Archive for the DU Depleted Uranium weapons Category

Recent report confirms: US depleted uranium weapons targeted civilian areas in Iraq war [World Socialist Website]

Posted in DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, Iraq, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on June 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Barry Mason

26 June 2014

“Laid to Waste”, a report by the Dutch Catholic NGO Pax Christi International, confirms that US forces in Iraq used depleted uranium (DU) weapons in civilian areas during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. More than a decade later, DU is still harming people’s health. The impact of the use of DU in 2003 added to that resulting from the Gulf War of 1991…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/06/26/uran-j26.html

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Anti-Empire Report #127: “Barack Obama – Indoctrinating a new generation with Washington’s lies” [Williamblum.org]

Posted in DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, George W. Bush, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Kosovo, NATO, Nelson Mandela, Obama, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, State Department, Ukraine, UNSC, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Yugoslavia - former FRY on April 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

‘Indoctrinating a new generation’

by William Blum

April 7, 2014

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. one of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.

Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.

– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “

The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations 1, that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.

– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”

In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.

– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”

The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.

Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)

How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?..

Full text of Anti-Empire Report #127, with notes: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/127

The Iraqi resistance is justified, prosecute the criminals [Workers World]

Posted in Belgium, DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, George W. Bush, Iran, Iraq, Pentagon, Sanctions as weapon of war, Tony Blair, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on March 31, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Catalinotto on March 25, 2014

Workers World newspaper publishes below the statement of the Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI), which summarizes the damages to Iraq caused by aggressive war and occupation on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the U.S.-British invasion on March 19, 2003, and raises demands for prosecution of the responsible war criminals and for reparations for the victims. WW notes that CEOSI is one of the organizers of the April 16-17 commission set for Brussels, Belgium, to make legal demands on the war criminals, mostly from the U.S. and Britain, whose crimes caused so much death and destruction in Iraq.

The illegal war and occupation of Iraq, launched by the international coalition led by the U.S. and Britain, have claimed the lives of nearly two million Iraqis; it has left five million refugees inside and outside Iraqi borders, made more than one million widows and five million orphans [1]. The occupying forces have often used weapons banned by International Conventions, such as depleted uranium ammunition, agent orange and white phosphorus [2]. The planners and the executors of what the international law defines as a crime against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unpunished.

After the Iraqi national resistance forced the U.S. military to withdraw its troops, tens of thousands of advisors, contractors — especially North Americans — and security personnel remain in the country to protect the interests of the United States. Foreign elements have not abandoned their goal of controlling the economic resources of the country, since they face a government unable to guarantee its population’s most basic services.

In addition, various foreign and regional powers, such as the pro-Iranian forces, are fighting each other to gain influence and dominate Iraq using their militias against the Iraqi people.

The political process and the regime imposed are part of the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq. The policy of the regime led by Nuri al-Maliki is based on revenge, totalitarianism and sectarian division; it’s a regime that promotes and encourages acts of terrorism against civilians to prevent Iraq from regaining its sovereignty after decades of sanctions, war and occupation. According to the most conservative data, the death toll caused by the violence in the past year is around 8,000 [3]. To this number at least 169 executions carried out without the standard legal guarantees must be added. Iraq ranks third in the use of death penalty after China and Iran. [4]

At the beginning of 2011, the different peaceful protests that began to struggle [and] fight against the occupation — involving trade unions, students, human rights activists, etc.,— unified their efforts in what was called the February 25th Movement [5] and reached a national level.

This peaceful resistance was suppressed by the state and intentionally ignored by the mainstream media, which largely led to its disappearance. However, this long journey of struggle and growing popular discontent has been the root of the popular revolution that we are witnessing today in Iraq.

Since late 2012, these demonstrations and popular and peaceful sit-ins have resumed in some western provinces; they have been spread to the south and have reached the capital, Baghdad. [6] Despite the government nonstop attempts to put an end to the protests, they have continued till now, especially in central and west Iraqi provinces, where people have been suffering persecution and the regime’s sectarian policies. There are many reasons for the people to take [to] the streets: corruption, sectarianism, unemployment, lack of access to basic services, illegal arrests, etc., which derive from the foreign occupation and from a class rule that triggers hatred, division, power struggles and the plundering of the national resources. In 2011, the reasons for the popular revolution were crystal clear in the mottos demanding the withdrawal of the U.S. troops and the removal of the regime.

For more than two months now, the Maliki government has been waging a war against the Iraqi people in several provinces in an attempt to end the popular revolution. Although the protests have been totally peaceful, Maliki has accused the population of these (majority Sunni) areas of being part of or supporting the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. [7] Without any hesitation, the government continues bombing the civilians, while receiving military aid from the U.S., Russia and Iran. The bombing has caused numerous deaths and new waves of refugees. [8] In response to the government attacks, the population has organized itself into military councils to protect its territory and fight for what all Iraqis — from north to south — have demanded since the beginning of the occupation: prosperity, unity and national sovereignty. [9]

In these critical times to Iraq, CEOSI would like to express its full support for the Iraqi popular revolution — armed and peaceful — and we state that the military councils have been created for self-defense due to the total absence of legal protection and contempt for the law in Iraq; a situation where sectarian and partisan militias run the country and the government, far from ensuring the safety of citizens, exercises state terrorism, so that

We demand:

1. That the aspirations of the Iraqi people’s revolution are acknowledged, as well as the Iraqi right to decide about their own destiny, without any interference after more than 25 years of wars, sanctions, and a new war and illegal occupation.

2. That the International Criminal Court fulfills its legal obligation to investigate and prosecute every single individual or group responsible for committing the war crimes, the crimes against peace and the crimes against humanity that were committed in Iraq from 2003 onwards.

The international body of justice must ensure that the top military, civil and political leaders, from all those countries that led, supported or carried out the invasion and occupation of Iraq, are accountable for their lies and for the policies that led them to commit these crimes against Iraq and its people. In this regard, the Iraq Commission in the framework of the 18th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers there will be held in Brussels on April 16 and 17. The aim of this commission is to analyze and to implement legal measures that will prevent the criminals from going unpunished.

The International Criminal Court must comply with international law, establish war compensations and require them to be paid, both to civilian victims and to the Iraqi state, whose sovereignty and independence have been abused by acts contrary to the international law currently in force.

The United Nations must take an active and supportive role to aid those national courts that can take legal procedures against those accountable for the crimes committed against a sovereign nation. At this moment, in which the Spanish government has led the way to at least a minimum application of the Law of Universal Jurisdiction, an active defense of justice is particularly important…

Excerpted; full article (w/footnotes) link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/03/25/iraqi-resistance-justified-prosecute-criminals/

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Bombs Bursting in Air: State and citizen responses to the US firebombing and Atomic bombing of Japan [The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus]

Posted in China, Corporate Media Critique, Depleted Uranium weapons, DPR Korea, DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Germany, Hiroshima, Historical myths of the US, Japan, Media cover-up, Nagasaki, Pentagon, Tokyo, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on January 25, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 3, No. 4, January 20, 2013.

by Mark Selden

I US Firebombing and Atomic Bombing of Japan

This paper assesses and compares the impact and historical significance of the firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities in the history of war and the history of disaster. Japan’s decision to surrender, pivoting on issues of firebombing and atomic bombing, Soviet entry into the war, and the origins of Soviet-American confrontation, is the most fiercely debated subject in twentieth century American global history. The surrender question, however, is addressed only in passing here. The focus is rather on the human and social consequences of the bombings, and their legacy in the history of warfare and historical memory in the long twentieth century. Part one provides an overview of the calculus that culminated in the final year of the war in a US strategy centered on the bombing of civilians and assesses its impact in shaping the global order. Part two examines the bombing in Japanese and American historical memory including history, literature, commemoration and education. What explains the power of the designation of the postwar as the atomic era while the area bombing of civilians by fire and napalm, which would so profoundly shape the future of warfare in general, American wars in particular, faded to virtual invisibility in Japanese, American and global consciousness?

World War II was a landmark in the development and deployment of technologies of mass destruction associated with air power, notably the B-29 bomber, napalm, fire bombing, and the atomic bomb. In Japan, the US air war reached peak intensity with area bombing and climaxed with the atomic bombing of Japanese cities between the night of March 9-10 and the August 15, 1945 surrender.

The strategic and ethical implications and human consequences of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have generated a vast, contentious literature. By contrast, the US destruction of more than sixty Japanese cities prior to Hiroshima has been slighted, at least until recently, both in the scholarly literatures in English and Japanese and in popular consciousness. It has been overshadowed by the atomic bombing and by heroic narratives of American conduct in the “Good War” that has been at the center of American national consciousness thereafter.2 Arguably, however, the central breakthroughs that would characterize the American way of war subsequently occurred in area bombing of noncombatants prior to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A.C. Grayling explains the different responses to firebombing and atomic bombing this way:

. . . the frisson of dread created by the thought of what atomic weaponry can do affects those who contemplate it more than those who actually suffer from it; for whether it is an atom bomb rather than tons of high explosives and incendiaries that does the damage, not a jot of suffering is added to its victims that the burned and buried, the dismembered and blinded, the dying and bereaved of Dresden or Hamburg did not feel.” 3

Grayling does, however, go on to note the different experiences of survivors of the two types of bombing, particularly as a result of radiation symptoms from the atomic bomb, with added dread in the case of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki hibakusha, not only for themselves but also for future generations.

If other nations, notably Germany, England and Japan led the way in area bombing during World War II, US targeting of entire cities with conventional weapons emerged in 1944-45 on a scale that quickly dwarfed all previous destruction. Targeting for the most part then and subsequently essentially defenseless populations, it was an approach that combined technological predominance with a priority on minimization of US casualties. This would become a hallmark of the American way of war in campaigns from Korea and Indochina to the Gulf and Iraq Wars. The result would be the decimation of noncombatant populations and extraordinary “kill ratios” favoring the US military. Yet for the US, victory in subsequent wars—Korea, Indochina, Afghanistan and Iraq being the most notable — would prove extraordinarily elusive. This is one reason why, six decades on, World War II retains its aura for Americans as the “Good War”, a conception that renders difficult coming to terms with the massive bombing of civilians in the final year of the war.

As Michael Sherry and Cary Karacas have pointed out for the US and Japan respectively, prophecy preceded practice in the destruction of Japanese cities. Sherry observes that “Walt Disney imagined an orgiastic destruction of Japan by air in his 1943 animated feature Victory Through Air Power (based on Alexander P. De Seversky’s 1942 book),” while Karacas notes that the best-selling Japanese writer Unna Juzo, beginning in his early 1930s “air-defense novels”, anticipated the destruction of Tokyo by bombing.4

Curtis LeMay was appointed commander of the 21st Bomber Command in the Pacific on January 20, 1945. Capture of the Marianas, including Guam, Tinian and Saipan in summer 1944 had placed Japanese cities within effective range of the B-29 “Superfortress” bombers, while Japan’s depleted air and naval power and a blockade that cut off oil supplies left it virtually defenseless against sustained air attack.

The full fury of firebombing and napalm was unleashed on the night of March 9-10, 1945 when LeMay sent 334 B-29s low over Tokyo from the Marianas.5 Their mission was to reduce much of the city to rubble, kill its citizens, and instill terror in the survivors. Stripped of their guns to make more room for bombs, and flying at altitudes averaging 7,000 feet to evade detection, the bombers carried two kinds of incendiaries: M47s, 100-pound oil gel bombs, 182 per aircraft, each capable of starting a major fire, followed by M69s, 6-pound gelled-gasoline bombs, 1,520 per aircraft in addition to a few high explosives to deter firefighters.6 The attack on an area that the US Strategic Bombing Survey estimated to be 84.7 percent residential succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of air force planners.

Nature reinforced man’s handiwork in the form of akakaze, the red wind that swept with hurricane force across the Tokyo plain and propelled firestorms with terrifying speed and intensity. The wind drove temperatures up to eighteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit, creating superheated vapors that advanced ahead of the flames, killing or incapacitating their victims. “The mechanisms of death were so multiple and simultaneous — oxygen deficiency and carbon monoxide poisoning, radiant heat and direct flames, debris and the trampling feet of stampeding crowds — that causes of death were later hard to ascertain . . .”7

The Strategic Bombing Survey provided a technical description of the firestorm and its effects on Tokyo:

The chief characteristic of the conflagration . . . was the presence of a fire front, an extended wall of fire moving to leeward, preceded by a mass of pre-heated, turbid, burning vapors . . . . The 28-mile-per-hour wind, measured a mile from the fire, increased to an estimated 55 miles at the perimeter, and probably more within. An extended fire swept over 15 square miles in 6 hours . . . . The area of the fire was nearly 100 percent burned; no structure or its contents escaped damage.

The survey concluded—plausibly, but only for events prior to August 6, 1945—that

“probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a 6-hour period than at any time in the history of man. People died from extreme heat, from oxygen deficiency, from carbon monoxide asphyxiation, from being trampled beneath the feet of stampeding crowds, and from drowning. The largest number of victims were the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly.”

How many people died on the night of March 9-10 in what flight commander Gen. Thomas Power termed “the greatest single disaster incurred by any enemy in military history?” The Strategic Bombing Survey estimated that 87,793 people died in the raid, 40,918 were injured, and 1,008,005 people lost their homes. The Tokyo Fire Department estimated 97,000 killed and 125,000 wounded. According to Japanese police statistics, the 65 raids on Tokyo between December 6, 1944 and August 13, 1945 resulted in 137,582 casualties, 787,145 homes and buildings destroyed, and 2,625,279 people displaced.8 The figure of roughly 100,000 deaths, provided by Japanese and American authorities, both of whom may have had reasons of their own for minimizing the death toll, seems to me arguably low in light of population density, wind conditions, and survivors’ accounts.9 With an average of 103,000 inhabitants per square mile and peak levels as high as 135,000 per square mile, the highest density of any industrial city in the world, 15.8 square miles of Tokyo were destroyed on a night when fierce winds whipped the flames and walls of fire blocked tens of thousands who attempted to flee. An estimated 1.5 million people lived in the burned out areas. Given the near total inability to fight fires of the magnitude produced that night 10, it is possible, given the interest of the authorities to minimize the scale of death and injury and the total inability of the civil defense efforts to respond usefully to the firestorm, to imagine that casualties may have been several times higher than the figures presented on both sides of the conflict. Stated differently, my view is that it is likely that the number of fatalities was substantially higher: this is an issue that merits the attention of researchers, beginning with the unpublished records of the US Strategic Bombing Survey…

…No previous or subsequent conventional bombing raid anywhere ever came close to generating the toll in death and destruction of the great Tokyo raid of March 9-10. Following the Tokyo raid of March 9-10, the firebombing was extended nationwide. In the ten-day period beginning on March 9, 9,373 tons of bombs destroyed 31 square miles of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. Overall, bombing strikes destroyed 40 percent of the 66 Japanese cities targeted, with total tonnage dropped on Japan increasing from 13,800 tons in March to 42,700 tons in July.12 If the bombing of Dresden produced a ripple of public debate in Europe, no discernible wave of revulsion, not to speak of protest, took place in the US or Europe in the wake of the far greater destruction of Japanese cities and the slaughter of civilian populations on a scale that had no parallel in the history of bombing…

…Throughout the spring and summer of 1945 the US air war in Japan reached an intensity that is still perhaps unrivaled in the magnitude of human slaughter.15 That moment was a product of the combination of technological breakthroughs, American nationalism, and the erosion of moral and political scruples pertaining to the killing of civilians. The point is not to separate the United States from other participants in World War II, but to suggest that there is more common ground in the war policies of Japan and the United States in their disregard of citizen victims than is normally recognized in the annals of history and journalism.

The targeting for destruction of entire populations, whether indigenous peoples, religious infidels, or others deemed inferior, threatening or evil, may be as old as human history, but the forms it takes are as new as the latest technologies of destruction and strategic innovation, of which firebombing and nuclear weapons are particularly notable in defining the nature of war in the long twentieth century.16 The most important way in which World War II shaped the moral and technological tenor of mass destruction was the erosion in the course of war of the stigma associated with the systematic targeting of civilian populations from the air, and elimination of the constraints, which for some years had restrained certain air powers from area bombing. What was new was both the scale of killing made possible by the new technologies and the routinization of mass killing of non-combatants, or state terrorism. If area bombing remained controversial throughout much of World War II, something to be concealed or denied by its practitioners, by the end it would become the acknowledged centerpiece of war making, emblematic above all of the American way of war even as the nature of the targets and the weapons were transformed by new technologies and confronted new forms of resistance. In this I emphasize not US uniqueness but the quotidian character of targeting civilians found throughout the history of colonialism and carried to new heights by Germany, Japan, Britain and the US during and after World War II…

…The US has not unleashed an atomic bomb in the decades since the end of World War II, although it has repeatedly threatened their use in Korea, in Vietnam and elsewhere. It nevertheless incorporated annihilation of noncombatants into the bombing programs that have been integral to the successive “conventional wars” that it has waged subsequently. With area bombing at the core of its strategic agenda, US attacks on cities and noncombatants would run the gamut from firebombing, napalming, and cluster bombing to the use of chemical defoliants and depleted uranium weapons and bunker buster bombs in an ever expanding circle of destruction whose recent technological innovations center on the use of drones controlling the skies and bringing terror to inhabitants below.19

Less noted then and since were the systematic barbarities perpetrated by Japanese forces against resistant villagers, though this produced the largest number of the estimated ten to thirty million Chinese who lost their lives in the war, a number that far surpasses the half million or more Japanese noncombatants who died at the hands of US bombing, and may have exceeded Soviet losses to Nazi invasion conventionally estimated at 20 million lives.22 In that and subsequent wars it would be the signature barbarities such as the Nanjing Massacre, the Bataan Death March, and the massacres at Nogunri and My Lai rather than the quotidian events that defined the systematic daily and hourly killing, which would attract sustained attention, spark bitter controversy, and shape historical memory…

II The Firebombing and Atomic Bombing of Japanese Cities: History, Memory, Culture, Commemoration

Basic decisions by the Japanese authorities and by Washington and the US occupation authorities shaped Japanese and American perceptions and memories of the firebombing and atomic bombing. Throughout the six month period from the March 9 attack that destroyed Tokyo until August 15, 1945, and above all in the wake of the US victory in Okinawa in mid-June 1945, a Japanese nation that was defeated in all but name continued to spurn unconditional surrender, eventually accepting the sacrifice of more than half a million Japanese subjects in Okinawa and Japan to secure a single demand: the safety of the emperor. In preserving Hirohito on the throne and choosing to rule indirectly through the Japanese government, the US did more than place severe constraints on the democratic revolution that it sought to launch under occupation auspices. It also assured that there would be no significant Japanese debate over war responsibility or the nature of the imperial or imperial-military system in general, and the decision to sacrifice Okinawa and Japan’s cities with massive loss of life in particular.

From the outset of the occupation, the US imposed tight censorship with respect to the bombing, particularly the atomic bombing. This included prohibition of publication of photographic and artistic images of the effects of the bombing or criticism of it. Indeed, under US censorship, there would be no Japanese public criticism of either the firebombing or the atomic bombing. While firebombing never emerged as a major subject of American reflection or self-criticism, the atomic bombing did. Of particular interest is conservative and military criticism of the atomic bombing, including that of Navy Secretary James Forrestal, and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles and a range of Christian thinkers such as Reinhold Niebuhr. Thus Sec. of War Henry Stimson worried about the “growing feeling of apprehension and misgiving as to the effect of the atomic bomb even in our own country.”24

As Ian Buruma observes, “News of the terrible consequences of the atom bomb attacks on Japan was deliberately withheld from the Japanese public by US military censors during the Allied occupation—even as they sought to teach the natives the virtues of a free press. Casualty statistics were suppressed. Film shot by Japanese cameramen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings was confiscated…

…The Japanese authorities had reasons of their own for highlighting atomic bomb imagery while suppressing imagery of the firebombing. They include the fact that the dominant victimization narrative was preferable to having to engage war issues centered on Japanese aggression and war atrocities. Moreover, Japanese authorities preferred to emphasize the atomic bomb over the fire bombing for at least two reasons. First, it suggested that there was little that Japanese authorities or any nation could have done in the face of such overwhelming technological power. The firebombing, by contrast raised uncomfortable issues about the government’s decision to perpetuate the war through six months of punishing bombing with no alternative except defeat. Second, as Cary Karacas has argued, Japan’s bombing of Chongqing and other Chinese cities, including the use of Unit 731’s bio-weapons, raised uncomfortable questions about its own bombing…27

…The United States, in substantiating its claim as the unrivaled superpower, highlighted the atomic bomb as the critical ingredient in Japan’s surrender. It is worth recalling however, that six months of firebombing had laid waste to Japan and revealed the inability to defend the skies, but it had failed to force surrender. The atomic bombs further underlined the nature of American power, but it is important to note what the official US narrative elides: the Soviet invasion of Manchuria on August 8, one day before Nagasaki, was critical to the Japanese surrender calculus…

…The Japanese government also underlined the distinction between nuclear and firebombing survivors not only in its lavish funding for the museums in the two cities, but by making available funds to provide medical care for the victims of the atomic bombing. It is worth underlining the fact that it was the Japanese government and not the US government that provided, and continues to provide, substantial funds for the hibakusha. The larger numbers of surviving victims of firebombing never received either recognition or official support from national or local government for medical care or property losses, and they certainly never dreweither Japanese or international attention. In short, while the surviving victims of the atomic bomb were a continuing reminder to Japanese of their victimization, bomb survivors in other cities were expected to embrace the forward looking national agenda of reconstruction to build Japan again into an industrial power that would rise not under the banner of the military but under permanent US military occupation, a US nuclear umbrella and a peace constitution…

What then of the treatment of commemoration of the firebombing that destroyed 66 Japanese cities in 1945? First, it is notable that there is no national or even prefectural site of commemoration of the firebombing. National and most local governments—important exceptions include the cooperation of local governments in Nagoya and Osaka with citizens groups commemorating the bombing—have chosen not to memorialize the hundreds of thousands who died and were injured, and the millions who lost their homes and were forced to evacuate as a result of fire bombing35. In striking contrast to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, local and national governments have trained their eyes on the future, rebuilding the cities while doing their best to forget the trauma of firebombing and denying official responsibility for the victims. To my knowledge, there is no single state-sponsored monument to the victims of the firebombing preserved for reflection or education in ways comparable to Hiroshima’s atomic dome, which was embraced not only by Hiroshima and Tokyo, but was also designated as a World Heritage site…36

…through official Japan’s suppressing or downplaying the firebombing, America’s nuclear supremacy provides reassurance for Japanese leaders committed to maintaining Japan’s subordinate position in the US-Japan alliance in perpetuity: the US nuclear umbrella is the most powerful guarantee of Japan’s security. Thus, in drawing attention to the atomic bomb, Japanese leaders are simultaneously reaffirming their core diplomatic choice in the contemporary era…

Excerpted; full article with footnotes here: http://japanfocus.org/-Mark-Selden/4065?utm_source=January+20%2C+2014&utm_campaign=China%27s+Connectivity+Revolution&utm_medium=email

U.S. Media Ignore Toxic Legacy of U.S. Weapons [FAIR]

Posted in DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Iraq, Pentagon, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on November 1, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

How evil is the US media-Pentagon axis? They will whip up war hysteria based on bigotry to set up horrifying campaigns of sheer military aggression, then despicably cover up the damage done from the plenteous war crimes. No mention of reparations for the victims, either. – Zuo Shou

Posted on 10/22/2012 by Peter Hart

The London Independent published a harrowing story on October 14, “Iraq Records Huge Rise in Birth Defects.”

The piece focuses on the legacy of the U.S war in Iraq, in particular the two massive U.S. military invasions of the city of Fallujah in 2004. The Independent reports:

High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiraling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

There is “compelling evidence” to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the new research.

The Independent notes:

The latest study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10.

These findings, published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, seem to confirm earlier research on the subject, and a World Health Organization is expected next month.

What accounts for this dramatic public health crisis? The Independent reports:

The report’s authors link the rising number of babies born with birth defects in the two cities to increased exposure to metals released by bombs and bullets used over the past two decades. Scientists who studied hair samples of the population in Fallujah found that levels of lead were five times higher in the hair of children with birth defects than in other children; mercury levels were six times higher. Children with defects in Basra had three times more lead in their teeth than children living in non-impacted areas.

The researchers point to the use of white phosphorous and depleted uranium weapons as other possible culprits. The U.S. military, as the Independent reports, admitted to using white phosphorous in Falljuah, but not depleted uranium.

This shocking account of birth defects in Iraq, which would seem directly related to the U.S-led war on that country, is not newsworthy in the United States. According to the Nexis news database, this story has been reported in the Times of India and the New Zealand Herald. It was also the topic of a column in the Toronto Star (10/21/12) by Haroon Siddiqui.

We could find no major U.S. media outlets that mentioned this research. Democracy Now! referred to the study on October 15.

As FAIR noted at the time (Extra! Update, 6/03), U.S. media were mostly unconcerned with the use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs in Iraq.

And the use of white phosphorous in Fallujah has long been a source of controversy. The press attitude towards to the chemical, as Seth Ackerman wrote in Extra! (3-4/06), seemed to depend on who was alleged to have been using it. Reports that the United States was using white phosphorous in Iraq were treated as irresponsible conspiracy-mongering.

One Washington Post reporter eventually admitted that “U.S. troops’ use of white phosphorus in combat in Iraq has generated considerable attention in Europe, though little in the United States.”

Now, as reports surface of the grave health effects of U.S. war on Iraq, the attention is once again coming from foreign media outlets.

Article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/10/22/u-s-media-ignore-toxic-legacy-of-u-s-weapons/

“Iraq records huge rise in birth defects” – New study links increase with military action by Western forces [The Independent]

Posted in Depleted Uranium weapons, DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Iraq, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, World Health Organization on October 18, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Sarah Morrison

October 14, 2012

It played unwilling host to one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. Fallujah’s homes and businesses were left shattered; hundreds [!] of Iraqi civilians were killed. Its residents changed the name of their “City of Mosques” to “the polluted city” after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. Now, one month before the World Health Organisation reveals its view on the legacy of the two battles for the town, a new study reports a “staggering rise” in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war.

High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

There is “compelling evidence” to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the new research.

US marines first bombarded Fallujah in April 2004 after four employees from the American security company Blackwater were killed, their bodies burned and dragged through the street, with two of the corpses left hanging from a bridge. Seven months later, the marines stormed the city for a second time, using some of the heaviest US air strikes deployed in Iraq. American forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus shells, although they never admitted to using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects.

The new findings, published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology bulletin, will bolster claims that US and Nato munitions used in the conflict led to a widespread health crisis in Iraq. They are the latest in a series of studies that have suggested a link between bombardment and a rise in birth defects. Their preliminary findings, in 2010, prompted a World Health Organisation inquiry into the prevalence of birth defects in the area. The WHO’s report, out next month, is widely expected to show an increase in birth defects after the conflict. It has looked at nine “high-risk” areas in Iraq, including Fallujah and Basra. Where high prevalence is found, the WHO is expected to call for additional studies to pinpoint precise causes.

The latest study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect. More than 45 per cent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from only 10 per cent before the bombing. Between 2007 and 2010, one in six of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage.

The new research, which looked at the health histories of 56 families in Fallujah, also examined births in Basra, in southern Iraq, attacked by British forces in 2003. Researchers found more than 20 babies out of 1,000 were born with defects in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital in 2003, a number that is 17 times higher than recorded a decade previously. In the past seven years, the number of malformed babies born increased by more than 60 per cent; 37 out of every 1,000 are now born with defects.

The report’s authors link the rising number of babies born with birth defects in the two cities to increased exposure to metals released by bombs and bullets used over the past two decades. Scientists who studied hair samples of the population in Fallujah found that levels of lead were five times higher in the hair of children with birth defects than in other children; mercury levels were six times higher. Children with defects in Basra had three times more lead in their teeth than children living in non-impacted areas.

Dr Savabieasfahani said that for the first time, there is a “footprint of metal in the population” and that there is “compelling evidence linking the staggering increases in Iraqi birth defects to neuro-toxic metal contamination following the repeated bombardments of Iraqi cities”. She called the “epidemic” a “public health crisis”.

“In utero exposure to pollutants can drastically change the outcome of an otherwise normal pregnancy. The metal levels we see in the Fallujah children with birth defects clearly indicates that metals were involved in manifestation of birth defects in these children,” she said. “The massive and repeated bombardment of these cities is clearly implicated here. I have no knowledge of any alternative source of metal contamination in these areas.” She added that the data was likely to be an “underestimate”, as many parents who give birth to children with defects hide them from public view.

Professor Alastair Hay, a professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said the figures presented in the study were “absolutely extraordinary”. He added: “People here would be worried if there was a five or 10 per cent increase [in birth defects]. If there’s a fivefold increase in Fallujah, no one could possibly ignore that; it’s crying out for an explanation as to what’s the cause. A rapid increase in exposure to lead and mercury seems reasonable if lots of ammunition is going off. I would have also thought a major factor would be the extreme stress people are under in that period; we know this can cause major physiological changes.”

[Anonymous US and UK government spokesmen deny all responsibility.]

Dr Savabieasfahani said she plans to analyse the children’s samples for the presence of depleted uranium once funds have been raised. She added: “We need extensive environmental sampling, of food, water and air to find out where this is coming from. Then we can clean it up. Now we are seeing 50 per cent of children being born with malformations; in a few years it could be everyone.”

Full article link: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/iraq-records-huge-rise-in-birth-defects-8210444.html

Top 25 Censored Stories of 2012 – “Project Censored 2012” released [Project Censored]

Posted in Assassination, China, Corporate Media Critique, Depleted Uranium weapons, DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Labor, Libya, Media cover-up, Nukes, Obama, Pentagon, Project Censored, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on October 3, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

1. More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat
2. US Military Manipulates the Social Media
3. Obama Authorizes International Assassination Campaign
4. Global Food Crisis Expands
5. Private Prison Companies Fund Anti–Immigrant Legislation
6. Google Spying?
7. U.S. Army and Psychology’s Largest Experiment–Ever
8. The Fairytale of Clean and Safe Nuclear Power
9. Government Sponsored Technologies for Weather Modification
10. Real Unemployment: One Out of Five in US
11. Trafficking of Iraqi Women Rampant
12. Pacific Garbage Dump — Did You Really Think Your Plastic Was Being Recycled?
13. Will a State of Emergency Be Used to Supersede Our Constitution?
14. Family Pressure on Young Girls for Genitalia Mutilation Continues in Kenya
15. Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight
16. Sweatshops in China Are Making Your iPods While Workers Suffer
17. Superbug Bacteria Spreading Worldwide
18. Monsanto Tries to Benefit from Haiti’s Earthquake
19. Oxfam Exposes How Aid Is Used for Political Purposes
20. US Agencies Trying to Outlaw GMO Food Labelling
21. Lyme Disease: An Emerging Epidemic
22. Participatory Budgeting – A Method to Empower Local Citizens & Communities
23. Worldwide Movement To Ban or Charge Fees For Plastic Bags
24. South Dakota Takes Extreme Measures to Be the Top Anti–Abortion State
25. Extension of DU to Libya

Each story’s link can be accessed at http://www.projectcensored.org homepage