the movement quickly deteriorates into a carbon copy of what it just replaced.

What is needed is a completely new mindset. One that is based on thinking that the world really belongs to us all, not just a few of us; one that is built on the principle that society needs enough capitalism so as to maintain individual incentive, enough socialism so as to maintain individual humanity.

A significant part of the world, in particular the part usually referenced as the ‘First World’, has developed from the stock of Christianity. That is not to say that all those folks are Christian, but the basis of the laws and the societal standards they have developed over the centuries arose from that tradition. Unfortunately, Christ would find very little in society today that he would recognize; he would be quite surprised at the things said and done in his name. In fact, Western society has moved so far from the basic principles of Christian charity and caring that if Christ was to appear on earth today he’d probably sue for slander.

No matter what sect of Christianity you wish to consider, the reality is that Christ was a humanist, a socialist. He lived and breathed the Golden Rule; he cried out for the rich to take care of the poor and ill; he spoke of a brotherhood of mankind; he asked us all to play nice. It would take a very vivid imagination for anyone to believe that much of mankind has stayed even vaguely familiar with the teachings of Christ.

Indeed, that same sort of tradition forms the basic tenets of most of the world’s great religions and, therefore, the backbone of the societal structures built by the adherents of those religions. While the practices of the religions themselves may have declined in many places throughout the world, the basic fabric of those societies was still woven from those beliefs. As much as I can say Christianity is hard to recognize in today’s societies, the same is true for most other religious traditions.

Abandoning our basic humanity has become de rigueur among those who have embraced the capitalist dogma. It seems that many among us believe any activity that smells like socialism is the very bane of life, and that it is necessary for us to make sure we get ours while everyone else is on their own.

To be sure, there are nations where dog eat dog eat dog is not the norm. I think particularly of the Scandinavian countries who, better than anyone, appear to have grasped the idea that society should care for and nurture its members. They are amongst the most highly taxed people on earth, and much of their lives is regulated by governmental rules and regulations. But the average Scandinavian will tell you that the taxes they pay are well spent, that they are getting their money’s worth. Are you? They will tell you that a caring society is a good thing, that they all benefit from it, that it is still possible to get rich but not if it means other people go hungry. What exactly is wrong with that?

The fact is, there is little to distinguish humans from the rest of the animal kingdom, except that they are generally better people than us. We have at our disposal the tools, the wealth, the opportunity to put aside centuries of bickering and warfare; we are more than able to feed all of our species; we are quite capable of allowing for the drive of those who want to succeed in capitalist pursuits and for allowing them to prosper while they help others.

Surely it must be self-evident that a society which cares for its weakest, that prevents unnecessary hunger and illness, that ensures the basic necessities of life are available to all, is a society worth having. Surely it is self-evident that such a society takes away much of the impetus toward anti-social behaviour that has caused so much strife among us. Surely it is self-evident that removing some of the want from people and addressing the needs of the dispossessed, the refugees, the poor, is an act of self-preservation.

There are some basic needs that should be satisfied at the governmental level: potable water; electricity; heat; a minimum level of shelter. But establishing a society where the exploitation of one class by another does not exist shouldn’t be a pipe dream. A capitalist system where entrepreneurs are free to develop their ideas and their enterprises, and to get rich, should not interfere with an orderly distribution of wealth within a society.

I’m not talking about stealing from the rich to give to the poor; I’m talking about a fair system of distribution where the truly industrious can get as rich as their labours will allow, and where the less able or poorly equipped receive a boost to maintain dignity and basic living standards. There doesn’t seem to be any problem with filthy rich sports franchises redistributing gate receipts to benefit the smaller market teams; but there is a strong aversion to giving the same sort of attention to common people.

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degrees of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and tolerable administration of justice.

- Adam Smith, the ‘father of capitalism’

The Wealth of Nations

Maybe we should seriously look at the way we order our priorities and the care we give to our species. We put a great deal of effort into managing everything except ourselves, and we are the one creature on this planet desperately in need of a good slap upside the head.

But here is the main point: None of this is going to come about by voting. It is only going to come about through people gathering and demanding control.

I am advocating revolution. I prefer it to be non-violent; we know that enough people peacefully lining the streets demanding change has been very effective more than once. But that requires the organization of the left, who currently appear to be in disarray. The left needs to think a lot more clearly about what it hopes to achieve, and it needs to plan a lot more diligently how the diverse groups on the left can come together and work together.

There are far too many marginalized people, too many impoverished and hungry people. Eventually, that is a dam that is going to burst. And if the left can’t make progress before this happens, revolution will eventually occur without them. History suggests it will not be pretty.

Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com

No More DU, No More Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis

No More DU, No More Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis

By Cathy Garger

This is the original prepared version of a speech presented by Cathy Garger at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Commemoration at the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC on August 5, 2008. *

To our very special guests from Japan, the Hibakusha, who traveled so far to be with us today, to our guests from the US, I welcome you. I wish to thank the Washington Peace Center for inviting me to come speak to you here today in memory of the tragic – and needless – bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

My name is Cathy Garger. I’m a writer and public speaker, and volunteer with activists around the nation in a group called CORE – which stands for Citizens Opposing a Radioactive Environment. Our primary focus is to stop the use of toxic, radioactive weapons in illegal, genocidal acts of aggression against innocent peoples of the world. We educate about the dangers of all forms of radioactive Uranium in our environment – everything from bombs and weapons to nuclear power plant reactors that emit life-destroying radiation into our air and water. I wish to also give special thanks to my friends from Hawaii for their continued inspiration as they fight – with supreme dedication – against continued environmental contamination created by the US military in their occupations throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Baghdad – 2007

Today I will be speaking about the US use of Uranium weapons. While nations other than the US do possess these weapons and a few have used them? By and large, the world has the US to thank, as the majority of these radioactive weapons owned and used by other nations have been sold to them by the United States.

With regard to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, honestly, I really wish I could say we admit that our government made two horrible, monumental mistakes 3 days apart in August of 1945 – and then be able to say, we are so very sorry, and it’s all over, and that is that.

Unfortunately, however, if I were to tell you that the radioactive poison gas onslaughts against Japan and the rest of the world ended on August 9, 1945? Then, truly, I would be telling you a rather large lie.

The US ranks first in the world in terms of military spending and arms import – and first in the world in infringing upon the sovereignty and human rights of other nations. You know, we hear so much about the US military using torture, a violation of human rights. But, as bad as torture is? The even bigger violation of human rights we rarely hear mentioned is our Depleted Uranium use – or DU – our radioactive poisoning of people here at home and around the planet – and the wanton contamination of the air, water, and soil upon which we all depend on in order to survive.

The nuclear bombs we started exploding in 1945 – first in the US in New Mexico, and then the two in Japan were very visible with mushroom clouds, shaking the earth even hundreds of miles away. In contrast, the Uranium gas weapons used today are not as visible. And since there’s no mushroom cloud, it’s hard for some people to believe that the radioactive poison gas is still being used – because it is something they can not see.

And our government tells us that our diseases are caused by other chemicals, and they say Uranium weapons are not really all that harmful or hazardous unless you happen to be sitting on top of an exploding armored tank. So many people tend to believe our government. How many after all, even suspect their government would tell a lie – or do anything that might harm their own citizens – quite knowingly? It’s too horrible for many to even fathom – and so we are a nation both ignorant and in denial.

So many Americans believe all the lies – such as, Uranium munitions are “mildly” or “weakly” radioactive and therefore, don’t really pose much of a problem. Any of us who have studied the effects of ionizing radiation, however, recognize this for the lie it truly is.

And so I am here today to tell you the truth. But first, going back to Japan for a moment… in addition to the nuclear bombs of 1945, the US has also used Uranium munitions on the Japanese island, Tori Shima, Okinawa, which has been used as a bombing range for more than half a century.

In the Okinawa area, the US Marine Corps Harrier jets fired over 1,500 DU rounds – they said “accidentally – which were dumped into the ocean from 1995 to 1996. Mind you, these munitions are clearly marked and required special handling. The use of Uranium weapons is certainly never an accident.

Then in May, 2000, hundreds of 25mm DU cartridges were sold to a scrap yard dealer as scrap iron in a drum with the word “uranium” on it! Furthermore, 400,000 DU “bullets” were found at the US Kadena Base in Okinawa in 2001. But even one year prior to that, Okinawans had had just about enough, and at the G8 summit held in July, 2000 nearly 30,000 protesters formed a human chain surrounding the 11-mile perimeter of the Kadena Air Force Base – the largest military base in Asia.

But it does not end there. In August, 2004, a US transport helicopter with DU in its blades, believed to be carrying DU munitions – crashed at Okinawa International University. Thirty thousand people protested after this crash. Recently, the world heard our USS Houston nuclear submarine leaked radioactive fluid – as these vessels very often do – into Japan’s waters when it was docked as Sasebo, Japan. Other places it has leaked include Guam, Hawaii, and the Pacific Ocean.

Military bases occupy about 20 percent of Okinawa and exercises in Okinawa, with live ammunition causing forest fires, soil erosion, earth tremors, and accidents, destroying the natural ecosystems, leaving land barren and filled with ammunition shells, adversely impacting Okinawa’s environment for many years to come. Fish are in plentiful supply there – tuna, bonito, squid – but the fishermen have to sacrifice that area in order to keep their food supply safe. Unfortunately, the health and environment problems regarding the US military’s love of radioactive materials seems to have no end in sight.

The United States government is completely and thoroughly addicted to using toxic and radioactive poison gasses that destroy – for billions of years – the Earth’s environment. These aerosols devastate the health and genetic makeup of all forms of wildlife, and human health, too.

When geo-scientist and atmospheric uranium specialist Leuren Moret was working at the Livermore Laboratory in 1991, she saw fresh environmental samples from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When she asked why they were still monitoring Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she was told “Because they are still radioactive.”

Sadly, the isotopes of Uranium used in the two bombs have half lives of 704 million and 4.5 billion years. When we use Uranium in our weapons? We contaminate the people, nature, and the environment for an eternity.

Ever since July 16, 1945, when we dropped the Trinity Bomb on ourselves in New Mexico, the US government has been continuously using Uranium in the form of nuclear weapons and also in the form of everyday Uranium weapons they call “conventional” weapons. Imagine calling “conventional” weapons that are made from nuclear materials! Used in penetrators, bunker buster bombs, cluster bombs, and missiles used, for example, by our Navy ships, fighter jets, and armored tanks, what some call “Depleted” Uranium, was coined the misleading term on purpose. While these munitions may be reduced in some of the Uranium 235 (just one of the isotopes of Uranium)? DU certainly still packs a hefty dose of ionizing radiation and is not at all depleted in radioactivity!

In fact, Professor Katsuma Yagasaki of the University of the Ryukyus said, “DU shells are atrocious radioactive weapons, which must never be allowed to use.” He also stated, “Radioactive weapons commit an impermissible crime scattering radioactive materials in the environment.”

In testimony in 2003 at the International War Crimes Tribunal On Afghanistan in Japan, Leuren Moret said, “I realized after only two years at the lab, that the culture of nuclear weapons was a culture of insanity. What species on earth kills its young generation after generation? What species on earth sacrifices its young for the false notion of —security?”

Ms. Moret also stated, “In 1991, in the first Gulf War, the United States broke a 60 year taboo and introduced depleted uranium to the battleground, a radiological weapon which is truly a weapon of indiscriminate killing and mass destruction. Now that we know both, we must ask a question – which is worse, the horrific effects of flash annihilation from an atomic bomb or slow mutilation forever from depleted uranium weapons?”

Professor Yagasaki calculated that the amount of DU the US is believed to have used in the first Gulf War on Iraq is the radiological equivalent of 83,000 Nagasaki bombs.

Later, in March 2004, Yagasaki’s calculations yielded DU use in Iraq as the equivalent of 250,000 Nagasaki bombs. Since that was over 4 years ago, conservatively, we’ve used over one-half million times – probably closer to one million times – the amount of radiation in Iraq and Afghanistan that we used on Nagasaki!

DU is even more dangerous to human health over the long run than nuclear bombs!

Hiroshima – 1945

Veterans tell us Depleted Uranium was first tested in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. They also say DU was used in Grenada and Panama – but no, the US government has not admitted to any of this, at least not as far as I have read. DU was used in Iraq beginning in 1991 in the first Gulf War and continuously to the current day. NATO, led by the US, used DU in the ‘90s in the Balkans, causing high radiation readings in nearby Albania, Macedonia, Italy, Austria and Hungary. Since October 2001, Uranium munitions have used in Afghanistan. We’ve also used DU in Somalia, Africa, from the 1990’s to present.

In the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, we’ve caused unfathomable pain, suffering, sickness, and death – and worst of all? The environmental radiation has resulted in horrendous effects on babies and children. This poison is also used in so-called military “testing” in North America and Australia, too.

Much of what they do is secretive. Not only are they withholding how many tons of DU they’ve used in these pre-emptive, illegal, barbaric, aggressive acts upon innocent – they often deny even using it!

Now I ask you, why would they not tell us all about what they’re doing if DU was really as harmless as they say?!

The US military is not sharing how many tons of DU it has used in these pre-emptive, illegal, barbaric, and aggressive acts upon innocents – and it sometimes even denies using these munitions. Yet the Department of Defense budgets allocates monies for DU weapons and the proving grounds upon which to fire and explode them – and soldiers in all of these conflicts verify that Uranium weapons have been used extensively in these combat areas.

The Defense budgets allocate monies for DU – and Veterans – at least one-third of them disabled with undiagnosed symptoms of radiation poisoning – verify DU has and is being used in our armed conflicts.

Unfathomably large numbers of our soldiers are contaminated in Asia and then come home with tell-tale signs of DU poisoning, more often are not are denied testing for Uranium contamination, and, find tremendous difficulty receiving the proper diagnosis, care, treatment, and benefits that are rightfully due them. Sadly, their lives are typically cut short due to radiation’s effects on their immune systems and the creation of diseases that destroy their vital organs.

In a letter to a VA physician sent in May, 2006, Senator John Warner of Virginia confirms DU use by writing: “Such munitions played a major role in the allied victory against Saddam Hussein’s armored divisions in the first Gulf War and in the peace-keeping operations in Kosovo in 1999. The Department of Defense continues to procure depleted-uranium munitions as a crucial part of America’s defense arsenal in Iraq and Afghanistan today based largely on these successes.”

As I stated earlier, we first started using Uranium in July, 1945 in the US in bombings of America they like to call “tests”… and we have been firing, burning, and exploding Uranium – rendering tremendous amounts of poison gas ever since on US Department of Energy and military sites. According to the Environmental Protection Agency? The number of toxic and contaminated federal sites under the jurisdiction of the Departments of Energy, Defense, and the Interior tops 57,000. Fifty Seven Thousand contaminated sites… and that’s just inside this country alone!

In fact, Depleted Uranium is being fired into the open air not that far from here in Maryland – at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds that’s about 45 miles away – which has irreparably contaminated our beloved Chesapeake Bay for an eternity. When I told a retired veteran who use to train soldiers at Aberdeen that my husband’s family enjoys picking crabs harvested from the Cheapeake Bay, the Army vet said, “Don’t eat the seafood from the Bay! I wouldn’t even put my little toe in that Bay!”

Lest we think we are safe here in DC from inhaling ionizing radiation because Aberdeen is 45 miles away? Dr. Chris Busby and Saoirse Morgan discovered high levels of Uranium in the air filters 2,400 to 2,500 miles away, inside the United Kingdom 7 to 9 days after the US “Shock and Awe” Uranium bombing campaign in Baghdad. These Uranium oxides travel through the winds, remain suspended in the atmosphere, and come down to the earth through rain and snow, becomes re-suspended again – and so the cycle goes. So, no, I’m sorry. We are not safe here.

In fact, I have calculated that the US military has used 457 tons of Depleted Uranium in military “testing” inside the US. Yes, that’s 457 tons of Depleted Uranium, used by the US in its own country on its own citizens! That’s more DU than the 320 tons they admit to using in the first Gulf War in Iraq! And the actual number of tons used on us – Americans – is probably much higher, because early on, good records were not kept on DU used at its military sites, many bases have been closed down, and this number does not include the many thousands of pounds of Uranium that have been detonated by the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons laboratory test sites.

And how does DU compare to the effects of atomic bombs? Dr. Ernest Sternglass, Professor Emeritus of Radiological Physics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, and a pioneer in the study of health effects of low-level radiation, provided research and testimony in 1963 which played a role in President Kennedy’s decision to sign the Partial Test Ban Treaty. According to Dr. Sternglass, “the biological damage from internal radiation at low dose is some 100 to 1000 times greater than estimated by the government sponsored International Committee of Radiation Protection largely based on extrapolation of the results of the study of A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki exposed to short, high doses of gamma rays and neutrons.”

Nagasaki – 1945

In other words, even though there are no atomic bombs being detonated any longer, the Uranium penetrators, bombs, and missiles we are using right now – in Afghanistan and Iraq, Somalia, and at weapons practice sites – like the one nearby in Maryland – are even more dangerous to human health – over the long run – than large atomic bombs.

Sadly, they may be able to get away with saying that they stopped so-called “nuclear tests” in our country, but the fact of the matter is, atmospheric explosions of Uranium and other radioactive elements continue to this very day! With our Department of energy detonating Uranium since the 1950’s at locations such as Livermore – outside San Francisco in California, at the Nevada Test Site, and the Los Alamos in New Mexico? The nuclear materials explosions, in reality, never stopped!

A bit more about DU – When fired or exploded, it is pyrophoric, becoming a tremendous fiery explosion, and reaches high temperatures between 3,000-6,000 degrees Centigrade. The Uranium and other metals form a gas or aerosol. These are invisible, nano-sized particles, a billionth of a meter in size, smaller than microns. They act more like a gas than a particle.

These explosions cause the creation of ceramic Uranium oxides – aerosols – a poison gas – the US uses on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as formerly in Bosnia and Kosovo – the Balkans, the former Yugoslavia, and in what they call “testing” – even though they’ve been “testing” the same materials for over 5 decades in places like Okinawa, Japan, Australia, Germany, Scotland, Guam, Panama, Vieques in Puerto Rico, South Korea, off the coasts of Canada in the Atlantic and Pacific, and up and down the coasts of the US in the Atlantic and Pacific – and in Hawaii and Alaska.

Inside the US, Depleted Uranium has been fired, exploded, and/or burned in the open air in many states, just some of which are: Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and California. In addition, these radioactive wastes have been dumped into the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico or burned in our open air.

DU has been fired from Naval boats into the Atlantic – off the coast of Nova Scotia and Massachusetts – off the Pacific – from up north off the coasts of Vancouver Island, Washington State, and California.

In October, 1995, President Bill Clinton revealed that many thousands of human radiation experiments have been conducted by the US spanning into five decades. Do you think this all stopped because Clinton told us so? Well, we do know the Department of Energy measures the radiological “doses” in air filters in California, as well as the “doses” in vegetation and wine. And in the San Francisco area, which surrounds the Livermore Weapons Laboratory, statisticians follow diseases like cancer, with the CDC watching and recording corresponding increases in diseases over time. Some consider this form of atmospheric radioactive contamination and the careful measuring of American disease rates to be one gigantic human radiation experimentation project without any end in sight.

Going back to what is called “battlefield Uranium,” Dr. Sternglass states, “It has been clearly shown to allow these fine particles that have less than a quarter of a million diameter. They measured it and calculated in three weeks how many of these particles would be taken in by a person breathing normally and spending some time outdoors and they calculated that 23 million tiny particles of a quarter million diameter in the concentration that they measure would reach the body and go to the lungs and enter the lymphatic system and produce all kinds of organ damage.”

Dr. Sternglass also said, “if these particles are small enough, that is tinier than a micron, which is a millionth of a meter, or one ten thousandths of a centimeter, if these particles are that small, it turns out they are toxic in themselves, whatever they are composed of.”

“That’s exactly what’s happening in the case of nanoparticles which are produced when the uranium burns upon impact and melts steel and the fine particles are so small, they act like a gas. So what you’re getting is a gas of uranium that gets transported around the world….And so what we’re seeing is an epidemic of all types of conditions that we did not understand, that have been in continuous rise in this country in the last 15 years, actually since the mid-80s. A very consistent rise, especially in cancers that are known to be produced by radioactive materials.”

Since 1994-2004 we’ve seen a tremendous increase in cancers and diabetes in the US. Japan now has almost twice the rate of diabetes as the US – and radiation is considered by many scientists to be the contributing factor.

Some of the known health effects caused by low levels of ionizing radiation include: cancers, birth defects, respiratory disease, kidney and thyroid disease, chronic diseases caused by neurological and neuromuscular radiation damage, mitochondrial diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinsons and Alzheimer’s, heart and brain disorders, DNA damage in men’s sperm, infertility, learning disabilities, mental illness, lower birth rates, higher death rates, diabetes, and infant mortality.

What a horrible thing to have to face – In a nation so supposedly Christian and into human rights and the so-called “right to life” movement that pushes to protect the un-born, we are, in actuality a nation of baby killers who are now into our seventh decade of poison gassing innocent men, women, children and babies – babies! – all the world over.

Shouldn’t this be illegal, you might wonder? Well, yes, in fact. It not only should be but it already is. According to UN Humanitarian Lawyer, Karen Parker, DU violates international humanitarian law that governs armed conflict – as well as basic human rights laws. In 1996 and again in 1997, the UN Sub-Commission Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, found DU weaponry —incompatible with existing humanitarian and human rights law.

In Humanitarian law, there are 4 rules:

First, weapons may only be used in the legal field of battle, on legal military

targets of the enemy in the war.

Second, weapons can only be used for the duration of an armed conflict.

Third, weapons may not be unduly inhumane, causing unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury and

Fourth, weapons may not have an unduly negative effect on the natural environment. Given this, Karen Parker says DU weaponry fails all four tests.

Uranium causes cell mutations. Thus, the genocidal effects on people long after hostilities cease is grounds for consideration of DU weapons as crimes against humanity – war crimes! Weapons may not use or employ poison, and they may not severely damage the environment.

Our violators are therefore subject to legal liability for their effects on victims and the environment, as well as criminal liability of the users. Legal justice also includes fair compensation and other remedies for the victims of these weapons.

I interviewed Ms. Parker and was told DU firing and exploding inside the US is a violation of the basic human rights of US citizens!

DU weaponry cannot be used in military operations without violating these rules, and therefore must be considered illegal Ms. Parker states: “In my view, use of DU weaponry necessarily violates the grave breach provisions of the Geneva Conventions, and hence its use constitutes a war crime or crime against humanity.”

Many people agree – and they think that the logical thing to do is to call for a treaty that bans the use of DU and other U weapons. To many this seems like the logical thing to do – It is a lethal poison gas and thus there should be a ban, right?

International UN Humanitarian Attorney, Karen Parker, says no, there should not be a ban. After studying this matter, I agree, and here’s why.

A ban can be risky because the US uses a trick to use the treaty process to weaken and completely undermine the already existing customary laws to terminate them. The reason why this would be devastating is because the US Courts are likely to be persuaded that a new ban will over-ride already existing customary international laws.

So there is a huge push for a treaty calling for a DU ban even though the US government and UK, in all likelihood, will never sign such a ban. Yet, the US will still be able to argue that a ban exists, and therefore the already existing international laws are no longer applicable.

Just as an example, the US courts, when trying a future case brought up with regard to Uranium weapons related damages, could say, Well DU was not banned in 2008, therefore, all the veterans who are sick and who have served since 1991 to 2008 could then be told: DU was not illegal nor banned until 2008, so you are arguing for compensation of an illness caused by a substance used which was still legal between 1991 to 2008. So in other words, a ban is being called for that will actually harm the case of our veterans and others who will try to seek legal recourse in the future. A ban would allow the US to duck their responsibility and get easily off the hook for its many years of crimes!

In an article co-written by UN Lawyer Karen Parker, I quote: “Even a cursory review of existing norms of the laws and customs of war (humanitarian law) supports the conclusion that uranium weaponry of any type is so patently illegal that the discussion should really focus on bringing to justice those who have used it and redirecting action towards the victims of these weapons.”

So where do we go for here? Just because we do not need to push for a treaty that calls for a ban on Uranium weapons use does that mean we have to sit and do nothing? On the contrary! We must demand the end to Uranium munitions. The US military, I have been informed by a knowledgeable source – could easily stop using all Uranium weapons tomorrow… that is, if they only wanted to!

So I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Ernest Sternglass who said, “We have to end the use of ammunition that contains uranium in any form.”

So what do we, as citizens, do? Many international treaties and protocols already exist that show that radioactive weapons are a violation of international humanitarian law, basic human rights, and environmental law. A UN Sub-Commission has already condemned the use of DU weapons – and nations like the US are ignoring them. International law is quite clear. We do not need any new laws!

What we need is for our government to do the right thing by its citizens and by humanity! This is clearly not happening – And I don’t pretend to know how to turn an absolutely morally bankrupt, corrupt government around.

What I do know, however? There’s tremendous strength in numbers –vastly huge numbers of citizens of the world in loud uproar protesting the destruction of life all over the planet by the world’s most destructive nation intent on robbing, and stealing all of the planet’s resources they possibly can while weakening, sickening, and killing those populations.

In October 1995, President Bill Clinton, addressed the subject of several thousand human radiation experiments conducted by the US government over decades. I quote:

“Our greatness is measured not only in how we . . . do right but also how we act when we know we’ve done the wrong thing; how we confront our mistakes, make our apologies, and take action.”

As we know, Clinton sure knows a great deal about making mistakes – and even though I’m normally none too keen with the ex-President, he makes some good points.

We must confront our mistakes – make our apologies – and take action. Clinton also “asked the committee to determine the truth about this dark chapter in our nation’s history” and said, “Finally the federal government is providing redress to those who have suffered radiation experiments. “

Yes, this is indeed a “dark chapter in our nation’s history” –arguably, our darkest ever – as this government has knowingly, purposely exposed all of us on the planet to radiation in our environment for many billions of years. We appear to be one huge human radiation experiment… an experiment that sadly, due to Uranium’s multi-billion years half life… has no end.

We can not un-do the past. But starting right now we can together vow to allow them to do no more harm.

Each and every day we wait, more lethal radiation bombards and irreparably contaminates all living things – and our environment. Right now, all of us can take action. If we realize that genocide and, what many experts are calling omnicide – eventual human extinction by human action – is taking place? We must demand the end of the use of radioactive weapons and keep right on screaming till they clean up their messes, pay for care and treatment for all afflicted parties, and provide just compensation.

Last – but certainly not least – we must call for the arrest of all these war criminals who ordered, used, and funded these weapons and kept their use and health effects a secret. We must find a way to keep these individuals securely in a place where they can do no further harm to another living soul. We must hold all of them accountable in a court of law for their domestic and international crimes – grave breeches of humanitarian, human rights, and environmental laws committed all over the world.

All of this can not – will not – happen unless and until we make this happen! Far greater awareness and public education must take place. Since our media works hand in glove with Uncle Sam to keep this covered up – it is up to you and me – ordinary people – to do this critical grassroots education.

By our knowledge of these massive crimes against humanity and the environment –we must expose this, demand an end to this madness, and work together to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice to the fullest extent of the law. We need a modern Nuremburg –and we need it now!

Doing so will take you and me and many more like us – sane, compassionate, people of conscience who know that purposeful destruction of other humans, wildlife, and the planet is wrong.

We have a huge job ahead of us, and because even many of our peace groups are controlled – they do not allow lectures like this one – so thanks again to the Washington Peace Center for giving me this opportunity today.

Yes, it’s a huge job, and we need to get to work. The world’s been waiting for us to do this ever since 1945. On behalf of the health and well-being of our kids, their kids, and all future generations of our descendants for billions of years to come? I urge you to join me and get your family, friends, everyone you know to help. We are all breathing radioactive poison dust and gas. Time is running out and there is not even one more precious moment of life left to waste!