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Pot, Meet Kettle: America’s Use of Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Weapons

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2022

by Patrick Macfarlane

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/pot-meet-kettle-americas-use-of-chemical-biological-and-nuclear-weapons/

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In a recent editorial, I discussed a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 1, 2022, by Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

The proposed AUMF, if passed, would allow President Biden to deploy American forces to restore “the territorial integrity of Ukraine” in the event that Russia uses chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

Thankfully, as Antiwar.com news editor Dave DeCamp writes, Kinzinger’s AUMF has failed to gain traction. This may seem like a bright spot in an otherwise apocalyptically bad news cycle, but not to worry! Antiwar.com Opinion Editor Kyle Anzalone noted in his recent interview of me, Kinzinger’s proposed AUMF will likely sit on the House Floor until the necessary political capital appears.

It probably will when Russia (or anyone really) uses the above-described weapons.

Although Kinzinger’s proposed AUMF asserts the moral high ground by threatening war against Russia, it can claim none. The United States itself has deployed all three types of weapons against its enemies—in the recent past, if not sooner.

As for nuclear weapons—the United States is the only country in world history to have used nuclear weapons against an enemy during wartime. Their use is even more abhorrent considering Hiroshima and Nagasaki held no strategic military value and the ordinance overwhelmingly killed civilians.

As if obliterating two major Japanese cities wasn’t enough, the Manhattan Project’s test detonations in the New Mexico desert exposed nearby farmers and their families to dangerous levels of radiation. Although the family members did not exhibit external symptoms, much of their livestock died.

In tune with their character, between 1945 and 1947 Manhattan Project scientists purposely injected 30 Americans with plutonium just to see what would happen. These injections were administered without the subjects’ knowledge or consent.

As for biological warfare, the United States’ military has tested biological weapons against its own citizens on several occasions.

In 1949, the Army Chemical Corps secretly released a harmless bacteria into the Pentagon’s air conditioning system to see how it spread through the building.

In April of 1950 and September of 1950, the Army Chemical Corps sprayed the coasts of Norfolk, Virginia and San Francisco, California, respectively, with two types of bacteria.

The types of bacteria that were released, Bacillus globigii and Serratia marcesens were believed to be harmless at the time. However,

Bacillus globigii is now [considered] to be a pathogen, causes food poisoning, and can hurt anyone with a weak immune system. As for Serratia marcesens, 11 people were admitted to a hospital with serious bacterial infections after the San Francisco test. One of them–Edward Nevin–died three weeks later.

In a previous editorial, I wrote about how the U.S. Army Chemical Corps sprayed several cities in the United States and Canada with zinc cadmium sulfide. At the time, zinc cadmium sulfide was considered to be harmless, but a large class of victims brought a federal lawsuit claiming the exposure caused myriad ailments. The lawsuit was dismissed, in part because the U.S. Government cannot be sued without its consent.

In the 1980s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided Iraq with pathogens, which were ostensibly used against Iran in the Iraq-Iran War. In fact, the United States supported both sides of the war.

In September 2002, West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd entered the CDC’s own documents into the Congressional Record during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. The documents showed that

the CDC and a biological sample company, American Type Culture Collection, sent strains of all the germs Iraq used to make weapons, including anthrax, the bacteria that make botulinum toxin and the germs that cause gas gangrene…Iraq also got samples of other deadly pathogens, including West Nile virus.

A few years later, the United States invaded Iraq under the pretext of destroying the above weapons. In the largest battle of said invasion, the Second Battle of Fallujah, the United States used white phosphorous against insurgents.

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White phosphorous is a chemical compound that burns intensely when exposed to oxygen. When it contacts the human body, it burns to the bone, causing horrific injuries.

Although the legality of using white phosphorous against combatants is debatable, and beyond the scope of this piece, the use of white phosphorus against civilians is a war crime.

There is evidence that the United States’ use of white phosphorous in Fallujah harmed civilians. It is also confirmed that the United States used white phosphorous in Iraq and Syria in its ostensible fight against the Islamic State. Human Rights Watch could not confirm several allegations that the white phosphorous harmed civilians, but it noted that the allegations exist and are supported by at least some evidence.

U.S. partners Israel and Turkey have been accused of using white phosphorous. Israel admitted it.

One of the most grievous and well-documented cases of the United States’ use of chemical weapons occurred during the Vietnam War.

While working on solutions to its counterinsurgency problem in Vietnam, the Pentagon, through ARPA, created a defoliant that gained international notoriety under the name “Agent Orange.”

Agent Orange was supposed to combat the Vietcong insurgency by denying it “protective cover from the jungle canopy.” Its second purpose was to starve the enemy “by poisoning their primary food crop, a jungle root called manioc.” Lyndon B. Johnson’s National Security Advisor Walt Rostow called the defoliant program “a type of chemical warfare.”

By the end of the war, the United States had sprayed 19 million gallons of Agent Orange on Vietnam’s jungles. “A 2012 congressional report determined that over the course of the war, between 2.1 million and 4.8 million Vietnamese were directly exposed[.]”

In addition to destroying its natural resources, Agent Orange caused abhorrent health defects in the Vietnamese population.

Ninety-eight refugees who had been exposed to chemical sprays in South Vietnam were interviewed in Hanoi. Most reported effects on eyes and skin and gastrointestinal upsets. Ninety-two percent suffered fatigue, prolonged or indefinite in 17 percent of cases. Reports of abortions and monstrous births in sprayed humans and animals and of substantial numbers of deaths among fish, fowl, and pigs were also given.

2006 meta-analysis found a very high correlation between exposure to Agent Orange and birth defects:

Results In total, 22 studies including 13 Vietnamese and nine non-Vietnamese studies were identified. The summary relative risk (RR) of birth defects associated with exposure to Agent Orange was 1.95 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.59–2.39], with substantial heterogeneity across studies. Vietnamese studies showed a higher summary RR (RR = 3.00; 95% CI 2.19–4.12) than non-Vietnamese studies (RR = 1.29; 95% CI 1.04–1.59). Sub-group analyses found that the magnitude of association tended to increase with greater degrees of exposure to Agent Orange, rated on intensity and duration of exposure and dioxin concentrations measured in affected populations. Conclusion Parental exposure to Agent Orange appears to be associated with an increased risk of birth defects.

The United States constantly grandstands about enforcing the “international rules-based order,” but what does that order stand for? If its own conduct is the measure, then the United States should have no quarrel with Russia for using chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

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About Patrick Macfarlane

Patrick MacFarlane is the Justin Raimondo Fellow at the Libertarian Institute where he advocates a noninterventionist foreign policy. He is a Wisconsin attorney in private practice. He is the host of the Liberty Weekly Podcast at www.libertyweekly.net, where he seeks to expose establishment narratives with well researched documentary-style content and insightful guest interviews. His work has appeared on antiwar.com and Zerohedge. He may be reached at patrick.macfarlane@libertyweekly.net

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America’s War?

Posted by M. C. on February 21, 2022

By Eric S. Margolis

World War III? Or a bad, expensive joke?

Russia has declared a nuclear test alert.  The Ukraine crisis is beginning to become very scary.

When the old Soviet Union broke up, I and other moderates called for the former Moscow-dominated states of East Europe to become neutral.  Otherwise, East-West conflict would, I warned, be inevitable (see my book ‘War at the Top of the World’).

Instead, the rabidly anti-Russian US war party drove NATO east to the former Soviet borders, making a major confrontation near certain.

We are there today, playing Russian roulette with nuclear weapons.

Washington is beating the war drums and sounds borderline hysterical, warning ‘the Russians are coming.’  Moscow scoffs at the whole business, saying President Joe Biden is trying to divert attention from the big economic and political mess in the US.

Nothing like a jolly little war to distract public opinion at a time when rightwing forces are fast gaining ground in the US and now, of all places, in placid Canada.

The trucker’s blockade that shut down the Canada-US border cost Ottawa billions in lost trade, seriously damaged the image of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and showed that less than 100 ZZ Top look-alike truckers could hold Canada to ransom. 

It was also a vivid rehearsal for what the hard right may have in store for November elections.  The mob assault on the Capitol on 6 January was only a trial run.

Meanwhile, back in darkest Ukraine, pro- and anti-government factions are trading occasional shells while the US government in Washington claims war is imminent.

The facts on the ground do not support such alarmism.  Russia may have up to 150,000 troops positioned around Ukraine (similar to the same strategic advantage that Germany enjoyed over Poland in 1939) but all these units are so far positioned inside Russia.  Most of the NATO troops rushed to the east are from outside their home territory. 

Crimea and Ukraine were ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and then Crimean Tatars, until annexed by Russia’s Catherine the Great in 1783.  They remained an integral part of the Russian Empire until the 1920’s, and, after a brief bout of independence after WWI, until the Communist era.

But one must remember that in the 1930’s, Josef Stalin and his ‘Jewish Himmler,’ Lazar Kaganovitch, murdered some six million Ukrainians by starvation or shootings in an effort to eradicate Ukrainian nationalism and independent farming.  This was likely the worst atrocity in Europe until 1944 – done by the key US/British wartime ally.  Small wonder the invading Germans in WWII were initially greeted as liberators.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, an ally of billionaire George Soros, now claims that Moscow will stage a false flag operation to justify invading Ukraine.  It’s true, Russia just about invented such ploys in the 1919-1920 period when Moscow’s secret police rounded up and crushed the anti-communist opposition.  KGB has always loved such deft operations. 

But who is Blinken to make such allegations?  British media revealed that George W. Bush and UK PM Tony Blair discussed painting US aircraft in UN colors, then buzzing Iraqi anti-aircraft units to provoke a false flag attack on the UN, justifying a US-British attack against Iraq.  In fact, the entire Iraq invasion was based on a farrago of lies, double-dealing and torture.

Right on cue, former US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (born Nudelman), remerges to press for war against Russia.  She spent US$5 billion engineering the overthrow of Ukraine’s former elected government which leaned towards Moscow.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Eric S. Margolis [send him mail] is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

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A Modest Proposal – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on January 10, 2022

The warning lights are blinking red that the failed US empire is going to need similar assistance soon.  The roadmap for the nuclear disarmament of transitioning states is clear.  We know it can be done. We recognize that it should be done before the velvet divorces, gentle secessions or violent civil wars. 

https://www.lewrockwell.com/?post_type=article&p=831102

By Karen Kwiatkowski

Desmond Tutu’s recent passing reminds us of South Africa’s difficult transition away from apartheid as state policy, and into the complications and frustrations of mass democracy.  It reminds us of the De Klerk government’s dismantling their entire inventory of six nuclear weapons (plus one under construction) under the auspices of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

How and why these weapons were developed is another story, or two.  World opinion was happily supportive of South Africa’s 1989 denuclearization, after the fact.  Global decision-makers, long aware of South Africa’s capability in this deadly arena, were actively interested in no nukes for the new South Africa.

De Klerk opposed nuclear weapons, and his opposition was not completely shared by South Africa’s military bureaucracy.  In his own words, he “overrode that opposition” and never doubted that he was doing the right thing.

A country societally and politically divided, in a world similarly divided, is not a good place for nuclear weapons.  What if, instead of a couple of hours of unarmed riot at the Capitol, American tensions and divisions erupted in a far more significant and more pervasive way?  In practical terms, we understand that the US is an oligarchy, but rips and crevasses in the US fabric are far deeper than simply the people against the corporate and political elites.  Red and blue have become not only visual labels, but communication blockades, with each side well informed by their own media sources, unable to understand the language and emotion of the other side, and contemptuous of it to boot.  The side most aligned with a given government (oligarchy of economic elites, as political scientists explain) policy sees those opposed to that policy as domestic terrorists, and worse. And why shouldn’t they?

While the federal system and the literal vastness of the US allows for some conflictual steam to be released, via interstate mobility and self sufficiency, ultimately these two valves are little more than welcome death knells for the centralized power system in the US.

Add to this a political system that rewards fiscal insolvency, and demands a Ponzi scheme of such magnitude that the whole country rises and falls on mystical utterings of the Fed.  The Federal Reserve is the very godhead of the economic oligarchy. It is a creation impossibly bound by its own sins, a lovely whore itself strapped to the mast as it hears the siren call of lie after treacherous lie told to the red and blue people.  When faith in whatever holds the United States together fails, everything Americans take for granted spins out of control.  Uncertainty, risk, unpredictability, and a massive cache of formerly centrally controlled nuclear weapons.

If world leaders perceived the United States as a conflicted country, tending to violence and anger, consolidating along political and cultural lines, poorly-led and increasingly ungovernable, might they be concerned?  As in 1980s South Africa, might they consider that they ought to do something about those nuclear weapons?

What if world leaders saw the United States as a large, incompetent, nuclear-armed country – unable to pay its bills, suffering domestic unrest and facing imminent collapse of the social welfare state upon which 70% of the population depends upon for survival? What if the global consensus was that this troubled and weakened nation might be inclined to use those weapons to suppress secession movements, or as a false flag to consolidate political power or to start another “unifying” war?  What if the United States is not trusted by the rest of the world? What if it is the only country to have used nuclear weapons against a population in the name of winning a war?

What if corruption and desperation led to the illicit trade or sale of these weapons on the world market? What known institution or American value exists to prevent that from happening?  In failed states, this situation with conventional weapons, biological agents and fissionable material is both past and predictable fact. The origin story of South African nukes itself stands in testament to how this works.

When the United States devolves into separate republics, kingdoms or dictatorships, some warlike and others not, some potentially allied with Christian Russia and others with Communist China, others aggressively content to become little North Koreas or even Old European or southern hemisphere acolytes, do we trust these political entities to be able to safely resolve ownership and management of the US nuclear arsenal, and its control system?

This is possibly the most important question of our era, yet we have not been asking it. I suspect the rest of the world sees pretty clearly what may only be just dawning on the average American.

Civil war or civil dissolution here in the US is already happening, but what is more frightening is that this dissolution will happen and has to happen, in order to repudiate the long past payable US federal and private debt.  A conscious write-down of government debt and entitlements is politically impossible, without revolution, devolution, and/or war.   If the US were to wage war abroad, that war would need to go nuclear:  first, because it cannot be won conventionally by the US military; second, it cannot be stopped without it; and thirdly, that extreme level of “reset” is require to truly restart the debt clock.

Such a reset might be achieved by biological agents, as we suspect with the recent exercise of COVID and its various government-mandated final solutions. However, as the Davos crowd and even big Pharma understand, it’s difficult to control the narrative over time without real fear, not just propaganda-driven hysteria. Like bacteria and viruses, the human psyche, individually and collectively, adapts and survives state- and stage-directed fear-mongering to create resilient variants, some of which may be markedly dangerous to the status quo in the future.

Physical control of people is resource intensive.  It takes money – and the insidious theft by government and its cronies of trillions of dollars from voters and residents (and the rest of the world) is sustainable only when hidden from view. Government debt, at federal, state and local levels, as well as most personal and business debt, is today more often than not, pure junk.  Issuance of new currency, centralized management of money via digital fiat, or MMT, after the coming US death of money, will not even rise to the level of can-kicking.

I modestly propose that in light of the end of the American empire, in preparation for the societal and political collapse of the institutions that control the vast nuclear weapons inventory of the US, and in the interests of global environmentalism, that the major powers begin now to take steps to help facilitate the transition of the US into a non-nuclear nation.

The quality of the US political leadership has been in serious decline, as seen in every election for the duration of our nuclear age.  This imperial decline is not without precedent, but the ability of other world powers to impact global security today is notably different than it was at the end of WWII.  Global treaties and organizations exist under which global security may be served.  New political and economic power centers around the world have emerged to balance and surpass US hegemony. Ensuring the safe and pre-collapse denuclearization of the United States should be their number one priority.

If, we as Americans, observed a nuclear-armed country that was so divided, so badly governed, so unhealthy mentally and physically, so morally and financially broken, and so likely to collapse as a unitary power, would we not be concerned about what to do with those nukes?  Would we not hope for and plan for a non-nuclear transition such that, as new countries emerge from the failed empire, they would not emerge as multiple and hostile nuclear states, persisting in a long-running civil wars that might, as civil wars tend to do, be exceptionally merciless and shortsighted?

The dedicated US concern with handful of North Korean nuclear weapons, or their public obsession with even the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon, demonstrates that Americans are not blind to the issues I’ve mentioned here.  This concern should be turned inward, and diplomatically assisted by well-meaning global leaders.

The danger is real.  But so is the model.  Four countries have voluntarily denuclearized.  South Africa, led by De Klerk, and three former Soviet states.  Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus returned Soviet nuclear weapons to Russia, in some cases for safe dismantlement.  In every case, treaties, international organizations, common sense and global political leadership played an important role.

The warning lights are blinking red that the failed US empire is going to need similar assistance soon.  The roadmap for the nuclear disarmament of transitioning states is clear.  We know it can be done. We recognize that it should be done before the velvet divorces, gentle secessions or violent civil wars.  My modest proposal is offered not to save the world, or the environment, although it would help with both.  It is offered because it occurs to me that we are a bit further along in our devolution as an empire than I previously thought.  Liberty is at hand, there is much to do, and we may very well need outside assistance with this particular project.

Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, farmer and aspiring anarcho-capitalist. She ran for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district in 2012.

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Three Reasons to Start Taking Secession Seriously | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 30, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/three-reasons-start-taking-secession-seriously

Ryan McMaken

Last month, the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia released a new study which showed that, at least among those polled, “roughly 4 in 10 (41%) of Biden and half (52%) of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that it’s time to split the country, favoring blue/red states seceding from the union.”

Moreover, majorities in both groups agreed there are “many radical, immoral people trying to ruin things” and that “it is the duty of every true citizen to help eliminate the evil that poisons our country from within.”

On might conclude that people who think that things are generally going well in a country aren’t so concerned with “the evil within” that they think it’s time to “split the country.”

It seems that President Biden has been unable to “unite” the country after all, in spite of his promises that it’s “time to heal in America” and that he will “be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify.” Rather, it appears the country embraces a hard divide over a variety of issues, with vaccine mandates and parental rights in public education being only the most current ones.

At this point, there’s no reason to believe these divides are simply going to go away. Secession is likely to become even more mainstream, as has been occurring in recent years, and as the old “liberal consensus” of the mid-twentieth century recedes ever more into the distant past. 

Rather, experience increasingly points toward separation, even if such events seem far off.  In the real world, after all, major political changes can come suddenly and in unexpected ways. In 1987, most Soviets still assumed the USSR would continue to exist for many more decades—if not centuries. Because of this, now is the time to begin asking the difficult questions about secession and how military and financial questions can be addressed.

Considering all this, we see three main reasons why it is increasingly unwise to ignore secession as a serious possibility. 

Secession Went Mainstream

The first reason we must now take secession seriously is that it’s no longer a topic of discussion only among the most radical.

In 2014, for example, a quarter of those polled said they thought their state should secede. By 2018, 39 percent were saying they think a state should “have the final say” as to whether or not that state remains part of the United States. In 2020, more than a third of those polled said states have a legal right to secede.

Mainstream conservatives increasingly suggest the possibility, from Rush Limbaugh to Dennis Prager. Indeed, just last week, Prager admitted that secession offers a chance to live in a country that better reflects one’s own values. Should secession happen, Prager said, ” I would live in a state governed by Judeo-Christian values versus one governed by left-wing values.” Even elderly conservatives are starting to grasp the idea: separation brings choice, and choice is better than ossified notions of “patriotism.”

Indeed, it appears it’s no coincidence that older conservative operatives like Prager have been among those who are late to warm to the idea of secession. According to Zogby’s 2020 poll on secession, favorable attitudes toward secession decline as the polled group gets older. In the 18–29-year-old group, a majority (52 percent) think states have a legal right to secede. In the over-65 group the number is only 23 percent. In other words, the dogma of national unity is a dogma of older generations. Not only is secession increasingly mainstream, but it may be the wave of the future as well.

Meanwhile, members of Congress—including Iowa’s Steven Holt and Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene—now openly speak well of secession. They wouldn’t say this if they didn’t think their constituents agreed with them. 

Moreover, we might measure the growth of the secessionist position by the number of pundits who now feel the need to condemn it. Once upon a time, secession was regarded as so “out there” that it scarcely deserved any attention at all. No longer. Nowadays, conservative Beltway pundits feel the need to go on rants about it on Fox News.

The Left’s Unionists Want to Run Your Life

A second reason to take secession seriously is the fact that the Left doesn’t seem to be learning anything from the rise of separatism. Just as many Americans appear to be embracing a posture in opposition to rule from the center, the Left is doubling down on the idea that more local autonomy is not to be tolerated.

A clear example of this is the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act introduced in the US Senate. The legislation, if passed, would give Washington vast new powers in regulating and controlling how states conduct their own elections. Originally, of course, state governments had almost total control over how elections were governed and conducted within each state. This makes sense in a country that began as a collection of sovereign republics. Just as EU member states conduct their elections in a way that’s locally controlled, the same was once true for the US. Over time—as in most policy areas—the federal government asserted more control. But with the Voting Rights Advancement Act, local control over elections would be virtually abolished, with most any changes subject to a federal imprimatur.

Naturally, opposition to surrendering state elections to federal control is denounced as motivated by racism and other nefarious goals. And this is reflective of the Left’s opposition to secession and decentralization in general. The idea is “we can’t let those people run their own affairs, because they’re sure to use local prerogatives for evil.”

For example, when condemning secession in New York magazine, Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore made it clear he has no intention of letting people do much of anything without federal “oversight.” He writes:

So might we drift apart more or less peacefully this time around? Possibly, but count me out when it comes to agreeing to a National Divorce…. [H]ow could I happily accept the accelerated subjugation of women and people of color in a new, adjacent Red America, any more than abolitionists could accept the continuation and expansion of the slavery they hated? Would it really be safe to live near a carbon-mad country in which the denial of climate change was an article of faith? And could I ever trust that a “neighbor” whose leadership and citizens believed their policies reflected the unchanging ancient will of the Almighty would leave our fences intact?

Kilgore can barely contain his contempt. He might as well be saying, “If those red state troglodytes are allowed freedom, they’ll surely embrace a racist and misogynistic dystopia that fills the air with poisonous fumes. These are religious zealots, after all!”

Anyone who doesn’t want to live out his or her life as subject to the whims of men like Kilgore should take his few moments of candor as an ominous warning. These people will never “happily accept” self-governance outside Washington’s purview, because they quite literally equate it with slavery and the hatred of women.

In other words, the more the Left condemns secession in detail—as they must now do because dismissive scoffing no longer works—they only provide additional reasons for why secession is likely the only real solution to the national divide.

Now Is the Time to Ask the Difficult Questions

Finally, the mainstreaming of secession means now is the appropriate time to start asking the difficult questions about how separation would actually take place.

For example, the issue of nuclear weapons cannot be ignored—although the case of post-Soviet Ukraine shows it’s not as intractable a problem as many suspect. Moreover, the question of the national debt ought to be approached. It will likely also be necessary to admit that under all realistic scenarios, a partial default is the likely outcome either with or without secession. And finally, there is the problem of “ethnic” enclaves. Historically, this always comes with secession, as with the ethnic Russians in the secessionist Baltics or the pro-Spaniard populations left behind throughout Latin America in the nineteenth century. Moreover, how “complete” would this separation be? It is entirely conceivable that a United States with two or more self-governing pieces could nevertheless remain under a single head of state or within a single military alliance. 

In real life, big political changes have a habit of occurring regardless of what the official planners want, and what the official plans say. That is, events have a way of overwhelming what the elites think is the proper way of doing things. But fostering serious discussion now could help avert at least some unpleasant surprises in the longer term. On the other hand, living in denial about secession won’t improve things. And, of course, the matter of secession is not one of “if” but “when.” All polities come to an end at some point either through disintegration or revolution. In many cases, the world improves when old states like the Roman Empire collapse.  The fanciful America-will-last-forever position is something that should seem plausible only to small children or the hopelessly naïve.  Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power and Market, but read article guidelines first.

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If America Splits Up, What Happens to the Nukes? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on February 19, 2021

The Israeli state is an important and illustrative case. This is a country with a GDP smaller than Colorado’s and a population smaller than that of the US state of Georgia, yet Israel is thought to maintain a nuclear triad of sea, air, and land-based warheads. In other words, this is a small state which has taken full advantage of the relatively economical nature of a small nuclear arsenal (estimated to include approximately eighty assembled warheads).

https://mises.org/wire/if-america-splits-what-happens-nukes

Ryan McMaken

Opposition to American secession movements often hinges on the idea that foreign policy concerns trump any notions that the United States ought to be broken up into smaller pieces.

It almost goes without saying that those who subscribe to neoconservative ideology or other highly interventionist foreign policy views treat the idea of political division with alarm or contempt. Or both.

They have a point. It’s likely that were the US to be broken up into smaller pieces, it would be weakened in its ability to act as a global hegemon, invading foreign nations at will, imposing “regime change,” and threatening war with any regime that opposes the whims of the American regime.

For some of us, however, this would be a feature of secession rather than a bug.

Moreover, the ability of the American regime to carry out offensive military operations such as regime change is separate and distinct from the regime’s ability to maintain an effective and credible defensive military force.

Last month, we looked at how even a dismembered United States would be more than capable of fielding a large and effective defensive military force. A politically divided America nonetheless remains a very wealthy America, and wealth remains a key component in effective military defense. In other words, bigness is not as important as the extent to which a regime can call upon high levels of wealth and capital accumulation.

[Read More: “When It Comes to National Defense, Bigger Isn’t Always Better” by Ryan McMaken]

That analysis, however, concentrated on conventional forces, and this leaves us with the question of how the successor states to a postsecession United States would fare in terms of nuclear deterrence.

In this case, there is even less need for bigness than in the case of conventional military forces. As the state of Israel has demonstrated, a small state can obtain the benefits of nuclear deterrence without a large population or a large economy.

In other words, an effective military defense through nuclear deterrence is even more economical than conventional military forces.

After Secession, Who Gets the Nukes?

But how would secession actually play out when nuclear weapons are involved?

One example we might consider is Ukraine’s secession from the Soviet Union the early 1990s.

In 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly to secede and set up an independent republic. At the time, the new state of Ukraine contained around one-third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. This means there were literally thousands of nuclear warheads within Ukraine’s borders, making Ukraine’s arsenal the third largest in the world. In 1994, Ukraine began a program of denuclearization and today is no longer a nuclear power.

The relations between Ukraine and the new Russian Federation were acrimonious in the early nineties—as now—so this means that the lessons of the Ukraine situation are limited if applied to American secessionist movements. American pundits may like to play up the red-blue division in America as an intractable conflict of civilizations, but these differences are small potatoes compared to the sort of ethnic and nationalist conflicts that have long existed in Eurasia. 

Nevertheless, we can glean some insights from that separation.

For example, the Ukrainian secession demonstrates that it is possible for nuclear weapons to pass into the control of a seceding state without a general conflict breaking out. Indeed, Ukraine was not alone in this. Kazakhstan and Belarus “inherited” nuclear arms from the Soviet Union as well. If Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus can all peacefully negotiate a resolution on how to deal with a suddenly decentralized nuclear arsenal, the Americans can pull it off, too.

Nonetheless, the Ukraine situation highlights some of the technical and logistical problems involved in working out who exactly controls nuclear weapons in a postsecession situation.

For example, it was never a simple matter for the Ukrainian regime to assert technical control over land-based nuclear missiles. It is unlikely that Ukraine ever obtained all the tools necessary to actually launch the nuclear missiles within its territory.1

It is likely, however, that Ukraine could have eventually gained this power, as it was already developing its own control system for the arsenal in 1993. Not surprisingly, the Soviet Russian regime was unenthusiastic about helping the Ukrainians in this respect.

When it came to using nuclear-capable bombers, on the other hand, it appears Ukraine’s regime had total control.2

It is likely the successor states of the US would face similar issues. The use of land-based missiles would be heavily reliant on authorization from whichever faction most recently controlled access and launching authority, even if those missiles are physically located within the borders of a separatist state. It must be noted, however, that the state within which land-based nuclear missiles exist has the ability to prevent usage in most cases. This is because even if the missiles themselves cannot be directly controlled, the personnel that maintains and controls the sites can far more easily be traded out for personnel loyal to the new regime.3

When it comes to submarines and bombers, a secessionist US region might find itself better able to assert control in the short term. Where those bombers and subs end up would have a lot to do with the likely chaotic situation in the wake of the independence movement and shifting borders.

Separatist Regions May Be Unwilling to Give Up Nukes

Ukraine had denuclearized in part due to bribes and pressure from both the United States and Russia. Russia wanted Ukraine’s arsenal for obvious reasons. The United States was obsessed with deproliferation, although it naturally insisted on keeping its own massive stockpile. 

Neither the US nor Russia had the ability to force Ukraine to denuclearize—short of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, of course. However, Ukraine capitulated to pressure when the Russian Federation, the US, and the UK (and to a lesser extent China and France) pledged in the Budapest Memorandum to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. 

In 2014, many interpreted this move as a grand folly when Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine and none of the other parties to the memorandum intervened. Ukraine had given up its best guarantee against Russian intervention—its nuclear arsenal—in exchange for weak “assurances” from foreign states.

Some foreign policy scholars—most notably John Mearsheimer—had predicted this and advised against denuclearization in Ukraine. Indeed, in 1993, Mearsheimer doubted that Ukraine would cave to denuclearization pressure precisely because reliable assurances from outsiders were unlikely. Even after the Budapest Memorandum became a reality a year later, it was nonetheless a rather weak reed on which to hang denuclearization. As Mearsheimer pointed out, should the Americans fail to provide an effective defense for Ukraine—as ended up being the case with the Crimea crisis—the Americans “would not have to live with the consequences of a Russian attack.”4 Nonetheless, some Ukrainians insist the Crimea crisis is not evidence of a need for a nuclear deterrent

Many, Americans, however, may be much less sanguine—even to the point of unwarranted paranoia—about the prospects of foreign intervention on American soil. This is why it is best to proceed assuming that at least some successor states to the current US would insist on retaining a nuclear arsenal. After all, while the Ukraine might have been betting on the US as the enforcer of the international order, such guarantees would be even more unlikely in the wake of an American secession crisis. Postsecession American states, in other words, would need to rely on a self-help system of deterrence.

On the other hand, we should not assume that all successor states to the United States would seek permanent nuclear arsenals. Some would likely give up nuclear programs, just as Sweden and South Africa have abandoned nuclear programs that were well advanced toward assembling arms (Sweden) or had already completed the construction of functioning warheads (South Africa). While the Ukrainian example of voluntary denuclearization may appear to be a blunder to many now, the situation in North America is different. North America is not eastern Europe with its long history of interstate conflict. In North America, Canada and the United States have been at peace for more than two centuries, and Canada has never made much effort to move toward assembling a nuclear arsenal. Rather, Canada’s proximity to the United States shields it from nuclear threats from outside North America. Any conventional or nuclear arrack on Canada from, say, China or Russia is likely to be interpreted as an attack on the United States, with disastrous consequences for the initial aggressor.

In other words, Canada benefits from what Baldur Thorhallsson calls “shelter” in the international arena. Canada requires no nuclear arsenal of its own, because it can use its close alliance with the United States as a substitute.

So long as some successor states of the United States maintain a functioning arsenal, other nonnuclear states in North America will be able to function similarly. It stands to reason that just as the United States in its current form has been at peace with all other former British colonies, it is likely that new North American republics will share a similar fate.

Big States Are Not Necessary: A Deterrent Nuclear Force Is Entirely Feasible for Small States

A new American republic need not be especially large to maintain a working arsenal.

While a sizable economy and population are extremely helpful in terms of building a large conventional military, these factors are not nearly as important when it comes to a nuclear force capable of deterring foreign powers.

As Kenneth Waltz has explained, “Nuclear parity is reached when countries have second-strike forces. It does not require quantitative or qualitative equality of forces.”5 That is, if a regime can plausibly hide or move around enough nuclear warheads to so as to survive a nuclear first strike, it is able to deter nuclear aggression from other states altogether. Moreover, the number of warheads necessary to achieve this number “not in the hundreds, but in the tens.”6

This is why Waltz has concluded that “deterrence is easier to contrive than most strategists have believed”7 and that “some countries may find nuclear weapons a cheaper and safer alternative to running economically ruinous and militarily dangerous conventional arms races. Nuclear weapons may promise increased security and independence at an affordable price.”8 In other words, deterrence “can be implemented cheaply.”9

[Read More: “Why No State Needs Thousands of Nuclear Warheads” by Ryan McMaken]

The Israeli state is an important and illustrative case. This is a country with a GDP smaller than Colorado’s and a population smaller than that of the US state of Georgia, yet Israel is thought to maintain a nuclear triad of sea, air, and land-based warheads. In other words, this is a small state which has taken full advantage of the relatively economical nature of a small nuclear arsenal (estimated to include approximately eighty assembled warheads).

Clearly, claims that even medium-sized American states—such as Ohio with 11 million people and a GDP nearly as large as that of Switzerland—are too small to possibly contemplate functioning as independent states are quite detached from reality. Moreover, there is no reason to assume any postsecession American state would seek to act alone in the realm of international relations. Kirkpatrick Sale has pointed out what should be regarded as obvious: “Historically, the response of small states to the threat of … aggression has been temporary confederation and mutual defense, and indeed the simple threat of such unity, in the form of defense treaties and leagues and alliances, has sometimes been a sufficient deterrent” (emphasis added).10

On the other hand, a continuation of the current trend toward political centralization in Washington—and the growing political domination of every corner of the nation by central authorities—is likely to only harm future prospects for amicable separation and peaceful cooperation on the international stage. 

  • 1. John J. Mearsheimer, “The Case for a Ukrainian Nuclear Deterrent,” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 50–66, esp. 52.
  • 2. Ibid., p. 52.
  • 3. Graham Allison notes the importance of personnel in the post-Soviet Ukraine situation in the National Interest: “Officially, the chain-of-command continued to run from the new President of Russia through communications and control systems to missile officers in Ukraine. Physically, however, the missiles, warheads, officers, and mechanisms for launching weapons resided on the territory of Ukraine. Moreover, the individuals who operated these systems now lived in houses owned by the government of Ukraine, received paychecks from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, and were subject to promotion or firing not by Moscow, but by Kiev.” See “Good News From Ukraine: It Doesn’t Have Nukes,” National Interest, Mar. 21, 2014.
  • 4. Mearsheimer, “The Case for a Ukrainian Nuclear Deterrent,” p. 58.
  • 5. Kenneth Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War.” International Security 25, no. 1 (Summer 2000): 5–41, esp. 32n75.
  • 6. Kenneth Waltz, “Nuclear Myths and Political Realities,” American Political Science Review 84, no. 3 (September 1990): 731–45.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Kenneth Waltz, “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Be Better,” Adelphi Papers 21, no. 171 (1981).
  • 9. Waltz, “Nuclear Myths and Political Realities.”
  • 10. Kirkpatrick Sale, Human Scale Revisited (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2017), p. 312.

Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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The U.S. Should Stop Collecting Military Allies Like Facebook Friends | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on June 5, 2020

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili believed Washington would rescue him after his forces began bombarding Russian troops stationed in South Ossetia. More recently, after a naval clash between China and the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte turned to Washington: “I’m calling now, America. I am invoking the RP-US pact, and I would like America to gather their Seventh Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now.” He helpfully added: “When they enter the South China Sea, I will enter. I will ride with the American who goes there first. Then I will tell the Americans, ‘Okay, let’s bomb everything’.”

No need to ‘un-friend’ anyone, but some of them should be supplying their own boots and bombs by now.

Some of them?

 

There absolutely is a need to unfriend certain NATO members. The members in this “one for all, all for one” organization with countries whose size and militaries are closer to that of the Vatican’s. Members whose only reason they were admitted to NATO was their proximity to Russia, in violation of James Bakers promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand East once Germany was unified.

That NATO is obsolete and one public arm of the CIA is not mentioned in this CATO linked author.

Neither are there references to avoidance of “foreign entanglements” as described by a certain first US president.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-u-s-should-stop-collecting-military-allies-like-facebook-friends/

No need to ‘un-friend’ anyone, but some of them should be supplying their own boots and bombs by now.

Donald Trump at NATO Summit in 2018 (Gints Ivuskans / Shutterstock.com)

President Donald Trump has offended professional foreign policy practitioners since taking office. They accuse him of manifold offenses. But none is more serious than “mistreating allies.”

For instance, Mira Rapp-Hooper of the Council on Foreign Relations penned a lengthy article entitled “Saving America’s Alliances.” She complained that the president has targeted “the United States’ 70-year-old alliance system. The 45th president has balked at upholding the country’s NATO commitments, demanded massive increases in defense spending from such long-standing allies as Japan and South Korea, and suggested that underpaying allies should be left to fight their own wars with shared adversaries. Trump’s ire has been so relentless and damaging that U.S. allies in Asia and Europe now question the United States’ ability to restore itself as a credible security guarantor.”

For her, this is a damning, even crushing, indictment. Yet that reflects her membership in the infamous Blob, the foreign policy establishment which tends to differ over minor points while marching in lockstep on essentials, such as the imperative for Washington to defend the world.

Consider the transatlantic alliance. Seventy-five years after the conclusion of World War II, Europe collectively has ten times the wealth and three times the population of Russia. Yet the continent cowers helplessly before Moscow, expecting American protection. Not one supposedly vulnerable member of NATO devotes as large a share of their economy to defense as the U.S., not even the Baltic States and Poland, which routinely demand an American military presence.

Among the continent’s largest and wealthiest nations, Italy and Spain barely bother to create militaries. The readiness of Germany’s forces is a continuing joke, despite persistent calls for reform. Only the United Kingdom and France possess militaries of much capability, and primarily for use in conflicts linked to their colonial heritage. They have, for instance, shown little interest in fighting Russia to rescue “New Europe.”

Prior presidents have badgered, cried, begged, asked, demanded, and whined about the Europeans’ lack of effort, without effect. European states obviously aren’t particularly worried about attack. And they figure Washington would save them if something unexpected occurred. So why bother?

From an American standpoint, doesn’t scorching criticism seem appropriate?

Then there is the president’s pressure on the Republic of Korea and Japan to do more. The president is rude, to be sure, but there is much to be rude about. The Korean War ended 67 years ago. Today the ROK has about 53 times the GDP and twice the population of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Why does Seoul require an American garrison for its defense? Why don’t the South Koreans do what is necessary to protect their own country?

Indeed, the main reason the North is building nuclear weapons is for defense against America, which has shown its proclivity to oust any regime which disrespects the U.S. The only circumstance under which the DPRK would use its nukes is if the U.S. joined in war between the two Koreas and threatened to defeat North Korea. Is anything at stake on the peninsula worth the risk of nuclear war? Foreign policy, defense guarantees, and military deployments should change as circumstances change. The U.S.-ROK alliance no longer makes sense.

Japan has spent years underinvesting in defense, even during the Cold War. Technically its constitution does not even allow a military, so Tokyo fields a “Self-Defense Force,” upon which it spends no more than one percent of GDP. Had Japan spent more on the SDF when it enjoyed the world’s second-ranking economy, the People’s Republic of China still would be working to overcome its defense gap with Japan before that with America.

There are obvious historical issues, of course. Tokyo points to the “peace constitution” foisted on defeated Japan by the U.S., but successive Japanese governments have interpreted away the military ban. And the constitution could be changed. The Japanese won’t do so as long as they can rely on America. Their assumption is that the U.S. is willing to risk Los Angeles to protect Tokyo. But that is a bad bargain for America.

Rapp-Hooper also complained that other countries might not believe in Washington’s security guarantees. That would be all to the good, however. Constantly “reassuring” America’s allies discourages them from doing more to defend themselves. There is something perverse about foreign nations believing that Washington has a duty to convince them that it is worthy of protecting them.

No doubt, allies are useful in a fight, but they should be viewed as a means rather than an end. That is, America should acquire allies when it needs them. Today Washington treats allies as an end, the more the merrier. It acts as if America benefits when it picks up helpless clients that must be defended against nuclear-armed enemies. Indeed, Uncle Sam appears to view allies like Facebook friends: the primary objective is to have more than anyone else, irrespective of their value or merit. What else can explain adding North Macedonia and Montenegro to NATO? Next up, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick!

Today the U.S. has no cause for conflict against Russia. Vladimir Putin is a nasty character, but has shown no inclination for war against Europe, even his neighbors in “New Europe,” let alone America. Washington and Moscow have no essential interests that clash or warrant war. So how does NATO benefit the U.S.?

The Europeans probably need not fear attack either, but they are in greater need of an insurance policy. In 1950 assurance had to come from America. But no longer. The Europeans are collectively able to protect themselves and their region. They should do so. Then how much they spend could be left up to them, without hectoring from Washington.

So too Japan and South Korea. Once they could not defend themselves. Decades later they are capable of doing so. And they have far more at stake in their survival than does America. They should take over responsibility for their own security.

Where a potential hegemon is on the rise—only the People’s Republic of China fits this description—the U.S. could play a role as an offshore balancer, backstopping the independence of important friendly states, such as Japan. However, even then the commitment should be limited. It is not America’s job to insert itself in a Chinese-Japanese fight over peripheral, contested territory, such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Or, even worse, to go to war to save the Philippines’ control over territorial bits like Scarborough Shoal.

Moreover, it is critically important not to discourage allied states from making serious efforts on their own behalf, which Japan and the Philippines, to name two in East Asia, do not. It also shows the problem with Rapp-Hooper’s praise of America security guarantees for discouraging allies from developing nuclear weapons. What is at stake in the defense of America’s allies worth risking a nuclear assault on America’s homeland? How many cities should the U.S. sacrifice to save the ROK or Germany? In contrast, what would be a better constraint on the PRC than nuclear-armed Japan and Taiwan? There would be risks in that course, of course, but extending a “nuclear umbrella” over-friendly states creates real and potentially catastrophic dangers for Americans.

Analysts such Rapp-Hooper assume alliances are net positives financially. Why? Other countries offer cheap bases! But Washington does not need to scatter hundreds of facilities and hundreds of thousands of troops around the world for its own defense. America is perhaps the geographically most security nation on earth: wide oceans east and west, pacific neighbors south and north. Bases are used to protect other states and become tripwires for other countries’ conflicts.

Moreover, defense commitments require force structure. The military budget is the price of America’s foreign policy. The more Washington promises to do, the most Americans must spend on the military. Every additional commitment adds to the burden.

While alliances theoretically deter, they also discourage partners from taking responsibility for their own futures. And security guarantees ensnare. Countries as different as Georgia and Taiwan have acted irresponsibility when presuming America’s protection. Washington sometimes has worried about South Korean plans for retaliation against North Korean provocations, which could trigger full-scale war.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili believed Washington would rescue him after his forces began bombarding Russian troops stationed in South Ossetia. More recently, after a naval clash between China and the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte turned to Washington: “I’m calling now, America. I am invoking the RP-US pact, and I would like America to gather their Seventh Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now.” He helpfully added: “When they enter the South China Sea, I will enter. I will ride with the American who goes there first. Then I will tell the Americans, ‘Okay, let’s bomb everything’.”

Ending obsolete alliances does not preclude cooperation as equals to advance shared interests, such as terrorism, cybersecurity, piracy, and much more. How to deal with China is becoming a shared concern. Less formal partners can develop plans, launch joint exercises, provide base access, and much more. Alliance advocates act as if the only way America can work with other nations is by promising to defend them. Other states might like to create that impression, but they are the supplicants, not the U.S.

There is much to criticize in Donald Trump’s foreign policy. However, his criticism of alliances is not one. The Blob has made them into a sacred cow. However, policymakers should start treating alliances as only one of many means to advance U.S. security.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.

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With apparently fabricated nuclear documents, Netanyahu pushed the US towards war with Iran | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on May 2, 2020

Graham Fuller, a 27-year veteran of the
CIA who served as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and
South Asia as well as Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence
Council, offered a similar assessment of the Israeli claim. “If the
Israelis had such a sensitive source in Tehran,” Fuller commented, “they
would not want to risk him.” Fuller concluded that the Israelis’ claim
that they had accurate knowledge of which safes to crack is “dubious,
and the whole thing may be somewhat fabricated.”

In this time of trouble it is comforting to know some things never change.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/04/29/fabricated-nuclear-documents-netanyahu-war-iran/

An investigation of supposed Iranian nuclear documents presented in a dramatically staged Netanyahu press conference indicates they were an Israeli fabrication designed to trigger US military conflict with Iran.

By Gareth Porter

President Donald Trump scrapped the nuclear deal with Iran and continued to risk war with Iran based on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim to have proven definitively that Iran was determined to manufacture nuclear weapons. Netanyahu not only spun Trump but much of the corporate media as well, duping them with the public unveiling of what he claimed was the entire secret Iranian “nuclear archive.”

In early April 2018, Netanyahu briefed Trump privately on the supposed Iranian nuclear archive and secured his promise to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). That April 30, Netanyahu took the briefing to the public in a characteristically dramatic live performance in which he claimed Israel’s Mossad intelligence services had stolen Iran’s entire nuclear archive from Tehran. “You may well know that Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons…” Netanyahu declared. “Well, tonight, I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Big time.”

However, an investigation of the supposed Iranian nuclear documents by The Grayzone reveals them to be the product of an Israeli disinformation operation that helped trigger the most serious threat of war since the conflict with Iran began nearly four decades ago. This investigation found multiple indications that the story of Mossad’s heist of 50,000 pages of secret nuclear files from Tehran was very likely an elaborate fiction and that the documents were fabricated by the Mossad itself.

According to the official Israeli version of events, the Iranians had gathered the nuclear documents from various locations and moved them to what Netanyahu himself described as “a dilapidated warehouse” in southern Tehran. Even assuming that Iran had secret documents demonstrating the development of nuclear weapons, the claim that top secret documents would be held in a nondescript and unguarded warehouse in Central Tehran is so unlikely that it should have raised immediate alarm bells about the story’s legitimacy.

Even more problematic was the claim by a Mossad official to Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman that Mossad knew not only in what warehouse its commandos would find the documents but precisely which safes to break into with a blowtorch. The official told Bergman the Mossad team had been guided by an intelligence asset to the few safes in the warehouse contained the binders with the most important documents.  Netanyahu bragged publicly that “very few” Iranians knew the location of the archive; the Mossad official told Bergman “only a handful of people” knew.

But two former senior CIA official, both of whom had served as the agency’s top Middle East analyst, dismissed Netanyahu’s claims as lacking credibility in responses to a query from The Grayzone.

According to Paul Pillar, who was National Intelligence Officer for the region from 2001 to 2005, “Any source on the inside of the Iranian national security apparatus would be extremely valuable in Israeli eyes, and Israeli deliberations about the handling of that source’s information presumably would be biased in favor long-term protection of the source.” The Israeli story of how its spies located the documents “does seem fishy,” Pillar said, especially considering Israel’s obvious effort to derive maximum “political-diplomatic mileage” out of the “supposed revelation” of such a well-placed source.

Graham Fuller, a 27-year veteran of the CIA who served as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia as well as Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, offered a similar assessment of the Israeli claim. “If the Israelis had such a sensitive source in Tehran,” Fuller commented, “they would not want to risk him.” Fuller concluded that the Israelis’ claim that they had accurate knowledge of which safes to crack is “dubious, and the whole thing may be somewhat fabricated.”

No proof of authenticity

Netanyahu’s April 30 slide show presented a series of purported Iranian documents containing sensational revelations that he pointed to as proof of his insistence that Iran had lied about its interest in manufacturing nuclear weapons. The visual aides included a file supposedly dating back to early 2000 or before that detailed various ways to achieve a plan to build five nuclear weapons by mid-2003.

Another document that generated widespread media interest was an alleged report on a discussion among leading Iranian scientists of a purported mid-2003 decision by Iran’s Defense Minister to separate an existing secret nuclear weapons program into overt and covert parts.

Left out of the media coverage of these “nuclear archive” documents was a simple fact that was highly inconvenient to Netanyahu: nothing about them offered a scintilla of evidence that they were genuine. For example, not one contained the official markings of the relevant Iranian agency.

Tariq Rauf, who was head of the Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 2001 to 2011, told The Grayzone that these markings were practically ubiquitous on official Iranian files.

“Iran is a highly bureaucratized system,” Rauf explained. “Hence, one would expect a proper book-keeping system that would record incoming correspondence, with date received, action officer, department, circulation to additional relevant officials, proper letterhead, etc.”

But as Rauf noted, the “nuclear archive” documents that were published by the Washington Post bore no such evidence of Iranian government origin.  Nor did they contain other markings to indicate their creation under the auspices of an Iranian government agency.

What those documents do have in common is the mark of a rubber stamp for a filing system showing numbers for a “record”, a “file” and a “ledger binder” — like the black binders that Netanyahu flashed to the cameras during his slideshow. But these could have easily been created by the Mossad and stamped on to the documents along with the appropriate Persian numbers.

Forensic confirmation of the documents’ authenticity would have required access to the original documents.  But as Netanyahu noted in his April 30, 2018 slide show, the “original Iranian materials” were kept “in a very safe place” – implying that no one would be allowed to have any such access.  Read the rest of this entry »

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“Iran Must Begin Acting Like A Normal Nation,” Says Totally Normal Nation – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 15, 2020

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to expand its interests from the region and begin toppling noncompliant governments and invading nations all around the world.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to circle the planet with hundreds of Iranian military bases.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to obtain thousands of nuclear weapons, and actually use a couple of them.

The US doesn’t want Iran to be like America. The US wants Iran to be like the other nations which have allowed themselves to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/01/13/iran-must-begin-acting-like-a-normal-nation-says-totally-normal-nation/

The government which runs a globe-spanning empire led by a reality TV host keeps talking about the lack of normality in the nation of Iran.

“What we want all countries to join in,” said State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus in a recent Fox News interview, “is to help us not only to de-escalate any tensions with Iran, but to help us bring Iran to a place where they are ready to stop their terrorist and malign behavior, and where they are ready to discuss with the United States, with Europe, with everyone, about how they can change their behavior to act like a normal nation.”

“We want Iran to simply behave like a normal nation,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press statement the other day. “We believe that the sanctions we imposed today further that strategic objective.”

These would be the additional sanctions which have been expanded to include virtually the entire Iranian economy, deliberately targeting Iran’s already sanction-starved populace, with the explicit goal of fomenting a civil war in that nation.

Which is of course a perfectly normal thing to do, from a perfectly normal nation.

This would be the same Iran whose cultural heritage sites were threatened with destruction if it retaliated for the totally normal assassination of its top military official via flying robot. The same Iran whose financial system was just threatened with destruction using the totally normal hegemony of American central banking. Perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.

So what can Iran do to become a “normal nation”? Well, since it’s the United States making this demand, we can safely assume that it’s the model Iran should look to.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to expand its interests from the region and begin toppling noncompliant governments and invading nations all around the world.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to circle the planet with hundreds of Iranian military bases.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to obtain thousands of nuclear weapons, and actually use a couple of them.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to become the most dominant military, economic and cultural force in the world, and then use that dominance to destroy any government, political party, ideology, faction, movement or person who stands in its way.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to arm violent extremist factions all around the world with the goal of eliminating all governments that refuse to bow to its interests.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to become the dominant producer of films, music and TV shows and use this influence to propagandize its power structure’s ideology to every possible cultural sphere.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to begin meddling in scores of democratic elections all around the world and then crying for years at the possibility of any nation returning the favor.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to shore up economic control of the world so that it can crush any sort of disobedience by starving civilians and depriving them of medical care while pretending that it’s a force for peace.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to indefinitely occupy a vast region on the other side of the planet with thousands upon thousands of troops and trillions of dollars in military equipment, to no benefit of a single ordinary Iranian, and against the will of the people who live there.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to create a presidency led by a reality TV star oligarch who is only supported because Iran’s populace is so disgusted with the status quo of their government.

I am kidding, of course. The US government does not want Iran to become like the US. The US government does not want any nation to become like the US. The US likes its abnormality among nations just the way it is, thank you very much. The US is the exception to all its own rules. That’s how American exceptionalism works. This is one of those “do as I say, not as I do” situations.

The US doesn’t want Iran to be like America. The US wants Iran to be like the other nations which have allowed themselves to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

The US would be perfectly happy for Iran to begin acting like Saudi Arabia: arming terrorist factions, beheading heretics, committing war crimes and deliberately creating humanitarian disasters for geostrategic convenience, yet aligning fully with US military, financial, and resource control agendas.

The US would be perfectly happy for Iran to begin acting like Israel: a nuclear-armed military outpost which constantly bombs adjacent nations, interferes in the US and other nations’ politics to shore up support, works toward the slow extermination of its indigenous population and fires upon protesters with live ammunition.

The US would be perfectly happy for Iran to begin acting like Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand or the EU: obedient military/intelligence assets who function as extra American states when it comes to foreign policy and international affairs.

That is what the US means by acting “normal”. Not acting moral. Not acting healthy. Certainly not acting like the US. It means acting obedient, compliant, and enslaved.

Which is precisely what Iran is resisting.

________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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The Oligarchy’s Plans For Our Future Keep Getting Dumber – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on August 21, 2019

Perhaps spending money to DIScourage nukes instead of thinking up reasons to justify their existence would be of more benefit to mankind.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/08/20/the-oligarchys-plans-for-our-future-keep-getting-dumber/

It’s rare to get a billionaire to share their grand plans for the future, which is weird because billionaires pretty much rule the world. Whenever they do, though, it’s always something incredibly sociopathic, like replacing all jobs with billionaire-owned automation/AI and giving people a Universal Basic Income set by the billionaire-owned government. Or loading all the humans onto rocket ships and sending them to live on Amazon Space Dildos.

Billionaire Elon Musk, who hates unions and wants to implant AI into human brains, has been continuing this trend of idiotic plutocratic futurology with a new campaign to detonate nuclear weapons on the planet Mars. This is not because Musk hates Mars, but because he wants to colonize it; the idea is to vaporize the red planet’s polar ice caps and throw carbon dioxide into the air to ultimately make the planet more habitable.

Scientists are voicing skepticism that such a plan could even work, before even opening up the “Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should” debate. Sending nuclear weapons into space for any reason whatsoever should receive an outright rejection from all of humanity, since getting nukes into earth’s orbit has been the wet dream of war machine engineers for decades and pretending they went to Mars would serve as an ideal cover story to circumvent international space treaties until it’s too late to prevent it.

Musk claims he wants to colonize Mars because a new dark age ensuing from a third world war appears “likely”, and he wants to ensure that there will be humans living off of the planet to re-populate it after we wipe ourselves out here. Rather than pouring wealth, brainpower and resources into pushing for a change in the status quo which has set the world’s nuclear-armed powers on a collision course for a world military confrontation that will destroy our biosphere, this billionaire has decided it’s better to nuke Mars so that a back bench of reserve humans can live on a desert space rock.

This is the class of people who are calling the shots in our world. These are the minds who are choosing our fate for us. I wouldn’t trust them to run a fucking gas station.

And Elon Musk is one of the saner billionaires.

I’m going to take a lot of flak for saying this, but I honestly believe that the impulse to colonize space is one of the more pernicious cultural mind viruses in our society. I mean, think about it: we’ve got a planet right here for which we are perfectly adapted, and we’re burning it to the ground while looking up at a red dot in the sky going “You know I bet if I nuked that bitch I could build a hermetically sealed house on it someday.” How much more insane could you possibly get?

I’m pushing against a cultural dogma that’s been mainstream doctrine for generations, but I really find all this blather about adventure and the indomitable human spirit of exploration quite tedious and idiotic when it comes to space colonization. We’ve got creatures swimming in our own oceans with brains many times larger than our own, and we’re killing them all off before we’ve even developed any kind of real theory about what they’re doing with all that extra gray matter. There are parts of the moon that are better explored than vast expanses of our own seas. We don’t even know what consciousness is, and science is largely uninterested in answering this question. I don’t believe the spirit of exploration and adventure is what’s driving our longing to break for the stars. I think it’s nothing but garden variety escapism.

We’ve all got that one friend or family member who’s completely miserable and is always quitting jobs and relationships and moving house and changing their diet in a desperate attempt to find happiness. They rearrange their lifestyle for the umpteenth time and they’re barely settled in before their gaze lands on some other aspect of their life and they think, “That’s the source of my unhappiness right there. If I can only escape from that, I’ll be happy.”

Such people are exasperating to be around, because you can see what they’re doing and you just want to sit them down and go “The problem is in you, babe. Moving won’t help; your inner demons will follow you every time. You’ve got to stay put and deal with your issues.”

Our species reminds me of that type of personality right now. So many of us are looking forward to some escape route coming from outside of us to rescue us from ourselves; some are looking forward to the second coming of Jesus, some are looking forward to the aliens coming in to save the day, some are looking forward to the Democrats or the Republicans finally capturing the whole entire government and setting things right with the world, and some are looking forward to billionaires setting up a space colonization program so we can get off this accursed blue orb before we destroy it. But there is no deus ex machina here. No one’s going to save us from ourselves. Even if we do succeed in running away from home, we’ll inevitably bring the same inner demons with us that got us into this mess in the first place.

We’ve got to turn inward and evolve beyond our self-destructive impulses. The only way out is through. The mind virus of celestial escapism stops us from doing this, because it offers us yet another false promise of deus ex machina. It lets us run away from doing the hard but necessary real inner work, just like doing drugs or binging on Netflix or any other kind of escapism.

Can you try a little thought experiment for me? Imagine, just for a moment, if we took space colonization off the table. Completely. Forever. We just decided that it’s never going to happen and we all moved to accept that. Really imagine it. Really put yourself there for a minute.

What does that change in you? What does that change about your attitude toward our future? If we’re honest with ourselves, I think it would change quite a bit. For me, when I take space conquest off the table, it takes me in a direction that just so happens to look extremely healthy. It makes me say, “Oh, okay, so we’ll obviously have to get rid of the status quo of endless war and ecocide, since those will ruin this place, and that will mean radically changing our relationship with each other and with our ecosystem. It will mean getting women around the world full reproductive sovereignty and education since that’s proven to reverse population growth. It will mean ceasing to think like a cancer, believing that endless growth is a virtue. It will mean ceasing to believe that the existence of trillions of humans is the best thing we can hope for for our species when we have yet to even scratch the surface of our own potential on a large scale. And I suppose it will mean getting together and figuring out how to detect and neutralize the threat of apocalyptic meteor strikes, too.”

Imagine that. Imagine if instead of trying to figure out how to fill the sky with trillions of mediocre humans we turned inward, healed our inner demons, and realized our full potential. Such a world would be a paradise. I know from my own experience that humans are capable of so very, very much more than what we have attained so far; we really haven’t scratched the surface at all. If we’re going to explore, the direction of that exploration ought to be inward.

I really think the mainstream idea that we can always make a mad dash for the black emptiness in the sky if things go to shit here keeps us from truly confronting our urgent need to preserve the ecosystemic context in which we evolved, and which there’s no evidence that we can live without.

I mean, we don’t even know that space colonization is possible. As of yet we have no evidence at all that humans are sufficiently separate and separable from Earth’s biosphere for survival apart from our ecosystem to be a real thing. Humans aren’t really separate “things”; they’re a symbiotic collaboration of organisms with ecosystems of their own, all of which as far as we know are entirely dependent on the greater ecosystem from which we blossomed. So far all our attempts at creating independent biospheres have failed miserably, and the closest we’ve come to living in space has consisted of nothing but glorified scuba excursions: visits to space stations fully dependent on a lifeline of terrestrial supplies. That’s the difference between flying and jumping. It might be as delusional as our brains thinking they can hop out of our skulls and live independently of our bodies, or some river eddies saying they’re moving to dry land.

And even if it is possible, why would you want it? Do people not know what space is? Are they aware that it’s nothing but boring desert wasteland that’s really really hard to get to and survive on? Have you ever been trapped for a long time surrounded by nothing but man-made things, like on an airplane or a cruise ship? Picture that, but way worse and for much longer. It would be a sterile, artificial existence; even if you managed to bring in plants and animals it would be ordered in a man-made way that is no more natural than the saplings grown on traffic islands. At best it would be like being in a mall your entire life. You’d be cut off from the primordial thrum of your home world. There’d be no real life there. No real soul.

Imagine never feeling the starry spatter of a shower of rain on your face. Imagine never ever again hearing the roar of wind on a wintry night or experiencing the thunder of the ocean on a big surf day. Imagine never again being blown away by the brightness of a rainbow or the thrilling crack of lightning or the astonishing beauty of a sunset or the first rays of springtime sunshine fondly warming the back of your neck. Imagine never again coming across a friendly squirrel or a shy possum or a little feast of wild blackberries. Imagine never again lying in the dappled light filtered through a magnificent tree. I don’t know about you but I would just miss the breeze playing in my hair too terribly to ever leave. I love it here and it loves me like a mother loves her child. This is not just my home, I grew from the earth as surely as a mushroom or a seahorse. I am a part of the earth and the earth is a part of me. We belong together. 

It’s easy to feel helpless. The wise ones do not have any money and therefore any power. We are being run by a handful of coddled man-children and it seems like they might have the last word. But I have been thinking about Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas on morphic resonance a lot lately and I’m increasingly convinced that even just one of us bringing consciousness to an aspect of our collective darkness is enough to wordlessly and instantly inform the herd. So, do me a favor if you are willing. Go and run one more experiment for me. Go outside now and place your hand on the ground and say to the earth these words — “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” Say it as many times as you feel like. Say it, and mean it. 

And then let’s see what happens next. 

____________________

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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The NYT’s Pro-War Arguments Against War With Iran | FAIR

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2019

https://fair.org/home/the-nyts-pro-war-arguments-against-war-with-iran/

The New York Times has published five editorials since the beginning of May that are ostensibly critical of a possible military war between the United States and Iran. As anti-war arguments, however, they are woefully lacking—vilifying Iran without subjecting the US to comparable scrutiny, and hiding US aggression towards Iran.

The editorials regurgitate the same anti-Iran demonology pro-war voices offer to try to justify an attack on the country. In one case (5/4/19), readers are told that

there is no doubt that the Revolutionary Guards is a malign actor. Founded in 1979, it was the revolution’s protector. In time, the corps became a tool of violence and military adventurism as Iran expanded its regional influence in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria.

The same editorial implies that Iran has a nuclear weapons program about which Americans should be concerned, writing:

The administration has fiercely debated imposing sanctions on European, Chinese and Russian entities working with Iran to convert facilities capable of pursuing nuclear-weapons related activities to more peaceful, energy-oriented projects. On Friday, the State Department announced that while work at three key facilities will be allowed to continue for 90 days, the administration will reconsider the decision at the end of that period. Some other nuclear-related activities will be prohibited.

Saying that Iran has “facilities capable of pursuing nuclear-weapons related activities,” which should be “convert[ed]” so that they can work on “more peaceful, energy-oriented projects,” strongly implies that Iran has a nuclear weapons program or is close to having one, as does an editorial (7/19/19) that claims Iran has “nuclear ambitions.” There is no basis for this insinuation: Iran has no nuclear weapons program, hasn’t been close to having one since at least 2003, and perhaps never has. (See FAIR.org, 10/17/17.)

The series of editorials in this series, furthermore, describe Iran as doing (presumably nefarious) “work on missile systems” (7/19/19), and as “a despotic Middle East regime” (6/20/19) that provides “support for regional terrorist organizations” (7/19/19).

No US institution or practice is sweepingly condemned in a comparable fashion. Carrying out an invasion of Iraq, as the US military did, and causing as many as a million deaths is not considered the conduct of a “malign actor” or “a tool of violence and military adventurism”; nor is keeping children in cages or having the world’s largest prison population evidence of a “despotic…regime.” Whatever the Times’ definition of “support for regional terrorist organizations” is, it evidently does not include backing racist groups in Libya, laying waste to Syrian cities or flooding the country with weapons that helped ISIS, or carrying out massacres in Afghanistan, or underwriting brutality in Yemen and Palestine.

In this respect, the Times’ apparent anti-war editorials bolster the case for war against Iran: If Iran is a “despotic . . . regime” that provides “support for regional terrorist organizations” and has a military outfit that is “no doubt . . . a malign actor” and a “tool of violence and military adventurism,” readers can be forgiven for failing to rush out and organize a peace movement. And if the United States is or has none of these things—or, in the case of a nuclear weapons program and “work on missile systems,” is presumably allowed to have them—they may be confused about why the US shouldn’t bomb or invade Iran, or overthrow its government, or some combination of these.

The editorials also muddy responsibility for the crisis, presenting what is happening as roughly equally the fault of the United States and Iran. The first editorial (5/4/19) argued that the “Trump administration is playing a dangerous game in Iran, risking a serious miscalculation by either side.” The problem isn’t so much the risk of “a serious miscalculation by either side” as it is deliberate US calculations to inflict misery on Iranians in an effort to force Iran to submit to US orders. US sanctions are severely harming Iranians, causing food shortages, undermining the healthcare system, preventing flood relief from getting to Iranians, setting off a collapse in economic growth and driving the country into a deep recession while helping to push up inflation; all of this information was publicly available before any of these editorials were published. Iran, of course, has done nothing comparable to US society…

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propaganda

 

 

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