Monday, February 27, 2012


NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND GENOCIDE NEWSLETTER # 10,   February 27, 2012.    OMNI Building a Culture of PEACE, Dick Bennett, Editor . (See #1, June 14, 2007; #2, January 8, 2008; #3 May 16, 2008; #4 June 10; 2009,  #5 July 23, 2009, ; #6 Sept. 21, 2009; #7 August 29, 2010; #8 April 11, 2011; #9 August 4, 2011.)   

An editor is wanted for the Newsletter who can devote adequate attention to the subject.   We must watch the nuclear weapons programs!

Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:   The dozens of newsletters provide OMNI and the peace and justice movement with subject-focused information and criticism.

Contents of #9
Weapons Budgets Compared: Obama, Ryan, People
Book:  Nuclear WWIII
Facts about Nuclear Weapons
Cost Study Project
Countdown to Zero Film
El Baradei’s The Age of Deception
Nonproliferation Funding
Health Effects of Nuclear Weapons Production and Testing

Contents of #10 
Nuke Spending Increased
O’Hanlon’s  Book on Disarmament
Weinstein, Nuclear Weapons Locations in US
Mitchell, Atomic Cover-up
Wittner, Scrapping Two Nuclear Plans
Banerjee, A Victory in New Mexico

USA Spending More on Nukes Now Than During Cold War
Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:37 am (PST)
Global Research, November 10, 2011, Veterans for Peace

Though it has been decades since the Cold War came to a close, the United States government spends more money on nuclear warheads now than it did during its stand-off with the Soviet Union.

As the US vows to cut down its arsenal of nuclear weapons, the cost the country spends annually on maintaining its supply is much more than America invested each year during the Cold War. Estimates suggest that currently the US puts around $55 billion annually into its nuclear weapons program, reports Mother Jones; by comparison, the cost of the nuke complex for the country during the Cold War ran at an average of only $35 billion each year.

Only three months into his presidency, Barack Obama said in April 2009 that he envisioned an Earth in the future free of nuclear weapons. Just two years later, however, America’s arsenal of those warheads amounts to roughly 2,500 nukes ready to be deployed.

It was only less than two weeks ago that the United States finally dismantled its largest atomic bomb, the B53, which was said to be 600 times more powerful than the nuke that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan towards the finale of the Second World War. As that nuke was dismantled, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman told NPR that the bomb was a “Cold War relic” and showed the direction of dismantling that the United States was heading towards.

Even if the country is cutting back on its nukes, the United States has a backup stash larger than the active bombs, allowing for the country to in total have 5,113 nuclear warheads in its position. The surplus of not-quite-ready nukes is at 2,600, and though they cannot be deployed at a drop of a hat like the others, they can be reanimated as full-fledged warheads.

Peter Fedewa of the pro-disarmament Ploughshares Fund says that those nukes “could be 'raised from the dead' and brought back into deployment with relative ease."

Under the START treaty that the US signed with Russia last year, both countries vow to soon enough limit their stash of active warheads to only 1,500. The document does not, however, say how many back-up nukes either country can have. In the interim, Mother Jones reports that the Pantex plant near Amarillo, Texas holds around 3,000 warheads that are on the schedule to be dismantled, something America used to do at a pace of around 1,300 per year. Last year, however, both Congress and the White House said that the country would cut back on the cost of dismantling the warheads and instead now invest the money on the upkeep of already dead nukes.

At the country’s current rate, dismantling the thousands of atomic nukes would take longer than a decade Joe Cirincione, a longtime analyst of nuclear weapons policy, tells NPR. Currently, only around 250 warheads are dismantled at Pantex each year.

It doesn’t help that the country is more interested in revamping the retired nukes than pulling the plug on them entirely, either.

In 2012, the country will spend $4.1 billion on the “refurbishment” of retired nukes, while only a fraction of that — $57 million — will be invested in dismantling them. That figure accounts for less than one percent of the country’s total budget for the nuclear program. In all, America’s nuclear program operates at a cost of around $55 billion, which is spread across the Departments of Defense, Energy and Homeland Security. Despite Obama’s instance on curbing the program, the tally of funding is believed to have gone up by around $3 billion since only 2008, which at the time accounted for five times the budget of the Department of State — or 14 times what the Energy Department spends on everything else.

"The same facilities that dismantle U.S. nuclear warheads are also refurbishing US warheads," Cirincione adds to NPR. "And right now a decision has been made to prioritize refurbishment. So we're actually building more nuclear weapons than we're dismantling. That didn't use to be the case, but it is now."

When weapons are dismantled and the current snail’s pace, the risks in place are of immense danger as well."There are very strict manuals on exactly what you have to do," Hans Kristensen, spokesman for the Federation of American Scientists, tells MSNBC. "How much pressure can you apply to each screw, what kind of glue holds the chemical high explosives together around the spear of highly enriched uranium."

Both Russia and America have agreed to have an arsenal of only 1,550 deployed nukes come 2018, only a fraction of the 22,000-plus on hand at the end of the Cold War. Obama told an audience in Prague in 2009 he aimed "To put an end to Cold War thinking," adding that America "will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same." As the country is investing more money in rebuilding nukes than kicking them to the curb, however, will the president follow through with his plea or will it be added to the list of other promises gone unfulfilled?

A Skeptic's Case for Nuclear Disarmament
Michael E. O'Hanlon, Brookings Institution Press 2010 c. 165pp.
[Dick: Here’s an excerpt from the review in the pro-abolition magazine Ground Zero (January 2012):  “O’Hanlon believes in a limited missile defense, the title of a previous book, and he thinks we can’t reach for nuclear disarmament without a near complete global armistice.  That said, he offers some great thinking on getting beyond perpetual nuclear stockpiling.”]
A New Agenda for Nuclear Weapons: On Nuclear Weapons, Destroy and Codify   Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay
The Brookings Institution  February 2002
The Nuclear Agenda: Arms Control and Missile Defense Are Back in the News   James M. Lindsay  The Brookings Institution  Fall 2000
Bruce G. Blair    March 23, 1993
In 2007 two former U.S. secretaries of state, a defense secretary, and a former senator wrote persuasively in the Wall Street Journal that the time had come to move seriously toward a nuclear-free world. Almost two years later, the Global Zero movement was born with its chief aim to rid the world of such weapons once and for all by 2030.

But is it realistic or even wise to envision a world without nuclear weapons? More and more people seem to think so. Barack Obama has declared “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” But that is easier said than done. Michael O’Hanlon places his own indelible stamp on this critical issue, putting forth a “friendly skeptic’s case for nuclear disarmament.”

Calls to “ban the bomb” are as old as the bomb itself, but the pace and organization of nonproliferation campaigns have picked up greatly recently. The growing Global Zero movement, for example, wants treaty negotiations to begin in 2019. Would this be prudent or even feasible in a world that remains dangerous, divided, and unpredictable? After all, America’s nuclear arsenal has been its military trump card for much of the period since World War II. Pursuing a nuclear weapons ban prematurely or carelessly could alarm allies, leading them to consider building their own weapons—the opposite of the intended effect.

O’Hanlon clearly presents the dangers of nuclear weapons and the advantages of disarmament as a goal. But even once an accord is in place, he notes, temporary suspension of restrictions may be necessary in response to urgent threats such as nuclear “cheating” or discovery of an advanced biological weapons program. To take all nuclear options off the table forever strengthens the hand of those that either do not make that pledge or do not honor it. For the near term, traditional approaches to arms control, including dismantling existing bomb inventories, can pave the way to make a true nonproliferation regime possible in the decades ahead.
Praise for the Book:
"A Skeptic's Case for Nuclear Disarmament is a hard-headed look at the tough issues we face in reducing global nuclear dangers and preventing catastrophic terrorism. O'Hanlon provides a thoughtful, pragmatic, and detailed plan for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons and moving toward a world without them—and he makes a convincing case why this will make America and the world more secure."
—Sam Nunn, Co-chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and former senator from Georgia

"No policy debate today is more important than the ongoing debate on the elimination of nuclear weapons. Michael O'Hanlon takes a clear, analytical look at the implications of nuclear disarmament. He argues that abolition is impractical, but that dismantlement of all nuclear weapons is imperative. His book makes a major contribution to this vital issue."
—William J. Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

"A Skeptic’s Case for Nuclear Disarmament is a thoughtful exploration of key issues that citizens and government officials should evaluate prior to deciding whether to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons. Michael O’Hanlon analyzes these questions in a fair and balanced way, presenting the arguments on both sides and drawing his own conclusions. The book is an important contribution to the continuing debate on the roles of nuclear weapons in international security and the risks run by all nations by their continued existence."
—Barry M. Blechman, Distinguished Fellow, Henry L. Stimson Center

ABOUT THE AUTHOR   Michael E. O'Hanlon
Michael E. O'Hanlon is the director of research and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the Sydney Stein Jr. Chair. He is the author of numerous books, including Toughing It Out in Afghanistan, with Hassina Sherjan (Brookings, 2010), The Science of War (Princeton University Press, 2009), and Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security, with Kurt Campbell (Basic Books, 2006). He is also senior author of the Brookings Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan indexes.

Map: The Nuclear Bombs in Your Backyard

Look up where in the United States the Pentagon keeps its atomic weaponry.

§                                By Adam Weinstein and Tasneem Raja   | Wed Nov. 9, 2011
The United States currently has 5,113 atomic warheads deployed in silos, bombers, and submarines, mostly in the continental US. That doesn't include thousands of "zombies" being kept in reserve and a backlog of more than 3,000 warheads awaiting dismantlement. Meanwhile, we're telling the world that we're on the path to disarmament, even as we're spending more on the nuclear weapons complex than we did during the Cold War.
Zoom in on the map below to find the warheads near you as well as the nuclear labs that maintain the stockpile and develop the next generation of atomic weaponry. (For reference, we've also included the locations of the nation's civilian nuclear power plants.*)
Note: This map was made with 100% unclassified, public information. Even the military doesn't hide where it keeps its missiles and bombers. See links to sourcing below.

§                                 Will Your Block Survive the Nuclear Apocalypse?

A new Google Maps mashup takes our nuclear weapons data to a whole new cold-sweat-inducing level.

§                                 We're Spending More on Nukes Than We Did During the Cold War?!

Memo to budget supercommittee: If you're looking for billions in savings, check out the the bloated nuclear weapons complex.

§                                 8 of the Wackiest (or Worst) Ideas for Nuclear Weapons

Bomb-powered spaceships, mininukes, atomic excavation, and other bizarre uses for our nuclear arsenal.

§                                 Report: World May Face New Nuclear Arms Race

Russia and China are modernizing their arsenals—in part because of "dangerous and destabilising" new capabilities developed by the US.
Adam Weinstein is Mother Jones' national security reporter. For more of his stories, click here or follow him on Twitter. Get Adam Weinstein's RSS feed.

Pressing Issues

Greg Mitchell on media, politics, film, music, satire, TV, more...."Not here, not here the darkness, in this twittering world." --T.S. Eliot, "Four Quartets"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My New Book 'Atomic Cover-up' Reveals Film Secrets

Just out this month, my 12th book:   Atomic Cover-Up:  Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki and The Greatest Movie Never Made (Sinclair Books).  This is a haunting account of how the U.S.  suppressed the only film footage shot in the atomic cities,  by an American military crew,  for decades.  The shocking cover-up even extended to MGM and Hollywood -- and to President Truman.  And there was no WikiLeaks to get the film aired.

America's "nuclear entrapment" continues to this day.  Atomic Cover-up  takes a wide angle look at the use of the bomb in 1945--and its impact right up to 2011.  It might be sub-titled "From Hiroshima to Fukushima."

You can buy the e-book edition for Kindle, all phones, Blackberry,  iPad, Macs and PCs (for just $3.99) via Amazon, and you do not need a Kindle.  Print edition is available only at this site (for $9.95).   Or purchase directly from the author, autographed, contact:

David Friend of Vanity Fair calls it "a new work of revelatory scholarship and insight by Greg Mitchell that will speak to all of those concerned about the lessons of the nuclear age."

Watch the controversial two-minute trailer for the book below or at YouTube  --  it includes some of the hidden footage shot by the U.S. military crew.  (It now has over 80,000 views.)   CBS News just picked up my Hiroshima/Fukushima piece here.   I was on Democracy Now! on August 9, now you can  watch.   A lengthy piece summarizes key parts of the book at The Nation, where I am a daily writer.   Major piece on Nagasaki, the "forgotten city," getting wide play.    See long list of my pieces in past month at Huff Post and The Nation.   

And don't miss the wild Hollywood angle -- when the Truman White House censored the first major movie about The Bomb, from MGM, and even got the actor playing Truman fired!   Atomic Cover-Up also charts my own visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and latest news and views right up to this summer.

Why did the cover-up of the film footage matter?  While Americans were denied important truths about The Bomb -- filmed by their own military -- a costly nuclear arms race ensued, nuclear power became entrenched, and millions of Americans were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation in our own country.

Of the new book, Robert Jay Lifton, author of Death in Life (winner of the National Book Award) and numerous other acclaimed books, writes: "Greg Mitchell has been a leading chronicler for many years of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and American behavior toward them. Now he has written the first book devoted to the suppression of historic film footage shot by Japanese and Americans in the atomic cities in 1945 and 1946. This cover-up paved the way for the costly and dangerous nuclear arms race and contributed to the widespread reliance on nuclear power."

Order print edition or e-book editions for most devices.   Email me at:   The video trailer below:  

Greg Mitchell

"How to Save a Quarter of a Trillion Dollars"  By Lawrence S. Wittner, Huffington Post, posted August 8, 2011

Lawrence Wittner

In the midst of the current stampede to slash federal spending, Congress might want to take a look at two unnecessary (and dangerous) "national security" programs that, if cut, would save the United States over a quarter of a trillion dollars over the next decade.
The first of these is the Obama administration's plan to spend at least $185 billion in the next ten years to "modernize" the U.S. government's nuclear weapons arsenal. At present, the U.S. government possesses approximately 8,500 nuclear warheads, and it is hard to imagine that this country would be safer from attack if it built more nuclear weapons or "improved" those it already possesses. Indeed, President Barack Obama has declared -- both on the 2008 campaign trail and as President - that he is committed to building a world without nuclear weapons. This seems like a perfectly sensible position -- one favored by most nations and, as polls show, most people (including most people in the United States). Therefore, the administration should be working on securing further disarmament agreements -- not on upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal in preparation for future nuclear confrontations and nuclear wars.
In late June of this year, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, wrote: "It is deeply troubling that the US has allocated $185 billion to augment its nuclear stockpile over the next decade, on top of the ordinary annual nuclear-weapons budget of more than $50 billion." Not only has the International Court of Justice affirmed that nations "are legally obliged to negotiate in good faith for the complete elimination of their nuclear forces," but "every dollar invested in bolstering a country's nuclear arsenal is a diversion of resources from its schools, hospitals, and other social services, and a theft from the millions around the globe who go hungry or are denied access to basic medicines." He concluded: "Instead of investing in weapons of mass annihilation, governments must allocate resources towards meeting human needs."
Another project worth eliminating is the national missile defense program. Thanks to recent Congressional generosity, this Reagan era carryover, once derided by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy as "Star Wars," is currently slated for an increase in federal spending, which will provide it with $8.6 billion in fiscal 2012.
The vast and expensive missile defense program -- costing about $150 billion since its inception -- has thus far produced remarkably meager results. Indeed, no one knows whether it will work. As an investigative article in Bloomberg News recently reported: "It has never been tested under conditions simulating a real attack by an intercontinental ballistic missile deploying sophisticated decoys and countermeasures. The system has flunked 7 of 15 more limited trials, yet remains exempted from normal Pentagon oversight."

Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported that his committee was "deeply concerned" about the test failures of the nation's missile defense program. He also implied that, given the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the United States might not need such a system to deter its potential enemies, which have a far inferior missile capability. "The threat we have now is either a distant threat or is not a realistic threat," he remarked.

Why, then, do other nations -- for example, Russia -- fiercely object to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system near their borders? Perhaps they fear that, somehow, U.S. scientists and engineers will finally figure out how to build a system, often likened to hitting a bullet with a bullet, that makes the United States invulnerable while they are left vulnerable. Or perhaps they think that, one day, some U.S. government officials might believe that the United States actually is invulnerable and launch a first strike against their own nations. In any case, their favorite solution to the problem posed by U.S. national missile defense -- building more nuclear-armed missiles of their own -- significantly undermines the security of the United States.
Projecting the current annual cost of this program over the next decade, the United States would save $86 billion by eliminating it.
Thus, by scrapping plans for nuclear weapons "modernization" and for national missile defense -- programs that are both useless and provocative -- the United States would save $271 billion (well over a quarter of a trillion dollars) in the next ten years. Whether used to balance the budget or to fund programs for jobs, healthcare, education, and the environment, this money would go a long way toward resolving some of the nation's current problems.
Dr. Lawrence Wittner is Professor of History emeritus at the State University of New York/Albany. His latest book is Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement (Stanford University Press).

“How the New Mexico Anti–Nuclear Campaign Achieved a Major Victory” by Subhankar Banerjee, Climate Story Tellers, Truthout, Feb. 26, 2012: "We're always so inundated with bad news and sad news that we rarely take the time and look back, when we do win, most importantly at the things that got us there, however fleeting that win might be. In activism there is no win however, only ongoing engagement.... What can the New Mexico activists tell us about how they stopped what they call a Plutonium Bomb Factory? Here is their story."    Read the Article

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Prevent Attack on Iran

OMNI IRAN NEWSLETTER # 14,  February 26, 2012, COMPILED BY DICK BENNETT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE  (#11 Oct. 8, 2011; #12 Jan. 31, 2012; #13 Feb. 22, 2012)

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site.   These newsletters offer information that enable us to examine morality and judgment of our leaders and their policies, of power.

STOP THE ATTACK ON IRAN.  No peacemaking is as important as opposing and hopefully preventing a war.  Speak up, write, call, donate, don’t give peace up.

Contents of #12

CLW: Stop the Threatening

Urge Obama to Use Diplomacy

New US Special Ops Task Force Near Iran

US Iran on collision Course?

Christian Science Monitor Timeline of Predictions

Preventing War
AIPAC War-Mongering
4th Nuclear Scientist Assassinated

West and Iran Ready to Continue Talks?

Obama Distancing from Israeli Attack?

NYT Reporting

Tell PBS and NPR

Contents of #13

US Weapons Ring Iran
Blum, Iran No Threat
Books by Trita Parsi
Weasel Words for War

Contents of #14
Beinart, Crazy Rush to War
Rabbi Lerner’s Ad
Provoking War, the “Northwoods” pLOY
Tomgram, From WWI to Iran, Hochschild on WWI

“ The Crazy Rush to Attack Iran “  Peter Beinart, The Daily Beast , Reader Supported News   Beinart writes: "How can it be, less than a decade after the US invaded Iraq, that the Iran debate is breaking down along largely the same lines, and the people who were manifestly, painfully wrong about that war are driving the debate this time as well?"


No War or Preemptive Attack on Iran-- Rabbi Michael Lerner via
11:00 AM (16 minutes ago)  Feb. 26, 2012
rabbilerner@tikkun.orgTikkun  to heal, repair and transform the world.   A note from Rabbi Michael Lerner Join or Donate Now!
Feb. 26, 2012
Dear Dick,
Would you please help us put an ad in the NY Times, Washington Post and maybe also Ha'aretz and Yediot in Israel, and other media, depending on how much money we can raise) to put public pressure on President Obama to NOT agree to overtly or covertly o.k. an Israeli preemptive strike on sites where Iran is developing its nuclear capacities)?  As of now, Iran does not have those capacities, and though Israeli leaders are arguing that they must strike now before it becomes impossible to block the development of nuclear weapons, U.S. intelligence sources said on Friday, Feb. 24th, that Iran had not made any decision to go forward with developing nuclear weapons. You can view the ad's content at  (though when it is layed out beautifully on a full page in the NY Times and Washington Post, it will not look as wordy as it looks now, and there will be room for the names of some who have signed and donated to it. These ads are expensive, but they've been effective for the political Right and we need to help make more visible the peace-oriented majority of Americans who don't support another war. We need to move quickly because high-level decisions on this are being made soon.
         A "preemptive strike" on Iran could easily lead to a new war in which the U.S. felt it had to defend Israel from Iranian retaliations, or in which Iran attacked U.S. interests in retaliation (knowing that Israel would not go through with an attack unless it had gotten at least covert assurances from the Obama Administration that it would provide protection for Israel, even if publicly it denied ever giving such assurances). The pressure from AIPAC (at whose convention next week Obama, Netanyahu, and Gingrich have all agreed to speak, and don't be surprised if they also invite Santorum), from Christian Zionists, and from the Republican party to give Israel blanket assurances for full backing could easily push Obama and the vast majority of Democrats in Congress toward protecting themselves against being called "weak and indecisive on national defense," and the way they might do that is to rally around an attack on Iran. Just as Congressional Democrats were unwilling to stand up against the Patriot Act, against the Bush-sponsored war in Iraq or the Obama escalation of the war in Afghanistan, so they may again capitulate to the call to "be tough."
       As much as we detest the oppressive and dictatorial regime of the mullahs in Iran, as much as we want it to be replaced by a democratic and human rights-respecting regime, we know that the only way that can happen is through an uprising of the people of Iran. An assault by Israel backed by the US (overtly or covertly) will only strengthen the horrific gangsters who have misused the language of Islam to justify their oppressive regime, twisting the doctrines of Islam away from their fundamentally decent and peace-loving essence to manifest a hateful and repressive side.But we don't believe this terrible regime  can be overthrown by Israel or the U.S., and we do believe that a first strike or so-called "preemptive strike" is a violation of international law, a war crime, and is both immoral and self-destructive (because it will push Iranians of all stripes into having to support the reactionary mullahs who will be hailed as the embodiment of the nationalist efforts to survive foreign assaults). We hope someday to see those mullahs brought to trial before an international court of justice, along with the leaders of many other countries who have engaged in human rights violations, but another war, started by Israel or the U.S., will make this less rather than more likely.So lets stop this before it starts. And it could start very soon.

The hawks will be dominating the media in the next few weeks as Netanyahu arrives in the U.S., AIPAC has its national convention, and Republican candidates for the presidency will be attacking Democrats and Obama for being "too soft" or even charging them with being "pro the Iranian government"!!!!  We need you to donate to help us put an ad in the NY Times, Washington Post and other media (on-line places like Huffington Post and Salon tell us) to oppose this possible attack on Iran and offset the appearance of the American people passively going along with the Right and the spineless as they lead us into yet another war. You can view the proposed text at You probably could have written it better, but at this point if you agree with the bottom line of "No war and no attack on Iran" please, please sign it and donate to make it possible. There may be parts of it you disagree with, which is why each part says "some of us" so that you are not committed to agreeing with every part of it, but only to saying "No War and No Attack on Iran." This campaign will cost at least $100,000. We can only do it if you believe it's worth it to you to donate more than you can afford to help us put pressure to not go along with this crazy plan. Imagine how much we would have saved as a society (many trillions of dollars that could have been used to help alleviate poverty, suffering, and fund medical research and housing and environmental advances) had we not gone to war with Iraq. Believe it or not, this is going to be a much worse war, and though Obama may think he is avoiding it, unless he uses his power to let Israel know that the US will stand publicly agaiinst the attack and refuse to get involved in a war with Iran, an attack on Iran has the potential of letting loose a war that will be far more likely to escalate wildly beyond US intentions once it is started.
So what we need from you is $1,000 or $500 or $300, and unless you tell us otherwise, we'll list your name on the ad (space allowing) as one of several hundred signatories if you can give that  much. And we'll be happy to get whatever you can give, even if it's only $25, though we may not have space in the ad to list all the donors who give less than $300 (though we will list your name on line unless you ask us not to do so). 
We have to act quickly if we are going to be able to have the money to publish this ad before final decisions are made to strike Iran. So please go to where you can donate to make this ad possible.
I know you share with me a desire for a world of peace. Later we may need to be involved in demonstrations or even non-violent civil disobedience, but right now all you need to do is to sign and donate to the ad (and if you don't want to have your name published, there's an option you can click when signing so that your name will not be made public). So please give generously even if it financially hurts. We have to stand together for our belief in a world of peace, and the only path to peace is a path of peace. Our means must be consistent with our ends. Stand with me on this one, please!
Love and blessings,
Rabbi Michael Lerner      Editor, Tikkun Magazine   Chair, the interfaith (including atheists and secular humanists) Network of Spiritual Progressives,   and Rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in S.F. and Berkeley California  If you wish to have me come speak in your community on my new book Embracing Israel/Palestine and its relationship to a possible war in Iran, contact . And please send this appeal to sign the ad opposing war or military strikes against Iran to everyone on your email lists or any Facebook, Twitter, or other social media to which you have access or Google list groups to which you belong, and appeal in your own name for their support for this cause (but feel free to post and use any or all of my letter here and the text of the ad as well).
Copyright © 2010 Tikkun® / Network of Spiritual Progressives®.
2342 Shattuck Avenue, #1200
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-644-1200 Fax 510-644-1255


Hornberger writes: "Another option for avoiding the appearance of being the aggressor power is the Operation Northwoods option. During the Kennedy administration, the Pentagon and the CIA wanted to invade Cuba to effect regime change there. But they didn't want to appear as the aggressor power. So, the Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with a proposal that it unanimously approved and presented to JFK."

General Lyman Lemnitzer, center, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff concocted a 'top secret' plan to create a pretext for an invasion of Cuba in 1962. (photo: National Archives)

Don't Northwoods Iran

By Jacob G. Hornberger, The Future of Freedom Foundation
25 February 12
  Visit the National Security Archive at The George Washington University for more about Operation Northwoods. The full text of the so-called 'Northwoods Document,' presented to and then rejected by President Kennedy, is preserved as a PDF file here. -- JPS/RSN
  ll the buzz over possible war with Iran brings us a déjà vu feeling, given that U.S. officials prepared Americans with similar pre-war hype in the run up to their war on Iraq. WMDs. Mushroom clouds over American cities. An insane dictator. Threats to national security. Etcetera.
Keep in mind that Iran, like Iraq, has never attacked the United States. If President Obama gives his military and his CIA orders to attack Iran, the United States will once again be the aggressor nation, as it was in its war on Iraq.
That's one reason, of course, aggressors like to maneuver targeted nations into firing the first shot. In that way, the aggressor nation can tell its citizens, "We've been attacked! We're innocent! We have been forced to go to war to defend ourselves."
That's what President Franklin Roosevelt tried to do with the Germans prior to U.S. entry into World War II. He knew that the American people were steadfastly opposed to entering into another European war, given the large number of American soldiers who had died for nothing in World War I.
But the Germans refused to take the bait. So, FDR went into the Pacific in search of a "back door to war." By imposing sanctions and an oil embargo on Japan in the middle of its war on China, FDR figured that he stood a good chance of maneuvering the Japanese into retaliating with a military strike on U.S. forces in the Pacific.
FDR proved to be right. While the debate continues over whether FDR had actual knowledge of the upcoming attack on Hawaii, there is little doubt that he was anticipating an attack somewhere in the Pacific. When the attack came at Pearl Harbor, FDR had achieved his goal - U.S. entry into World War II.
The brutal sanctions that the U.S. government imposed against Iraq during the 1990s had much the same goal. The idea was that Saddam Hussein would not sit idly by and watch tens of thousands of Iraqi children die yearly and would instead retaliate with a military strike against U.S. forces in the region. Or the idea was that public agony in Iraq over the continuing deaths of Iraqi children would cause Saddam to be taken out by an internal military coup that would install a pro-U.S. regime into power.
But it was not to be. The children continued to die as each year went by, and Saddam remained in power. It was 9/11 and the fake WMD alerts on Iraq that enabled President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and achieve the regime change that the sanctions hadn't achieved.
As the sanctions against Iran produce ever-growing suffering among the Iranian people, will the Iranian regime sit back and simply watch it or will it retaliate with a military strike on U.S. forces in the region? It's impossible to predict, but what's easy to predict is the U.S. response to an Iranian military strike: "We've been attacked! We're innocent! We were just minding our own business! We have been forced to defend ourselves by bombing Iran."
Another option for avoiding the appearance of being the aggressor power is the Operation Northwoods option. During the Kennedy administration, the Pentagon and the CIA wanted to invade Cuba to effect regime change there. But they didn't want to appear as the aggressor power.
So, the Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with a proposal that it unanimously approved and presented to JFK. The plan called for U.S. personnel to disguise themselves as agents of the Cuban government and to engage in terrorist attacks on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay. It also called for terrorist attacks within the United States that would be conducted by pro-U.S. forces disguising themselves as Cuban agents.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Operation Northwoods involved the proposed hijacking of an American passenger plane. The JCS proposed that a real plane containing American passengers would be hijacked by friendly forces disguised as Cuban agents. The plane would drop down off the radar screen and be replaced by a pilotless aircraft, which would crash, purportedly killing all the passengers. Under the plan, the real passenger plane would be secretly flown back to the United States.
Do you see the problem though? How could the real passengers be released back to their families without revealing that they hadn't really crashed?
Once all this had taken place, the Pentagon expected President Kennedy to look into the national television cameras and simply lie to the American people and to the world by falsely claiming that the Cuban government had attacked the United States.
Of course, the Pentagon and the CIA would be expected to lie as well. No doubt all documents relating to all this terrorist activity would have been classified and remained secret for the next century or at least as long as they could all be destroyed.
To Kennedy's ever-lasting credit, he rejected Operation Northwoods. Such might not have been the case if Richard Nixon or Lyndon Johnson had been president. Don't forget that just a few years later, Nixon would lie about the Watergate cover-up and Johnson would lie about the Gulf of Tonkin attack.
In fact, the Gulf of Tonkin incident provides another way that war could break out against Iran. In order to provoke the North Vietnamese into attacking U.S. forces, the Pentagon ordered U.S. Naval vessels to patrol in or near North Vietnamese waters. When that plan didn't work, the Pentagon simply made up a fake attack, falsely claiming that the North Vietnamese had attacked the U.S. vessels. Seizing upon the fake attack, Johnson secured the infamous Gulf of Tonkin Resolution from Congress that empowered him to launch his military invasion of Vietnam, an invasion that ended up costing the lives of almost 60,000 American men, who died for nothing.
The U.S. government has no business engaging in another war of aggression. It has already killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, none of whom had anything to do with 9/11. It has done the same to hundreds of thousands of Afghanis, most of whom had nothing to do with 9/11. It was killed countless people in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere, most of whom had nothing to do with 9/11.
Enough is enough. But if President Obama (or his possible successor) does decide to go to war with Iran, he should be required, on pain of impeachment, to follow the law that we the people have imposed upon him with our Constitution. He should be made to secure a declaration of war from Congress before sending our nation into war. At least in that way, Congress could ferret out whether the president, the Pentagon, and the CIA have employed a Pearl Harbor, Operation Northwoods, or Gulf of Tonkin scheme to justify their war.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
February 26, 2012
Tomgram: “Adam Hochschild, Antiwar Critics Forgotten on Oscar Night”
[Special Offer for TomDispatch Readers: Adam Hochschild’s new book on World War I, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918, was a big hit and boy did it deserve it!  With a front-page New York Times Book Review rave, it became a bestseller.  At the moment, it’s a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  It was also a big hit at TomDispatch when Hochschild offered to sign copies of the hardcover in return for a donation to this site.  Now, with the paperback just coming out, he’s ready to do it again. This time, you’ll get a signed, personalized copy of the new paperback in return for a donation of $85 (or more).  Just pay a visit to our donation page and check it out for yourself. For anyone who watched Downton Abbey or went to War Horse, here’s World War I as it really was, a remarkable tale, including the unknown story of that war’s critics.  (My book, The United States of Fear, is similarly available on the donation page for a contribution of $75 or more.)  Tom]

Here’s how, in his classic Vietnam War history, The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam summed up Washington life via the career of Dean Rusk, the hawkish Secretary of State under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson: “If you are wrong on the hawkish side of an event you are all right; if you are accurate on the dovish side you are in trouble.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, so many decades later, to be able to say that such a statement is thoroughly out of date in Washington and elsewhere in this country?  Unfortunately, on the evidence of the Iraq War years, it would be a lovely lie.

Where, after all, are those who went out into the streets in their millions globally to say: don’t do it, it’s madness! and the far smaller crew who said the same about the Afghan War?  Logically, they should be celebrated today.  They were on target.  To the extent anyone could, they saw it coming.  Logically, some of the more prescient among them should be our experts of the moment.  They should be the media’s go-to guys and gals as a war atmosphere builds vis-a-vis Iran that has eerie similarities to the pre-Iraq invasion period (despite the intervening decade-plus of disaster in the Greater Middle East). 

The antiwar figures who protested then, who said the war hawks of the Bush administration and the many pundits beating the war drums for them were fools, and an invasion a fool’s task, should be in the Rolodexes of every journalist reporting on American foreign policy, the Iran crisis, or our wars.  But when was the last time you heard from one of them or saw one spotlighted?

For years, to give a single example, on anniversaries of the Iraq invasion, my hometown paper, the New York Times, called on the very figures who had gotten it wrong or actively helped make it wrong to assess the war, to tell us just where we were.  Now, the urge to surge once again seems to have parts of the polity in its grips, as 58% of Americans in a recent Pew poll favor someone using military force to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.  (Of course, in a recent CNN/Gallup poll, 71% were already convinced that Iran has a nuclear weapon!)  At this very moment, the experts being called on are regularly those who were “wrong on the hawkish side.”  Meanwhile, the Republican candidates ( Ron Paul excepted) are all but swearing they will launch a war on Iran if elected.  In the midst of this, remind me: Is anyone in that mainstream world checking in with those who were “accurate on the dovish side”?  If so, I haven’t noticed, and I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to do so either.

Perhaps because they managed to snag the more impressive bird, the hawks remain eternally wrong and triumphant when it comes to war, and the doves remarkably right and yet eternally erased from the scene.  It’s a story that Adam Hochschild, author of the bestseller To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (just out in paperback), reminds us is anything but new. (To catch Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Hochschild discusses the largely untold stories of those in England who opposed involvement in World War I and the message they offer for our own time, click  here,  or download it to your iPod  here.)  Tom

  “The Untold War Story -- Then and Now
Going Beyond the Tale of a Boy and His Horse”

Well in advance of the 2014 centennial of the beginning of “the war to end all wars,” the First World War is suddenly everywhere in our lives. Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse opened on 2,376 movie screens and has collected six Oscar nominations, while the hugely successful play it’s based on is still packing in the crowds in New York and a second production is being readied to tour the country.
In addition, the must-watch TV soap opera of the last two months, Downton Abbey, has just concluded its season on an unexpected kiss.  In seven episodes, its upstairs-downstairs world of forbidden love and dynastic troubles took American viewers from mid-war, 1916, beyond the Armistice, with the venerable Abbey itself turned into a convalescent hospital for wounded troops. Other dramas about the 1914-1918 war are on the way, among them an HBO-BBC miniseries based on Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End quartet of novels, and a TV adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong from an NBC-backed production company.
In truth, there’s nothing new in this.  Filmmakers and novelists have long been fascinated by the way the optimistic, sunlit, pre-1914 Europe of emperors in plumed helmets and hussars on parade so quickly turned into a mass slaughterhouse on an unprecedented scale. And there are good reasons to look at the First World War carefully and closely.

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